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 Wheelchair or Scooter? Which product is right for you?
07 August 2018

Wheelchair or Scooter? Which product is right for you?

Power wheelchair or an electric mobility scooter?

If you are suffering from limited mobility, a wide variety of options are available today that can help you enjoy the freedom of moving around on your own terms once again. In order to make an informed decision, you should understand the differences between electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters to determine which personal mobility vehicle is best suited to your individual needs.

Medicare won’t cover a power wheelchair or scooter if you only need it for your convenience or for recreational activities. In most cases, Medicare will cover a power wheelchair or scooter if your physician states that you need it for your medical condition, in your home and:

  • You can’t walk on your own.
  • Your upper body weakness prevents you from using a manual wheelchair.
  • You spend most of your time in bed or in a chair when you are not in your wheelchair.
  • You are able to work the controls of a power wheelchair or scooter.

The right choice of a personal mobility vehicle depends on how you are planning to use it.  Are tight corners an issue?  Do you really want to travel outdoors, or are you more interested in shopping indoors?  Will you be running local errands, using public transportation, or using your own vehicle to move your personal mobility vehicle?

Some important features are shared by both types of personal mobility vehicles. For example, a power wheelchair and a medical scooter have a similar type of battery, which can run for up to 15 miles without recharging.  Each mobility aid offers models which can carry up to 500 pounds, and the speed controls for the two vehicle types are similar. If finances are a concern, you may wish to consider which devise will have a lower out-of-pocket cost through your insurance plan.

Power Wheelchairs

An electric wheelchair usually has four to six wheels and is steered by a programmable joystick. Electric powered wheelchairs are highly maneuverable and can be used both indoors and on even terrain outside. Options may include motorized stand, tilt, and recline functions which make them more comfortable to use for long periods of time. Powered wheelchairs are durable, stable and heavy, and are not easily transported in a standard car. 

Advantages of a power wheelchair include:

  • Make turns in a smaller area; therefore, they have greater maneuverability.
  • Have more seating options such as low pressure position pads, etc.
  • Have more leg rest options.
  • Only one hand is needed to control a motorized wheelchair.
  • Some can be disassembled for easier transport.
  • Elevating seats are a option on some Power Wheelchairs.

Mobility Scooters

An electric mobility scooter is a low-cost way to be able to travel independently, both indoors and outdoors.  An electric mobility scooter is usually controlled with handlebars similar to those found on bicycles. They can reach speeds of up to 4-6 miles per hour, and some models can be used on roads, across fields, and up steep hills.  Some people prefer a medical scooter over an electric wheelchair because scooters offer a wide variety of styles, colors, and designs to make using a scooter more fun.

Mobility scooters can be broken down into three general types: 3-wheel mobility scooter, the 4-wheel mobility scooter and the compact mobility scooter. These three types of medical scooter cover a wide range of uses, from travel on rough terrain to navigation in tight areas such as store aisles.

A 3-wheel mobility scooter offers a tight turning radius and more room for long or stiff legs. A 4-wheel mobility scooter is more rugged and stable, and can support weight of up to 500 pounds. A compact mobility scooter is a good choice if storage in your home is limited. These medical scooters can be easily kept in an out-of-the-way corner or closet.  A compact mobility scooter can be easily folded or disassembled for transportation in the trunk of a car. 

A scooter is a cost-effective way to restore your mobility if you are paying out of pocket.  Even feature-packed models usually cost less than the price of an electric powered wheelchair.

Advantages of a scooter include:

  • Scooters cost less.  Even if Medicare is covering it, the co-pay portion will be less.
  • A compact scooter weighs less than a power wheelchair.
  • A scooter usually comes with a basket and has more places to store or carry items.
  • A scooter has the option of having lights and turn signals.
  • Some scooters can be taken apart for easier transport.

We Can Help With Your Decision

Still don’t have your mind made up? Stop into our convenient showroom in Irondequoit or Brighton. Our dedicated staff will discuss your mobility and accessibility needs and how we can best meet them.

Note: While we strive to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for our customers, it is always best to consult with your doctor and have us check with your insurance company before making a commitment to purchasing or renting a product.