The Best Mobility Scooters For The Outdoors

Pick Out the Best Mobility Scooter For Your Outdoor Use

Mobility scooters are not only for the elderly – anyone who needs a helping hand in getting around can benefit from what is essentially a luxury motorized wheelchair. If you are after a new mobility scooter for yourself, or if you have a relative or friend needing one, then look no further for a comprehensive overview of 9 of the best mobility scooters to increase independence. The great thing about all scooters is that they don’t require a second person to push, and they can mean the difference between someone being able to go to the shops themselves or having to rely on someone else. There are many different scooters on the markets, all in different price ranges so here are 9 of the best for you to compare.

Buyers Guide Mobility Scooters

There are many reasons why you or a loved one would need a mobility scooter – perhaps you are finding it harder to walk around the shops, or want some assistance getting up and down your long driveway. No matter what the reason, a mobility scooter is quite different to a wheelchair – in fact most users of mobility scooters will still be able to walk perfectly fine, the scooter is just there to assist and save energy. They also have the benefit of not having to rely on someone to push them around, and so it gives the rider a sense of independence that otherwise would not be there. While it is true that a mobility scooter is more than a wheelchair, it is also very important to realize that it is also not a car – therefore there are restrictions as to where they can and cannot be driven. Do not get one expecting to be able to drive down the road – unless there is a safe sidewalk or pavement, then it will not be suitable.

So even though you may have determined that a mobility scooter is perfect for you or your loved ones, there are still many different types and models on the market, and so are some things that need to be considered. Below is an overview on the main considerations you must make when choosing the best mobility scooter to meet your needs.

Number of wheels

One clear difference between mobility scooters is that they either get sold as 3 wheeled or 4 wheeled configurations. There is a misconception that the 3 wheeled varieties are more dangerous than the 4 wheeled, and that they are more likely to tip over. This is not true however, and in the United States, around 80% of all mobility scooters sold are made up of 3 wheels. The reason why they are more popular in 3 wheels is that they are easier to navigate and have a much smaller turning circle – more like a bike. The 3 wheeled is best for indoors and flatter surfaces where a higher level of manoeuvrability is required. The 4 wheeled tend to function better on rougher, uneven surfaces, and for longer outdoor rides.

Size and weight of rider

Different mobility scooters will have different weight capacities – generally the smaller ones will be easier to navigate and be lighter, however will not be able to withstand as much weight. It is important for safety reasons that you make a note of the maximum weight allowance – it is there for a reason. Height of the user is also another consideration – there are scooters especially made for riders with longer legs so make sure you check before purchasing. Nothing is more uncomfortable than sitting in a scooter where your legs do not fit properly.

Portability

Some people will require their mobility scooter to be portable – to have it be able to be folded down and taken from one location to another. Some of the more portable ones can be taken apart into multiple parts, and will be able to fit in the average sized car. Others will be not so portable, however may fold down for easy storage in a hallway or garage. Some will not be at all portable, and these will be perfect for those who use their scooter every day and are able to keep it in a garage or convenient location.

Comfort of the Seat

The point of a mobility scooter is to be able to ride around while the rider is sitting comfortably. And this would be made very difficult if the seat provided was not suitable or appropriate. The seat is the main part of the scooter that the rider will use, and so it needs to be not only be adjustable, but made from a durable and long lasting material. Many good quality scooter seats are made from memory foam, which is perfect as it will offer extra support – more than if there was just a cushion or ordinary padding. The arms need to be adjustable and movable, as it will be difficult to get in and out of the scooter if the arms are in the way. A well adjusted seat can mean the difference between a comfortable ride and a sore back.

How are mobility scooters powered?

There are two main methods of powering your mobility scooter – either by plugging them into a power outlet, or by charging an external battery. No legitimate mobility scooter will be powered using petrol in the United States (as they are not legally classed as motor vehicles), so be very wary if you see one advertised as such.

Electric Scooters

Electric scooters will have an inbuilt power supply that will need to be charged for a particular period of time before it can be used (kind of like a mobile phone or a camera). The disadvantage of this is that you cannot us the scooter while it is being charged, and you will need to have a spot where you can keep the scooter charging that is near a power outlet. If you lose or break the power cord, then your scooter becomes effectively useless, However there is an advantage in that they are user friendly (just plug in, no batteries to fiddle around with), and the charge generally lasts longer than with battery powered scooters. Of course, the total time that a single charge will last for depends entirely on the make and model of the scooter.

Battery Powered Scooters

Usually there will be one or two external batteries. These batteries will need to be physically removed form the scooter and charged. The benefit being that if there are multiple batteries, you can use the scooter while the second one charges. And the batteries can be charged anywhere *(so you can leave your scooter under the porch and charge the batteries inside the house. The disadvantage is that it involves the constant removal and reinstallation of the batteries.

What are some of the accessories or attachments available for mobility scooters?

Available accessories and attachments depends purely on the model of mobility scooter purchased – not all scooters will have the capabilities to use all possible attachments. A highlight of the commonly found accessories and attachments is below.

  • Baskets – This is the most common accessory and will be found on all mobility scooters no matter the size. Some of the larger ones will have two or more baskets. Some may have lids or removable liners. These are basically used to hold the belongings of the rider – so they can be used to hold their wallet, shopping or hand bag. Often these can be removed for when in storage or to create more room.
  • Weather Shields – One of the more useful accessories is the weather shield. These comes in varying styles but are essentially a roof and sometimes sides that allows you to ride in bad weather (such as rain) without getting wet. This shield will then be able to be removed. Such weather shields generally only come with the more expensive scooters.
  • Flags – Surely you will have noticed someone riding a ability scooter on the footpath with a flag billowing happily from the back. This flag does not add any functionality to the scooter, however it is a way for you to personalize it and make it a bit more fun. It also means that it can be easier to spot in a crowd.
  • Walking Stick Holder – If you require a walking stick, then getting a mobility scooter with a special holder can be invaluable. Unless you have a foldable walking stick, it will not fit into the baskets, and it can be important to be able to take your walking stick with you, especially if you need to do some walking after a ride.

What are the road or traffic rules surrounding the use of mobility scooters?

The most important factor to remember is that the operator of a mobility scooter is actually legally considered a pedestrian as opposed to the driver of a vehicle. The reason for this is because the law states that any motored device that travels at under 6 mph is not considered a ‘motor vehicle’. This is the same reason why a mobility scooter does not need to be registered. Therefore the scooter and its rider need to follow the road rules as a pedestrian – look at it as something that simply makes you ‘walk faster’. Do not take the scooter anywhere that you would not walk as a pedestrian – so this includes on major roads (as opposed to the footpaths), motorways and even through drive-thru restaurants. You also do not need to get third-party insurance for the mobility scooter, however it is still considered valuable property so it is a good idea to still insure against theft and damage.

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