Choosing the right scooter?
Mobility impacts our ability to socialise, sense of security, independence and self-esteem. A mobility scooter enables those with limited mobility the chance to travel to more destinations, achieve more daily tasks, maintain independence and increase their sense of wellbeing. There are many considerations when choosing a mobility scooter. This guide may help you to make a more informed decision on which scooter is most likely to match your circumstances.
To benefit the most from a purchase, choose a mobility scooter that matches your needs as closely as possible. Scooters have two different classifications, Class 2 and Class 3.
Class 2 mobility scooters are for pavement use with a maximum speed of 4mph. The benefit of a Class 2 scooter over a larger Class 3 is principally the amount of space it takes to store it. Most Class 2 mobility scooters dismantle and ideal for those who require the use of a device for short day trips rather than long journeys. Their compact size, however, does allow them to manoeuvre around many shops. The limitations are the maximum speed of 4 mph, roughly walking pace, and they cannot drive on roads.
Class 3 vehicles go further on a full charge, can travel up to 8mph, have greater stability, more safety features, a smoother ride with a suspension system and a have higher maximum user weight compared to Class 2 scooters. Class 3 scooters are for longer journeys, taking on hilly areas and even driving on the road. Larger scooters do not dismantle, so if you need to transport them, an adapted vehicle or van and ramps will be necessary to do so. When choosing a mobility scooter, think about where and how you intend to use it. For instance, a Class 2 scooter is appropriate for solo journeys to shops, day trips to visit family and friends, or even taking it on holidays. The turning radius and manoeuvrability will vary from model to model. Typically, the smaller the vehicle, the tighter the radius.
What about long journeys?
If you plan to use your product regularly, or for long journeys, consider how far it can travel on a full battery charge battery and also how comfortable the seat is. Also, bear in mind that the battery is affected by the type of journey. For instance, if travelling up steep hills and carrying shopping, you may need extra power to carry out your journey. Where you expect to drive your scooter will be a determining factor in which scooter may best suit your needs. If you live in an area with a lot of hills, that will have an impact on the speed and range of the scooter. Manufacturers specify a maximum gradient that the scooter can handle while carrying the maximum user weight. Both measurements are for the safety of the user. Regular traversing up and down hills will reduce the range you can expect from the batteries between charges.
Some mobility scooters come with puncture-proof (solid) tyres, while others run on pneumatic (air-filled). Puncture-proof tyres last longer than air-filled tyres but offer less suspension, so if you frequently travel on bumpy terrain, then pneumatic tyres may be a more suitable, comfortable choice.
Safety for you and your scooter
Please note that you should always seek the nearest drop kerb when crossing the road or joining a pavement. Attempting to climb a kerb in a mobility scooter can cause damage to the vehicle and may result in injury to the person driving if done so at an angle. Where you store and charge your scooter when it is not in use may have an impact on your mobility scooter’s warranty and life expectancy. The best place to store a mobility device is in a dry, clean and secure space such as a lockable garage or a secure shed. A storage space with access to an electrical socket for charging is even better, and a cover will help to protect it from dust.
Storing your scooter
There may be space to store the scooter in your home. If storing your scooter inside your home, check the product width to see which model will fit through the space available, including doorways and hallways. Scooters that allow you to reduce the width of armrests are more practical. Be mindful that the scooter does not block doorways as this could result in a fire hazard. The device should not be left in corridors or stairwells to prevent it from being an obstruction or trip hazard. Keeping your mobility scooter dry during storage will help avoid corrosion. If you have no other alternative than to store the device outside, a high-quality waterproof cover can help to protect it from the elements. However, please bear in mind the access to a power supply for recharging and the size of the scooter. Travel and boot scooter models dismantle or fold for easy transportation and storage. It is possible to leave one of these smaller, portable devices in the boot of a car, removing the battery pack for charging indoors. This may be the best option if there are acute storage problems.
The length of time you can tolerate sitting is also a consideration when shopping for a mobility scooter. A well-padded seat will alleviate discomfort on a small to a mid-size scooter during short periods of time. If you require more adjustment in a seat or intend to use the device for an extended period, a Class 3 scooter offers more comfort than any Class 2 vehicle.
However long your average trips are, you will want to be comfortable and feel in control. On all models, the controls are usually simple and cater to those with limited dexterity. Check that the steering column or ‘tiller’ is adjustable. If you have difficulty with your leg movements you will need plenty of room to get on and off the scooter. Some models have a swivel seat that rotates around at least 90 degrees which helps with transfers. One of the most important factors to consider in your scooter search is the device’s carrying capacity. As a general rule, the larger the scooter, the more weight it can carry. Purchasing a mobility scooter that is suitable for your weight is vital to both its functionality and even the warranty. As you would expect, the larger the scooter, the greater the maximum weight that it can carry.
Each scooter carries a maximum weight limit for the user. Exceeding the maximum weight limit will cause the scooter to be unstable, an unachievable maximum speed and the battery life will be much shorter. Additionally, if you purchase a scooter with a recommended weight capacity that is lower than your actual weight, this invalidates the warranty.
Last, but not least, the affordability of a mobility scooter will play a major role in your purchase decision. At Invamed.co.uk, we offer a Best Price Guarantee on all of our products in addition to financing. There are also savings in claiming VAT relief.
Invamed.co.uk offers financing options on all of its mobility scooters making mobility independence more attainable. The application process is simple, taking approximately 10 minutes to complete. Further information may be required based on credit reference agency checks. For more information about our financing options. If you or the person you are buying on behalf of is eligible for VAT Relief, please complete the VAT Declaration Form. By submitting a completed VAT exemption, you agree to the following: You are a registered charity, are chronically sick or disabled or the products are being purchased on behalf of an individual who is chronically sick or disabled.
The product supplied by Invamed.co.uk is for personal or domestic use. You claim that the supply of the product is eligible for relief from VAT under the VAT Act 1994. If you need further clarification, please contact our customer service team on 01656 674488 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. weekdays) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things to bear in mind when choosing a scooter
- Have you had any expert advice, i.e., from an OT?
- Do you have any existing medical conditions that would prevent you from operating the scooter safely?
- Do you want to use the scooter indoors, outdoors, or both?
- How far do you want to go?
- How often you intend to use the scooter each day?
- Do you want it to fit in your car boot or on public transport?
- Will you need to transport the scooter?
- What vehicle will you transport it?
- Who will be putting it into the vehicle?
- Will you need to dismantle the scooter to transport or load it with a ramp?
- Might you need to travel on the road?
- Are there hills in your local area? If yes, does the scooter have sufficient weight capacity and maximum gradient to climb the hills?
- Are the footpaths smooth or rough?
- Are there access issues?
- Does your typical journey require a suspension system?
- Are the controls easy for you to use?
- Is the weight capacity right for your size?
- Do you need extra legroom?
- Where will you store the scooter?
- Do you have an electricity point near the storage location?
- Who will service your scooter?
- How much do you want to pay, and how will you fund it?