Permobil Power Wheelchair Comparisons – M3 vs. M5 & F3 vs. F5

Our power wheelchair specialist, Ramsey, has over 15 years’ experience with advising which powerchairs are suitable for each different user’s needs. We’ve spoken to him about some of the similarities and differences between different powerchair models. Then, we’ve put all the key details together into this guide to help people get one step closer to finding the right wheelchair for them!

At Innova, we now almost exclusively supply Permobil power wheelchairs. This is down to the benefits we’ve seen for our clients! They’re leaders in quality, performance, safety, and function. That’s what we look for in all our products and these bespoke powerchairs really strive to ensure a comfortable, more independent life for the user.

So, we’ll be comparing Permobil models throughout. Let’s start with two models from the M Series (mid-wheel range).

Permobil M3 vs. M5

There are a lot of similarities between the M3 and M5, they are both great mid-wheel options!

Feature Permobil M3 Permobil M5
Drive Type Mid-Wheel Mid-Wheel
Width (including seat) 615–790 mm 630–790 mm
Range 25 km – 30 km* 30 km*
Max. Speed 10 km/h 12 km/h
Adjustable Seat Sizing? Yes Yes
Electrical Functions Anterior tilt adjustment;

Seat elevator;

Posterior tilt adjustment;

Leg rest adjustment;

Backrest adjustment

Anterior tilt adjustment;

Seat elevator;

Posterior tilt adjustment;

Leg rest adjustment;

Backrest adjustment

Suspension? Yes – on some wheels Yes – on all wheels
Obstacle climbing? E.g. kerbs Yes – 50 – 75 mm Yes – 75–90 mm
Turning Radius (ISO 7176-5) 560mm 560mm
Weight Limit 150 kg 150 kg

This is often better for those that do a lot of outdoor driving.  It is also faster than the M3, and the seat is wider for sitting longer and travelling greater distances.The main difference between the M3 and M5 is that the M5 is just slightly larger and more powerful.

Both powerchairs offer Bluetooth and infrared technology for connecting phones/tablets. Plus, they can be customised to a range of different colours, personalising the wheelchair to the user’s individual tastes!

Key Benefits of the Permobil M Series

If you think the M3 or M5 sounds like a good fit, there are a couple of other features that stand out to our clients about the M Series.

All powerchairs in the Permobil M Series (M3 and M5) offer Active Height function.

This enables the user to have face to face conversations. Not only does this enhance confidence and communication, it can reduce pain in the neck and shoulders, as they’re not looking up all the time!

Finally, the M Series also offers Active Reach. This allows the user to reach things from shelves straight-on, rather than coming in from the side. In our experience, no other mid-wheel powerchairs offer as much independence!

We’ve previously written a guide to mid-wheel, front-wheel, and rear-wheel powerchairs – check it out if you’re not sure what type of powerchair is best in your case! So, let’s compare some different front-wheel powerchairs too…

Permobil F3 vs. F5

The F3 and F3 are both part of the F Series (front-wheel range).

Again, that means there are lots of similarities between the F3 and F5, both offer greater independence for those with a more active lifestyle.

Feature Permobil F3 Permobil F5
Drive Type Front-Wheel Front-Wheel
Width (including seat) 420-570 mm 420-570 mm
Range 30 km* 25-35 km*
Max. Speed 10 km/h 12 km/h
Adjustable Seat Sizing? Yes Yes
Electrical Functions Anterior tilt adjustment;

Seat elevator;

Posterior tilt adjustment;

Leg rest adjustment;

Backrest adjustment

Anterior tilt adjustment;

Seat elevator;

Posterior tilt adjustment;

Leg rest adjustment;

Backrest adjustment

Suspension? Yes – On all wheels Yes – On all wheels
Obstacle climbing? E.g. kerbs Yes 60 / 75 mm 70 / 80 mm
Turning Radius (ISO 7176-5) 673mm 762mm
Weight Limit 150 kg 136 kg

The F3 is great for users who have a less active outdoor lifestyle. For people who tend to stay indoors, or only take short trips e.g. to the shops or a museum, the F3 is often the preferred choice.The F3 and F5 both offer a very smooth ride as there are only four wheels on the ground. So, you feel the impact of any bumps and surface changes less than in a six-wheeled powerchair (like the M3 or M5).

Whereas the F5 is ideal for users who need mobility for a more active outdoor lifestyle. It’s great for anyone that tends to drive for longer distances or over different terrains on a regular basis.

Looking at the table above, you can see the F5 has a greater range, max. speed, and obstacle climbing abilities than the F3.

Vertical Stand – the Key Benefit of the F5

The biggest benefit of the F5 is probably the fact it’s available with Vertical Stand.

With the F5 Vertical Stand, the seat can be raised to a standing position. The user can also drive their powerchair whilst standing!

Permobil F5 Vertical Stand

Standing is an effective way to promote greater independence and reduce the risk for complications associated with long-term sitting e.g. pressure injuries.

We usually recommend the F5 Vertical Stand for users who want the physical and social benefits of standing but are unable to do so independently.

As with the M3 and M5, the F Series models both offer Active Reach and colour personalisation!

What’s the best Permobil model?

The best powerchair always depends on individual needs, preferences, and what independence means for the individual user.

All Permobils are designed to ensure you see the person, not just their wheelchair. So, choices usually come down to function rather than design preferences.

As a starting point, if you’re looking for stability and are planning on navigating a lot of tougher terrain, the M Series is usually the top choice. Whether you go for M3 or M5 comes down to how much power and range you want!

Whereas, if you want a smoother ride and plan to mainly stay within city-like settings, then the F Series may be better.

It’s extremely difficult to choose the right powerchair without trying some out. So, we always recommend getting an assessment.  Working with a specialist, you can assess individual goals and requirements then test and refine to get the right Permobil for you.

Book a free consultation

To discuss your options and book an assessment, please get in touch: