LivAbility Magazine
Illustration shows half of a WHILL chair omni-direction wheel tread.

Product Review

Story by Mason Ellis
Photos courtesy of Mason Ellis

Being in a wheelchair normally limits one’s lifestyle, but the WHILL Power Wheelchair combines the mobility of a manual chair and the ease of use of a power chair, allowing for a great experience.

I was surprised by the smoothness when I took the WHILL across gravel and other rough terrains that are normally difficult for wheelchairs to travel across. The WHILL has a low-profile, sleek-looking, modern design that gives the user control of the wheelchair. Its composition lets people see more of the person and less of the wheelchair. People would notice its unique design and ask me about the WHILL everywhere that I went. The user becomes a part of the chair versus the chair becoming a part of the person.

When I am in the WHILL, I feel like people are interested and it sparks a conversation. The WHILL is similar to the size of a manual wheelchair, promoting mobility and has the controls of a power wheelchair, making for easy usability.

The power and joystick controls are on opposite sides of the chair and can be swapped if preferred. The WHILL has three speeds—low, medium and high—with the top speed being 5.5 mph to give you better control and adjustment for different environments. The battery has a range of up to 15 hours of use on a full charge.

The solid rear tires, Omni-wheel front tires and 4WD enable the user to access rough terrain. The Omni-wheels have 24 independent
rollers that let the chair move in any direction without swiveling unlike casters, power over three-inchobstacles and through loose terrains like sand or other rough landscapes. None of the wheels swivel, which helps immensely when maneuvering in tight places.

Both swing-away armrests pivot backward so that nothing is in the way when transferring. The electric seat slides forward to help you better position yourself to use a table.

Unlike most wheelchair seat cushions, the WHILL does not require the use of an air pump to adjust the firmness of the cushion or backrest. This is a great feature for quadriplegics with bad hand dexterity.

Another great feature is the easily-visible red tail lights so others can see you at night. These lights also improve the user’s visibility when it is hard to see.

The WHILL has different degrees of adjustability that can be configured to fit the user. Many options are available to enhance the user’s comfort and safety for all day use. These include different controllers, back supports and tie-downs.

I especially like using the WHILL when going down my gravel driveway to get the mail because the ride is smooth. The WHILL makes going to a restaurant to eat easy due to its maneuverability and seat slide feature. The WHILL’s size makes transporting it in my accessible van more convenient.

Despite WHILL’s compact size, it has sufficient power to maneuver across the grass, over rough terrain and up hills. Most of the load is taken off of shoulders compared to a manual chair. Its compact size, tight turning radius, and precision controller let the WHILL perform well around tight spaces indoors. The innovative Omni-wheels, two- motor 4WD, top speed of 5.5 mph and range of 15 miles let the WHILL conquer any terrain that is between you and your destination.

Mason Ellis

Mason Ellis is a YouTube vlogger who shares how-to videos aimed at helping people living with spinal cord injury readjust. Mason lives with quadriplegia at C5 due to a car accident in 2015. Newly-injured and isolated from peers, Mason struggled to find information to help him with activities of daily living. Now he makes instructional videos hoping to help others with similar injuries.