TOP 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A MOBILITY SCOOTER
If you or a loved one are finding yourselves in need of a motorized mobility device, a mobility scooter may be the right solution for you. Here are the top 5 things to consider when looking to buy a mobility scooter.
1. GENERAL USE
Although it may start off as a very obvious question, but what will you be using your mobility scooter for? If you will largely be using your scooter indoors, on trips (via your car or on a plane), and will generally be outdoors for only a couple of hours per day (2-3 hours) then a small, portable, mobility scooter may be a good starting point. Smaller scooters can be used to go to the mall or grocery store next door and back (3-5 km away), or for a quick outdoor stroll.
If you plan to use the scooter for longer than a couple hours or a quick stroll, or know that you will be on the road for more than 10-15 km per trip, then a medium sized or large, heavy duty scooter may be the correct starting point for you.
Medium sized scooters carry roughly 35 km per charge and are perfect if you expect to use your scooter outdoors for the majority of the day within a reasonably small radius (ie. Going to mall next door to run errands, then going to bank, and picking up groceries on your way back).
Larger, heavy duty scooters are appropriate if you expect to be outdoors all day and will extensively be traveling longer distances (ie. Riding between multiple ends of town and back). It’s also appropriate if you expect to ride your scooter over rougher terrain such as unpaved or poorly paved roads.
2. HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
Your height and weight will be a major factor in determining comfort and suitability for your scooter. This may help narrow down your options (or steer you in a different direction entirely) after determining what you will generally be using your scooter for.
Height: If you are relatively taller (approaching or above 6 feet), a small, portable mobility scooter may feel very uncomfortable for you as your knees may get in the way of the device. The feeling may be similar to sitting on a seat of a plane with very little leg room.
A good starting point for taller individuals are medium and larger, heavy duty scooters to accommodate comfort and leg room. If you require a smaller scooter for accessibility or portability related reasons (ie. You can easily store a smaller scooter in your car or can easily navigate indoors), then a smaller, three-wheel mobility scooter may be a good fit.
Weight: If you weigh close to or above 300 lbs, a smaller, portable mobility scooter is probably not the best fit. Although most small scooters can accommodate up to 300 lbs of capacity, the seating size may be uncomfortable for you if you are around the limit. Furthermore, you risk damaging the scooter if you are closer to the weight capacity (which are not covered under warranty). A medium sized or larger, heavy duty scooter are most appropriate if you weight above 200 lbs.
3. STORAGE AND ACCESSIBILITY: YOUR HOME AND LIVING CONDITIONS
Smaller, portable mobility scooters are generally a best fit for those living in apartments and condominiums with tighter hallways. However, depending on your needs, a small scooter might not be the best fit (such as extended outdoor usage and height or weight restrictions). A medium sized scooter will also easily fit into apartments and condominiums.
A larger, heavy duty scooter is best suited for a garage in a detached home, in a senior’s residence, or long-term care facility, where they can be safely stored in dedicated areas or in the hallway with security. Larger scooters with 3 wheels may fit in certain apartments and condos due to a tighter turning radius (explained below) - but it’s best if you take a look at the scooter first or test it at one of our locations (prior to purchasing) if you are considering it for an apartment or condominium.
4. 3 WHEEL VS. 4 WHEEL SCOOTERS
One of the most common questions for potential users of mobility scooters is whether they should opt for a 3 wheel or a 4 wheel mobility scooter. The general trade-offs between a 3-wheel and a 4-wheel scooter are between stability, maneuverability, and legroom.
Stability: All mobility scooters provided by the major manufacturers (Invacare, Drive, Pride) that we carry are extremely stable, and have passed stringent regulations on safety. A 4 wheel scooter is generally more stable than a 3 wheel scooter because of the additional wheel. However, that does not make the 3 wheel scooter unstable. By losing the extra wheel, the 3 wheel scooter has better maneuverability as discussed below.
Maneuverability: The 3 wheel scooter has a tighter turning radius than the 4 wheel scooter, allowing for sharper and quicker turns. This allows the 3 wheel scooter to get into places like the entrance of an apartment or condominium, or into a room a lot easier than a 4 wheel scooter. Although the additional wheel on the 4 wheel scooter allows for additional stability, it results in a wider turning radius (which means you will need more room to turn your scooter).
Legroom: The 4 wheel scooter has two front mudguards on top of the front two wheels, resulting in less legroom than the 3 wheel scooter. As mentioned earlier, if you are relatively tall, you will likely feel more comfortable in a 3 wheel scooter.
5. COMFORT AND PREFERENCE
Although it sounds cliché, the final and arguably most important factor to consider is your general preference of scooter. For example, although a midsize scooter may fit your needs, you may prefer the comfort of the additional padding in the larger, heavy-duty scooters. Similarly, you may initially find that you want to travel the distance with the larger, heavy duty scooters, but conclude that you are just find with a midsize scooter. The only way to truly decide that a specific scooter is right for you, is to come in to one of our locations and try it for yourself before you ultimately buy.
If you have more questions, feel free to give us as a call at 289-812-8095. One of our experts will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have. If you would like to book a free, on-site demo, please use the following link.