When looking to buy a mobility aid it’s incredibly important that you assess all of the options available to you. Although you may be set on purchasing a certain type of aid you may discover that something different suits your wants and needs better. Today we open up the debate between investing in a mobility scooter or powerchair, two popular means of transport for those with mobility and movement issues. However, with both designed to help you get around, what are the real differences and what are the benefits of both?
Mobility Scooter Benefits
If you’ve already been looking into the mobility scooter market then you would’ve seen just how many different models are available. From lightweight travel scooters, to sturdy pavement ones, all the way up to grandiose road-worthy types, there’s plenty to choose from, giving you far more variation in features compared to powerchairs. Plus, despite this wide choice in features mobility scooters generally cost much less than powerchairs, especially the smaller travel models.
With many scooters designed to be easy to transport, whether their tiller bars fold flat of if you can dismantle the whole scooter into separate sections, scooters are far easier to store. Whether you keep your scooter in indoor/outdoor storage or the boot of your car ready for your next day out, they’re simple to reassemble and can be taken on holiday with you, even if you decide to venture abroad!
Despite their portability, mobility scooters are packed with many great, variable features. While certain travel models are fitted with a three-wheel configuration, many include four wheels (whether solid, pneumatic or puncture-proof), giving you an increased feeling of stability and security whilst riding. Due to the compact size of the frame and wheels many smaller models of scooter are suitable for use indoors, whether that be around your own home (more suited to flats/apartments/sheltered accommodation) or shopping malls/supermarkets. Larger, bulkier models have been designed for use outside, helping you to get from A to B quickly and without fuss. Plus, with lots of choice for on-board storage, from front-facing baskets to rear-fitted, lockable boxes, scooters are ideal for carrying your shopping home after a long day.
While it’s obvious scooters are an ideal first choice to ease you into the world of movement aids, it has to be said that they are better suited to users who have increased mobility and strength, especially considering that they require extra effort to be able to get on/off easily.
If you’re looking for an aid that’s easy to manoeuvre and use then a powerchair may be a wiser choice. Designed for use indoors and outside, many powerchairs have compact frames fitted with mid-wheel drive wheels, making them ideal for use around your home. Generally shorter in length compared to scooters, powerchairs have tighter turning circles making moving around obstacles and corners easy to perform. Ideal for use in smaller spaces, whether it’s a hallway at home or an aisle in a shop, powerchairs can also tackle inclines with ease due to their large tyres.
Although many models of scooter can be manually adjusted to suit your comfort levels, powerchairs offer a far greater level of adaptability. Fitted with a hand controller, ideal for users who lack the use of both hands or have limited dexterity, powerchairs can be adapted to incorporate different types of control, whether that be movement of your head, eyes, shoulders, mouth or a foot. Alongside this, the seat of a powerchair can be adapted to suit your needs, whether you require an adjustable height mechanism, a reclining backrest or increased padding aimed to relieve pressure on certain areas of your body. Furthermore, similar to mobility scooters certain models of powerchair can be dismantled for easier transportation.
The only disadvantages of investing in a powerchair are the lack of on-board storage and the increase in cost. However, while ‘cheaper’ may be better for your bank account it doesn’t mean your selected mobility aid will improve your quality of life. Investing in a more suitable (although more expensive) aid will benefit you in the long run.