In a Nutshell:
The LX 5 is an exquisitely designed chair from one of the leading mobility companies in the US. Recommended for anyone weighing up to 300 pounds (and the company makes other models that can support folks weighing up to 600 pounds).
- Great chair offered by a reputable company
- No glaring weaknesses identified
- Noteworthy customer service track record
- Pride in manufacturing and customer care
- Not best in class in specific categories like speed, adjustability, range, outdoor terrain handling, or travel-friendliness
- Other chairs may outperform the LX 5 in certain aspects
Are you in the market for a replacement for your current wheelchair? Or perhaps you’ve recently suffered from some type of issue that has limited your mobility, and you’re in the market for your very first chair. Either way, the Hoveround LX 5 deserves your attention.
Hoveround didn’t invent the electric wheelchair or the scooter. What they did though, more than twenty-five years ago, was design a ground-breaking mobility aid that, at the time, offered unmatched performance and a whole slew of innovations. To this day, Hoveround remains on the cutting edge of powered mobility products and is one of the best and most respected companies in the industry.
In this Hoveround scooters review, we’ll not only take a closer look at the company’s best-selling product, the LX 5, but we’ll also give you a quick tour of the other models the company makes. In the event that the LX 5 doesn’t meet your needs, it is almost certain that one of their other products will.
While these chairs aren’t perfect, they are exceptional. Also, buying any Hoveround model will give you incredible freedom and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re buying from a legendary company in the industry with a long history of world-class customer service and support.
Ready to take a closer look at the LX 5 and the other products the company offers? Let’s jump right in!
If you want to buy a Hoveround through your insurance (Medicare or otherwise), don’t order from the Amazon link!
The LX 5 is the company’s non-coded model. It is meant to be purchased when there’s no third-party reimbursement coming.
For purchases through your insurance company, you’ll need to call Hoveround directly and ask for the MPV 5.
The MPV 5 is identical to the LX 5, but it is coded for insurance reimbursement. As such, everything you read about the LX 5 also applies to the MPV 5.
An Overview of the Hoveround Scooter LX 5
All of Hoveround’s chairs are designed along the same lines, and they all have a delightfully sleek, polished look. At a glance, you can tell that the Hoveround is a quality product. Comfortable, inviting, and probably a lot of fun to ride around.
It lives up to its first impression, and then some!
If you decide you want one of these, you can choose yours with either red or blue accent panels to add a splash of color to the design. Note that you can buy the color you didn’t select and swap the panels out at your leisure if you want to change things up later on.
Before we get into the specific features in this section of our Hoveround scooters review, let’s take a moment to do a quick review of the core stats that define the Hoveround LX 5. Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 24” (W) x 38” (D) (Note: If you order your chair with a 19” or 20” seat, the width is 25.” If you order your chair with a 22” or 23” seat, the total width of the chair you’ll get is 28”).
- Seat Dimensions: You can order your Hoveround with any of the following seat configurations:
- 17” (W) (Reclining) x 18” (D)
- 18” (W) x 18” (D)
- 19” (W) (Reclining) x 18” (D)
- 20” (W) x 20” (D)
- 22” (W) (Reclining) x 20” (D)
- Or 23” x 20” (D)
- Top Speed: 4 mph
- Maximum Range: 12 miles
- Wheel Size: 8” drive wheels with 6” casters
- Maximum Climbing Angle: 7.5 degrees
- Turning Radius: 22.7”
- Ground Clearance: 2.5”
- Chair Weight: 173 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
Overall, these are good numbers, but there are a couple of places where they seem a little underwhelming to us.
For starters, this isn’t a tremendously large chair. It has a surprisingly small footprint, which, when combined with its tight turn radius, makes it an excellent model for in-home use. Even if you live in a smaller home or apartment, you’ll have no difficulty navigating around unless you’ve ordered yours with a wide seat, in which case, fitting through a standard width doorway might be a bit of a challenge.
On the other hand, if you’re ordering one of those, the odds are good that your house already has wider than standard doorways. Note that the turning radius is the same, even on model variants with the wider seats.
We also love the fact that there are so many seating options to choose from, but, we doubt that the wider seat options will get much use. Remember, this model only has a 300-pound weight limit, which is about average across the industry, but few people who need the wider seats will fall under that limit.
In any case, the wider seats are also available on the other models the company sells, and some of those can support users weighing up to 600-pounds.
The top speed of the Hoveround power chair is a modest 4 miles per hour, which means that someone out for an afternoon power walk is probably going to pass you by. We wish this chair had a higher top speed, even by a mile or two, but we doubt it will be a dealbreaker for most folks. As long as you’re not in a great rush to get where you’re going, it’ll be fine.
The range of the chair is only average, but at least it’s on the high side of average, and 12 miles is still a sufficient range to be genuinely useful. Given the top speed, you can expect to run your Hoveround for about 3 hours at full tilt before needing to roll up to an outlet for a recharge.
