In a Nutshell:

The WHILL Model Fi folding Travel Power Chair is a great design offered by a company you probably haven’t heard of. Recommended for anyone weighing up to 250 pounds who travels frequently and is looking for a chair to use at home, in a hotel, or around town.

Brand Reliability*

Overall Rating

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.


  • Great design by a passionate company
  • Good-looking, durable, and travel-friendly
  • Expertly designed control system with high-value extras


  • Relatively pricey
  • Limited user weight support
  • Minimal ground clearance
WHILL Model Fi Lightweight Folding Travel Power Chair - Red (One Size)

Recommended For: Anyone weighing up to 250 pounds who travels frequently and is looking for a chair to use at home, in a hotel, or around town.

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Are you a busy, always-on-the-go individual who doesn’t let their mobility issue get in the way?

Are you looking for a powerchair you can use in and around your house, on trips, and in urban areas?

If you answered yes to those questions, then you’re going to like what you read here in our WHILL model Fi review.

Haven’t heard of WHILL?

We’d be surprised if you had. The company has only been in the business since 2012, where many of the larger, established brands have been plying the waters of the mobility market for decades.

Although they haven’t been in the game for very long, WHILL knows a lot about building great gear and, in fact, has won Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2018 for their powerchair design.

Based in Japan, the company has offices in Asia, Canada, and the United States. And although they don’t have as large a footprint as some of the other mainstay brands, they are nonetheless a solid, well-respected company in the industry, and the WHILL model Fi power wheelchair is an excellent example of their work.

It is not perfect, however, and it does have a couple of shortcomings and limitations you should be aware of before committing to a purchase.

Not to worry. In the sections that follow, we’ll walk you through everything this design has to offer, and we won’t pull any punches when it comes time to describe those shortcomings.

Is this the powerchair you’ve been searching for? It may well be! Read on to find out.

An Overview of the WHILL Model Fi Folding Travel Power Chair

First impressions matter and the FI WHILL Model Fi Folding Travel Power Chair makes a good one. It strays from convention and has an almost industrial look and feel that we liked very much when we first saw it, though opinions will obviously vary here.

Although most of the machine is black, you’ll find struts on either side that are pivotal to the folding mechanism, and the panels on these offer a bold splash of color. If you decide you want one, you can order yours in any of the following color options:

  • White
  • Black
  • Light Green
  • Red
  • And Light Blue

It’s not a vast color selection, but we’re happy to see it. Many models don’t offer any color options at all, so kudos to the folks at WHILL!

Of course, aesthetics will only get you so far. What really matters where powerchairs are concerned is raw functionality, and to get a sense of that, we have to take a look at the numbers that define the model.

Red and white variants of the WHILL Model Fi Power Wheelchair with labels of their dimensions

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 31.6” H x 21.9” W x 36.8 D (Folded: 33.7” H x 21.9” W x 18.3” D)
  • Seat Dimensions: 18″ W x 18″ D
  • Seat to Ground Height: 18″
  • Top Speed: 3.7 MPH
  • Max. Slope: 10 degrees
  • Turning Radius: 30.7″
  • Range: 12.4 miles per charge
  • Ground Clearance: 1.4″
  • Chair Weight: 58.9 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds

For the most part, these are good numbers, but there are a couple of potential “gotchas” here, which is why we rate this a fairly strong component of our WHILL model Fi review, but not one of its strongest.

The overall footprint is quite good (both folded and unfolded), and the weight is quite manageable.

Folded WHILL Model Fi Power Chair in a car trunk

If you want to go somewhere, the Fi folds down in seconds and is relatively easy to toss in the trunk of your car, get where you’re going, pull it back out, and set it up. 

Assuming you’ve got decent upper body strength, you’ll be able to do that solo, but if not, you’ll need an assistant riding shotgun with you.

In a similar vein, the turning radius is quite good at a little more than two feet. It’s not the tightest turning machine on the market, but it’s tight enough that you’ll be able to use it even in confined spaces, which makes it perfect for in-home use (yours or someone else’s).

The top speed is a bit underwhelming, but that’s not at all uncommon in the American market. You can find machines that move faster, but most of the ones on the market today are somewhere close to this.

The range is also a little underwhelming, but the WHILL Model Fi Power Chair has a long enough range that you won’t have to constantly worry that you’re about to run out of charge, and we absolutely love the slope handling.

Most of the machines you’ll find on the market today can handle a slope of six to eight degrees. There’s no formalized standard, but that seems to be what most manufacturers have gravitated to.

An illustration of person riding in a WHILL Model Fi Portable Power Wheelchair on a 10-degree slope

This one can handle slopes of up to ten degrees, so even if you live in a hilly area, this little powerchair has you covered!

Unfortunately, there are two big showstoppers here. The first is the ground clearance. This one really doesn’t have any, which means you’re relegated to very flat grass or hard-packed earth, or even better, pavement. 

It’s very good on pavement and indoor flooring surfaces but less impressive on just about anything else. With less than two inches of ground clearance, the least little thing will likely hang you up.

It’s not the end of the world, and as long as you’re mindful of it, you should be fine, but it is something to keep very much in mind any time you use it.

