Power wheelchairs and mobility scooters offer the independence and flexibility that persons living with disability need. However, not many people know the difference between the two. Some use the names interchangeably, not realizing that they are different products.
If you’re looking to buy a power wheelchair or mobility scooter, it’s best to know which one meets your needs best. In this article, we’ll cover the differences between a power wheelchair and mobility scooter to help you decide.
Differences between power wheelchairs and mobility scooters
Power wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available in different designs. This means that they offer different levels of comfort. For instance, the seat that comes on a mobility scooter is often more comfortable when sitting in a living room or lounge area.
It is positioned just right to ensure the user can interact and socialize with people easily. On the other hand, while the seat on most power wheelchairs does not offer the same form factor, it is customizable and can be adjusted to meet a patient’s condition and seating preferences.
Mobility scooters are more suited for long-distance travels and doing daily chores like shopping and groceries. Their usage resembles that of a motorized vehicle. This means that you get more capability when compared to a power wheelchair.
Power wheelchairs are best used indoors and when traveling for short distances. They do not offer as much utility. Mobility scooters, on the other hand, feature space for storage accessories such as baskets. They are the best option for anyone looking for a device that can cover longer routes.
Power wheelchairs have a shorter tuning radius when compared to mobility scooters. As mentioned earlier, this makes the latter better suited for outdoor use. A scooter will perform better in open spaces and rougher terrains.
It also has a bigger footprint, providing more legroom for the user. It comes with a handlebar or tiller. Depending on your needs, you may find using the handlebar easier or more challenging compared to the joystick in a wheelchair.
It’s good to note that a scooter will be harder to navigate in tight spaces and inside a home. The bigger turning radius means that it cannot make very tight corners. A power wheelchair allows you to navigate corners easily and move closer to exchange surfaces, tables, and work furniture.
Since mobility scooters are better suited for the outdoors, they tend to be more powerful than power wheelchairs. This works for persons that have the body strength and stability to handle how a scooter drives.
However, for users that require more support and a better resting positon, a power wheelchair is a better alternative. It also drives better and more smoothly. It is best for users that do not have the upper body strength to handle a tiller or handlebar.
The joystick allows you to control the wheelchair using your fingertips. The arms and hands are supported consistently unlike in a mobility scooter where the handlebar or tiller must be held for long periods.
Mobility scooters are made for both indoors and outdoors. They do not perform that well indoors due to their bigger turning radius but work well for the outdoors. They have enough power to go off road. Their additional size allows them to put out more power and performance.
Mobility scooters are best for those with adequate upper body strength and minor portability issues. They are better suited for running errands and leaving the house to go do some shopping.
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Spock Lin or Paul Chang