Would a mobility scooter suit you?
A mobility scooter is a great option to take the effort out of walking. They’re suitable if you have good sitting balance, the ability to step on and off, adequate eyesight and a good memory. However, if you have problems with any of the above, or if you have a medical condition that is likely to change, this might not be the best solution for you.
Choosing the right mobility scooter
Mobility scooters fall into two main categories – those for the pavement and those for the road. If opting for a scooter, it’s a good idea to start by weighing up the benefits and disadvantages of each type. Below, we describe the different types and help you decide what kind would be best suited to your needs.
A mobility scooter is a medical device as well as a lifestyle choice. It’s important to get the right one for you – for example, with a tiller and controls you can operate if you have arthritic fingers. Otherwise you could waste money or buy a scooter that isn’t the safest or most comfortable. Take advice from a mobility shop or by contacting an occupational therapist before you make a final decision on what to buy.
Top things to consider when choosing a mobility scooter
- The types of journeys you plan to make
- The types of terrain you’ll cover
- Your storage facilities
- Your body weight and size
- Your budget.
Types of mobility scooter
Mobility scooters for the pavement
Scooters you can use to travel on pavements and in shopping areas are called Class 2 scooters. If you live near a high street and you can get to your destinations by avoiding roads, this may be a good choice.
Class 2 scooters are smaller, lighter and often cheaper than those designed for the road, and can have three, four or, in some cases, five wheels. Although some models are capable of much faster speeds, they should be driven at 4mph on pavements – and some models may also allow you to cap the speed level to this legal limit.
Folding boot scooters
These are small mobility scooters, also for use on pavements only, that can be folded or taken apart for transporting. They are sometimes referred to as ‘boot’ scooters. If you can drive or have access to a car and you’re looking for something to take you short distances, this can be a good choice.
There are two types: folding and dismantling.
- Folding scooters allow you to reduce them to a compact shape and wheel them, like a wheelie case. This makes them particularly convenient for air travel.
- Dismantling scooters are made up of four or five sections that have to be taken apart for travel or put together before they can be used.
Mobility scooters for the road
Mobility scooters for the road are Class 3 vehicles. They are larger and heavier than their Class 2 cousins. You can drive them on any roads, except motorways or dual carriageways that have a speed limit of 50mph or above. The maximum speed at which you can drive your scooter on a road is 8mph (it’s 4mph for pavements).
Mobility scooters buying guide
If you would like more in-depth advice on choosing or buying a mobility scooter, including information about how we test the leading brands, visit the mobility scooter buying guide on Which? Home & garden.
Buying a second-hand mobility scooter
There’s a huge market for used mobility scooters sold by individual private sellers. Before you look, it’s best to identify the scooter you want – this will stop you from being tempted to buy a cheap second-hand scooter that’s not right for your needs or lifestyle. Remember to factor in the cost of maintaining and servicing any scooter you buy, as well as extras such as insurance and breakdown cover.
Read more advice on buying a second-hand mobility scooter in Which? Home & garden.
Mobility scooter storage
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to bring your electric scooter inside the home, but it may be necessary to store it in a lobby area or hallway. Safety regulations around access may need to be taken into account in a communal building, so always check before making a purchase. You’ll also need to think about charging the scooter, so ensure there is an electric socket in the area you’re planning to store it in.
If you wish to store the scooter in your garage or shed (these are the most common storage solutions), make sure there is an electric point at an accessible height for easy charging. It should be simple for you to get into and out of the shed or garage, so check there is a clear and safe route, as well as adequate lighting.
If it’s not possible to store your scooter in or around the home or garden, another option is to use a specially designed scooter storage unit with an electric supply.
Read about the differences between manual and electric wheelchairs and how to customise yours for greater comfort.
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