Today, senior citizens have the opportunity to live their life to the fullest without letting their age or ailments restrict them from living out their dreams. With the aid of the ideal mobility scooters, the elderly can keep their physical limitations from becoming hindrances in their way.
However, since the market is brimming with ample travel mobility scooters, choosing the right one for yourself or your loved one can be overwhelming. For instance, some mobility scooters are foldable, lightweight, and easy to disassemble, while others are bulkier and sturdier. The scooter you choose should be able to fulfill your distinct requirements.
This mobility scooter guide can help you establish your specific travel scooter needs, learn about the features of a mobility scooter, and help you make an informed decision.
Choose Your Ideal Mobility Scooter Type
First things first, you will have to decide between the two types of mobility scooters – three-wheel and four-wheel scooters. Here’s an overview of them:
These mobility scooters are typically more compact and easier to maneuver than their four-wheel counterparts. They are easy to use in tight, enclosed spaces since they have a tighter turning radius. Three-wheel scooters are also lightweight and offer significant legroom.
With that said, even though this lightweight mobility scooter can be maneuvered on sand, grass, and other textured, rough surfaces, it works best on smooth, flat surfaces. You should also slow down when making turns to avoid tipping over.
Four-wheel scooters are generally more stable than three-wheel ones. They offer greater power and flexibility on all terrains, especially when traveling up ramps or hills. Some older versions might be bulkier and more difficult to transport, but newer four-wheel scooters can be dissembled and transported conveniently.
Since these scooters have a larger turning radius than three-wheel mobility scooters, they run well over outdoor surfaces that are not so compact. They also have large, pneumatic wheels and suspension systems to make the ride smoother over rough terrains.
Think of the Mobility Scooter Features You Will Need
As established earlier, the market is saturated with mobility scooters, and you will have a vast array of sizes, styles, brand names, prices, etc., to choose from. However, all mobility scooters come with the same fundamental parts – a battery, frame, control system, and motor. Here are the basics you need to know about these travel mobility scooter features:
Many travel scooter manufacturers consider the portability requirements of their buyers when choosing a frame design. Most travel mobility scooters have a multi-piece or foldable frame. A folding mobility scooter comes in handy when traveling and spending most of your time outdoors. You will require a lightweight mobility scooter, such as the Featherweight Mobility Scooter, with a light, portable frame that can be easily folded and put in a vehicle.
The control mechanism of mobility scooters includes brakes, tires, steering, and front and rear suspension. These parts vary greatly depending on the brand you choose and even amongst different models of the same company. Not all of these components are standard. For instance, not all travel scooters have a suspension system since you only need it to travel over rugged terrains.
Moreover, some scooters come with a standard T-shaped tiller, which requires manual dexterity for smooth operation. On the flip side, you can go for a flexible tiller that does not require hand strength and can be controlled by either hand.
Wheels & Tires
Your mobility scooter’s maneuverability will largely depend on its tire and wheel size. Front-wheel drive models come with small tires to increase their maneuverability but decrease their traction. On the flip side, rear-wheel drive scooters usually have bigger tires for a better grip on rough terrains. Mobility scooters come with foam-filled, pneumatic, and solid tires.
Pneumatic tires require maintenance and replacement when worn but offer significant comfort. Foam ones cannot be deflated and require almost zero maintenance, but they are more expensive and less comfortable than pneumatic ones. Lastly, solid tires are only suited for indoor use, as they are not comfortable on rough, outdoor terrains.
A travel mobility scooter comes with a motor that draws energy from the battery and takes the machine forward. The motor’s size determines the scooter’s maximum speed, weight capacity, and ability to navigate slopes. Smaller mobility scooters come with motors that can push 200-350 watts, while bigger ones can push up to 700 watts.
A mobility scooter’s battery size determines how far and quickly it can travel before you need to charge it. The battery works in tandem with the motor to keep the vessel going. Naturally, larger batteries contain higher amp-hour capabilities, increasing the distance the scooter can go before requiring charging.
Now, let’s look at personal expectations based on your comfort, cost, compatibility, and other requirements.
You will naturally buy a mobility scooter that falls within your price range. If your insurance covers the cost of this scooter, let your representative know about the scooter you require and learn about its deductible. However, if you have a specific mobility scooter in mind, you might have to pay for it out of your pocket since Medicare only covers the payment of the most fundamental mobility scooter.
Your comfort should come first and foremost when choosing a mobility scooter because what good will it do to buy a scooter you cannot drive comfortably? So, consider the seat’s width and padding and ensure it’s well-padded and contoured. Check if the tiller or seat can be easily adjusted and examine the legroom.
You will need to measure the seat’s height to ensure your feet are resting on the footrest and your knees are bent at a comfortable 90-degree angle. You should not need to curve your back to reach the tiller, or else you will not be able to sit comfortably and without pain. Check the scooter’s weight capacity to ascertain it can support your weight and the weight of the things you plan to carry while riding it. Lastly, consider if you can picture yourself driving the travel mobility scooter for long stretches without pain.
If you plan on traveling in your car or through some other transport, you will need a travel mobility scooter or a folding mobility scooter that can be disassembled or folded easily. If you require a bulkier scooter, pay attention to its portability before making your purchase, as you will need to ensure it can be lifted and stored in the boot of your car. Ideally, choosing a lightweight travel mobility scooter like the Featherweight Mobility Scooter is best to ensure easy portability.
Ask Yourself Some Pertinent Questions Before Buying a Mobility Scooter
Before choosing a travel mobility scooter, you need to consider the reasons for wanting one. Ask yourself how often you will use the scooter, where you will use it the most, how you plan on benefitting from it, your budget for the scooter, and more. Answering these questions will help you choose a scooter that best suits your needs.
For instance, you should first ask yourself where you will use the scooter. If you want one for indoor use, your best bet is a three-wheel scooter that can be maneuvered in tight spaces. Alternatively, you can choose a four-wheel scooter with smaller wheels and a smaller turning radius. If the scooter is for outdoor use, you can select a four-wheel scooter with large, pneumatic wheels.
Then, you should also consider if you will take your scooter on steep hills and rough curbs. If the answer is yes, you will require a mobility scooter with extra power and stability to handle these terrains. You must also consider the design of your indoor space to purchase a scooter that can fit through your door and be used indoors easily.
Lastly, you should always consider your comfort when buying travel mobility scooters. For instance, if you are tall, a 3-wheel scooter might be a better fit as it has better leg space. But if your priority is sitting upright, a 4-wheel scooter will offer you the stability to do so. You must also consider the storage space and whether your scooter can handle your accessories, such as crutches, rain canopies, and more.
The Bottom Line
When choosing a mobility scooter, you must select a travel mobility scooter compatible with your needs, current living situations, and specific physical limitations. For instance, you might like a mobility scooter, but it might be too big to fit into your home or have a significant turning radius, making it impossible to maneuver it in tight spots. At the end of the day, you should buy a mobility scooter that comprehensively supports your needs, lifestyle, and living situation.
If you are also looking for wheelchairs to go with your travel mobility scooters, you can check out Featherweight Wheelchair and Featherweight Electric Wheelchair. You can also explore other lightweight wheelchairs that are ideal for everyday use.