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What are the best hand controls for disabled drivers? That’s exactly what we will look into today.

Getting the right hand controls for you is an important purchase. Not only should you aim for something that is lightweight and durable, user comfort and portability are also vital considerations.

However, with a wide range of hand controls currently available knowing what to buy can be tricky.

This is where we hope to help. We have selected 5 top rated hand controls currently on the market, and done some in depth analysis. For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For a comprehensive review of each system, plus a short buyer’s guide, keep on reading.


Best Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers – Top 5

HAND CONTROLSNAMEOUR RATING
TOP PICK:
Z18, Portable
Handicap Driving
Hand Controls
Freedom Staff
Cha-720 Thumb
Controls


Freedom Staff 2.0
Handicap Driving
Hand Controls
(Upgraded Version)
Infinity Handicapped
/Disabled Driver
Car Portable
Hand Controls
QuicStick Thumb
Controlled
Drive Assist
Portable Hand
Controls

Best Portable Hand Controls – A Buyer’s Guide

Let’s start at the beginning. Hand controls for disabled drivers are specialized hand-controlled devices fitted in an adapted automobile where they replace foot pedals. This includes the brake pedal, accelerator pedal, and parking brake pedal.

They are designed to allow a physically disabled driver to operate the foot pedals without using their feet.

In short, these devices are automobile adaptations meant to make driving easier for the disabled driver.

Hand Controls – The Basics

At its basic operational level, hand controls are described as foot pedals that have been raised (and relocated) to the steering wheel level.

This makes it easy for the disabled driver to use their hands to operate both the steering wheel and foot pedals.

How they work

Normally, the most basic hand controls utilize a push-pull handle mechanism that is mounted on the side, or below, the steering wheel compartment.

This handle is pivoted and fitted with two bars, one bar connected to the accelerator pedal through levers, while the other bar is similarly connected to the brake pedal.

The pivoting ensures that one of this pedal is engaged when the handle bar is pulled, while the other foot pedal is engaged when the bar is pushed.

Using hand controls to drive your car

Most of the time, hand controls lack an accommodation mechanism for clutch pedals, and for this reason, they need to be fitted in vehicles that have automatic transmissions.

Generally, the disabled driver is most likely to continuously engage the hand controls when driving and this leaves one hand to be used for steering the vehicle.

For ease of operation in this instance, hand controls come along with a steering knob that can be easily fitted on the steering wheel so as to make it comfortable for the driver to easily steer the vehicle while fully engaged in operating the hand controls.

Likewise, for the parking brake, it can be fitted to an extension lever or adapted grip, which allows the driver with limited hand strength to operate the parking brake.

What to look for when buying hand controls for disabled drivers

High-quality hand controls feature complex electrical fittings which can be linked with the car circuitry so as to allow the indicators and switches that are conventionally placed on the dashboard to be raised to an easy-to-reach, or accessible, position, which would allow the driver to use them without the need of releasing the hand from either the hand controls or steering knob.

Sometimes a guard plate needs to placed over the foot pedals so as to prevent any accidental contact between the feet of the driver and the pedals.

The range of adaptations for hand controls is large, and this allows them to be fitted to almost any vehicle with automatic transmission.

Some hand controls are customized to be operated by joystick controls, while others feature a secondary steering mini-wheel that can be operated by drivers with restricted range of arm movements, or restricted grip.

Steering knobs can likewise be designed as three-pronged tetra grips, which allows drivers with restricted grip, or whose hands have a prosthetic hook, to operate them.

Additionally, for the driver to fully benefit from the use of hand controls, other components of the vehicle may require ergonomic adaptations including mirror repositioning and seat adaptations.

For large vehicles, seats may need to be adapted to allow drivers to drive directly from their wheelchairs.


The Reviews

There are different designs, sizes, qualities, models, and brands of hand controls. Still, they can be rated based on their ease of use, flexibility in adaptation, design quality, and cost-performance.

Using this aforementioned criteria, what follows is our in depth reviews of each of our top 5 selected hand controls.

1. TOP PICK: Z-18 Portable Hand Controls

The Z18 gets our top pick choice for being an affordable, easy-to-use, portable, and ergonomically-designed mobility hand control system.

The product is designed to give the driver exceptional freedom in using the hands to control and drive any vehicle that comes with an automatic transmission system. It is collapsible, which makes storage easy.

This model is designed and manufactured in Sweden by Z-18.

The system is a lightweight with an average weight of only 3 pounds. This lightweight feature is due to its weight-economical construction design.

Furthermore, its use of high-quality and durable rust-resistant materials ensures that the product is corrosion-resistant, while at the same time being tough, durable and strong to endure repeated motions without bending or buckling.

