Mobility Scooter Buyers Guide
Batricar Mobility offer a wide range of scooters designed for different jobs, but why would you need a scooter instead of a power chair? This section will help you understand the differences between our scooter products and the difference between a scooter and a power chair.
Who would use a scooter?
Scooters are designed for those who can no longer walk long distances and may use walking aids for getting around indoors. Scooters are also widely used by people who have breathing difficulties or heart conditions.
In all cases, a scooter user should be able to safely transfer on and off the scooter with little or no help. The scooter user should also be able to maintain their seated position without falling in any direction once seated. If you or the person who would be using the scooter are unable to maintain an up right position when seated, you may be better suited to a power chair.
In all cases, we would strongly advise you to seek further advice before purchasing any product.
What is a scooter?
If you have ever seen (or used) a pedal car or a go-cart, then the best way of describing a scooter is to say that it is a pedal car for the less able. The good news is that you do not need to pedal any of our scooters, as they are all powered by electric motors.
Scooters 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 scooters are fitted with handlebars (tiller) and all scooters are fitted with a seat, which can be turned to help you get on and off the scooter. You control the scooter by pushing or pulling a small lever with your finger or thumb (depending on the type of controls), and to stop the scooter you simply release your finger (or thumb).
Scooter Sizes & Speed
Scooters are split into three sizes: Small (or travel), medium (mid sized), or large.
Scooters also fall into 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. The maximum legal speed you may travel on a public footpath is 4 mph.
Scooters capable of speeds over 4 mph, are classed as road legal, or Class 3 scooters. These scooters need to be registered with the DVLA and should display a valid Tax disc. Currently there is no charge for taxing your mobility vehicle.
Please Note: When considering purchasing an 8mph Class 3 Scooter on-line, you must take into consideration the size and weight of the machine that you are purchasing. Most particularly the size and weight of the batteries and the assembly you will need to do, if you are putting it together yourself. The larger type of mobility scooters will come with both the seat and its batteries in seperate boxes and you will need to put the batteries on the scooter and wire them together. Although full instructions are given, special attention must be given to the weight of the batteries and seat that needs to be assembled. We strongly advise that if you are purchasing a large premium size scooter, you seek assistance in taking the delivery and its subsequent assembly. Most large scooters will come in a box which will be on a large pallet.
Powerchairs and Electric Wheelchairs
Batricar Mobility offer a wide range of powerchairs ranging from our simple - transportable Wheelchairs, which are ideal for those who need a little extra help getting around indoors. Right up to 8mph Powerchair models which are designed to be built around your needs and offer the very latest features.
Why would you use a powerchair?
Electric wheelchairs (powerchairs for short), are much shorter in length than a scooter and are much more manoeuvrable, making them much better for getting around indoors.
The seating on a powerchair can be anything from a simple scooter seat, right through to a seating system that has been formed around you. Some of our powerchairs can be fitted with power options which will aid your comfort, support and positioning. These features combine making powerchairs better suited to the more disabled user.
Who would use a powerchair?
Powerchairs are most often used by those who have:
- Long-term conditions and can no longer walk short distances without risk of falling
- Those whose medical conditions have restricted them to a manual wheelchair and they can no longer achieve independence in a manual chair
- Those may have been bed-or-chair bound for some time and where medical conditions allow, would be able to achieve a more dependent lifestyle with the assistance of a carer
- Those who have been left with spinal injuries as a result of either a car or motorcycle accident or a sports or work-related accident
Powerchairs fall into three main categories Rear Wheel Drive, Mid Wheel Drive, and Front Wheel Drive. But what is the difference and which best suits your needs?
Rear Wheel drive:
Rear Wheel Drive Powerchairs are what most people would recognise as a powerchair. The frame of the wheelchair can range in style and this type of wheelchair comes with a choice of folding frame or fixed frame depending on the model.
Rear Wheel Drive Powerchairs are very simple to drive with the aid of a joystick control, which can be mounted on either the left or right of the wheelchair. The seating and comfort can be adjusted around your needs and they can be re-charged through a simple connection on the joystick (most models). Because the drive wheels are at the back of the wheelchair, rear wheel drive wheelchairs can need larger spaces to turn around in.
Mid Wheel Drive:
Mid Wheel Drive Powerchairs, look very different from rear wheel drive powerchairs, as the main drive wheels have been moved from the rear of the wheelchair to the middle part of the wheelchair.
Moving the drive wheels to the middle of a wheelchair makes a very big difference to how the wheelchair drives and the space the wheelchair needs for turning. Mid Wheel Drive Powerchairs also have a very low centre of gravity, which can make them feel more stable in use?
Like rear wheel drive powerchairs, mid wheel drive powerchairs are controlled in just the same way, with a joystick control, which can be mounted on either the left of right of the powerchair. Because mid wheel drive wheelchairs need less space to turn in, you can very often get a larger wheelchair into a smaller space.
Front Wheel Drive:
Front Wheel Drive Powerchairs have the drive wheels mounted at the front of the wheelchair. This system is less commonly used, and can suffer from poor drive quality when compared to Mid Wheel drive. Currently Batricar Mobility do not offer a front wheel drive wheelchair.