Choosing Between Mobility Scooters and Power Wheelchairs

Author: Nicholas Sutedja   Date Posted:18 June 2019 

Choosing Between Mobility Scooters and Power Wheelchairs main image Choosing Between Mobility Scooters and Power Wheelchairs image

Power wheelchairs. Mobility scooters. Both of them allow people to travel outside and be independent of their carers, but which one is the best one for you? After all both do the same thing right? Well depending on a few factors it would be better to go with one then the other. What are those factors you ask? In this blog we’ll explain the differences and why you might choose one over the other.

Basic Definition

Let’s define what exactly power wheelchairs and mobility scooters are exactly. Mobility scooters are designed for users who may be mobile while they’re at home, but find it difficult to walk long distances outside. There are many types of mobility scooters from portable, lightweight ones to heavy duty scooters suitable for bariatric users.

Similarly power wheelchairs are designed for users who have difficulty walking; however their small turning circle makes them suitable for indoor use rather than outdoor. Furthermore if you’re using your mobility aid at home then it would be best to have something that offer more seating options for additional comfort including reclining backrests or raising or lowering the footrest…all of which power wheelchairs are able to do.

Operation and manoeuvrability

Electric wheelchairs operate using a joystick that’s mounted on the armrest, which means users require less upper mobility to control the equipment. Conversely mobility scooters operate using a tiller handle that require both hands to steer and control.

Additionally while small mobility scooters have a tighter turning circle that’s designed for indoor, you’ll still be required to make more space between furniture compared to that of an electric wheelchair.

Comfort and Seating

Most power wheelchairs come with a standard Captain’s style seating although other seating variations are available. Meanwhile scooters come with standard vinyl seating although the seat can be adjusted and some may be able to swivel around.

In terms of comfort power wheelchairs are equipped with a height-adjustable foot platform that can be flipped up when not in use while leg room for scooters varies depending on make and model. For example a three-wheel scooter may offer more leg room for taller individuals while a four-wheel scooter has a broader wheelbase to ensure weight distribution for stability.

Speed and Distance

Generally power wheelchairs are limited to a maximum speed of 6km/h and can travel up to 30km in a single charge; however there are other factors such as terrain and weight of the user that determine how far it can travel.

If you’re concerned about distance then it’s probably best to get a mobility scooter as it can travel to speeds of up to 10km/h with a maximum range of 50km/h in one sitting, again this will vary depending on weight of the user and terrain.

Additionally power wheelchairs can be used outdoors, but are more suitable for flat even terrain and slight slopes such as access ramps. If you’re thinking of tackling difficult terrains and hills then a mobility scooter will give you the required power and stability that you need.

These are just some of the factors to consider when choosing between mobility scooters and power wheelchairs. If you’re confused and require assistance then our experienced sales consultants are more than happy to help you out. Just email to sales@activemobility.com.au or call us on 02 9649 2111.

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