The model comes in two color schemes; the red-silver and blue-silver schemes.

The Z-18 hand control system can convert any vehicle using an automatic transmission system, regardless of size, into an adapted automobile that can be safely driven, or operated, with only 2 hands.

Unlike the Freedom Staff 2.0 kit (reviewed below) which prioritizes on right-handed drivers, the Z-18 hand controls model allows both right-handed and left-handed drivers to easily operate or drive the adapted automobile.

This is because its steering knob can be operated easily using either hand. This ensures that the vehicle can be driven safely, with the steering knob, allowing the wheels to turn left or right in synchronization to the turning of the steering knob.

Even though this model prioritizes car navigation during movement, it also equally prioritizes the acceleration and deceleration process as well as braking and parking of the car.

The Z-18 hand controls also feature a thumb-sparing operational design, which allows the driver to operate the vehicle without tiring the thumb due to repeated pressing of the controls.

This is due to the revolutionary design of its pedal controls, which allow the driver to pull the lever for acceleration, and push it for braking thereby only using the thumb for managing gas control.

The Z-18 hand control system is designed to be braced to the steering column using a strap system, which serves to securely hold it in place once fitted.

Moreover, this strap system gives the driver the freedom to adjust the height of the controls to a comfortable level where they can be easily accessed when driving.

The height-adjustment feature makes this product a safe hand controls kit for comfortable driving.

The installation process is tools-free, and this make this process easy and quick. In addition, the model is built for broad adaptability.

The Z-18 comes with a 24-months warranty.

Pros of the Z-18 Hand Controls
  • Optimized for portability.
  • Can be used easily by both right-handed and left-handed drivers.
  • Highly adaptable.
  • Easy and quick installation.
  • Affordable.
  • Ergonomically-designed.
  • Universal hand controls that can fit into most automatic-transmission vehicles.
  • Lightweight.
The Cons
  • Drivers with limited hand strength may experience difficulties when using this product.
  • Strap system can become loose if secured without Velcro straps.

Bottom-line

The Z-18 hand controls is an affordable, easy-to-use, and portable ergonomically-designed mobility product.

The end result is a system whose design gives the disabled driver total freedom in using the hands to control and drive any vehicle that comes with an automatic transmission system.

Its collapsible construction allows it to be stored away easily and safely. In our opinion it is the best car hand control system on the market today.


2. Freedom Staff CHA-720 Hand Controls

The CHA-720 is a portable and ergonomically-designed thumb-controlled drive-assist kit that supports low-effort steering. This means it can also be used by drivers with limited hands and arms strength.

It is a complete system that is designed to rest on the lap and give a disabled male driver the freedom and independence to drive a vehicle, while maintaining a great degree of mobility while inside the vehicle.

Its collapsible construction allows it to be collapsed and fitted into a portable carrying bag when not in use. This model is designed, manufactured, tested, and rated by Freedom Staff.

The CHA-720 is a lightweight model that weighs about 3.2 pounds.

It is made from two main materials; aircraft-grade aluminum which keeps the weight low, as well as ensures that the product is corrosion-resistant; and stainless steel hardware which gives it the toughness, durability, and tensile strength to endure repeated motions without losing its structural integrity.

Just like the Freedom Staff 2.0 (reviewed below), the Freedom Staff CHA-720 can convert any vehicle using an automatic transmission system, regardless of size, into an adapted automobile that can be safely driven, or operated, with only 2 hands.

It is designed in such a way that the driver can operate the steering wheel using the right hand, while the hands controls can be operated using the left hand.

This ensures that the vehicle is driven safely. This thumb-controlled, drive-assist device also prioritizes the acceleration and deceleration processes, as well as the braking and parking of the car.

Its thumb-controlled unit is easy to use and the learning curve is quite shallow for a beginner driver. This allows the driver to quickly master how to operate this hand controls, as well as understand how it can be adapted to different settings.

As a thumb-controlled unit, the major functions of this model can be executed just by pushing the thumb button, or by releasing the thumb button when necessary.

This model is braced to the steering column using its strap system, which not only secures it in place once fitted, but also gives the driver the freedom to adjust the height of the controls to a comfortable level where they can be easily accessed when driving.

The height-adjustment feature makes this product a safe hand controls kit for comfortable driving.

An added bonus is the fact the installation process is tools-free, which makes the process quick and easy.

Pros of the Freedom Staff CHA-720 Hand Controls
  • Powerful thumb-controlled drive assistant.
  • Optimized for portability.
  • Highly adaptable.
  • Easy and quick installation.
  • Ergonomically-designed.
  • Universal hand controls that can fit into most automatic-transmission vehicles.
  • Lightweight.
The Cons
  • Left-handed drivers may experience difficulties when using the steering knob.
  • Strap system can become loose if secured without Velcro straps.
  • Female drivers may have difficulty using it while pregnant.

