Recent advances in technology mean that people with mobility difficulties now have an extensive range of products to choose from which can allow them to enjoy a degree of independence that simply wasn’t possible in years gone past. In fact, there are so many kinds of disability scooters and other mobility aids now available that the only problem is deciding which one to pick!
If you are currently wondering whether an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter would best suit your needs, help is at hand – below, we will discuss the benefits of both so that you can make a fully informed choice when the time comes.
Which is better for indoor/outdoor use?
It goes without saying that your final choice of product will largely be influenced by the ability of your chosen scooter or wheelchair to get wherever it is you want to go. You may just require something that makes your trips to the shops or local beauty spots quicker and easier, or you might need extra help getting from room to room in your house. Either way, there is a device out there that will be right for you.
Mobility scooters are generally more appropriate for outdoor use, with their robust build quality and the road-legal status of Class 3 models meaning that they are the perfect option for anyone who is looking to make the most of their newfound independence.
Electric wheelchairs (also known as powerchairs), however, can be used both indoors and outdoors, providing great convenience to those who would benefit from constant support throughout their day. One point to bear in mind, though, is that a smaller proportion of wheelchairs are Class 3 vehicles which can be taken onto the road compared to mobility scooters.
Which is easier to transport?
Of course, the ability of your chosen scooter or wheelchair to handle different types of terrain will only be of use if you can get it to your intended destination in the first place! Each of these mobility aids has many advantages and features to recommend them to users but, when it comes to ease of transportation, this is one area where there is a clear winner.
These days, high-quality mobility scooters – such as those available from Monarch Mobility – are extraordinarily lightweight and manoeuvrable, which allows them to be moved from place to place with a minimum of effort. To make things even easier, several folding mobility scooters (such as the Mobie Plus and Smarti) are now available, making assembly remarkably simple and freeing up plenty of extra space in your car.
By contrast, electric wheelchairs often do not have folding capabilities (although there are exceptions) and they are usually much larger than scooters, which generally makes them harder to get in and out of vehicles.
Which is best for different mobility levels?
Your mobility aid selection will also be determined to a great extent by your individual level of physical capability.
Scooters are usually best for individuals who do have limited mobility due to issues such as arthritis but who are otherwise able-bodied. If you feel that you can comfortably operate the steering controls that mobility scooters are typically fitted with, this type of aid is likely to be right for your requirements.
Electric wheelchairs, on the other hand, are specially designed to offer total support to people with a range of extremely restrictive physical and cognitive conditions, including cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease and muscular dystrophy. Commonly controlled via a conveniently placed joystick, powerchairs require only the lightest touch to be operated and can be easily adjusted to ensure the user will be completely comfortable for as long as they remain in their seat (and, for many who rely on electric wheelchairs, this can often be virtually a whole day at a time).
Which is more comfortable?
In terms of comfort, both mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs measure up well against the kind of mobility aids which preceded them. It would be fair to say, for example, that traditional wheelchairs are not exactly renowned for how comfortable they are, but modern powerchairs are a world away from their older equivalents, providing a genuinely pleasant experience for the user.
The latest scooters and wheelchairs are now so well designed that they can be sat in for hours at a time without creating any stiffness or discomfort. As well as being made from durable and weatherproof materials, the best models are also fully adjustable, allowing you to customise your seating angle, the position of your feet and arms, and much more until you find the ideal configuration for your individual body shape.
Which is easier to use?
Both mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs have features that make them easy to use, and the question of which is superior in this respect often comes down to individual preferences, requirements and ability.
One advantage that powerchairs tend to have over scooters is their manoeuvrability in tight spaces, which is made possible by their impressively small turning circles. By contrast, the nature of scooters means that they are not so good at negotiating tight corners and congested spaces.
However, mobility scooters more than compensate for their slight lack of dexterity by the sheer ease with which they can be controlled. Whilst the small and delicate buttons and joysticks that are found on electric wheelchairs can be mastered before long, riding a scooter is so simple that it will seem like second nature to anyone who has driven a car.