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30 July 2021

Mobility scooter FAQs

We answer the most common questions people ask about mobility scooters to help you choose and use the right model for your needs.
Which? Team
Woman on a mobility scooter at an exhibition 429439

Mobility scooter prices: how much should I pay?

Mobility scooter prices depend on the type you buy and whether you want to buy a new or reconditioned model. You can pay as little as £400 for a new portable mobility scooter, or as much as £4,000 for a top-of-the-range Class 3 scooter for the road. 

There are plenty of small and medium-sized scooters available for between £800 and £2,000 (the higher-priced models tend to be the folding ones). 

What's the difference between new and second-hand mobility scooters?

Many people trade in their old models to part-exchange or upgrade to a different one, so you'll see lots of second-hand and reconditioned models for sale in mobility shops. Expect to see a reduced warranty on them – around three months, say, as opposed to a full year.

Visit our guides to buying a new scooter and buying a second-hand scooter to understand the pros and cons of each, plus your rights when you buy online.

How often should I charge my mobility scooter battery?

It depends on how often you use your scooter but, as a general rule, if you use your scooter during the day you’ll need to recharge its battery at night. 

There is no need to run the battery down before you recharge – it won’t damage or affect the battery’s capacity if you charge it when it’s not empty. With some scooters you're not supposed to charge the batteries if they have more than 80% power left, or charge them for more than 12 hours at a time. The instructions should make it clear whether it's possible to overcharge the batteries.

How long should mobility scooter batteries last before needing to be replaced?

This depends on how often you use your scooter, but you could be looking at around 18 months to two years. When your battery is fading, you’ll notice its capacity will reduce and you won't be able to travel the distances you once did on a single charge. For this reason, it’s a good idea to book an annual service and consider replacing your batteries then.

Can you buy a mobility scooter battery that will cover longer distances?

If your model will allow you to change battery sizes, you can replace your standard battery with a high-capacity pack that will take you further, typically doubling your range. However, they will cost more and be heavier to lift.

How much do mobility scooter batteries cost?

A pair of batteries usually costs around £100. Mobility scooters operate on a 24v system, comprised of two 12v batteries that are charged together on the scooter.

Do I need to service my mobility scooter?

Yes, it’s recommended that you do this once a year or at any point when you notice a change in performance, such as unusual noises or squeaks or if the tyre tread is becoming shallow. Expect to pay around £70 for a service.

Can I take a mobility scooter into shops or shopping centres?

You may be able to take your scooter into shopping areas but don't always assume it's allowed – it will depend on the regulations of the business. Reasonable concerns will be that the scooter could get stuck in a tight space and block a pathway, or that the scooter owner will travel too fast in a crowded environment or use the scooter without consideration to other shoppers.

To find out about using your mobility scooter on public transport visit our guide on how to use a mobility scooter.

Which mobility scooter is best for travel?

There are two types of boot or travel scooters: foldable scooters allow you to remove the battery and unlock the tiller at its base before you fold it down so that it's ready for transporting. They reduce down to a compact shape and you can usually freewheel them, just like a wheelie suitcase. 

Dismantling scooters divide into five or six parts (seat, battery, tiller, chassis, basket and sometimes also the rear driving unit).

Can you take a mobility scooter on a plane?

The only general rule with boot scooters is to contact the airline in advance and provide details about your scooter to obtain prior permission. They're likely to ask you for the make, model, weight, size and whether it folds or dismantles. 

You’ll also need to know what type of battery your scooter has, and its weight. Take the operating manual with you when you fly. You won’t be able to take it on as hand luggage, so it will have to travel in the hold.

How do you dismantle a boot scooter?

First, you unlock the seat underneath and take it off (once detached, some seats also fold and armrests detach). 

Second, remove the battery – some simply lift out and others require you to depress a lever. Some models now allow you to split the chassis into two at this stage. Finally, you unscrew the tiller or fold it down.

If you've lost your instruction manual, some manufacturers hold these online, so it's worth a search if you need extra advice – or you could contact the manufacturer directly.

Will I be able to lift a boot scooter on my own?

There is no guarantee that you’ll be able to handle a scooter on your own, particularly foldable versions as they are heavy and can be awkward to lift. With dismantling scooters, the tiller is usually the heaviest part so it's best to try lifting it before you buy. You can buy hoists to lift them in and out of cars.

What's the maximum weight a mobility scooter can carry?

Scooters typically have a maximum carrying capacity of 18-24 stone, but you’ll need to check the capacity of the scooter before you buy. Overall weight can affect performance – the heavier the user, the more the machine will struggle up hills.

Will my mobility scooter cope with hills?

Mobility scooters tend to struggle with hills, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t use them in hilly areas. Generally, they can cope with a small slope – the same gradient used for wheelchair access ramps (1:12). Some can cope with a slightly steeper slope (1:8) but any steeper and they are likely to cut out.  

Where should I store my mobility scooter?

Heat and condensation can damage a mobility scooter's electrics, so it's best not to leave it outside, exposed to the elements. We'd advise you to protect it in a shed or garage – ideally one with an electricity source so you can charge it. You can leave a boot scooter in the car and just bring in the battery for charging (if the model allows). If you do have to leave one outside, protect it with a plastic cover.

Can I secure my mobility scooter?

You can lock it with a chain and padlock, but it’s best to keep it indoors or in a locked garage. Scooters have serial numbers so they can be tracked by the police.