How we test mobility scooters
By Joanna Pearl
We’ve independently lab-tested mobility scooters from all the major UK brands so that you can be sure you're buying the right scooter for your needs.
Our reviews answer the most crucial questions about mobility scooters:
- Is this mobility scooter easy to set up and prepare to ride?
- Does this boot scooter handle and manoeuvre well indoors?
- How about outdoors - does it cope well with kerbs and rough surfaces?
- How easy is this scooter to fold or dismantle, and then unfold or reassemble?
- Is it a doddle or a pain to get it in and out of the car boot?
- Should I buy it?
Find out which models give top-class results in our mobility scooter reviews.
Is this mobility scooter easy to set up and prepare to ride?
Our expert testers start from scratch with every mobility scooter, beginning with its instructions, in the same way that you would.
They check whether you can adjust the seat, tiller and armrests to suit you, how easy it is to do this, and how comfortable the scooter is when it's ready to use. For example, they look at whether the seat and armrests are well-padded, the back offers support and there's room to stretch your legs out.
They rate how easy and comfortable it is to get on and off the scooter - some scooters have seats that swivel and have softer edges, for example - and whether the control panel is comprehensive, simple to understand and clear to see.
Next, they start the scooter and begin to drive. This allows them to examine factors such as how stable and secure the mobility scooter feels, plus how loud the 'beep' is when you're reversing (and indeed whether there's a beep at all).
Find out the scooters we rated Best Buys based on our lab test results.
Does this boot scooter handle and manoeuvre well indoors?
We put the mobility scooter through tests that mimic the way you're likely to move in it every time you take it out.
This includes driving around cones - which shows how it will handle when you're dodging obstacles at a shopping centre - reversing, and doing an emergency stop as if someone has walked out in front of you.
Does it handle and manoeuvre well outdoors?
Our testers take the scooter out and test it in several real-life situations: on a bumpy car park surface, along a pavement, uphill, downhill and up and down low kerbs.
The panel drive each scooter at lower and higher speeds, negotiate obstacles and stop suddenly, in the same way that they do during the indoor tests.
Even though some scooters aren't supposed to be used on kerbs or bumpy surfaces, we recognise that sometimes you can't avoid these things - so we test them in these situations to see how they'd cope if you did encounter an unavoidable, less-than-perfect surface.
How easy is this scooter to charge?
It sounds simple enough to charge a scooter, but we test just how easy it is to do, and whether the instructions are straight-forward and comprehensive - for example, whether they make it clear how long you need to charge the battery for and if it's possible to over-charge it.
Our testers even take the small but important things into consideration, such as whether you have to stoop and twist to plug in the scooter to charge it, and how easy it is to remove the battery (if it can be charged off-board).
How easy is this scooter to fold or dismantle and put in the car boot?
Although the weight of the scooter is important, we know that the process of folding or taking it apart is also a vital consideration when choosing which model to buy.
We test how simple it is to fold or dismantle the scooter and get it into a car boot, then unload and reassemble or unfold it. We explain whether the process is manageable for one person or if you'll struggle even with two.
Our tests also reveal how easy it is to 'freewheel' (you can pull along some folding scooters as you would a wheelie suitcase), and how useful the instructions are overall.
Should I buy it?
75% The score needed for a scooter to become a Best Buy
All of the assessments listed above contribute towards the overall score for each mobility scooter we review.
Because we know you'll have different priorities depending on whether you buy a folding or dismantling scooter, we assess the two types slightly differently. This means that different aspects of the scooter are given different weightings based on its type:
- 12.5% Setting up and preparing to ride the scooter
- 50% Ride quality, both indoors and outdoors
- 7.5% Charging the scooter
- 30% Moving and handling the scooter
- 10% Setting up and preparing to ride the scooter
- 40% Ride quality, both indoors and outdoors
- 5% Charging the scooter
- 30% Moving and handling the scooter
- 15% Foldability
Currently, a mobility scooter needs a score of 75% to become a Best Buy.