When considering purchasing a scooter or a power chair, you might have a lot of questions. There are many differences between motorized scooters and electric wheelchairs. By understanding these distinctions, you will be able to choose which mobility product is right for your needs. One of the biggest differences between a scooter and a power chair is how they are operated. Mobility scooters are equipped with a tiller and handle bars, as opposed to a power wheelchair, which is operated using a joystick. Your range of mobility in operating a device may indicate whether a scooter or power chair is best for you. Another difference is the number of wheels they have. An electric scooter typically has three or four wheels, whereas an electric wheelchair typically has six wheels or more. Most power chairs have two large drive wheels and four smaller wheels called casters for added stability. Power wheelchairs come standard with captain’s style seating and there may be optional seating available, such as a solid seat pan or a Synergy® seat. The Jazzy Select 6 power wheelchair offers a few seating options to choose from. Scooters usually come with standard vinyl seating, although the seat can be adjusted and may be able to swivel, such as the Victory® 10 3-wheel scooter. When it comes to comfort, electric wheelchairs are equipped with a height-adjustable foot platform that can flip up when not in use. Leg room on a scooter can vary depending on the type of mobility scooter chosen. A three-wheel scooter offers more leg room for taller individuals, while a four-wheel scooter is equipped with a broader wheelbase to ensure even weight distribution for stability.
To determine whether you need a motorized wheelchair or an electric scooter, ask yourself where the mobility product will be used. While many motorized scooters and electric wheelchairs can be used both indoors and out, power chairs offer more maneuverability indoors. With its front-wheel drive design, the Jazzy Select motorized wheelchair is extremely compact and maneuverable. In contrast, many scooters are more rugged and designed for outdoor use, such as the Revo™ 2.0 electric scooter, which is equipped with suspension components for navigating varied terrain. Another point to consider when choosing between a scooter or a power chair is your method of paying for the mobility device. Medicare may cover a portion of the cost of a power mobility device for use in your home, providing it is shown to be medically necessary. You need to schedule a face-to-face examination with your doctor to discuss your needs for a mobility device. During the exam, your physician must first consider the use of a cane, walker or manual wheelchair, before considering a scooter or power chair. A face-to-face exam and a special prescription from your doctor is required before Medicare helps pay for your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair. If you have private insurance, it’s important to speak to your insurance representative regarding requirements for reimbursement.