A mobility scooter is one of the most popular mobility aids, especially for people with mobility limitations. It’s so popular up to the point that it has a highly competitive market. If you’re looking to buy one, the options can be overwhelming.
As you embark on your buying journey, use this comprehensive guide to help you choose the right mobility scooter you need.
Different Types of Mobility Scooters
Mobility scooters are designed for individuals that lack the ability to walk or operate a manual wheelchair. There are three main types of mobility scooters you can get:
Travel or Portable Scooters: These are compact and foldable scooters that you may fold or disassemble so you can carry them on the go. They also tend to be lighter than the other types.
Three-wheel Mobility Scooters: These are full-sized scooters that are easier to maneuver and use indoors. They’re most suited to be used at homes or shopping malls.
Four-wheel Scooters: These are the more stable versions of the three-wheel ones, especially if you plan to travel up hills or go up a ramp. These are suitable for outdoor usage.
10 Things to Look for in a Mobility Scooter
When canvassing for a mobility scooter, always check for the following things:
1. Intended Usage
In this section, you should be able to answer these questions: What are you using the scooter for? Where do you want to use it?
Always consider where you plan to use the scooter most often. This will significantly influence many other factors, including the type and size of the mobility scooter you should get. You basically have two options:
Indoor Use: If you’ll primarily use it indoors, you can choose a three-wheel scooter and a small to medium-sized one. This type is easier to maneuver around corners, especially narrow ones. Indoor usage also means you only plan to travel short distances so having small to medium-sized scooters will suffice.
Outdoor Use: If you plan to use the scooter outdoors, it’s best to go for four-wheel or portable scooters and a large-sized one. This way you can easily navigate over rough roads and bumps. Since you’ll be outside, it’s also alright if your scooter will have a wide turning radius. Large scooters also tend to have higher travel ranges.
Check the controls you need to engage with in a scooter. Since you need to operate tillers, you should be able to hold onto it with both hands and still be able to manually manage the speed controls and other options.
Some mobility scooters may also require constant pressure on the lever so you can move forward and backward. See to it that you’ll be able to handle the controls without any issues and without exerting too much strength.
3. Fit of the Scooter
This factor influences the comfort you’ll get from the mobility scooter. When checking the fit of the scooter, make sure that you check off the following:
You should be able to sit comfortably with the seat height.
You must be able to reach the tiller without having to curve and strain your back.
Your feet are flat on the footrest with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
The scooter should be able to properly support your weight and any items you’d be carrying.
From this, you have to check the seat height and the maximum weight capacity specifications of the scooter.
What is the top speed of the scooter? Many mobility scooters can only go up to 5 mph, but some can reach speeds of over 8 miles per hour. Full-sized scooters can go around 7 mph and there are heavy-duty scooters that can go up to 8 mph.
You need to consider what speed you’ll often need. For instance, if you’ll simply use the scooter in short distances, like shopping malls, a top speed of 5 mph would be enough. But if you plan to move longer distances often, you may choose something faster than that.
Since we’re talking about speed, you should always check for the braking system of the scooter. There should always be brakes, either an automatic or manual one.
The speed can also affect how long your battery may last so make sure to check this to avoid any future problems.
5. Wheel Type
The wheel type will affect how smoothly you can move over different surfaces and terrains. There are three main wheel types:
Solid Wheels: These will never go flat but your ride on the scooter may be rough, especially on rough surfaces.
Foam-filled Wheels: These can absorb more shock than solid wheels which makes the ride smoother.
Pneumatic Wheels: These are car-like, air-filled wheels. They have the risk of getting flat but they do offer the smoothest ride.
6. Storage Space
Since you’ll be using the scooter to move and navigate through distances, you’ll most likely have things with you while riding. When buying a mobility scooter, look for storage space you can place your valuables.
Most scooters have a basket or pockets, while some may offer under-seat baskets. However, you may also encounter scooters that don’t come with storage baskets.
7. Portability and Storage
This is a vital factor to consider if you plan to bring the scooter with you when traveling to other places. Determine if your chosen mobility scooter is portable. This means that they’re compact and foldable or can be easily disassembled. This ensures that you can fit and store the scooter better in a space.
Additionally, check the total weight of the scooter. You or someone else with you should be able to lift and carry the product.
If the scooter isn’t foldable or can’t be disassembled, check its dimensions so you know if it may fit in the spaces you intend to keep it. When traveling, you may have to use a lift or a ramp to get the scooter on the car you’ll be in.
One of the things that will influence how much you’ll be comfortable on the scooter is its seating. Check if your scooter offers a well-padded and contoured seat. This will ensure that you’ll be comfortable while riding it.
If you plan to use the scooter for longer distances, go for seats with thick padding. If you’re simply going on short trips, you can go for seats with less padding.
For the best experience, you may want to look for a captain’s seat. This tends to offer the most comfort and support no matter how long you’ll ride the mobility scooter.
9. Upgrade Options and Accessories
Once you’ve checked all features and specifications of your chosen scooter, check if there are upgrade options available and if they come with accessories.
Some upgrade options may include battery upgrades, seat size, canopies, buckle size, and even seat style upgrades. These upgrades may let you upgrade the performance of the scooter.
Accessories, on the other hand, may include:
- Scooter lift or ramp
- Oxygen tank carrier
- Additional battery
- Car or home charger
- Cup holders
- Safety package (turn signals, lights, horn, side mirrors)
- Crane or crutch holder
10. Warranty Support
Last but not least is the warranty support of the product. Does the manufacturer support warranty claims? Check if they offer warranty plans in case there are defects or issues with the scooter.
Most manufacturers offer up to 1-year warranty, while some may offer a longer warranty.
When buying a mobility scooter, make sure to look and check for the factors mentioned above. To summarize, here are things you should consider:
- Intended usage
- Wheel type
- Storage space
- Upgrade options and accessories
If you’re ready to start buying, look through our vast mobility scooter collection. Check what you need and find what you deserve.