I’m pretty sure if you are looking into buying a mobility scooter, then you want to make sure it’s a reliable scooter that fits your needs.
…But I’m also pretty sure you would like to keep the price tag reigned in so that you don’t spend any more than you actually need to.
You’ve come to the right place.
Finding the perfect scooter for you can be as simple as painting by numbers – when you know what to look for.
There are only a certain number of key factors you need to consider to meet your needs…
…all the rest will just be white noise.
Getting to the meat of the matter…
…here is a list of nine tips to keep in mind when buying your mobility scooter that will pretty much guarantee you get the model you want.
…you won’t find a more comprehensive and detailed list anywhere else online.
These tips are not just vague suggestions, but detailed explanations of what you need and why you need it.
Read through the list, reorder the tips in terms of your preference and then you will be armed with the ultimate personalized shopping list!
1. Establish how much you are willing to spend, so you don’t get carried away…
This should be the first thing you do, no matter what kind of scooter you are looking for.
You may have to change it later, but it’s important to start off with a figure in mind.
Mobility scooters are going to be expensive, but there is a huge variance in how much you can end up spending.
I can’t emphasize this enough!
The range can be from as high as $3000 or higher down to about $500.
This price difference is largely due to the various features of the scooter.
For example an off-road mobility scooter may need suspension or a heavy duty mobility scooter may need an above average weight capacity.
Of course, like most of things in life, adding these features usually comes at a price. Here are two common trade-offs that you will likely have to make:
- Turning radius vs. stability – To make a mobility scooter more stable you use give it four wheels, but adding a fourth wheel also makes it harder to do a tight turn
- Portability vs. On-road – For a mobility scooter to be portable (travel scooter) then it needs to be either foldable or be able to be disassembled. These are generally lighter scooters with a lower top speed, so not one you would use in traffic on the road!
Mobility scooters are expensive, but they generally fall into price brackets depending on what features they have.
Knowing which bracket you fall into will greatly reduce the discrepancy between different scooter prices.
2. Get a mobility scooter that will suit where you use it most often
There are so many parts to this question that you need to consider, all should be simple to answer but really give you an insight into your needs:
- Will you use your scooter mainly indoors or outdoors?
- What is the average length of the typical journey will you make?
- Will your typical journey be over mainly pavement or will you use roads?
- Where will you use your scooter? – In the store? At home? At the park?
- What kind of weather will you be using your scooter in?
The big difference between an indoor and an outdoor scooter comes down to whether your scooter has three or four wheels.
As mentioned earlier, three wheels makes it easier to make quick turns which are useful in crowded areas or in store aisles or restaurants.
Four wheels make it less likely your scooter will tip over uneven ground (like what you will find outside).
Outdoor scooters tend to be heavier as well, though you can get smaller ones that are almost hybrids that you can take inside.
Don’t forget to ask:
Knowing where you will use your mobility scooter should be a big informing factor in your choice.
Is the road or pavement bumpy? You may need suspension. If you live somewhere rural, without any pavements you will need to use the roads and so will need to invest in a heavy duty scooter.
If you live in a city where you can use pavements and you will only have to ever go a couple of blocks at a time, then you will probably only need a more lightweight scooter.
If there are a lot of tall kerbs without any ramps down onto the road then you should make sure your scooter has a good ground clearance.
Make an informed choice based on the weather you will face.
You can get rain covers for your scooter if they don’t come with it.
Be conscious of your wheels.
If you have grooved tires you should have enough traction on wet or slippery ground.
Don’t get yourself stranded!
3. Make sure you can transport your scooter if you’re traveling
If you need to go somewhere far away, whether that be you’re going on vacation, you’re visiting family or for whatever reason you need to use the public transport then you will need a scooter that is easy to transport if you want to bring it with you.
Decide if this is a consideration for you, do you travel often enough that you NEED this feature?
If you do need this feature, then you should know that these kinds of scooters are often called “travel scooters” (funnily enough…)
They come in two types:
- Foldable scooters
- Scooters that you can disassemble
Foldable scooters are usually pretty bare, basically just a footboard, seat and tiller (steering stick).
The tiller and seat can be folded down and the footboard may bend in the middle so it becomes compact.
This kind of scooter would be ideal for public transport because it still remains in one solid piece.
Scooters that can be disassembled may be a bit more rugged and sturdy.
They are easier to pack into a car and may have more options in terms of accessories (carry basket, weather proofing, etc.).
The main disadvantage is that you need to keep track of more parts.
Both are good choices.
It mainly comes down to what kind of travel you do and which would be more convenient for you.
Do be aware:
Travel scooters are generally lighter and not as comfortable as other types of scooters.
4. What kind of dimensions and weight capacity do you need?
Different types of scooters have different dimensions and weight capacities.
You need to consider:
- How big is the actual scooter?
- Are the seat dimensions adjustable?
- How heavy is the scooter?
From these questions you should then follow on by asking where will you store your scooter at home?
A small scooter can probably be brought inside, but a heavier road going scooter will need a garage or somewhere similar to be stored.
The scooter provider should provide dimensions of both the scooter itself and of the seat, so you can see if it fits your frame; tall, short, large or skinny…
One last warning on this point:
There is only so much weight you can put on the smaller scooters.
Granted its large – usually 300 lbs, but if you are on the heavier side or if you will be carrying a large load then you will need to keep an eye on this figure.
