Right now you may be at a point in your life where you need help getting around. You can’t move around the house and outside like you used to. And walking in a grocery store to do your shopping is now a monumental task. In these instances, that’s where a good electric wheelchair or handicap scooter comes into play. Problem is, which one do you pick? What follows are different points to keep in mind so as to help you make the right decision.
First off, if you’re working with a clinician or aid, talk with them about your particular situation and get their feedback. Odds are, they’ll be able to tell you decisively whether a scooter or wheelchair is right for you.
The control issue: Keep in mind scooters are steered with a tiller much like a bicycle’s handlebar. While electric wheelchairs are operated by a programmable joystick. That said, your upper body ability to manipulate a “handlebar” style control vs. a joystick will go a long way in determining which one you choose.
Posture/Support issue: If the mobility aid user has a posture/spinal support issue then a wheelchair will usually be the better buy as they tend to offer features like power stand, power recline, power tilt, and power elevation.
The transportation issue: When it comes to the user of the mobility aid doing a lot of driving and traveling, which device you choose will largely be based on this too. For instance, handicap scooters depending upon the model can be broken down into multiple parts for each storage in a car’s trunk or stored in a min-van or SUV. Whereas, a wheelchair (unless a foldable, non-electric) cannot be stored in the trunk. In that case, an electric wheelchair requires what’s called a lift and may very well require a wheelchair van for transportation.
On the driving issue: When it comes to going from your mobility aid to actually driving your VAN/Mini-van, it’s important to note that scooters aren’t as safe as a seat in a motor vehicle. They’re also harder to tie down. However, you can operate your vehicle from a power wheelchair and they’re safer than a handicap scooter because they have a 4-point tie down.
On price: Scooters are more affordable than wheelchairs. Of course, when comparing the two a lot of it has to do with the “add-on” features you request.