Bottom-line

The Freedom Staff CHA-720 is a high-quality, portable, and ergonomically-designed thumb-controlled drive-assist kit.

It also supports low-effort steering for use by drivers with limited hands and arms strength.

The fact the system is designed to rest on the lap is also a worthy point that will benefit some drivers. Highly recommended.


3. Freedom Staff 2.0, Handicap Driving Hand Controls (Upgraded Version)

This model is an upgraded version of the ordinary Freedom Staff. It is a complete system that gives the disabled driver the freedom and independence to drive a vehicle, while maintaining a great degree of mobility while inside the vehicle.

Like its predecessor, it comes as a portable product.

It is also very lightweight,weighing about 4.1 pounds. This lightweight feature is due to its construction design and materials used.

It is made from two main materials; aircraft-grade aluminum which keeps the weight low, as well as ensures that the product is corrosion-resistant; and stainless steel hardware which gives it the toughness, durability, and tensile strength to endure repeated motions it is subjected to without bending or buckling.

The Freedom Staff 2.0 can convert any vehicle using an automatic transmission system, regardless of size, into an adapted automobile that can be safely driven, or operated, with only 2 hands.

This product is designed in such a way that the driver can operate the steering wheel using the right hand, while the hands controls can be operated using the left hand.

This takes into account the right-hand dominance of the great majority of disabled drivers, and therefore prioritizes navigation of the vehicle through the steering wheel.

This ensures that the vehicle can be driven safely, with the steering knob, allowing the wheels to turn left or right in synchronization to the turning of the steering knob.

Even though this model prioritizes car navigation during movement, it also equally prioritizes the acceleration and deceleration process as well as braking and parking of the car.

A unique design feature of this product is its thumb-sparing design, which allows the driver to operate the vehicle without tiring the thumb due to repeated pressing of the controls.

This advantage is bestowed the revolutionary design of its pedal controls, which allow the driver to pull the lever for acceleration, and push it for braking thereby reducing the need to use the thumbs for operating the pedals.

This model is fitted to the steering column using a strap system, which also securely holds it in place once fitted.

This strap system gives the driver the freedom to adjust the height of the controls to a comfortable level where they can be easily accessed when driving.

This adjustability feature also makes this product a safe hand controls kit for comfortable driving. The installation process is tools-free which renders the process easy and quick.

The Freedom Staff 2.0 is also built for broad adaptability, as its design makes it compatible to be fitted into any vehicle that has an automatic transmission system. It comes with a black carry bag.

Pros of the Freedom Staff 2.0 – Upgraded Version
  • Optimized for portability.
  • Highly adaptable.
  • Easy and quick installation.
  • Safe for use.
  • Affordable.
  • Ergonomically-designed.
  • Universal hand controls that can fit into most automatic-transmission vehicles.
  • Lightweight.
The Cons
  • Left-handed drivers may experience difficulties when using the steering knob.
  • Strap system can become loose if secured without Velcro straps.
  • Cannot be used by quadriplegics.

Bottom-line

The Freedom Staff 2.0 is a deluxe portable version of a handicap hand controls kit that is ergonomically-designed to support a right-handed steering knob.

It is a complete system that gives the driver the freedom and independence to drive any vehicle that has an automatic transmission system.

Moreover, the ease of use, flexibility in adaptation, superb design quality, and exceptional cost-performance ratio of Freedom Staff 2.0 made it a very close contender for our top spot. Well worth a look.


4. Infinity Portable Hand Controls

This is an easy-to-use, portable, and ergonomically-designed hand controls product that is designed to give the driver maximum freedom of hand use when controlling or driving any vehicle whose transmission system is of the automatic type.

It features a high-quality, corrosion-resistant stainless steel construction, and its comfortable driving mechanism has been tested for safety.

This model is designed and manufactured by Infinity.

The model is an ultra- lightweight hand control system with an average weight of just 2.1 ounces.

The Infinity001 is designed to can convert any vehicle using an automatic transmission system into an adapted automobile that can be safely driven, or operated, with only 2 hands.

This model allows both right-handed and left-handed drivers to easily operate or drive the adapted automobile.

However, right-handed drivers will feel more comfortable using this hand controls equipment as compared to left-handed drivers.

Still, the Infinity001 is designed to ensures that the vehicle is driven safely, with the steering wheel, allowing the wheels to turn properly and in synchronicity.

Apart from prioritizing car navigation during movement, this hand controls also prioritizes the acceleration and deceleration process as well as braking and parking of the car.

