Guide To Best Mobility Scooter – What Should You Consider When Buying One?
Also known as power scooters, mobility scooters are lifesavers for people who are not able to walk long distances for one reason or another. Bet you’ve seen them being used by the elderly folks, and rightfully so because we all tend to be less mobile as we age.
But these scooters are not just for grandpa and grandma, your dad, mom, uncle or even you could do with one of these. As you long you have trouble moving from one place to another, whether for health, age or any other reason, you may want to add a the best mobility scooter to your shopping list.
The last thing you need is being stuck in the house with just the TV to keep you company. A mobility scooter is exactly what you need to get your freedom and independence back.
Best Mobility Scooters of 2018 Comparison Chart
Who Is A Mobility Scooter Best For?
Mobility scooters are generally ideal for people who can walk a bit but have problems maintaining stamina and strength either due to fatigue, pain or a disability. If you feel that way a mobility scooter can give you a new lease of life. You must, however, be in a position to operate the scooter.
It basically helps you to get around with ease. Whether you are running errands, visiting family and friends or going away on a trip, this small vehicle will give you the ability to move from point A to point B without having to rely on someone else’s assistance.
Besides offering mobility, scooters bring many other ripple benefits to the table, especially in your social and mental health. And they come at very affordable prices, so one thing that you won’t have to worry about is if the vehicle will make a huge dent in your bank account.
Benefits of Mobility Scooter
Mobility scooters essentially provide a reliable and affordable way of moving around. They are invaluable in so many ways for people who have mobility issues. Here are the highlighted advantages:
- Easy to use – they are at times called vehicles but operating mobility scooters is not nearly as hard as operating the typical vehicle. With improving technology, even the elderly and kids of a certain age can use the best mobility scooter comfortably.
- Enhance accessibility – if you have the best motor scooter you can access places that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. The best part is that in this age public spaces have been customized to accommodate such vehicles. Accessing places like malls, entertainment centers, certain sporting facilities and even public transportation should be a breeze.
- Increased independence – increased accessibility translates to independence. As long as you have a mobility scooter you won’t need anyone to assist you with mobility.
- No license or registration – we (and many other people) might call them vehicles but mobility scooters are actually not classified as vehicles. Most are restricted to low speeds of about 10 mph and can only use the pedestrian walk. For those reasons, they don’t need to be registered. They are closer to bicycles than actual vehicles.
- Prevent injuries – you may need a mobility scooter if you don’t have sufficient physical strength or the ability to walk, be it for health, age or disability reasons. Whatever the reason, such accidents as falls can be very risky and even life-threatening. A mobility scooter reduces them and similar risks significantly.
- Enhance sociability – rather than locking yourself up in the house you can hop on your mobility scooter, go out and hang out with your friends. You can even make new friends in the process.
What Are The Various Types of Mobility Scooters?
While knowing the benefits of a mobility scooter is great, understanding the various types that are available for purchase is even better. That knowledge will help you figure out which type suits your needs. There are three ways of classifying mobility scooters.
- 3 wheel vs. 4 wheel mobility scooters
Mobility scooters come with either three wheels or four wheels. Although the number of wheels doesn’t quite affect the performance, it does have an effect on the maneuverability of the scooter.
3-wheel scooters are easier to maneuver because they have a tighter turning radius. For that reason, they are perfect for use in places where you need to make sharp turns. That’s basically indoors, whether it’s inside the house or in a mall.
On the other hand, 4-wheelers offer more stability than their 3 wheeled counterparts. They may not be able to make sharp turns but they can take you to places that have a fairly rugged terrain, like the outdoors.
- Ordinary vs. heavy duty mobility scooters
The difference between an ordinary mobility scooter and a heavy duty one is that the latter has a higher weight capacity. While ordinary models can carry weight that’s in the 250 to 350-pound range, heavy duty models exceed that by far.
Some are sturdy enough to support in excess of 500 pounds. They also feature a bigger seating space, heavy duty motor, powerful battery, and can travel longer distances. Such scooters are ideal for bariatric patients.
- Class 2 vs. class 3 mobility scooters
Some countries, like the UK, classify scooters into three categories, two of which contain mobility scooters. The two are class 2 and class 3. Class 2 scooters are generally small, cannot travel more than 4mph and are required by law to use pedestrian pavements.
