What’s better, a 4 wheel or 3 wheel mobility scooter? Actually, they can each provide ample freedom of mobility and can be your best solution, depending on your individual needs. Factors that count towards the best fit include your desired posture, height and the environment you use your mobility scooter in.
When you’re looking to buy a mobility scooter it’s important to choose one that will suit you today, tomorrow and hopefully in several years too. The price tag is usually quite hefty so making an informed choice helps you get the right value for your money.
Key factors in making your 3 vs 4 decision
Ready to arm yourself with the right knowledge to make an informed decision? Or at least know the right questions to ask anyone trying to sell you a scooter? Here are 5 factors that can help you choose between a 3 and 4 wheel mobility scooter:
One of the main differences between a 3 wheel and 4 wheel mobility scooter is that having another wheel takes up space. In a 3 wheel mobility scooter there’s only one front wheel and it’s in the centre, below your steering handles.
That means there’s more room on the left and right of the steering column. This is great for people who want to lengthen their legs by resting their feet further forward. It can also be important if you have bigger legs or need to stretch out your legs occasionally to regulate circulation.
However, in a 4 wheel mobility scooter there are two front wheels on the left and right of the steering column. That means you can’t as easily place your feet forward. This can be a little restrictive as you have to always sit in a bolt upright position with your knees bent at a 90′ angle and your feet right tucked tightly below.
Another benefit of a 3 wheel mobility scooter is that its single front wheel can make tighter turns (slowly!). This is valuable if you mobility scooter in the shopping centre or just about anywhere turning space is limited.
If you need to make a sharp turn down from the dairy aisle into the fresh fruit and vegetable aisle between other shoppers, you’ll appreciate being able to nimbly make a sharper turn. If you have reduced arm strength or only use one of your arms for steering, turning the 3 wheel mobility scooter is also less effort.
On the other hand, if you drive a 4 wheel mobility scooter, you’ll need to turn in a wider arc. That just means planning your turn carefully. Or, perhaps waiting for a mum or dad to walk their toddler out of the way before making your turn.
Here’s the clincher – if you’re outdoors the 4 wheel mobility scooter can offer you a better experience. It provides better balance and although it takes up more space, this is less of an issue in outdoor spaces.
Whether you use a 3 or 4 wheel mobility scooter, another factor affecting stability is the wheel size and traction. If you use a 3 wheel mobility scooter but want better traction, speak to your supplier about fitting bigger wheels with added traction.
Similarly to posture, if you’re taller, having your knees tucked up tightly might not work well. Having a 3 wheel mobility scooter with more room on either side of the steering column can be a big benefit when you need to stretch out long legs. It should help provide a better mobility experience in that circumstance.
Of course, it is still possible to rest your feet on either side of the steering column on a 4 wheel mobility scooter. However, the wheels take up space your feet would otherwise have, which means your feet rest higher up.
Since we all know that sitting in the most comfortable and healthy way is important, 3 wheel mobility scooters might be the better option if you’re tall. This obviously depends on what locations you regularly venture into, how often and for how long each time.
Generally speaking you pay more for more quantity and this is often also the case with mobility scooters. 4 wheel mobility scooters often cost a little more than 3 wheel ones. However, the model you choose and the components and add-ons will all make a difference too.
More on 3 wheel and 4 wheel mobility scooters
Really, it always helps to test out mobility equipment from a trusted supplier before making a purchase. Having the above five points of knowledge is key to the journey. You can use them to guide the questions you’ll pose to suppliers and resellers. Working with an occupational therapist for disability can also benefit your decision.
Besides taking your time in carefully choosing between a 3 wheel and 4 wheel mobility scooter, what else can help you? We’ve put together some great articles to light the way:
- Tips for buying a mobility scooter
- Folding mobility scooters
- Mobility scooter batteries and gadgets
- Keeping mobility scooters clean
- Mobility scooter safety
Whether you choose a 4 wheel or 3 wheel mobility scooter, we hope it’s the perfect one for you. If you’re looking to buy from a local supplier, read our article on ‘Hiring, buying and repairing mobility scooters near me’.
Mobility scooter insurance
Find out more about protecting your mobility scooter with insurance. Whether your scooter is accidentally damaged or stolen, your insurance can help pay to get it fixed or replaced. After all the effort you’ve gone through in choosing it wouldn’t having a safeguard help you drive with greater peace of mind?