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Mobility Scooter v Power Chair
by Mobility UK

Why would you need a mobility scooter instead of a power chair? The following will help you understand the differences between the various scooters and chairs at Mobility UK and the difference between a mobility scooter and a power chair (electric wheelchair).

Who would use a Mobility scooter?

Mobility Scooters are used throughout the UK by the disabled and the elderly who wish to regain some independence. With an electric scooter you will be amazed at how much more control and independence you will have over your everyday life. A simple shopping trip can be quite stressful, but with a mobility scooter, you have the pleasure of going around the shops without the strain While enjoying that feeling of independence from daily constraints!

Mobility scooters are used primarily by those who cannot walk long distances or need walking aids for getting around indoors. They are also widely used by people who have breathing difficulties or heart conditions as it enables them to travel around without the physical exertion.

The most important consideration is that the user is able to safely transfer on and off the scooter with little or no help. For this reason most UK scooters have swivel seats and moving armrests.

The user should also be able to balance in their seat correctly without falling in any direction while seated. If you have any difficulties in maintaining an upright position while seated, you would be better suited to a power chair. In all cases, we would strongly advise you to contact us at Mobility UK in order to seek further information and advice before purchasing any equipment.

What is a Mobility Scooter?

If you have ever seen or used a pedal car or a go-cart, then the best way of describing a mobility scooter is to say that it is a pedal car for the less able. The good news is that you do not even need to pedal or propel a mobility scooter, as they are all powered by heavy duty battery electric motors.

They come in a choice of either three or four wheeled versions, and they come in a range of sizes, which we will cover below. All are fitted with handlebars (tiller) and are fitted with a seat, which can be turned to help you get on and off scooter. You control the mobility scooter by pushing or pulling a small lever with your finger or thumb (depending on the type of controls required), and to stop you simply release your pressure.

Which one is Right for you?

Mobility scooters in the UK are generally split into three sizes: Small ones ideal for travelling and transporting, medium size for longer journeys and large ones for on or UK off road use, long journeys or bad terrain. They also fall into different speed categories – 4 mph, 6 mph, and 8 mph. It is very important to understand that you need to control the speed of your scooter when you are using it on a public footpath as the maximum legal speed you may travel on a public footpath in the UK is 4 mph.

Any models that are capable of speeds over 4 mph, are considered as road legal, or Class 3 mobility scooters. These need to be registered with the DVLA in the UK and should display a valid tax disc although there is no charge for taxing them. You may still use them on the pavement, but with caution. Though many high speed models have a 4 mph switch, so you can safely alter your speed dependant on the environment.

Many models of mobility scooters on our UK site have added features such as four wheel or independent drive especially useful where the terrain is difficult such as bumps and dips, cross country or uneven pavements. Special suspension to give a smoother and more stable ride, especially important for people with painful joints or neck conditions. Special contoured seating that offers greater support or restraint. So its important that all these things should be considered before purchasing an electric scooter or electric wheelchair.

Other factors you should consider is what are your main requirements. If its for just small local journeys and mainly for nipping down to the supermarket or stores, then it no good buying a big heavy road racer for trekking across the UK! It has to one designed specifically for that purpose, be small and very easily manoeuvrable for narrow pavements and shopping aisles. It should also have an adequate sized basket plus additional storage with adequate floor space for all those groceries. And of course, they are very easy for entry into a bus. The looks are entirely up to you, basic or smart eye catching bodywork. There are so many different models to select from at Mobility UK because we try to cater for every possible need you may have.

Or if you plan lots of visits to the seaside with long journeys down the promenade or exploring around the town, then you need a scooter that's heavy duty enough to power your explorations yet easily disassembles or folds away for putting in the car boot. We would advise only using a 4 mph pavement scooter though, as seaside towns are normally quite busy and pavement travel will be slow going – unless its a typically cloudy cold day of course – then the pavement will be your open highway and full speed ahead!

If however you plan longer journeys to visit friends, attend events and some long high streets, then you really need a Class 3 road scooter. These tend to come with good suspension as standard, comfortable seating and distances up to 30km between recharge.

A similar method of choosing the correct model apples to Power Chairs. While electric wheelchairs or referred to these days as 'power chairs', are more normally used in the house or care homes in the UK, there are many designed to also allow you to get out on the open road and explore. Equally, some are designed to be transportable for trips away. We even have some models for playing pro football, cycling or just standing up. At MobilityUK you will find the UK's widest choice of powered chairs at the lowest possible price.

As for price, the cheapest scooter on our UK website is as low as £400 up to the most expensive one at £4,500, but WOW, what a machine! While power chairs (electric wheelchairs) range from as little as £990 up to £15,000 for a full standing upright model. So whatever your needs, there is a mobility scooter or power chair to both solve a problem and fit your pocket.

Just one important note about mobility scooters and power chairs. They are all VAT free! Which provides a tremendous saving for you. Also, road scooters or chairs need to be taxed by the DVLA , though taxation is free of charge.

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