Its powerful motors can handle slopes better than the average electric wheelchair (a significant chunk of the chairs on the market are only capable of handling a 6-degree slope). However, the ground clearance leaves a bit to be desired. Clearly, this chair was meant primarily for indoor or outdoor urban use.
It’s fine on all indoor flooring surfaces, on sidewalks, parking lots, and inside stores and shopping malls, but if you try to take it into the yard, it will struggle.
If your grass has been freshly cut and your yard is level, it’ll probably do okay. It doesn’t take much of an obstruction to hang this chair up, so you’ll have to navigate carefully if you have any sizeable rocks or up-jutting roots in your yard. This is definitely not a chair you want to try to take down a hiking trail, even one rated as easy!
One thing to note here is that this chair is not collapsible or foldable, and it weighs 178 pounds. Since it doesn’t fold down into a smaller footprint, there’s nothing to be gained by pulling the batteries because it’s simply not going to fit in the trunk of your car.
That said, it is possible to travel with this chair, but it will require a bit of additional investment if you want to. We’ll have more to say about that later on in this review. For the moment, we simply wanted to draw your attention to it.
Adjustability and Comfort
The seat of the Hoveround Electric Scooter is only moderately adjustable, and even then, there are caveats. It is possible to order this chair with a reclining seat, which is adjustable, depending on the seat size you order. In a similar vein, the company sells a headrest that can be added to its reclining seats (and only those that recline). The headrest is height-adjustable, which gives you a second adjustable feature.
The seat height is 20” and is semi-fixed in its position. It is possible to adjust the height, but it’s a bit of an operation.
Your best bet is to experiment with the seat height when you’re putting it together (it comes partially assembled) and then leave it alone.
Alternatively, if you order white-glove service (not available in all areas), the technician who comes to put it together for you and trains you on its use can adjust the seat height to taste. Again though, once you set it, it’s a bit of a process to change it, and not really worth the effort.
That’s it, though. The padded armrests and the footplate are both fixed in their positions, so no other adjustment options are available.
On the comfort front, you’ll find that the LX 5 provides a delightful seating experience, well padded with conventional block foam and supported by a network of springs, which makes it a bit like sitting on a mattress. The padding is covered with attractive two-tone vinyl upholstery.
The only real problem here is the choice of upholstery. Vinyl looks nice, is low maintenance, and is easy to keep clean, but it has two issues.
It’s not breathable, and it wears quickly.
The fact that the upholstery isn’t breathable means that after about 4 hours, you’ll start getting hot and sweaty. Bear in mind that running the machine at full tilt will only give you three hours of battery life, so that may not be an issue.
If you do plan on spending longer periods in the chair, though, you’ll definitely want to invest in some additional padding. The good news there is, there are a whole host of third-party vendors offering every type of seat pad you can imagine from conventional foam pads to memory foam or gel-pack seats, so you can make the chair as comfortable as you like.
Even better, if you invest in a seat and seatback pad, you’ll not only solve the breathability issue, but you’ll also help extend the life of the vinyl since you’re no longer sitting directly on it. That’s a pretty powerful one-two punch for a nominal investment in padding.
Extras and Options
The Hoveround Motorized Scooter LX 5 only comes with one ‘extra’ built-in, but we think it’s a pretty good one. Behind the seat, you’ll find a generously sized storage pocket.
We regard storage as absolutely essential, especially in a chair you plan to travel with, even if the trips are only relatively short ones like to the store down the block or something.
There’s really no such thing as too much storage. If you decide you want to add more, you’re in luck, because the company has a couple of good options on that front. In fact, Hoveround offers a number of high-value accessories that give you the freedom and flexibility to customize your machine to better meet your specific needs. These options include:
- A cup holder
- A side tote bag
- A yellow ball knob
- A safety flag
- A Hoveround backpack
- A ‘HoverCover’ to protect it from the elements
- Pneumatic or flat-free replacement wheels (or spares)
- Red and blue accent color panels
- An Oxygen tank holder (both round and square options available)
- A walker holder
- A cane holder
- A height-adjustable headrest (reclining seats only)
- And a crutch holder
In addition to the enhancements to the actual chair, you’ll also find the following:
- A single-fold portable wheelchair ramp
- A tri-fold portable wheelchair ramp
- A threshold wheelchair ramp
- A PVI OnTrac wheelchair ramp
- And the company’s “HoverLift,” which is a power lift for your chair that you can attach to the back of almost any vehicle.
Finally, you’ll find a number of other products on the company’s site designed to help around your home like shower chairs, support poles, stairlifts, and the like.
With the possible exception of the safety flag, which we’re sure some folks will love, these are all very good accessories. We also love the fact that the company offers two different storage enhancements. Of course, if that’s not enough, you can always head to the aftermarket, where you’ll find scores of possibilities offered by dozens of third-party companies.
Portability & Ease of Use
In terms of ease of use, this Hoveround power scooter is amazing. The controls are simple and intuitive. With the tight turning radius, you’re unlikely to get hung up, even as you navigate through tight spaces. You’ll have the basics mastered in minutes and after about half an hour driving it around, you’ll be well on your way to being a pro.