Class 3 scooters are bigger and faster than their class 2 counterparts. They are allowed to share roads with vehicles and can travel as fast as 8mph. Despite that fact, class 3 mobility scooters are still not considered as vehicles. They therefore don’t require license, registration, insurance or tax.
While most class 2 mobility scooters can be folded or dismantled easily, the class 3 type cannot. So if you are interested in a model that is highly portable you may want to shop in the class 2 section.
Things to Consider When Buying The Best Mobility Scooter
Considering the importance of a mobility scooter, it would be wise to take every significant factor into consideration before settling on one model. Below is a list of the most important things to look at as you shop for the best mobility scooter.
Be sure to confirm that the scooter you choose can support the total weight of the things you plan to carry frequently in addition to your weight. If you pick one whose weight limit is lower than what you need you may void its warranty. Plus it probably won’t be big enough for you to sit comfortably, and that means it won’t last long either.
The surface you will ride on
Ideally you need a scooter that can take you anywhere. Unfortunately most of them do have restrictions regarding the surface you can ride it on. Your best bet is to consider the places you visit frequently and then match your mobility scooter to that environment.
4-wheel scooters, especially those with strong and raised suspensions, are best for rugged terrains. They are perfect for you if you intend to visit hilly places frequently. On the other hand, 3 wheelers and low riding scooters are best for fairly smooth surfaces like pavements and indoor floors.
We’ve mentioned this already but it’s worth noting again. 3 wheel mobility scooters are great at making sharp turns. They are ideal if most of your movement occurs indoors. They, however, are not as stable as the 4 wheelers. With a 4 wheel scooter you might struggle to make a sharp turn but chances of it falling are minimal. In short, if you want a model that is easily maneuverable and can turn easily then consider a 3 wheeler that is adequately small. But if maneuverability is not a big factor then a heavy duty 4 wheeler can serve you just as well.
All mobility scooters are powered by rechargeable batteries. A more powerful battery allows you to go a longer distance with the vehicle. Similarly, the power of the battery determines how much weight the scooter can support.
In short, if you are planning to go long distances with heavy loads you may want to go for a scooter whose battery is powerful enough for your needs. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere with a dead battery and no place to charge it.
Generally speaking, a small mobility scooter may have one or two 12Ah battery. On the other hand, bigger scooters have high capacity batteries of up to 74Ah. Keep in mind that if the scooter is a power guzzler even a 74Ah battery might not go the distance you want it to. The best thing to do is check the vehicle’s specifications and note how long the battery lasts.
While some mobility scooters are made for short distances, others are ideal for longer travels. It all depends on how long it can go without draining the battery completely. If you just want a scooter for running errands around within one or two blocks then one with a 10 mile range may be ideal. However, if you need one for exploring farther away places then consider a model with a higher mileage range.
Most mobility scooters are relatively slow. In fact, their speed is usually limited to 8mph. However, there are some models that can travel as fast as 20mph. If you don’t have any difficulty with your hands, and need a scooter as an alternative for getting around town with your car, you can consider going for a speed star that has a higher maximum speed of over 8mph.
Be sure to choose a mobility scooter that has a reliable warranty. Look at the duration of the warranty as well as the parts covered. The battery is particularly important in a scooter, so try as much as possible to choose a model whose warranty covers its battery for a long period. Usually, a good warranty means good quality production that a manufacturer can back without a worry.
The best mobility scooter for you should offer a wide array of accessories that meet your unique needs. For example, if you use crutches or a walking stick you need a scooter that has a holder for it. If you do grocery shopping on a frequent basis you will be best served by a scooter that has a shopping basket.
At the same time, storage covers and canopies are great additions that prevent rain and dust from reaching you and anything that’s in the scooter. Other things to consider include the presence of headlights for night travels and the color choices are available. Ultimately, the best mobility scooter should pack as many of these features as possible.
Should You Take Insurance For Your Scooter?
Although you are not legally required to take out insurance for your mobility scooter, it is highly recommended that you do so. It might not have the same risks as a vehicle but it does have them nonetheless. Talk to your insurance company and see the type of policies they have for the best mobility scooters. Pick the one that suits you best and enjoy your much deserved mobility and freedom.