Both electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters use motors to allow you to be mobile without walking or using your arms to propel a manual or folding wheelchair. They grant independence to the elderly or less mobile people, allowing them to undertake daily activities that may be difficult without assistance.
While electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters are similar, there are essential differences between these mobility aids that can make one option more suitable for your needs.
So, what are the differences between the two and which one is better for you?
We’ve outlined some of the key differences and main factors to consider when deciding which one to buy.
Mobility scooter vs electric wheelchair: an overview
Mobility scooters are primarily designed for those who have necessary mobility around the home but may struggle to walk long distances. Electric wheelchairs, however, have smaller turning circles and more diverse seating and comfort options (such as reclining), making them more suited to indoor and long-term use than mobility scooters.
You can find wide range of varieties in this product. For instance, there are smaller models of mobility scooters and portable motorized scooters which can fold up and fit into a car boot, as well as more heavy-duty ones designed for hill climbing.
Electric wheelchairs come in all manner of styles and heavy-duty options for hard use on rough terrain are available, as are light folding wheelchairs that make transportation simpler.
Operation and maneuverability
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. What are the operational differences between mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs? In other words, how do you operate and steer them?
Electric wheelchairs often utilize armrest-mounted joysticks for maneuvering, which don’t require as much upper-body mobility or strength to control. Mobility scooters, however, usually feature tiller handles that need both hands and a fair amount of mobility to control and steer.
This makes electric wheelchairs better suited to those who have less mobility in their arms, as they are easier to control and need only one hand rather than two.
Speed and distance
One of the main considerations when deciding between an electric scooter or motorized wheelchair is how fast they are and how far they can travel.
Standard electric wheelchairs aren’t very quick and they can’t travel long distances. Limited to 6kph and with a single-charge range of approximately 30km, they’re usually not the best option for long-distance needs.
Mobility scooters are designed for longer-distance travel on harder terrain. They have speeds of up to 18kph and single-charge distances of up to 50km. Electric wheelchairs are, in their standard form, better suited to shorter distances on smoother, flatter terrain, but there are models available that are specifically for more heavy-duty journeys.
If you’re looking for distance and speed, mobility scooters are likely the best choice.
Which one is the best option?
Taking into consideration the things like speed, distance and operation, the best choice for you will depend on your individual circumstances. How mobile you are around the home, your upper-body mobility and how far you need to travel outdoors on a single charge all play a part in your choice.
For more help and guidance, or to find out more about the mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs for sale from our mobility experts, get in touch today.