PHC 3 Portable Hand Controls – the PHC iii Kit

The PHC 3 portable hand controls kit (sometimes referred to as the “PHC iii portable hand controls set”) retails on the WheelAbility website for around $379 which makes it one of the more expensive kits available.  This page will review the PHC 3 plus show similar portable driving kit alternatives which one may prefer due to lower prices and greater functionality.

My Review of the PHC 3 portable hand controls kit

 

Firstly lets go over the things you would expect from a set of portable hand controls.  The PHC 3 can be installed into almost any vehicle which has automatic transmission.  This doesn’t mean that the PHC 3 is limited only to cars but its extendable nature allows it to fit into trucks, vans, lowered floor vans and most other vehicles.  The installation itself only takes approximately five minutes and no tools or permeneant modifications to the car are required.

The PHC 3 kit is also very easy it carry because it weighs only 2.4 pounds.  This is perhaps a little bit too lightweight for people that believe that, for the price tag, they should be receiving something which feels a little more substantial – nevertheless the practical benefits are obvious.  It folds down to 18 inches long at its shortest and it can be extended substantially more which allows its use in trucks and other larger vehicles.  The manufacturers of the PHC iii portable hand control state that it will fit in carry on luggage or a briefcase (just make sure you have a reasonable explanation for it when you get stopped!).

The Entire  PHC 3 III Portable Hand Controls Kit

There are a few promises which the manufacturer of the PHC 3 portable hand control – WheelAbility – makes.  The first is that you can ‘try it’ and if you’re not satisfied you can return in and receive your full purchase price – however I assume you need to pay to ship it back to them.  They also offer the ‘Designer’s Guarantee of Satisfaction’ – however they don’t actually elaborate what this is so it’s meaningless in my opinion.  Furthermore you can apparently ship it back within one year and receive a full refund – plus they also ship within the United States for free.  All of these things to me says they must have a pretty strong profit margin.  However frankly the WheelAbility website however looks atrocious and when I was 14 years old I was making websites with superior design and functionality.  (Seriously).

The actual design of the PHC-3 is very average.  Aesthetically it doesn’t look particularly special – not that most people buy portable hand controls to look cool, but the color and overall design isn’t ultimately particularly appealing.  The metal tubes are anodized aluminium which makes them very lightweight – perhaps a little too lightweight – people have complained to me that for such an expensive handicap driving kit they feel like they’ll break in your hands (however I’ve not heard reports of this whereas for Alfred Bekker people have actually emailed me saying that very thing has happened which is incredibly shocking for me to hear).  The fittings are stainless steel and it also comes with a synthetic fabric bag for storage or transportation.  The handles are foam padded for comfort.

Second Angle view of the Installed PHC 3 III Portable Hand Controls

My opinion.  Regarding this particular hand controls kit my opinion is quite simple.  It’s a decent, functional and reliable product.  This isn’t just my own opinion this is my research into what other people think by browsing web forums and other reviews – although I do take into consideration the emails people have sent me regarding this product.  Ultimately I think this handicapped driving kit isn’t what I would purchase.  The reason is that it’s very similar to its competitors in almost every respect apart from one – it costs substantially more.  You can purchase hand controls for around 250-280 dollars from many popular websites and that indicates an increase of almost 100 dollars.  My question is, “where is this 100 dollars going and how does it benefit the driver?” with the answer I’ve received so far being “there is no extra benefit”.  At the bottom of this page you can find out portable driving kits and I suggest reading into all of them before making your choice.  Finally, not that the design and layout of a website means everything, but I strongly do believe that such a poorly designed website can only bode badly for the product they’re trying to sell… for 100 dollars more than almost everyone else.

Installation and Operation of the PHC iii portable hand controls

 

To install the PHC iii portable hand controls set you simply attach the clamps to the brake and gas pedal by using the twist knobs to screw them securely into position.  Once the pedals are securely attached to the PHC 3 hand controls you can proceed to attachment of the position placement belt.  This synthetic fabric belt fits over the steering wheel onto the steering wheel column and from there it holds the PHC 3 kit in position close to the steering wheel for easy access.  As you can see from the image below you can both steer and operate the acceleration and brakes using one or both hands.  Depending on how you want to personally customize this model you can actually position the handles for the PHC iii right next to the steering wheel which allows you to operate both control rods with one (or two) hands.  This is a very secure method of driving your car and it’s a shame that some hand control products aren’t designed in a way which easily allows for this.  As you can see no tools nor modifications to the car are required.

Installed PHC 3 III Portable Hand Controls

As you can see from this angle, the support straps keep the hand controls of the PHC 3 in position while the twist knobs are securely attached to the acceleration and brake pedals.

Operation of the PHC 3 kit involves pulling the handles towards yourself to accelerate and pushing them forwards to brakes.  The whole system is a foolproof manual set up and the effort required for braking or acceleration is exactly the same as would be required of your feet.  According to WheelAbility, the manufacturer of this particular portable hand controls kit you can easily operate your car (or other vehicle) on hills by simply ‘pushing and holding the brakes, and rocking your wrist for a little acceleration’ without stalling or backsliding.

The Entire  PHC 3 III Portable Hand Controls Kit with Annonations

I’ll provide a brief overweight to the specifications regarding the PHC iii hand controls.  Firstly the assembled weight is one kilogram, around 2.2 pounds.  The dimensions for the set are as follows.  When fully folded and prepared for transport the dimensions are 17.25 x 4.75 x 2.5 inches.  The maximum extension length possible for the acceleration rod if 26 inches, and its minimum length is 19 inches.  For the brake rod the maximum length is 24.5 inches and 17 inches is the minimum length.

Other Portable Hand Controls

 

Freedom Staff Hand Controls – Our most popular and highly recommended product.  The Freedom Staff handicap driving kit combines portability, functionality and price in the most efficient manner.  They’re one of the cheapest and yet most highly recommended portable hand controls.  I’ve never read any negative reviews of the Freedom Staff handicap driving hand controls and quite to the contrary the feedback has been immense.

TNT Hand Controls – In the past TNT’s portable hand controls were probably one of the most popular however they’ve somewhat failed to keep up with the times (go take a look at their website).  They’re similar to their competitors however they’re more expensive and ordering TNT driving controls can be difficult.  You need to go through their ‘website’ whereas for most other portable hand controls brands you can simply buy them of Amazon and get them delivered to your door.

AZ-1 Hand Controls – There are a few things about the AZ-1 portable hand controls set which makes it special.  Firstly the AZ-1 is constructed from plane-grade super lightweight aluminium meanings it’s both light and durable.  It’s highly adjustable (more so than its competitors) and be nearly completely folded away.  Finally it features a composite heat-proof grip which neither absorbs heat from the driver’s hand or when the car gets too hot.

Got a Question? A Comment? I personally answer them all myself.

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