How to Choose a Suitable Mobility Scooter

Independence | Mobility | Dignity

1. How is a 3 wheel different from a 4 wheel scooter?

Three wheel scooters are more manoeuvrable. A three wheel scooter will have a smaller turning circle than an equivalent four wheel scooter. They are more useful in an indoor environment i.e. around the house and in shopping centres. As there is only one front steering wheel they also are easier to steer over large obstacles like curving and channelling. This makes them more suitable for persons with limited upper body strength. Because of the absence of mudguards there is usually more leg room for getting in and out and whilst operating.

Four wheel scooters are more stable than three wheel scooters and less likely to tip on rough terrain and turning at speed. They have extra foot space by virtue of placing feet on the mudguard over the wheels. Many riders prefer the elevated foot position of the mudguard as opposed to the floor of the scooter.

In most brands the rear ends are standard and a three or four wheel front fitted. Most may be readily disassembled for transport.

2. Are bigger scooters better?

Smaller scooters have greater manoeuvrability, particularly those with a short wheel base. This also makes them more easily transported in a vehicle without total dismantling. This comes at a cost as the shorter wheel based scooters do not provide the best ride usually made worse by their inherent smaller diameter wheels.

The size of the wheels does make a difference with respect to small wheels but generally with the larger scooters there is not a noticeable difference. For example the original Morris Mini car gave a harder ride than a Holden because it had 10” diameter wheels. It is doubtful that many would have noticed the difference in ride of differing model Holden cars that varied from 13” to 16” wheel diameters.

Larger scooters usually have more power and larger capacity batteries. Generally the bigger they are the faster they go. Walk On Wheels can provide scooters with the capacity of 16kph but to be classified as a motorised wheelchair by the RTA and receive the benefits (treated as a pedestrian and no registration required), the scooter has to be speed limited to 10kph on level ground.

3. How is a Scooter different from a Power chair?

Scooters have a better terrain capacity than power chairs. They are a generally a better proposition for outdoor use. They also have a different control system that requires less motor coordination.

A power chair is more manoeuvrable than a scooter and better in an indoor environment.

Power chairs may cause the users to put on weight because of less exercise. Users should consult their professional assistance with respect to appropriate exercise.