Features to Look for When Buying Your First Mobility Scooter

Features to Look for When Buying Your First Mobility Scooter

1. Where do you plan to use the scooter most?

Indoor vs Outdoor Use

You must consider where you plan to ride your new mobility scooter the majority of the time. If you need a mobility scooter for mainly indoor use, you should consider a three-wheel mobility scooter that will have a tight turning radius to properly maneuver tight spaces like smaller homes. Before making your selection you should measure the smallest doorways in your home to be sure that the widest part of the mobility scooter will fit through. Remember, you may lose up to 2" if the doorway has a hinged door. If you plan to use your mobility scooter indoors but more often in public than in your home, consider an easy to transport folding mobility scooter may fit your lifestyle best.

If you plan to use your new mobility scooter primarily outdoor, a four-wheel mobility scooter is a better option since most of them can traverse rough terrain more easily. They often have larger wheels, suspension, and a higher ground clearance to make outdoor use that much more smooth. When selecting a mobility scooter for outdoor use you must also consider the weather conditions in your area. Since mobility scooters are not intended for use on ice, while snowing, or in the rain, we suggest changing your plans if adverse weather is in the forecast. If you mobility scooter gets wet it could cause damage to the electrical components and void your warranty.

Ground clearance is arguably one of the most important factors to consider while researching scooters for outdoor use. A higher ground clearance will allow you to travel over rough terrain smoothly. The ground clearance is the space under the scooter to the ground. This measurement is taken between the wheels. Portable scooters like the EV Rider 4AF generally have less space underneath compared to full-sized scooters like the Golden Technologies Buzzaround EX. Heavy-duty scooters will possess the highest ground clearance and will ultimately be the best for outdoor use. If you know you will be using your device on rough terrain routinely you should select a mobility scooter with a higher ground clearance.

Overall Size of the Scooter

In addition to considering the overall number of wheels, it is important to research the size of the scooter that will best suit your lifestyle. If you mainly plan to use your scooter for short distances a smaller mobility scooter with small wheels should fit your needs. The smaller the wheels the more bumpy the ride will be and you should try to stick to paved smooth pathways.

Medium-size scooters will increase the total distance you can travel on a full battery. These trips would usually include your neighborhood, shopping malls, and parks. Medium-size mobility scooters will have a larger turning radius thank your smaller scooter. This could make maneuvering them in smaller stores more difficult.

Large mobility scooters like the Golden Technologies Eagle are more suitable for use in rural communities because of their large turning radius. The overall travel range also increases versus a medium-size scooter. Larger mobility scooters will usually have a higher maximum speed as well. If you are considering a large mobility scooter be sure you have ample storage space as they take up a lot of room.

2. Comfortability 

Your overall comfort is the most important factor to consider before purchasing your new mobility scooter. Before you make your selection investigate the seat height and floor space to be sure you can sit comfortably. Your feet should be able to sit flat on the floorboard and your knees will be bent at a 90-degree angle. You should also be able to reach the tiller (steering column) comfortably without straining your back. Most mobility scooters will have an adjustable tiller, but rarely do they have an infinitely adjustable tiller like the Golden Technologies Buzzaround CarryOn.

Keep in mind a three-wheel mobility scooter will have more leg room than its four-wheel counterpart, so taller people should consider this. You should always check the weight capacity of the mobility scooter to be sure it can support your weight plus anything else you plan to bring with you. Four-wheel mobility scooter have a wider, more study wheelbase which is be more stable overall. We suggest speaking to one of our mobility experts by calling us at 727-537-6275.

3. Operating Controls

To operate your standard T-shaped tiller (steering column), you have to be able to hold onto it with both hands. You should possess the dexterity to operate all of the controls including, speed controls, horn, and turn signals. Nearly all mobility scooters require a consistent pressure to move the mobility device forward or backwards. Once you take your hand off the throttle lever brake system will engage automatically. Delta tillers (wrap-around style handle) are a safer option for people who lack dexterity and strength to control your more common T-style tiller.

4. Comfortable Seat

If you plan to spend most of the day on your new mobility scooter you should consider a full-sized mobility scooter like the Golden Technologies Buzzaround LX that comes in both a three-wheel and four-wheel version. Full-size mobility scooters usually have a more comfortable and well-padded seat. Some folks prefer a captain’s seat as it may offer some people more support. A portable travel mobility scooter is much more compact in overall size, but that means the seat have less padding making them an option for shorter trips.

5. Transportability and storage

If you live an active lifestyle and love travelling by car, airplane, or cruise ship, a transport scooter if more appropriate for you. Travel mobility scooter is are compact and are either foldable or can easily disassembled. If you think a portable travel mobility scooter is right for you, you must consider the weight of the heaviest piece because you or a helper will have to lift it. If even the heaviest part of the mobility scooter is too heavy, you may want to consider a transport scissor lift. You need to also consider the  dimensions of the mobility scooter for storage purposes.

6. Maximum Gradient

The maximum gradient means the maximum climbing angle the mobility scooter can safely climb. This is an important specification to consider for people who have a steep driveway, live near or on a hill, need to traverse accessibility ramps often. Travel mobility scooters usually have the smallest maximum incline of 6 to 8 degrees. The maximum gradient for larger full-size and heavy-duty mobility scooters can range from 6 to 12 degrees. This makes a full-size or heavy-duty mobility scooter a better option for people who need to climb more hilly terrain.

7. Top Speed

Smaller travel mobility scooters usually have a top speed of 3.5-5 mph. Larger full-size mobility scooters can reach a top speed of around 5-6 mph, heavy-duty scooters can reach speeds around 6-8 mph, where recreational mobility scooters can go as fast as 15 mph. It is important to exercise caution while travelling at any speed with your mobility scooter. It is important to operate your mobility scooter with extreme care as smaller mobility scooters tend to be less stable and could tip while making corners at the top speed. We recommend doing the lower end of the speed spectrum in cities, sidewalks, and other busy areas. A lot of scooters possess different speed settings so you can find the right speed for you.


Back to blog