What if I told you there is a power wheelchair that weighs only 50 pounds, folds for easy transport and offers many of the seating conveniences most power chair users expect at a fraction of the cost? That’s the pitch for the KD Smart Chair, a new, exciting offering from KD Healthcare Company, and if I may say it’s a damn good pitch.
I haven’t tried one of these, but Jessika Kattah Delatorre has had one for two years now and loves it. “I am not fully independent yet so I do need someone with me to fold it and place it in the trunk,” says Delatorre, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Delatorre’s experience plus reading the info on the website and watching the video left me thinking this has the potential to be one of the coolest and most useful new mobility products out there. I know tons of power chair users who shy away from traveling, or sacrifice mobility and travel in manual chairs, because their regular power chairs are too cumbersome. The KD Smart Chair isn’t going to be a replacement for most power chair users, but as an alternative for travel it could be a game changer. Adding to its appeal is its price tag of $2,995 (it was recently on sale for $1,995) — not cheap, but much more reasonable than many mobility aids currently on the market.
The basic chair is FDA cleared, can support up 265 pounds and can go up to 15 miles on its rechargeable lithium batteries. KD also offers a Heavy Duty version that weighs 59 pounds but can support up to 396 pounds ($3,995). Much of KD’s marketing focuses on the device as an option for seniors and people with disabilities who may not need a chair full time, but unlike other vaguely similar options, the KD Smart Chair looks like it has the pieces (arm rests, foot rests, anti-tilt wheels etc.) and functionality to handle the needs of more demanding users like quads and people with more spasticity. On the FAQ on the site they explicitly say that they do recommend the chair for people with spinal cord injuries. Find out more here.