The closer you get to it the quicker your battery will run down…
5. Do you know the laws regarding mobility scooters in your area?
This point will only affect a small number of people…
This section is all about keeping you and the people around you safe.
These details will vary depending on which state you are in or which country, but generally it boils down to this:
- On your scooter you are still classed as a pedestrian
- You are still riding on a machine that can weigh upwards of 180 lbs
- If you hit someone going fast you can cause some damage
- If you are on the road and a car hits you, you could be seriously hurt
To tackle this problem mobility scooters are generally divided into three categories:
- Category I – These are like electric wheelchairs
- Category II – These are smaller scooters that are limited to a top speed of 4 mph. They are only allowed on pavements
- Category III – These are heavier scooters that can have a top speed of up to 8 mph. Although you are allowed to use them on pavements you still must abide by the 4 mph speed limit. Children are not allowed to use these scooters.
Those are the bare bones of the legal structure around mobility scooters.
Different regions, states, countries will have slight variations of this structure, make sure you are familiar with the structure in your area before buying.
6. Will you be comfortable on long journeys?
When choosing a mobility scooter comfort may or may not cross your mind…
Surely all scooters are designed with comfort in mind?
Well… this depends on a few of the previous tips you’ve gone through…
- If you are on the larger side of life then you should make sure that the seat dimensions of your potential scooter will accommodate you. The seat may be adjustable, but still just double check… The last thing you want to happen is to spend all this money on a mobility scooter and have to suck in your belly and squeeze into the seat, or tuck your knees right into your chest because the footboard is too short.
- Or if you will be using your scooter for hours at a time quite often do you really want to have to sit on a hard plastic chair like the one from when you were in school? In this case it might not be a bad idea to splurge a little to get those padded armrests and seat.
- If you have back problems or live in an area with a lot of bumps, look into a scooter with suspension to make your journeys as smooth as possible.
There are going to be numerous other small considerations like that to think about. It’s also a personal taste thing.
You will know better than anyone else what is acceptable and what is a luxury for yourself.
7. What kind of accessories do you think you will need if any?
This question will essentially help you take action on a few of the previous questions you have already answered.
If you have decided that you will mainly be using your mobility scooter for doing your groceries then you should make sure that your mobility scooter has a carry basket so you can transport your purchases home.
More examples of functional accessories you may need include:
- A Canopy and a storage cover for using and storing your scooter outside in the rain. A storage cover is just a large piece of fabric that you can drape over your scooter to keep it dry. Retractable canopies are available that you can leave on permanently and just retract when you don’t need it.
- A holder for your walking stick, crutches or even oxygen tank.
- Lights for the front and back of your scooter for nigh time use. This feature will be essential if you live in the northern regions where it gets dark early. You don’t want your scooter to become a seasonal luxury.
8. Make sure you know how to read your power gauge so you don’t get stranded!
Your mobility scooter will have a certain maximum range and a certain charge time specified by the manufacturer.
Read the manual and make sure you know what that range and charge time are.
Make sure that you can read the power gauge – so a bit of study on this.
Don’t let yourself get caught outside with a low battery!
Keep your battery charged.
It’s a good idea to keep your scooter near a power outlet when not in use, however, if that is not possible – if you keep your scooter outside, then go for a model that allows you to remove the battery from the scooter to charge inside.
9. Check if your mobility scooter will come with a warranty or get insurance
It’s always good to check if your mobility scooter will come with a warranty.
Not only does it cover you in case of theft or damage to your scooter, but it also lets you know that you are buying from a reputable dealer.
Various warranties may be offered for your scooter’s different components.
The main difference between these warranties will be their lengths of duration, so your batteries might be under warranty for 12 months, whereas your frame may last for 5 years.
You can also get insurance for your scooter.
Now insurance for your scooter may only be legally required for the heavier duty class III mobility scooters, but it is advised for everyone.
I’ve seen it where the warranty the mobility scooter only covers you for faulty manufacture of the scooter, but if anything happens out in the real world you are on your own.
That is why I recommend getting insurance, because ultimately your biggest risk is going to be other people – especially out on the roads.
Now to find your perfect mobility scooter!
Now that you’ve read all of these tips, you’ve considered them with regards to your own personal situation, then you are now armed with the ultimate knowledge to find the best mobility scooter for you.
I’ve found two scooters that match quite a lot of the desired features mentioned above.
I was really surprised at how universal they are.
These two scooters have received a lot of attention and are bringing a lot of happiness into people’s lives.
You can read my full review of them here:
Check it out.
You will be able to see all of the tips above being put into practice.
These scooters are literally miles ahead of any other scooter on the market and that can only be for one of two reasons:
- They actually address the real needs of most people
- They outperform every other scooter out there!
I honestly believe it when I say that these two scooters will be ideal for most people.
They will take you to the store, they will get you out for the day with your grandchildren and they are easy to use.
Great places to learn more!
If you are still not sure which scooter you need or you want to do a bit more exploring on the topic, there is a ton of great information out there!
Here is a selection of pages I found useful:
- Fish Insurance – A UK based insurance company that has great information on mobility scooters
- Aging Tree – A site that has put together a lot of great information around various topics relating to senior care
- Wikipedia – Has an excellent article on mobility scooter
- American Mobility Scooters – They know their stuff when they’re talking about the legal issues around mobility scooters