Invacare Storm 4 – Powered Wheelchair

USERS RATING:
(Based on the users needs, lifestyle and preferences.)

Wheelchair Description:
Large, tall wheelchair with rear-wheel drive and good suspension.

Battery Life:
Not even enough for a long walk!

Source of Wheelchair:
NHS Wheelchair Services

Diagnosis:
Spinal Cord Injury

Personal Opinion:
I got this chair as a replacement for my 11-year-old Storm 3 and it is significantly more stable than the older model. Like the Storm 3, the Storm 4 is bulky and very heavy. The chair is too long and too tall to fit in a taxi, which limits my options when wanting to use public transport. Only the largest WAVs [currently using a lowered-floor] like the Peugeot independence, have successfully got my wheelchair on board. However, this is only in a VW maxi caddy with the rear seats folded flat, otherwise, you don’t have any legroom! Sadly the only drive-from-wheelchair vehicle at the moment is the Mercedes Sprinter, so I find this wheelchair is really limiting. There have also been some issues with the Storm and Q-Straint Docking System; so if you consider driving from the chair, I would advise checking the compatibility before you order your chair and/or vehicle. However the Storm is compatible with the alternative Dahl Docking System, but it requires a special plate fitted underneath that cannot be retrofitted, it has to be modified at the point of manufacture.

From the very beginning, I have had problems with the Storm 4. But it is able to provide 25 degrees of manual or powered seat tilt, which allows for excellent pressure redistribution. However, the chair is equipped with a safety feature that prevents it from being driven at decent speed when reclined. This is really not helpful when I need the seat in a tilted position to maintain balance. Because of this, I have had the actuator disabled, but now the tilt mechanism only works intermittently! The batteries are ok for light to moderate use; if I want to venture further afield, I have to use some form of transport for at least one part of the journey, otherwise, I risk my chair dying during my journey home. Annoyingly if this happens, the chair is impossible to push. The literature states it weighs 170kg, but I believe it’s more like 180kg+!

I have been using Storm wheelchairs for the best part of 20 years [this one being my 4th one] and have always found them to be good, sturdy workhorses. However, the Storm 4 is the complete opposite in terms of upholding the same standard. I’m not sure if it’s the manufacturer’s fault, or if I have simply been unfortunate with this particular unit. But either way, it is very disappointing!

Features

HOW COMFORTABLE IS THIS WHEELCHAIR TO USE?
HOW EASY IS THIS WHEELCHAIR TO TAKE APART?
HOW EASY IS THIS WHEELCHAIR TO TRANSPORT?
HOW DOES THIS WHEELCHAIR COPE OFF-ROAD?

TOTAL RATING

(Based on an automatic calculation of the individual results above.)

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