Understandably, price and value are some of the most important factors to a large proportion of wheelchair and mobility scooter buyers. Many are under significant financial strain due to their disability and its life changing implications.
There is, however, a growing demand for higher luxury wheelchairs and scooters, and the strength and growth of this part of the market really reflects this interest. For many, their chair/scooter is the place they will be spending a good deal of their time every day and they see an investment in their mobility vehicle pay off just as much as their car. So it comes as no surprise that there are now all kinds of mobility devices that have a heavy focus on luxury, comfort and all kinds of higher-end amenities.
Here are a few important qualities to consider when purchasing a luxury scooter/chair. Some are easy to spot, but to get certain premium features, you may need to specifically ask your dealer if they exist for the chair you want, or whether a custom order can be created.
The most significant jump in seat comfort is from a standard seat to a captain seat. A captain seat is a large full-back chair - much like a car seat. Getting one results in a significant difference in the way your body feels after several hours in the same position and is a very worthwhile upgrade.
Although captain seats very often come as a given with power chairs, this isn't the case with mobility scooters. If seating is important to you and you still want a scooter for its advantages over power chairs, you'll have to look for higher-end scooters, especially those marked as heavy duty.
The most comfortable seat possible still needs extra help if you plan on going off-road or on uneven terrain. In some areas, even "paved" terrain around you isn't so smooth, and with all those with cracks and potholes, a comfortable seat alone would not save you from a bumpy ride.
So manufacturers of luxury scooters/wheelchairs are paying attention to how suspension in the right places can help out.
Many different kinds of suspension are available, each designed to suit to the mobility vehicle it's installed on, but in general, the more the scooter/chair is promoted as being "heavy-duty", the more effort and investment has been put into its suspension.
You will find some models with suspension connected to each wheel and others with shock absorbers on the motors - the main aim is for the suspension to absorb any shocks the chair experiences, keeping you in perfect comfort.
The least glamorous sounding of the lot, this quality is an important one to consider and will benefit you in the long run and prove to be highly useful to many users.
If you can get your power chair to fit you and not vice versa, that's a great achievement in how your electric companion will serve you.
With people being of varying heights, weights and widths, it isn't practically possible to design a scooter or wheelchair that will be just right for everyone. Weight is especially important whence considering a mobility scooter or power chair - ensure that the scooter of your choice has a maximum weight capacity above yours so that you enjoy a smooth ride for years to come.
Designers of quality chairs who want their customers to enjoy a perfect fit make their chairs adjustable. The first way this is done is by enabling the chair to be flexible and adjustable in terms of seat height - how far forward and backward the seat can go, a wide angle of rotation for the seat to swivel around, and armrests that can be put in a variety of position and heights.
Another feature you will come across is customizable parts, meaning you get to choose from a variety of different seat widths for example, and much more, to match your exact dimensions and needs.
Above all, we wish you good luck and hope you enjoy your regained independence!
Raphael Perlmann is VP of customer support at scootersnchairs.com - a company dedicated to making the mobility scooter and wheelchair market an easier and friendlier place to navigate. We aim to ensure every customer has all the facts they need to make independent, informed decisions - www.scootersnchairs.com
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