Choosing A Mobility Scooter
Choosing a mobility scooter can initially seem a daunting prospect, with a number of different classes of scooter existing, and several choices within each. However, we have written this handy guide to help make the process as simple as possible.
The first thing to consider when choosing a mobility scooter is how much room you have to store it. Full-sized scooters can be quite large and scooters should generally be kept indoors to maintain the condition of the batteries. While people do often keep scooters outdoors, cold (and excessively hot) temperatures are bad for battery life, while exposure to the elements will degrade the scooter. If you want your scooter to run at its best and last a long time, you should keep it inside.
If you have steps or thresholds, you may need ramps to get your scooter into your property. Even the largest scooters have very limited kerb climbing ability.
Each of our product pages gives the dimensions of the scooter, and for those with less space, a compact boot scooter may be preferable. Some smaller scooters also have the option to remove the batteries for charging, meaning the scooter can be kept in a shed or unheated garage while the battery is charged in your house.
Probably the most important thing to bear in mind is what use the scooter is going to be put to. Generally speaking, the less smooth the ground you'll be driving over, and the more you want to use it, the larger the scooter you should get.
Small boot scooters are limited to flat pavements, paved pathways or shopping centres and have limited ranges. While they can sometimes be driven over other ground, the small wheels can struggle with soft ground while bumpy surfaces can dislodge the batteries. Their compact size, however, does allow them to manoeuvre around many shops.
Class 2 pavement scooters overcome many of these limitations with larger wheels and bigger batteries. If you are sticking to pavement use, and don’t need to transport the scooter in a car, pavement scooters are the ideal solution. However, they remain limited to 4 mph - roughly walking pace - and cannot be driven on roads.
For those looking to drive longer distances, a Class 3 scooter will be needed. They feature higher top speeds of 6 or 8 mph, full suspension, and can be driven on roads. They allow you to get where you need faster, and can also be driven further, with ranges of up to 30 miles.
While manufacturers do advertise ranges for their products, these should always be taken with a pinch of salt, and are more useful for comparing different products by the same manufacturer than products from different manufacturers. However, battery size is a key indicator of range, and should be looked at when working out if a product will go the distance that you need.
Please note that mobility scooters are designed for outdoor use only, or in large spaces such as shopping centres. If you are looking for mobility assistance around the house, then a powered wheelchair would be more suitable.
Boot scooters are designed to be easily dismantled into small parts that can fit in the back of a car. These parts usually weigh around 15 kg (2.3 stone) each, so they are liftable. They are therefore the best solution if you are looking to transport your scooter in a car.
Scooters that can be easily folded up do exist, and sometimes feature lightweight lithium-ion batteries. However, the downside to these is that they cannot be taken apart, meaning you have to lift the entire scooter if you want to get it into or out of a car. These realistically require two able bodied people to do this, limiting their use. Additionally, comfort is often limited, with small wheels and limited legroom, while the seats tend to lack padding or even armrests. Folding scooters therefore are a niche product, best suited to those who go on occasional coach or cruise holidays who need a compact scooter that doesn’t need regular lifting.
Some pavement scooters can be dismantled, but these tend to be heavier and more cumbersome to take apart. These scooters are therefore best for those who want the benefits of a larger scooter and only need to transport their scooter very occasionally, for example on holiday.
Larger scooters are generally not dismantlable. If you need to transport them, you would need an adapted vehicle or van and ramps.
If you wish to use your powerchair on public transport, you will need to check with your bus or train company first to see if they have any size restrictions. Most buses will only take boot scooters; anything larger than this will not be allowed to board. When travelling on a train, bear in mind that unfortunately many stations still lack step free access.
There are a number of features that scooters can have to aid in the comfort of the user. Seating is the first thing to consider - do you need a high-back chair with a headrest (only on larger scooters) or is a low-back folding seat sufficient? Many scooters have adjustable seats that can be reclined slightly, or have armrests adjusted, to fit your posture - however, not all will offer these features. Rotating seats can be vital for those who struggle to sit and stand.
Leg position is vital to your comfort. Taller drivers will want to ensure they have space for their legs, and a seat that can be adjusted backwards is ideal here. Long scooters generally have more legroom, and being able to move your feet between the footwell and resting on the wheel arches is often a bonus. Larger wheels will affect the height of the wheel arch, so bear this in mind. Conversely, if you are particularly short, make sure your legs will reach the floor.