This model uses a robust clamping mechanism, whose simple design, allows the hand controls to be fitted into the vehicle.

This clamping mechanism uses a set of clamps that accommodate various sizes of gas pedals and brake pedals, hence allowing the hand controls to be installed in almost any vehicle with an automatic transmission system.

The height of this model can be adjusted after it has been braced and clamped to the steering column, and this gives the driver the freedom and comfort of easily accessing the handle when driving.

The handle uses the standard pivoted push-and-pull mechanism to brake or accelerate.

Moreover, its height-adjustment feature makes this product a safe hand controls kit for comfortable driving.

Relatedly, the installation process of this model is tools-free. The advantage of this is that installation is relatively quick and easy. Likewise, the hand controls can be dismounted for storage.

Pros of the Infinity Portable Hand Controls
  • Optimized for portability.
  • Can be used easily by both right-handed and left-handed drivers.
  • Highly adaptable.
  • Easy and quick installation.
  • Ergonomically-designed.
  • Universal hand controls that can fit into most automatic-transmission vehicles.
  • Lightweight.
The Cons
  • Drivers with limited hand strength may experience difficulties when using this product.
  • Clamp system can loosen if fitted imperfectly.

Bottom-line

The Infinity001 is an easy-to-use, portable, and ergonomically-designed hand controls product.

Made of high-quality, corrosion-resistant stainless steel construction it will certainly do the job and will last a long time.


5. QuicStick Thumb-Controlled Drive-Assist Hand Controls

This is a high-quality, ergonomically-designed, and pre-assembled thumb-controlled drive-assist product made of high-grade T-6 aluminum construction.

Its design allows it to be installed easily, as well as support low-effort steering, hence it can be used by drivers with limited hands and arms strength.

It is a complete system designed to give a disabled male driver the freedom and independence to drive a vehicle.

It is of course a portable product whose collapsible construction allows it to be collapsed and fitted into a portable carrying bag when not in use. The model is designed, manufactured, tested, and rated by QuicCompany.

The system is 20 inches long, with the two lever rods being placed approximately 6 inches apart on the handle rod.

The handle rod is about 3 inches thick. The entire product weighs about 2 pounds.

The high-grade T-9 aluminum construction helps keep the weight low and ensures that the product is corrosion-resistant.

It also provides the necessary toughness, durability, and tensile strength to endure repeated motions without losing its structural integrity.

The QuicStick Thumb-Controlled Drive-Assist Hand Controls can convert any vehicle using an automatic transmission system, regardless of size, into an adapted automobile that can be safely driven, or operated, with only 2 hands.

At the bottom-end of each lever rod is a clamp featuring two clamp-plates which are designed to firmly hold onto the foot pedals and force them to be operated by the handle rod of the hand controls.

The handle rod has been designed in such a way that the driver can operate the steering wheel using the right hand, while the hands controls can be operated using the left hand.

This ensures that the vehicle is driven safely. This thumb-controlled, drive-assist device also prioritizes the acceleration and deceleration processes, as well as the braking and parking of the car.

Its thumb-controlled unit is easy to use and the associated learning curve is quite shallow for a beginner driver, hence allowing him or her to quickly master how to operate this device, as well as understand how it can be adapted to different settings.

As a thumb-controlled unit, the major functions of this model can be executed just by pushing the thumb button, or by releasing the thumb button when necessary.

The QuicStick Thumb-Controlled Drive-Assist Hand Controls is designed to be braced onto the steering column using a strap system, which not only secures it in place once fitted, but also gives the driver the freedom to adjust the height of the controls to a comfortable level where they can be easily accessed when driving.

This height-adjustment feature makes this product a safe hand controls kit for comfortable driving.

Pros of the QuicStick Thumb-Controlled Drive-Assist Hand Controls
  • Powerful thumb-controlled drive assistant.
  • Optimized for portability.
  • Highly adaptable.
  • Easy and quick installation.
  • Safe for use.
  • Ergonomically-designed.
  • Universal hand controls that can fit into most automatic-transmission vehicles.
  • Lightweight.
The Cons
  • Left-handed drivers may experience difficulties when using the steering knob.
  • Strap system can become loose if secured without Velcro straps.
  • Female drivers may have difficulty using it, especially if they are pregnant.

Bottom-line

The QuicStick Thumb-Controlled Drive-Assist Hand Controls is a high-quality, ergonomically-designed, and pre-assembled product made of high-grade T-6 aluminum construction, and whose design allows for easy installation.

However, despite the increased strength, cost factors and ease of use mean that it loses out to some of the other products listed in our top 5 review roundup.