Types of Hand Controls on Power Wheelchairs

Let’s Review Different Types of Mobility Scooter and Power Wheelchair Hand Controls

The hand controls on your mobility scooter or power wheelchair might be the single most important consideration when selecting a mobility device.

The way you accelerate, steer and slow down must feel natural and match your ability. Your hand control position determines your seated position, whether your arms are extended or relaxed by your side, whether you lean slightly forward or can recline while riding.

Typical mobility devices use three kinds of controls:

  • Delta tiller
  • Standard tiller
  • Joystick

If you’re in the market for a new mobility device, make sure you speak with your doctor and Pride Mobility dealer about which hand control type suits you best.

To give you some ideas about where to start, let’s break down the different hand control types.

Delta Tiller

Close up of a delta tiller controller on a scooter

A wraparound delta tiller gives you two points of control for each hand, ahead of the throttle and behind it.

The biggest benefit in the delta tiller’s court is the ability to rest your arm below the wrist while you steer from the forward handle. Meanwhile, you can also steer from the rear handgrip. Ambidextrous finger throttles let you power the device from the left and right side. Because it offers a heightened level of control and comfort, you’ll find delta tillers on most Pride Mobility scooters.

Both delta and standard tillers come only on scooters. Styles will vary from model to model, but all include a battery indicator and speed control

Standard Tiller

Green raptor mobility scooter

More aggressive and designed with performance in mind, the standard tiller feels like a motorcycle or bicycle handgrip.

You’ll find the standard tiller on a few Pride Mobility models, for example the Raptor outdoor scooter. The Raptor is Pride’s fastest mobility device and is built for outdoor use almost exclusively. It’s even got blinkers.

Other models that use the standard tiller include the super fun iRide folding scooter and the Go-Go Ultra X 3-Wheel. As you might have guessed, these models are engineered for traveling, so they’re simpler than the delta tiller but don’t offer the same level of support and control as the delta tiller.

Standard tillers might have trigger throttles, like the delta tiller setup. The Raptor uses a thumb throttle similar to many ATVs. The iRide we mentioned earlier uses a twist throttle, like a motorcycle or vespa. Woo hoo!


Power wheelchairs do not use tillers, instead they have joysticks like your favorite arcade game. So if you’ve ever played Space Invaders or Donkey Kong, the original arcade video games, you’ve already got an edge. We promise power wheelchairs are easier to master than the claw machine. Those are engineered for you to lose, after all!image of swing away joystick

Wheelchair hand control

All power wheelchair joysticks have the same basic components. There’s a power button, battery indicator, speed setting — either a dial or buttons — and a horn.

Each one has a stick control that gives the rider command over acceleration, braking and steering from a single point. Joysticks are especially useful for people with upper body mobility challenges. Riders can control their chair using only their wrist and fingers.

Joysticks are typically fixed straight out in front. Some riders might want the added flexibility of swinging their joystick out of the way. A swing away joystick accessory makes it easier to get close when approaching tables and countertops.

2 thoughts on “Types of Hand Controls on Power Wheelchairs

    1. Hi Jerry! Thank you for your message! We can definitely see how that would be very useful on the Passport, we’ll be sure to send your feedback to the right department.

      Thank you again and please let us know if you have any other questions we can help with in the meantime 🙂

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