The second thing is the weight limit. Again, there’s no formalized standard here, but most of the power chairs on the market today support up to three hundred pounds of user weight, with many models supporting a good deal more.

This one doesn’t rise to that level, which makes it a more narrowly targeted chair aimed at a smaller slice of the market (specifically, those who are light to moderately built and not too tall).

If you fall into that category, the subpar weight limit won’t be an issue for you at all. But if you happen to weigh more than that, it’s going to be an outright dealbreaker, which is unfortunate because this is an awesome little machine!

The WHILL Model Fi Portable Power Wheelchair Isn’t Terribly Adjustable But is Moderately Comfortable

This will be a relatively short section, and we’d rate it as an average to slightly above average component of our WHILL model FI review.

The simple truth is that there aren’t a huge number of highly adjustable powerchairs offered in the price range that this one resides in. Yes, you can find them, but they’re not as common as you might think.

Black WHILL Model Fi Folding Travel Power Chair with storage under the seat

That’s why we didn’t ding the Fi’s score for not being all that adjustable, and besides, it does have one adjustable feature we mentioned earlier: the width between armrests can be set to your choice of two positions. In a world where many of its peers don’t offer anything at all in the way of adjustability, that’s not bad!

On the comfort front, the seat utilizes conventional block foam padding, which doesn’t do a bad job at keeping you comfortable, but the longer you sit in the chair, the less comfortable it’s going to be.

You’ve essentially got two options here: either use it strictly for transport and transfer out of the chair and into more comfortable seating when you get where you’re going, or invest in a seat pad for added cushioning.

If you get a nice memory foam pad, you’ll be able to spend a big part of the day in the chair without any real discomfort, and depending on how you plan on using it, that might be the perfect solution for you!

The WHILL Model Fi Power Chair is Incredibly Travel-Friendly

In our view, this is the single strongest component of our WHILL model FI review. We’ve already talked about its relatively lightweight and smallish footprint, both of which make it ideal for road travel, but we haven’t mentioned yet that this little guy is also superb for air travel.

Folded red WHILL Model Fi Power Chair in a standing position

Airlines charge by the pound for equipment like this, so the lighter your powerchair, the less you’ll have to pay. On top of that, the lithium-ion batteries used in this chair have been airline-approved, so you should have no difficulty when traveling by air.

Note, however, that each airline gets to set their own policies concerning exactly what types of gear they allow on their planes, so you’ll want to be sure to call the airline you’re planning to fly with and tell them exactly what you’ve got and make sure you’ll be allowed to bring your chair with you.

Better by far to do it that way than to show up at the airport on the day of your trip only to run into an obstacle you won’t be able to get around!

Extras and Options

This is another area where the WHILL Model Fi Power Wheelchair does extremely well. In its stock configuration, it comes with a handy storage basket under the seat, which dramatically increases its versatility, but the company offers a wide range of other “extras” you can purchase to go with it.

Backpack bag attached to the back of WHILL Model Fi Portable Power Wheelchair

These include:

  • Extra batteries (it only comes with one)
  • A battery charger (there’s one built in—this is for if you want an extra!)
  • A lap belt
  • Arm covers
  • A cane holder
  • A smart key
  • A joystick controller
  • A dust cover
  • And a side storage bag for additional storage

We’d consider all of these to be high-value accessories, depending on your specific needs and how you plan on using the machine.

Pros & Cons of WHILL Model Fi Folding Travel Power Chair

We almost but don’t quite love the Fi. It’s an unquestionably great design by a company that’s really passionate about the mobility devices it creates. It’s a good-looking, durable, and capable little machine in the right terrain (urban or indoors).

It’s also incredibly travel-friendly, very easy to use with an expertly designed control system, and offers lots of high-value extras.

Those are its best selling points, in our view.

Having said that, bear in mind that it’s a bit on the pricey side, doesn’t support a lot of user weight, and has almost no ground clearance, which means that any time you get off the pavement or hard-packed ground, you’re going to run the risk of getting stuck.

WHILL Model Fi Review Conclusion

We’d close our WHILL Model Fi review by saying that If you weigh less than 250 pounds and you don’t plan on using the machine anywhere but indoors or on pavement, this could be an almost perfect match for you. If not, this one is going to leave you a little underwhelmed.

Comparable Products to Consider

If, for one reason or another, this model isn’t right for you, here are a couple of other options you can consider:

Forcemech Navigator Electric Wheelchair

Recommended For: Anyone weighing up to 397 pounds (400 for the XL variant). As long as you like the color yellow.

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This is a veritable beast of a machine that has the added bonus of looking a bit like a grownup-sized Tonka Truck.

If you find that appealing and want more flexibility to go “off-road,” as it were, this is an excellent alternative to consider (not to mention the fact that it supports a lot more weightup to 400 pounds!)

Ranger D09 XL Power Wheelchair by Porto Mobility

Recommended For: Anyone. If you don’t need the XL version, the company makes two smaller variants, and you may find that the Porto Mobility Ranger D09S is a better fit for you.

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An off-brand, admittedly, but a very good one. This chair has an even more industrial appearance than the one we just reviewed but has better stats and more robust capabilities—IF you’re willing to take a chance on an off-brand. If that doesn’t bother you, this is an excellent option.

Official Manufacturer Support

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