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Electric Wheelchairs Vs Mobility Scooters

If you or someone close to you has a mobility impairment, you will know how important your independence is and your ability to move around freely. Electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters are both great solutions to help gain freedom and increase your mobility.

While these vehicles may seem similar at first glance, Electric Wheelchairs and mobility scooters serve very different purposes. And when making this purchase, it is imperative that must make the right choice for yourself and your specific needs.

At SA Scooter Shop, we always advise our customers to analyse their situation and use cases before diving into such a big purchase. To help you make the best decision, we take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of Mobility scooters and Electric Wheelchair. 

How are Mobility Scooters & Electric Wheelchairs similar?

They are essentially both seated and battery-powered mobility rides that are designed to help anyone with restricted mobility.

The 3 Main Differences between Electric Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters

1. The Controls:

Electric wheelchairs are operated using a joystick mounted on the armrest, requiring less upper body strength to control. Mobility scooters are operated using a tiller handle which will need you to use both hands to steer and control.

2. Their Speed and Range:

These two factors vary considerably between the two mobility rides. The speed and range on electric wheelchairs tend to be slower and shorter than mobility scooters, however, this can be affected by the type of terrain travelled on, as well as the weight of the user.

3. The number of wheels:

Electric wheelchairs can have up to 6 wheels; however, mobility scooters typically only have 3 to 4 wheels.

Now, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each and see which one is right for you!

Pros & Cons Of Mobility Scooters

If you still have adequate control of your upper body, are still reasonable mobile and enjoy wandering around don various terrains, this might be the right vehicle for you. Below we take a closer look at the Pros and Cons of choose a Mobility Scooter over an Electric Wheelchair. 

Advantages of Mobility Scooters

1. Range:

Mobility scooters generally have a longer range than electric wheelchairs. Some can travel up to 20km or more on a single charge. This makes Mobility Scooters a great choice if you want the freedom to go longer distances.

2. Terrain:

Many mobility scooters have wider tyres than electric wheelchairs, making them more suitable to travel over difficult terrain. Some even have front and rear suspension, allowing for optimum control and stability.

3. Affordability:

Due to their design, mobility scooters are generally more affordable than electric wheelchairs.

Disadvantages of Mobility Scooters

1. Turning radius:

Due to their larger turning circle, most mobility scooters might be challenging to use in smaller spaces.

2. No support:

Mobility scooters tend to have fewer options for body support, such as headrests; this means that you will need to be able to keep your body upright and balanced.

3. Arm and torso strength:

You will need a certain amount of upper body strength to grip the handlebars to steer and operate the controls.

Pros & Cons Of Electric Wheelchairs

Electric wheelchairs might be renowned for being best suited for indoor and smooth environments but are also much more nippy to control than Mobility Scooters. Next,  we analyse the benefits and downfalls of this mobility vehicle.

Advantages of Electric Wheelchairs

1. Comfort:

Electric wheelchairs can be more comfortable to sit in for more extended periods of time. Some models like the IGO Compass come in a range of seat widths for you to choose from.

2. Motility:

They are also more manoeuvrable and can be used both indoors and on even terrain outside. Because they are generally much shorter than mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs are much easier to navigate indoors or in smaller spaces.

3. Limited strength:

Electric wheelchairs are operated using a joystick, which can be mounted on either the left or right armrest. This makes it easier to control, especially for people with limited strength.

Disadvantages of Electric Wheelchairs

1. Range:

Electric wheelchairs tend to have shorter ranges than mobility scooters, if you’re out and about for long periods of time, it might not be suitable for you.

2. Heavy:

The electric wheelchair tends to be heavier, and while this can be a good thing for stability, it also makes transporting it quite difficult.

3. Terrain:

Most electric wheelchairs are designed to be used on smooth surfaces and will struggle on terrain that’s too bumpy or uneven.

Let Us Help You Gain Added Freedom & Independence

If you’re still not sure which mobility ride is best suited for you, please feel free to book a free home test drive hereBrowse of full range of Mobility Scooters & Electric Wheelchairs online or visit any one of SA Scooter Shop's branches nationwide, where one of our consultants can help you to explore your options to become mobile.

Recommended Reading:

If you found this post useful, why not take a look at our other Mobility vehicle guides for more advice and tips:


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