What is a Good Turning Radius for a Mobility Scooter?

April 26, 2021
dog walking on Mobility Scooter
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It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting better, the temperature is rising, and the sun is shining. It’s scooter season! 

Now that all of us can finally start getting out of our homes to enjoy the activities we love, we’ll see more and more people breaking out their favourite mobility devices. They’ll be visiting with friends outdoors, zipping around town, or even going shopping. However, if you don’t yet have a power chair or scooter, you could be left behind. 

If you’ve been thinking of getting a mobility scooter of some kind, congratulations! You’re almost ready to exercise your independence. However, before making a purchase, it’s important to make the right choice for your specific situation. It’s also important to ask a few questions so that you can ensure whatever product you buy will fit with your lifestyle and your living situation. 

And because tight indoor spaces can sometimes pose a challenge to those on a scooter or powerchair, one of the questions you should ask yourself is: “What is a good turning radius for a mobility scooter?” 

What is a Turning Radius?

In this context, a turning radius refers to the minimum space required for a vehicle (like a power chair or a mobility scooter) to make a circular turn. 

Why is a Turning Radius Important?

The smaller the turning radius, the more nimble you can be in situations where there is limited space. If your turning radius is small, it means you can get in and out of smaller spaces more easily. Imagine bathrooms, kitchens, sidewalks, and other public areas. Finding a device that has the smallest possible turning radius is often an advantage for those that want to be able to take their power chair or mobility scooter anywhere and still maintain the maximum amount of freedom and independence. 

What’s the Difference: Power Chairs and Mobility Scooters

Before moving on to details of the turning radius, here are a few differences between power chairs and mobility scooters. 

  • Scooters usually have three or four wheels, whereas power chairs (sometimes called power wheelchairs) have four to six wheels.
  • The standard drive mechanism for power chairs is a joystick whose sensitivity can be adapted to the user, but a scooter uses a tiller for steering that requires arm strength, mobility, and fine motor control.
  • Power chairs are a great choice for those people that have limited dexterity.
  • Scooters have a larger turning radius than power chairs, and for that reason can be more difficult to navigate indoors.

Indoor Floor Space: How Much Do I Need?

When you’re inside, the turning radius of your scooter is important. Defined as the amount of space required for a vehicle to do a 180 degree turn, a tight turning radius should be as small as possible to help you get in and out of smaller spaces. 

Certain areas in the home (such as the washroom or bedroom) as well as public places (like small rooms, elevators, locker rooms, or outdoor recreation spaces) are usually designed to accommodate those on mobility scooters. However, the last thing you want to do is purchase a scooter that doesn’t allow you to easily accomplish daily tasks at home. 

Is a Higher Turning Radius Better?

It depends on what your priorities are. 

A smaller turning radius is preferred when you need to have more maneuverability within smaller spaces. After all, the smaller the turning radius is, the less room a wheelchair needs to make a U-turn. If that is one of your main concerns, then you should consider looking closely at the options of scooters with a smaller turning radius.

However, potential buyers should know that a smaller turning radius is usually associated with a smaller scooter. If your needs don’t necessarily depend on having maximum maneuverability in small spaces, then you might want to opt for other, larger scooter options. The advantage of larger scooters varies by model, but generally speaking, larger scooters can handle more weight, can travel longer distances, and are tougher and more versatile outdoors. 

What is a Good Turning Radius?

a couple on the mobility scooters

Healthcare Solutions offers mobility vehicles for all kinds of uses. Our lightweight and portable scooter models can have a turning radius as low as 22 inches. Heavier scooters can have a turning radius that almost reaches 100”. 

For this reason, we have to think about more than the radius, but the size of the scooter itself. Healthcare Solutions provides a wide variety of products to make your life easier, so let’s get into some of the differences. 

Should I Get a Compact/Folding, Mid-Size or Full Size Scooter or Power Chair?

The answer to this question will always depend on the living situation of the buyer. Let’s break down some of the data on the different sizes of scooters available. 

Compact / Folding Power Chairs & Mobility Scooters

A compact/folding mobility scooter is small enough to fit in the back of your car, and is a way to enjoy the power, comfort, and freedom of a power scooter without the bulk. Their airline-safe lithium-ion batteries mean you can also take these on planes and trains.

These are ideal for people with narrow living and turning spaces, and because of their design, these models have a tight scooter turning radius that ranges from 32” to as much as 48.75”, depending on the model. Compact/folding scooters are also great for people that are not going long distances.

Some varieties of leisure scooters can be considered compact (although not folding). These are often less pricey and have an extremely tight turning radius. For example, this Zoome 3 model has a turning radius of just 22.” 

Mid-Sized Power Chairs and Mobility Scooters

Healthcare Solutions also offers many varieties of mid-sized power chairs. A little bit larger than the compact/folding versions, some power chairs have three wheels, others four wheels, and some even have five wheels for maximum maneuverability. 

Continuing on with the mid-sized category, there are also  a number of mobility scooter models with three-wheels (which have a lower turning radius and offer better navigation around tight corners) as well as four-wheel mobility scooters that fit into this category. Four wheels often provides better stability and works better outdoors, as the extra wheel makes it easier to handle uneven terrain. 

Full Size Power Chairs and Mobility Scooters

Generally speaking, many four-wheeled mobility scooters are full-sized, and because they are a little larger, they tend to have a larger turning radius. Consequently, these might not always be the best choice for very tight living situations and small indoor spaces. 

However, if size is no issue and you like outdoor adventure, then you can always look into the various models of off-road mobility scooters we have available. Designed specifically for outdoor use, they have controls and safety features that let you travel alone or with family and friends. 

Almost like a moped, these all terrain mobility scooters have shock absorbers, and can even have headlights and rear-view mirrors! However, the turning radius of one of these vehicles is much larger, ranging from 53” to as much as 94.75 inches.

Mobility Scooter

Shop for Wheelchairs, Power Chairs, and More

Healthcare Solutions carries trusted brands of mobility devices, including Pride Mobility, Invacare, Golden Technologies, Shoprider, Eclipse Medical, and more. Find a variety of scooters on our website or at the links above. 

At Healthcare Solutions, we offer products that adhere to the latest standards for your peace of mind and your safety. Whether you use your mobility scooter or other device in the home or outdoor environments, we can find the right one for your needs.

If you require more information on wheelchair dimensions, features, and functionality, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service. We’re here to help.

Place your order today!

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