Home / ILS Blog / Mobility Scooters or Power Chairs: Which is the Best Mobility Solution?

A frequently asked question is “which is the best mobility solution for me?” When advising our customers, we look at various requirements they may have and offer insight into what each type of mobility solution offers. One of the best choices of mobility solutions that our clientele opt for include either the mobility scooters or the power chairs (also known as electric wheelchairs or power wheelchairs).

Both of these mobility solutions come with its own pros and benefits, but certain factors make one more ideal than the other for certain requirements does. For those with limited mobility, one of the top most requirements would be to help regain their independence and the freedom to move around on their own. To pick which is the best mobility solution, it is important to understand the features and dynamics of each of the options on the table, namely, the mobility scooter and the power chair.

The Mobility Scooter

ILS Australia Mobility Scooters

The mobility scooter is one of the most common choices of electrically powered mobility solutions as the offer affordable options to getting on about based on the use and features of the model in mind. Some mobility scooters are best suited indoors whilst outdoor mobility scooters come with special features such as CTS suspensions and more power and range between charges. Depending on the type of mobility scooter (small, medium or large), as well as the styling, it makes for a fun and “cool” alternative to an electric wheelchair.

The portability is also a great reason why mobility scooters are chosen, where small and medium-sized mobility scooters can be disassembled for travel. Often 3-wheel mobility scooters offer manoeuvrability in tight spaces and are ideal for indoor use, while 4-wheel mobility scooters are great for stability and rugged terrain. They can withstand an incline to a certain degree!

One of the reasons why mobility scooters are often chosen over power chairs is that it packs many features into an affordable mobility solution. Also, for some, the ability to control the tiller and direction of mobility can be an empowering experience. It should be noted that for those who choose mobility scooters as their mobility solutions, they should be able to stand up right as well as use their upper body to steer the tiller.

The Power Chair

Independent LIving Specialists Australia Power Chairs

The power chair essentially is essentially an electrically powered wheelchair. It allows a person with limited mobility the ability to move from one place to another with two advantages over traditional wheelchairs. It allows them to move without the assistance of another (pushing the wheelchair along) or having to use their upper body power to move the chair along from Point A to Point B. The most common misconception about the power chair is that many compare it to the traditional (foldable) wheelchairs. However, this isn’t the case. These power chairs are high-tech mobility solutions with a great array of beneficial features that can be controlled by a joystick.

Much like the mobility scooters, it can be used either indoors or outdoors, and can be used for great distances between charges. The advantage the power chair has over the mobility scooter would be its comfort levels in terms of the features it provides. Some power chairs offer features where you can stand, tilt, and recline. However, with all these features, they are heavy and therefore travel will require various additional equipment such as a ramp or lift to get it into a vehicle. However, as they come with a four-point tie down, they are extremely safe to be seated in while in a moving vehicle.

Mobility Scooter or Power Chair

If you are trying to decide between the two, there are many factors to consider. They include budget, transportability, upper body strength and manoeuvrability, posture and time spent using the mobility solution. You also need to consider whether you need to take in tight spaces, and where it will be used (indoors or outdoors).

A power chair is an ideal choice for you if the following fits into your requirement;

  • If you have a wheelchair modified vehicle and a ramp or lift to transport the power chair
  • If you have issues with upper body mobility but have mobility in your hand/arm to utilise the joystick
  • If posture is important, a power chair can offer features and support with its motorised features
  • If you need to be in a the power chair for long periods of time, they tend to be more comfortable

A mobility scooter, on the other hand, would be ideal of you have a tighter budget to work with and do not require specific features apart from mobility. In addition, being able to transport the scooter yourself may come in handy; therefore, with small to medium sized mobility scooters, you may find it easier to transport them. If you are looking to be more independent outdoors, then choosing a mobility scooter which caters to these specific requirements is a great idea as there are models and mobility scooter accessories that also account for outdoor conditions.

Image Credits: Sunrise S700 Mobility Scooter (Banner)

Mobility Scooters power chairs
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