If you’re new to the mobility aid world and need help deciding between a power wheelchair vs. scooter, it can be confusing to know where to start. In this article, we will break down the main features and differences of each, provide helpful tips, and point you in the right direction.
What’s the Difference?
One main difference between a mobility scooter and a power wheelchair is that power wheelchairs are used on a more long-term, 24/7 basis. These users are mostly wheelchair-bound and rely on their mobility aid to complete everyday tasks.
Mobility scooters can be used inside the home but they are more commonly used when traveling to places where a lot of walking or standing can be expected. Operating a mobility scooter takes fine motor skills along with much greater trunk control and arm strength to steer.
Which is Better?
When it comes to power-operated mobility aids, one is not superior to the other. Both designs have similar drive ranges, go the same speed, and can be used indoors and outdoors. The best vehicle depends greatly on individual needs.
You Need to Consider this:
How often will I need my scooter or wheelchair?
When do I need my scooter or power wheelchair?
Do I have enough trunk and arm strength to operate a mobility scooter?
Do I have the fine motor skills to work the controls on a mobility scooter?
Will it fit in my house?
Am I able to travel with my mobility aid easily?
While sometimes used around the home, mobility scooters are often used when traveling. They are most convenient in places where a lot of walking is required; such as nursing homes, grocery stores, airports, malls, or amusement parks. Most designs come equipped with suspension and more rugged wheels for a smooth ride over most terrains. For those who fatigue easily or have limited mobility and want to stay active, a power mobility scooter gives the freedom to do just that.
Some Mobility Scooter Features:
Height Adjustable Seat
3 or 4 Wheels
Some Mobility Scooter Advantages:
There are a wide variety of makes and models available in our store. From 3-wheels to 4-wheels, weight capacities, compact and full-size designs, and recreational use to color choices; the options are unlimited.
Mobility power scooters are no-nonsense mobility aids. The design is user-friendly, easy to operate, and not overly complicated with adjustable features.
Most mobility scooters do not have the capability to fold, but the majority can be broken down into 4 or 5 individual pieces that can be easily transported in most vehicles or stored away for later use. They can also travel fully assembled using a special electric wheelchair lift or car hitch.
Mobility scooters tend to be less expensive than most power wheelchairs. Basic models are offered at a fraction of the cost.
Although conveniently designed, there are some disadvantages you may want to consider before making your final decision.
Does Not Fold
Most mobility scooters do not have the ability to fold. Instead standard scooters are designed to disassemble and reassemble in separate parts. While not as convenient it still gives you the ability to travel or store your scooter.
There are higher priced models that do fold; however, these more minimal designs often lack features that customers shopping for a mobility scooter are looking for.
Larger Turn Radius
Due to the way mobility scooters are designed, the long body needs a bit of space when navigating turns. Power wheelchairs typically have a 0° turning radius.
Requires Upper-Body Strength
To steer and operate the tiller and handlebars, the operator needs to have good truck control, arm strength, and fine motor control.
Power wheelchairs are long-term mobility devices used by those who have medical conditions or very limited mobility and are unable to use a manual wheelchair or power scooter. These chairs are more commonly used indoors. Most often users find themselves spending an extended amount of time utilizing the chair and rely on it to complete everyday tasks.
Some Power Wheelchair Features:
4 to 6 Wheels
Shock Absorbing Tires
Some Power Wheelchair Advantages:
Zero Turning Radius
Since power wheelchairs are designed for indoor and daily use, having a zero turning radius makes completing everyday tasks easier and allows you to navigate tight spaces.
Can Be Customized
Basic models are designed to serve general needs at an affordable price, but depending on your needs and budget there are a lot of custom options available; such as seating options, backrest, recline, footrests, tires, colors, and more.
Power wheelchairs are designed with the utmost convenience and maneuverability in mind, but there are some factors you should consider.
Higher Price Point
The average cost of a power wheelchair is a bit higher than a mobility scooter. Since power chairs are typically used on a daily basis they come with more features to accommodate comfort and convenience. If you decide to customize your power wheelchair the cost will increase.
With generally more use, a power wheelchair should be regularly inspected.
Can Be More Difficult to Transport
Those who rely on a power wheelchair will need to consider transportation. Larger chairs may require lifts, hitches, or wheelchair-accessible vehicles. If this is not logistically possible, you can look into a foldable option here.