Powered Ramps for Wheelchair Vans: Buying Tips


Powered ramps lift a wheelchair into and out of a van automatically, without anyone needing to bend down to place it or to manually provide the energy required for the chair‘s movement. These ramps have electrical components that carefully position the ramp, allowing the individual to move into and out of the van, minivan or bus. While some of these ramps are exceedingly sturdy and designed for commercial use, others are ideal for everyday use.

Features and Options in Powered Ramps

Powered ramps provide individuals with a higher level of convenience, but they are more expensive than other options. There are two main options in the world powered ramps: One may have a ramp with a motorized tray assembly and a platform or a more powerful and durable air-activated option. The secondary assembly is generally in use for commercial vehicles.

Powered Ramp Deployment

One feature to consider is the way the user deploys the ramp. Ideally, a powered ramp should offer automatic deployment–usually effectuated by the push of a button. Some versions also provide a full rotation, in which any lose debris is removed from the tray, for protection.

Safety Features for Powered Ramps

Depending on which type of vehicle with which the ramp will be used, you may want to look carefully at a handful of safety features.  These include:

  • Audible warnings of the ramps movement
  • Door interlock
  • Handbrake interlock
  • Electrical and mechanical sensitive edges

It’s also important to ensure that the ramp offers a non-slip surface and that it meets all required safety standards related to the particular vehicle type under consideration.

Installation and Use

The installation of the powered ramp is an important consideration. Most units are easy to install for someone who has the necessary electrical and mechanical skills. Some devices slide under the vehicle for storage when the vehicle is operational. Others will fold up and in place when not in use. The entire process should be easy.

In most situations, users will want to take advantage of professional installation.  This provides a higher degree of safety and can protect expensive equipment from unnecessary damage.

A powered ramp for your wheelchair van may be an option, but it can be expensive.  Those want maximum mobility and the ability to activate the ramp without third party assistance will appreciate having a powered ramp.  If manual ramps don’t quite fit your needs, it makes sense explore powered ramp options.