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What You Need To Know Before You Buy A Mobility Scooter

Mobility scooters offer those with limited mobility increased opportunities for freedom and independence. However, all scooters are not created equal. Your choice of mobility scooter will depend on how it's to be used on a regular basis. For instance, there are significant differences between scooters that are designed for indoor use and those that are primarily for navigating outdoor environments. Following is an explanation of the several differences between the two types of scooters to help you make the best possible selection depending on your individual lifestyle and personal preferences.

Small Scooters For Maximum Maneuverability in Indoor Spaces

If you are going to be using your scooter primarily in an indoor environment, you'll need one of the smaller models that are easily capable of navigating the twists and turns necessary in most indoor spaces. Smaller mobility scooters also are better able to fit through doorways than their larger counterparts. These scooters have three wheels, operate with front wheel drive, and their smaller wheels maximize their maneuverability in indoor spaces. Although they may work well for short distances outdoors on smooth pavement, small front wheel drive scooters do not perform well on uneven terrain because of decreased traction due to their smaller wheel size and should never be used for more than short outdoor excursions. You may have difficulty with curbs when using this type of scooter. Other considerations concerning smaller scooters are as follows.

  • Small scooters have a smaller turning radius that maximizes their maneuverability.
  • Using small, front wheel drive three-wheel scooters in ways they are not meant to be used may void the warranty in the event that the unit experiences a breakdown or other type of malfunction. For instance, if your three-wheel front wheel drive scooter is used on rough terrain and becomes damaged as a result, you probably won't be able to get reimbursed for repair bills under the warranty.
  • Small scooters are easily transported in vehicles equipped with a wheelchair lift.
  • Front wheel drive scooters have a rear parking brake that is manually operated.
  • Smaller scooters typically hold up to 250 pounds.

Larger Scooters For Outdoor Use

These scooters typically have four wheels and operate on rear wheel drive. They are ideally suited for navigating outdoor spaces and are frequently used by those who live in urban environments. For instance, if you live within several blocks of a grocery store or other retail shopping options, you could take your scooter to these places, provided an adequate sidewalk is in place. Their larger wheels provide greater traction than their three wheeled counterparts, and because they have significantly more power, they can go at higher speeds. A medium or large mobility scooter, for instance, has a cruising speed of around 30 mph. Other characteristics of larger scooters with four wheels are as follows.

  • These scooters have electronic braking systems that automatically engage whenever you ease up pressure on the controls.
  • They may not easily fit into standard wheelchair lifts on vehicles.
  • Mobility scooters meant primarily for outdoor use can be equipped with lights, horns, and other safety features.
  • For an extra layer of safety, you should consider having your outdoor mobility scooter equipped with anti-tip mechanisms on its wheels.
  • Large scooters typically hold up to 400 pounds.

Some people find that having both an indoor and outdoor mobility scooter is a good option, while others simply have one scooter for use in the environment that's most difficult for them to navigate. Those with special needs can have custom features installed on their scooters, such as front hand brakes or compartments to carry medical devices such as oxygen tanks. For more information on how a mobility scooter can enhance your quality of life, contact your local medical supplies distributor or visit websites like