Mobility Scooter vs. Powered Wheelchair: Key Questions to Ask Yourself

If you struggle with mobility and would like to go where you want, when you want, then some type of motorized aid is probably a good solution. It will enable you to become more independent and enjoy a variety of activities that you might not be able to otherwise. There are two basic types of motorized devices: mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. Depending on your individual needs and choice of activities, one might be more appropriate than the other. Below, we’ll examine some key issues that can help you choose the best mobility device for your situation.

1. Do I need to use public transportation?

If the answer is “yes,” a wheelchair is your best option. In most areas, trains, buses, subways and commuter boats are required to provide access for wheelchairs, which take up less space and fit more easily than scooters.

2. Will I be using the device in tight quarters?

If you’ll be spending a significant amount of time in doctor’s offices, other people’s homes, coffee shops, libraries and other areas where space is limited, a wheelchair will provide better functionality. Wheelchairs are easier to navigate in small areas because their short base gives them a tighter turning radius.

3. Do I want to be more independent and rely less on people giving me rides?

If this is the case, a mobility scooter is a good choice. A good scooter will enable you to travel greater distances more quickly, allowing you to run errands, shop and visit friends. If you do need a ride, the scooter can be folded up to fit in the trunk of a car.

4. Will I be using the device outdoors and for longer distances?

Scooters travel faster than wheelchairs and they function better outdoors so they are a better choice for these situations. If you are planning on doing lots of outdoor riding, consider ground clearance, tire size, stability (four wheels are better), and motor power (vroom vroom!)

5. How much time will I be spending in the device?

If you’ll be spending long periods of time in a motorized device, a wheelchair is more comfortable and can be used in more types of situations. Wheelchairs also require less upper body strength. On the other hand, if you’re going to use the device only occasionally (for example, doing a few errands each day), a scooter might suit your needs better.

6. How much upper-body strength and mobility do I have?

People with limited mobility in their upper bodies, or those who tire easily, will probably prefer a wheelchair. Scooters are navigated with a steering wheel, which requires more upper-body strength, and wheelchairs use a joystick that is easier to turn. In addition, wheelchair seats can be programmed to make standing or reclining more comfortable and less strenuous.

7. Do I have access to a specialized transport vehicle?

If not, your best option might be a scooter. Powered wheelchairs are usually very heavy, which is why they require specialized transport vans. Without ongoing access to a transport vehicle, you may not be able to travel at your convenience. Many mobility scooters can be folded to fit in a trunk or the back seat of a car. Plus, scooters tend to be lighter so they can be transported in a small trailer. However, if you do need a wheelchair, or need to travel very long distances with your scooter (on vacation, for example) it’s pretty straightforward to have a vehicle lift installed. The technicians at Med Mart have installed thousands of these and can help you find the right model for your needs.

8. What is my budget?

Depending on the features and gadgets, scooters tend to be less expensive. Many of them are priced below $1,000. Specialized wheelchairs generally carry a higher price tag and, with specialized features, can cost $10,000 or more.

For additional information

Med Mart ( carries a full line of high-quality mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. To find the model that best suits your needs, call us at 800-950-4400 or send an email to One of our representatives will be happy to answer any questions you have. Another good source of information is the Med Mart blog (, which contains news and information about the latest equipment and technologies. Med Mart is an authorized provider for most insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid. We offer accurate, up-to-date information, as well as a step-by-step process to make sure our customers have everything they need to receive insurance reimbursement. In addition to selling mobility equipment, we also rent and repair these devices. If you need further assistance, call 800-950-4400 or send an email to