Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Car boot hoists: user testing

Wheelchair and scooter users have to make a lot of choices when looking for a hoist to lift their mobility equipment into the boot of their car. Rica has tested a number of car boot hoists to see how easy they are to use. We found that there is no single answer to which car boot hoist is best for wheelchair and scooter users, but our tests will help you decide what your priorities are when you choose a hoist for your car.
Download the research report here (PDF)

Car boot hoists

Many wheelchair and scooter users choose car boot hoists to help improve their mobility. Car boot hoists are a large, and growing, part of the adaptations people buy on the Motability scheme. But it's often difficult to find the best hoist to suit you and your car, because:

  • there are over 30 different models available
  • they have many different combinations of features
  • they are a specialist product, so they can't be viewed in showrooms
  • users have little opportunity to try out different models
  • it's difficult to get advice on their features when choosing a new hoist
  • often the choice of model is made by the company carrying out the installation

There have been no user tests of car boot hoists carried out since 2005, when Rica looked at the equipment available in that year. There's little independent information for wheelchair and scooter users who are looking for a hoist. This new Rica report aims to fill that gap and give you guidelines about what to look for when you shop for a car boot hoist.

User testing

We asked nine scooter and wheelchair users with different abilities to test a range of hoists to see how easy they were to use. Our testers looked at features like:

  • two-way and four-way hoists
  • hoists with straps with straps or cords
  • hoists with preset stops

We found that hoists are suitable for some wheelchair or scooter users, but not for others. There are other mobility solutions available, including:

  • fixed and portable ramps
  • platform lifts
  • roof top and boot stowage systems
  • wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs)

However more research is needed into these alternatives.

The tests were carried out at QEF Mobility Services in November 2014. The nine testers were joined by 14 other stakeholders for discussions about boot hoist features and their strengths and weaknesses.  Before that, we held a discussion at the Forum of Mobility Centres AGM in June 2014 with driving assessors who make recommendations for car boot hoists as part of their work.

Research report

The research reported in this document was funded by Motability Tenth Anniversary Trust and Autoadapt UK. Rica is grateful for the support of Brig-Ayd Controls and QEF Mobility Services.

Last updated: May 2015


See also: Getting a wheelchair into a car | Car search (measurements for over 1,000 cars)