The smoothness of the ride is crucial too. Small basic boot scooters may prove quite “rattly” over bumpy ground - not ideal for those with back conditions. Full suspension, large wheels, and pneumatic tyres all contribute to comfort.
Heavier users will need a scooter with a larger weight capacity - it may be best to look for an HD scooter that comes with a large seat. It is always best to allow some leeway on the weight capacity - many health conditions can cause your weight to fluctuate.
If you have arthritis or similar problems with your hands, then look out for scooters with ergonomic handlebars that are comfortable to grip for extended periods of time. Curved delta tillers are popular as they allow a variety of grips while safely controlling the scooter.
Like with all products, scooters come in a variety of styles. While there are definitely scooters available that have more modern, attractive appearances, these often come at a premium. It’s also worth bearing in mind that older scooters are often still available because the design is tried and tested!
If you are driving a scooter around, you want to know that you are driving a safe piece of equipment. Scooters designed to be driven on the road will have lights on them to ensure that they are visible to others – look out for LED lights that are brighter and use less power. At least one wing mirror will also be required to drive a scooter on the road. Sturdy bumpers and a solidly-build scooter will also help to ensure your safety.
The cost of scooters is mainly affected by their size, manufacturer and features. Smaller scooters are cheaper, while large road-capable vehicles are more expensive. For those after a road scooter, but on a budget, there are more compact 6 and 8 mph scooters that offer significant savings over full-sized scooters.
Some manufacturers are more expensive than others - TGA pitch themselves as a "premium" brand, and their scooters are significantly more costly. At the opposite end of the scale, Roma Medical and their Shoprider range are considered "budget" scooters by comparison. It is often the scooters in the middle that represent the best value - not too costly, yet reliable and offering much of the performance of more expensive models. Pride Mobility, Invacare and Sunrise Medical in particular fit in this middle bracket with their scooters.
Most scooters can have a range of accessories fitted to them, such as baskets, bags and crutch holders.Various covers and shelters are also available, although it is always best to store scooters indoors where they are not exposed to cold temperatures or damp conditions.
We often get enquiries about canopies for scooters. While they can be useful for keeping the rain off, they come with a number of downsides. For a start, canopies are often hard to remove, meaning you may be stuck with them fitted during the summer when they can get stiflingly hot. Moreover, the lack of windscreen wipers means that rain builds up on the canopy, restricting your vision - while condensation on the inside further hinders this. This means that canopies can often be unsafe to drive during rainy conditions, undermining the reason for having them. Finally, canopies do affect the stability of scooters, particularly during windy conditions.
We currently supply scooters from several leading manufacturers – Pride Mobility, TGA Mobility, Sunrise Medical Sterling, Roma Medical and Shoprider, and Invacare. Pride Mobiliy has one of the alrgest ranges of scooters, able to cater to most needs with their affordable yet reliable scooters, while their Apex range features more advanced models with enhanced comfort. Invacare are a global leader for medical products, and their scooters are trusted and easy to maintain.
Roma Medical and their Shoprider brand offer affordable scooters with traditional styling, while TGA sit at the opposite end of the market with their Breeze and Vita ranges significantly more expensive than equivalent scooters from other manufacturers.
Sunrise Medical’s new Sterling S-series scooters combine modern style and comfort, whilst remaining relatively inexpensive.
All our scooters come with a one year Manufacturer’s Guarantee, with the exception of TGA scooters which either come with a two or three year guarantee. We honour this with our own technicians in our own vans - no need to go through a third party, or to send the scooter back to us. With coverage across London and the South East, we can get to you quickly should you experience a problem.
We are appointed representatives for First Senior Insurance, and are able to talk you through their range of Insurance, Breakdown Cover and Extended Warranty services.
If you are hiring from us, or leasing a scooter through the Motability scheme, it will be fully insured with breakdown cover included.
Our full range of mobility scooters can be viewed on our products page, and the individual product listings contain in-depth descriptions of their features, as well as detailing product specifications and a number of pictures.
If after reading this guide, you need further assistance in choosing a mobility scooter, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer services team who will be able discuss your options with you. We can book an appointment for you to see a product specialist, who will be able to talk you over the various products available, and advise on which would be most suitable. They can then demonstrate our range of products to you, giving you the opportunity to try out a mobility scooter. This will allow you to experience our mobility scooters first-hand, an invaluable experience when making up your mind which to get.