A mobility scooter is a great way to remain mobile and independent. Here are our top tips to help you get the model that really suits you.
1 Think about your usage
It all starts with you! Do you want a handy shopper or an adventurous off-road machine?
If you want something to go short distances on pavements around town, a pavement scooter with a maximum speed of 4 mph may be suitable. To go on the roads as well as the pavement, a class 3 road-going scooter will be better. These have lights and indicators and may be able to up to to 8 mph for the road with a 4 mph setting for use on the pavement.
For adventurous off-road use, or going on tracks and unpaved paths, consider an off-road scooter that can double as an extremely comfortable road-going scooter. These have good suspension and wheels that are big enough to deal with uneven ground. They can provide real fun and freedom.
2 Car and public transport
Getting some mobility scooters in and out of a car or onto public transport can be challenging. If this is important for you, look carefully at the options.
Travel scooters, sometimes called ‘boot scooters’ – can be folded into a compact shape that can be wheeled like a suitcase. These are very neat to store and also convenient for public transport, air travel or cruising.
Larger pavement scooters are made up of four or five sections so they can separated into lighter parts that can be lifted into a car boot, but then have to be reassembled for use.
The larger road-going scooters need a big vehicle or a trailer to transport them. They are generally too heavy to lift so you will need either a ramp or a loading lift to get them into a vehicle.
Bigger wheels, pneumatic tyres and good suspension make for the most comfortable ride and are almost essential for use on cobbled streets. Also consider how much back support and seat padding you need. If you have back problems, make sure there is sufficient support in the seat and back.
How far will you need to go on the scooter? The range of your scooter depends on the capacity and condition of your batteries as well as the load carried and the terrain. Scooter specifications indicate a range based on flat ground, an average load, and batteries that are fully charged and tip-top condition.
5 Will it suit you?
Your mobility scooter should suit your size and weight, as well as your ability to manage the controls. All scooters have a maximum load rating.
- Make sure the load rating is suitable for your weight
- Check that the seat size and legroom are comfortable
- Make sure you can easily reach and manage the controls
- If you have problems with balance, a heavier four-wheel scooter would be better than a light-weight three-wheeler as they are more stable. Some models also help stability by slowing down automatically as they turn.
Where will you store your mobility scooter when it’s not in use?
Scooters need to be kept under cover, preferably indoors, in a garage or in a dry shed with with power for keeping the batteries topped up. Travel scooters and pavement scooters can be folded or dismantled for storage indoors, whereas road-going scooters take up much more space when they aren’t in use and will need a garage or shed.