Mobility scooters buying guide

Choosing a mobility scooter

This guide is to help you get a mobility scooter that really suits you and what you need to do. If you can visit our shop in Stamford, we are very happy to help and we won’t put you under pressure to buy.

First things first

Before you start, think about these questions:

  • Where will you use the scooter?
    • Just on the pavement?
    • On the roads?
    • Off-road on uneven terrain?
  • Will you want to put it in the car or on public transport?
  • How far will you need to go on the scooter?
  • Where will you store it when not in use?

Size and class

Folding travel scooters

The newest class of scooters can be folded into a compact unit that can be wheeled like a suitcase and loaded into a car boot in a single piece. Some use lithium batteries instead of heavier lead-acid batteries. When folded, they can be stored in a relatively small space. They are perfect for cruises or even air travel but they may have a smaller range and be less comfortable than bigger scooters.

Car boot scooters

For ease of loading into a car boot, it’s difficult to beat a scooter that can be separated into lighter parts. The individual parts will be easier to manage than a whole folded scooter, and you usually get a bigger range or better comfort for the same budget. Legally, they are Class 2 scooters and limited to 4mph for use on the pavement only.

Pavement scooters

If you want something to go on pavements around town and for shopping, then a pavement scooter is a good choice. Legally, these are Class 2 scooters with a maximum speed of 4mph. They are permitted for pavement use only and can only go on the road only where there is no pavement, or just to cross the road.

Key features of Class 2 pavement mobility scooters:

  • Generally smaller and lighter than road-going (class 3) scooters
  • Good for going into shops

Most pavement scooters can have the seat removed and the tiller folded down so they can be transported in an estate car or large car boot, but the more comfortable ones can be heavy. Hoists and ramps can be used for loading a scooter into an estate car or car boot. We are always happy to advise on the options.

Road-going scooters

If you want to go on the roads as well as the pavement, have better comfort and travel greater distances, then a class 3 scooter will be more suitable.

Mobility scooters permitted for going on the road are Class 3 vehicles. Legally, they are speed limited to 8mph for the road and 4mph for the pavement. They must have lights, mirrors, brakes, horn, indicators etc. and should be registered with DVLA, although there’s no road fund licence payable. You must be age 14 or over to drive one, but you don’t need a driving licence.

Key features of class 3 road-going mobility scooters:

  • Larger, heavier and more stable than class 2
  • They will probably require a ramp or hoist to lift them into a vehicle
  • Some can go off-road and handle rough ground

Off-road scooters

If you plan to use your scooter on tracks and unpaved paths, then it’s worth considering a more specialised off-road scooter. These have better suspension and wheels that are big enough to deal with uneven ground. They are very stable and extremely comfortable as road-going scooters.

Will it suit you?

The ideal scooter should suit your size and weight, as well as your ability to manage the controls. Here are some key points to check:

  • All scooters have a maximum load rating. Make sure it is suitable for your weight.
  • Check that the seat size and legroom are suitable for you
  • Consider how much back support and seat padding you need
  • Make sure you can easily reach and manage the controls
  • Some of the very lightweight mobility scooters may not be suitable if you have problems with balance.

It really is best to come in and test drive some different models to see what suits you.

Practicality and storage

All mobility scooters need to be kept in a dry place under cover. A garage or dry shed with with power for keeping the batteries topped up is ideal and smaller scooters may be best brought indoors. The battery pack for folding and boot scooters can generally be removed for charging, and these will require less storage space.

The very minimum for outside storage is a rain-proof cover and a dry paved area. Rain and moisture penetrating the electronics can quickly cause expensive damage, and moisture coming up from an unpaved area can soon condense inside a cover causing corrosion and mould.

Proper storage is essential to preserve your investment in a scooter. We are happy to advise on scooter storage options.