Mobility Scooters vs Powered Wheelchairs

When making a choice between a mobility scooter and a powered wheelchair, there are a few crucial things to take into consideration, especially with regard to the severity of the user’s disability, the function of the wheelchair, and the duration of daily use. Here are 5 key differences between mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. 

Mobility scooters:

  1.  Controlled using a tiller and handlebars - more natural movement control, but suitable only for less severe disabilities. Users who have fully functioning upper bodies should be able to maneuver a mobility scooter.
  2.  Comes with either 3 or 4 wheels - feels like an average electric scooter, with more back support. Mobility scooters are more rigid and built differently. The stability of a mobility scooter is focused on less crowded and more straightforward paths. 
  3. Comes with either a captain style seat, or a standard vinyl seat - comfortable to sit on, but may not be as comfortable on the move for long periods of time. Vinyl seats can get hot and uncomfortable. 
  4. Suitable for outdoors - mobility scooters are designed to navigate better outdoors on a range of terrains. Usually equipped with a better suspension system for added stability. 
  5. Not very portable - they are usually bulkier and not foldable, but more durable than powered wheelchairs.

Powered wheelchairs:

  1.  Controlled with joystick - takes no more than a couple of hours to adjust to, and requires minimal to no effort for movement. Definitely more suitable for a large range of disabilities.
  2. Comes with at least 6 wheels (2 drive wheels and 4 caster wheels) - powered wheelchairs are built similar to regular wheelchairs, which means they have great stability especially for more precise wheelchair movements.
  3. Captain style seat, sometimes with adjustable options - a more comfortable option for long hours of sitting and usage. Modern powered wheelchairs are usually equipped with very comfortable seating.
  4. More practical for indoors - better maneuverability indoors because of its ability to move forward and backwards, and a minimal turning radius. This allows users to navigate better in crowds and tighter paths. Most powered wheelchairs can be used outdoors too.
  5. Compact and portable - powered wheelchairs are usually foldable, and some are compact and light enough for travel. In fact, we have the lightest powered wheelchair in the world. Check out our selection of powered wheelchairs here.