What to Look for When Buying a Mobility Scooter
What to Look for When Buying a Mobility Scooter
A mobility scooter can make your life a lot easier, but only if you buy the right one. Here's what to look for when buying a mobility scooter.
A mobility scooter gives you an alternative to the more restrictive wheelchair option, helping you get where you need to go while having more freedom. It seems like a simple purchase, but when you start comparing mobility scooters, you realise the different types and features can get confusing.
Buying an electric mobility scooter is a big investment so you want it to be something that works for you. Comfort and safe driving are two key considerations. You also want the scooter to fit your lifestyle and make your daily routine easier, not more complicated.
Consider your normal routine and your needs from a mobility scooter. Compare the features of different options in your price range.
Keep reading to learn the main things you should consider when you buy a mobility scooter.
Whether you use your scooter a little or a lot, you want a machine that's comfortable to use. Opt for extra padding and a contoured seat that feels comfortable to you when you sit on it. A wider seat can also make the scooter more comfortable, especially for larger users.
Comfortable, padded armrests also come in handy. Consider the adjustability of the arms to accommodate your preferences. Arms that swing out of the way make it easier to get in and out of the seat.
Note the seat height and steering comfort as well as any adjustment options in those areas. You should be able to sit on the scooter seat comfortably with your feet flat on the platform. You should also be able to reach the steering well in this position.
Long Battery Life
Scooters can take hours to charge fully. Find out how far different scooter models can go once they're fully charged to get an idea of how functional the scooter is for your lifestyle.
The range per charge is usually expressed in distance rather than a time length. Consider how far you'll normally drive the scooter in a day or between charges. You'll need access to a plugin to recharge, so consider where your day normally takes you.
A longer-range per charge gives you more flexibility in how you use your scooter. Even if you don't normally drive many miles per day, a longer range can come in handy if you're on vacation or have other special circumstances that increase your usual driving distance between charges. Having your battery die on you can leave you stranded.
Scooters are designed with different purposes in mind. Some are better for indoor use than outdoor use. Some are intended for use on roads while others perform better on sidewalks.
Three-wheel mobility scooters are often better for indoor use because the design makes it easier to steer around obstacles. For outdoor use, a four-wheel scooter provides better stability and handles bumps and other roughness better than a three-wheel model.
Portable travel scooters are often lighter weight and easier to maneuver when you're away from home. You might prefer a road scooter if you plan to drive it outdoors frequently. Consider how you'll most often use your scooter to choose one intended for that use.
For some scooter users, the weight capacity is a consideration. Most scooters have a weight capacity of up to at least 250 pounds. If you weigh more, you'll need a heavy-duty scooter with a higher maximum weight capacity.
Look for extra features that make the scooter safer to drive. Anti-tip wheels help keep you stable as you're maneuvering around objects. Some scooters may have emergency brakes for safe stopping.
If you plan to drive outdoors, choose features that make you visible. This includes reflective elements and LED lights. Indicators and horns also increase your safety when you drive outdoors.
Type of Tires
Tire type affects the durability, maneuverability, and maintenance requirements. Traditional air-filled tires require you to check the air pressure regularly and refill them as needed. Foam-filled tires don't go flat, so they're less work than air-filled options.
Tire size affects the handling of the scooter. Larger tires usually give you more grip and stability, especially outdoors or on uneven ground. Smaller tires make the scooter easier to maneuver, but they don't give you as much traction.
Ease of Steering
Check on the turning radius of each scooter model. A tighter turning radius is ideal for indoor spaces, especially if you often have to navigate narrow gaps. Those scooters can also help you turn corners better.
Compare the tiller, which is the main steer component, to understand how each model works. If you have limited hand mobility, choose a model that's easy to control based on your abilities.
Mobility Scooter Size
Scooter size affects how well you can maneuver the machine and fit through various areas. This is particularly important for indoor use, as you may encounter narrow doorways, hallways, aisles, and spaces between tables or other furniture. Dimensions can also be important if you transport the scooter and need it to fit into your vehicle.
Measure the doorways in your home, at work, or in other places where you go frequently. Take into account that places with hinged doors cut down on the clearance because the door sticks out into the opening slightly.
If you plan to take your scooter to different locations, portability is a consideration. Folding scooters are easier to load into vehicles. You can also find units that disassemble easily to better fit into vehicles.
The overall weight of the scooter also affects its portability. Heavy units are more difficult to get in and out of vehicles for transport.
Extra features usually increase the scooter price, but some of those features may be beneficial based on your needs. Holders for medical devices, such as crutches and oxygen tanks, ensure you can easily take along those necessities. You can also get scooters with canopies to protect you from weather elements.
Headlights make your scooter more visible, which increases your safety. Some scooters also have horns, which can increase safety if you drive on the road, sidewalks, or busy areas. The Highway Code states that you should follow the same rules as vehicles when you drive on the road, so choosing a scooter with those features helps you follow those rules.
Choose Your Ideal Scooter
The mobility scooter options can be overwhelming, but knowing what to look for helps you narrow down the options. Choose a scooter that matches your intended use and preferences to ensure your comfort and safety. When you're ready to make your purchase, check out our selection of mobility scooters.