Mobility scooters can be life-changing when your mobility is restricted. You can get out in the fresh air. Meet with friends, shop for yourself. Attend medical appointments, pick your children up from school. Walk the dog. Go to museums and other events.
But there are so many different types out there. And they are an expensive purchase, so you don’t want to get it wrong.
This post outlines the main types of scooter available. It also highlights what to think about before you purchase.
I have personally been using a mobility scooter for around 5 years. I resisted getting one for a long time. I felt that continuing to walk would be better for me in the long run. I was wrong. My life has been enhanced in so many ways since I started using a scooter.
I have had a total of 7 scooters over the past 5 years. Yes, this is a lot. I don’t crash them, honestly! There are a few reasons why I’ve had so many. A couple I bought second-hand. They were fairly cheap, but old, and had to be scrapped because of mechanical failure.
But the main reason that I’ve had so many is that I have never been able to find just one scooter that meets all my needs. And I have tried to find that elusive machine. Currently I have 3:
- A large, comfortable heavy-duty machine that I use for walking my dog and getting out and about in my village
- A lightweight folding scooter that I can lift easily into my car boot. I use this for shopping mostly. Places where it is fairly flat, with even surfaces
- A medium foldable scooter. This does fold down to go into my car. It splits into different pieces, but is quite heavy to lift on my own. It offers a portable solution when I’m going somewhere where the surfaces are more uneven. Farmers markets, in-town shopping (rather than supermarket or mall shopping), going to country fairs, that sort of thing.
- Lighter, easier to transport
- Folds and dismantles, so easier to store
- Travels at up to 4 mph
- Has a range of up to 10 miles
- Typically has a lower user weight (up to 21 stones maximum)
Scooters fall into 3 main types
- Don’t always dismantle, so not so easy to transport and store
- Travel at speeds up to 6 mph
- Has a range of up to 20 miles
- Higher user weight of up to 25 stones
- Usually extremely heavy (mine weighs 148 kg/23 stones)
- Doesn’t fold or dismantle for transport
- Needs a waterproof shed or garage for storage
- Higher user weight, some in excess of 30 stones
- Can travel at 8 mph. But only on the road, you have to stick to no more than 4 mph on the pavement
- Can travel longer distances of up to 30 miles
- Often have suspension and comfortable seats, so can cope with more challenging terrain
Things to consider before buying
- When you are going to use the scooter. What sort of terrain and distance will you be travelling?
- Whether you will want to transport it. If so, how will you transport it? If it’s in your car, you need to consider the weight of the scooter. How easy it is to dismantle. The weight of the heaviest part, and if you can lift it.
- If you plan to travel on public transport, then check with your local company first. They often have restrictions on the size and type of scooter you can use.
- Your weight, so that you can get a scooter with a suitable maximum user weight.
- Access to storage. Check that whatever scooter you choose will fit in your storage area.
- You will need to put your scooter on to charge after every journey. So think about where you will charge the scooter. Some have on-board charging. This means if you can park near to an electric socket, you can just plug the charger straight into the scooter.
- Batteries can be one of the heavier components, so you may find it difficult to keep removing them for charging.
- Comfort. Unfortunately, many pavements in the UK are uneven. That’s where a scooter with a nicely padded seat, and suspension, really helps. If you are just using your scooter around shops, then this isn’t so important, as surfaces are usually quite smooth.
- There is a vast range of colours and styles. Hopefully you will get many years use out of your scooter, so try and pick one that makes you happy to look at!