Drive Cares

how to choose between a power scooter or powerchair

Now that you or your loved one has warmed up to the fact that a power mobility device can have a positive impact on life – keeping you in that bingo game, going out to dinner with friends, attending the family BBQ — the decision as to which power mobility device is the right one can be confusing and overwhelming.

We’re here to answer a few of your most frequently asked questions:

What’s the difference between a Power Scooter or Powerchair?

There are many differences between a Power Scooter and Powerchair.  Namely, a Power Scooter is for the recreational user who may not need to use a mobility device while in the home but when they are out and about. A Power Scooter has a forward and reverse throttle on the handle bars, similar to steering a wheel, and is perfect for those with minimal mobility challenges.

A Powerchair is robust, steered by using a joystick and comes standard with a variety of comfort features.  A Powerchair can manage different terrains and can hold a maximum weight of 450lbs. A powerchair is often used for those who need permanent mobility assistance.

Why would I choose a Power Scooter?

  • Mobility challenges are minimal, need assistance for longer periods of time but not permanently
  • Can easily get in and out of a chair or bed on your own
  • Want the option of choosing three or four wheels, as well as compact sizes for ease of travel
  • To use outside the home

Why would I choose a Powerchair?

  • Mobility is challenged inside and out of the home
  • Need more stability, comfortable Captains seat for extended use (sitting over five hours at a time)
  • Deemed medically necessary by a primary care physician and, if required, a physical therapist
  • Can be covered by insurance if specific activities of daily living are met

There are a wide range of choices when selecting a Power Scooter or Powerchair. The user will need to select among features, including  tire size/suspension, seat size and width, turning radius, foot plates, removable/chargeable battery, heel loops, ease-of-portability, weight capacity and top-speeds. This doesn’t include the accessory options, such as a cup or cell phone holder, USB charging ports, mirrors and baskets!

To help you make this decision, visit a local power mobility provider found here, they have the expertise and knowledge to guide you during this purchase.  While visiting a local provider, you can also test drive a power mobility device to determine the right mobility device for your lifestyle.

Find more Power Scooter and Powerchair resources here:

Sign-up to Test Drive a Power Scooter

Power Scooter Buying Guide

View all of Drive’s Power Scooters 

View all of Drive’s Powerchairs