Portability, however, is another matter. As well-designed and versatile as this chair is, it doesn’t collapse. The fact that you can’t fold it down means that if you want to travel with it, you’ll need to invest in some additional technology to make traveling possible.
You’ve got two options here:
A ramp or a lift. Hoveround sells both, but you can certainly buy your ramp/lift from some other company if you wish.
Ramps are pretty straightforward, but they really only work if you drive a truck or a van. In that case, simply deploy the ramp, drive the Hoveround up into the truck bed or inside the van, secure it, and drive off.
Then, back down the ramp when you get where you’re going, and you’re ready for a fun day.
If you don’t have a truck or a van, a lift is the way to go. Lifts can be fitted behind most any vehicle, so whatever you’re driving, the odds are that you can make a lift work.
The problem there is that lifts are expensive, and not everyone will be able to afford one. If you got your Hoveround through your insurance, you might be able to use the money you didn’t have to spend on the chair to get a lift, but that won’t be the case for everyone.
In any case, yes. It is possible to take your Hoveround on the road with you, but it does require some additional investment.
In a similar vein, air travel with the Hoveround is also possible, but here’s the thing: Airlines charge by the pound. You can get a good manual wheelchair that weighs 30-40 pounds and pay a nominal fee to bring it with you. Your 178-pound Hoveround is going to cost more. Probably a lot more. Is it doable?
Yes, it is, but you’ll pay a premium to fly with it, and that’s something to keep very much in mind.
Pros & Cons of LX 5 Hoveround Power Chair
This is a great chair offered by a great company. It doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses that jump out at us, but also, it’s not best in class in any particular category. It’s possible to find chairs that are faster, more adjustable, have a longer range, handle outdoor terrains better, and are more travel friendly, sure.
You can absolutely do that.
There are also a lot of chairs on the market today that aren’t as good as the LX 5 in those categories, and few companies can match the customer service track record of the company.
They take pride in every Hoveround they build, and they take good care of their customers. There’s a lot to be said for that.
Other Models Offered by Hoveround
If, for whatever reason, the LX 5 isn’t a good fit for you, here’s a quick overview of the other models Hoveround offers:
The MPV 5 Power Wheelchair
The Hoveround MPV5 is virtually identical to the LX 5. The only differences are, this one is coded for insurance reimbursement and it doesn’t come with the red or blue accent panels (which you can buy separately if you want them).
The Teknique FWD Power Wheelchair
This is the smallest of the company’s heavy-duty variant of the Hoveround. While it still has a 300-pound weight limit, it is:
- Marginally faster (4.2 miles per hour)
- Offers flip-up, adjustable armrests
- 12-mile battery range
- But has a slightly worse turning radius at 24.”
This chair also has a ground clearance of 3.6,” allowing you to more easily navigate outdoor terrains.
While that’s still insufficient to allow you to take this chair down a hiking trail, it’s sufficient that if you wanted to spend time in your yard, at a park, or at a campground, you should have minimal difficulty as long as you keep an eye out for larger obstructions.
The XHD Heavy Duty Power Wheelchair
The Hoveround XHD is functionally similar to the FWD we just mentioned, except for the following:
- Top speed drops back to 4 mph.
- An impressive 12-mile battery range.
- Turn radius is 28.”
- The supported weight limit is 450-pounds.
- And the overall weight of the chair is 256 pounds.
Unfortunately, this, the big brother of the FWD, also comes with a significant price increase. If you’re buying through your insurance, that may not impact your out of pocket costs much, but if you’re paying for it yourself, it could pinch.
The HD6 Bariatric Power Wheelchair
This big, burly chair is the bigger brother of the FWD and, in fact, is the largest chair Hoveround sells. Measuring an impressive 29” x 44” it has all of the basic features of the FWD, but with the following differences:
- The supported weight limit of the chair is 600-pounds
- The range is 15 miles
- The top speed is an anemic 3.3 mph
- It has a 28” turning radius
- A 3” ground clearance
- And this model weighs in at a hefty 279 pounds
The HD 6 also represents another significant step up in terms of the total price. Again, if you’re buying through your insurance, that might not be a bad thing, but if you’re paying out of pocket, it could give you a case of sticker shock.
Note: Given the width of this chair, it may be a struggle to get it to fit through a standard width doorway!
Hoveround Scooters Review Conclusion
Hoveround is a legendary company with a long history of making and selling outstanding products and standing by their customers when there are problems.
As mentioned in the previous section here in our Hoveround scooters review, every chair in the company’s current lineup is excellent. Not best in class, but excellent. We recommend all of them.
References & Resources:
- Hoveround, Official Brand Website.
- Hoveround LX5 Power Wheelchair User Manual.
- A Participatory Approach to Develop the Power Mobility Screening Tool and the Power Mobility Clinical Driving Assessment Tool, Hindawi.
- Perceptions of Power Mobility Use and Safety Within Residential Facilities, NCBI.
- Adjusted Method to Calculate An Electric Wheelchair Power Cycle: Fuel Cell Implementation Example, ScienceDirect.