Getting to grips with the sheer scope of options available as a mobility scooter newbie can be tricky. What seems to be a fairly simple market for an equally simple mobility aid suddenly becomes disconcertingly complex.
Given the importance of choosing the right scooter to support your own unique needs, buying at random is never a good idea. Nor is basing your decision exclusively or primarily on the more superfluous factors, such as the appearance or brand of a mobility scooter.
Truth is each and every mobility scooter buyer has different needs, preferences and expectations. This is why it is a good idea to ask yourself a series of questions ahead of time, to help you find the right scooter for you.
If you are struggling to make sense of the options available and wondering where to start, here are six essential questions to consider before buying your first mobility scooter:
What can I afford?
It is a good idea to begin the process by setting yourself a realistic budget. Mobility scooters can cost anything from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. There are fantastic models available to suit all budgets, so you need not necessarily spend a fortune to take home a great mobility aid.
Even so, there is no point spending time researching £5,000+ mobility scooters if they are completely out of your price bracket. Decide how much you can comfortably afford to spend (without leaving yourself out of pocket) and use this as the basis for your product comparison.
What will be my main use for the scooter?
This is important, as mobility scooters are designed with different purposes in mind. There are some super-simple models that are great for occasional errands and trips to the shop, but won’t get you much further than that. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have ultra-premium models that go just about anywhere.
It’s up to you to decide what you will be mainly using your scooter for and to choose an appropriate model accordingly. Are you simply looking for a basic mobility aid to assist with everyday chores, or do you have outdoor recreation and weekend adventures in the countryside in mind?
Where do I want to travel to?
One of the most important considerations when shopping for a mobility scooter is range. This indicates how far a scooter can travel, before it needs to be recharged. Maximum range varies enormously from one scooter to the next – anything from around 6 miles to more than 40 miles.
You will therefore need to think carefully about exactly where you plan to travel to on your scooter. If you only ever plan on taking short trips and are happy to recharge your scooter on a regular basis, you will not be in a particularly huge range. But if you plan to take longer journeys and get more out of your scooter between charges, a good range is essential.
Will I need to transport it?
There are essentially two types of mobility scooters – those that are designed to be as portable as possible, and those that are not. The market’s biggest and most technologically sophisticated scooters are absolutely fantastic, but are often too big and too heavy to transport in a normal car. Elsewhere, there are specialist portable scooters that fold down to a small size at the touch of a button and can be transported with ease.
Transportation should therefore be factored in, particularly if you plan on heading abroad with your mobility scooter. Most major airlines can accommodate most types of mobility aids, but there are often limitations in terms of the size and the weight of the scooters that can be carried.
Am I intending to head off-road?
Contrary to popular belief, the enjoyment of a mobility scooter is by no means confined to smooth, flat and even surfaces. Quite the opposite, as there are some types of high-performance mobility scooters that are engineered specifically with outdoor pursuits in mind. Huge ranges, high top speeds, all-terrain tyres, even models that look like motorbikes – there really is something for everyone!
But if you do plan on taking your mobility scooter off-road, this needs to be factored into your purchase decision. Most conventional mobility scooters are designed with standard roads and pavements in mind and are not able to negotiate rougher terrain.
Where will I store it?
It is also essential to think carefully about where you plan to store your scooter. If you have plenty of space indoors, you will be able to accommodate a standard mobility scooter with ease. Otherwise, you’ll need to make sure your scooter is sufficiently protected from the elements outdoors.
One of the most useful scooter accessories you’ll ever pick up for outdoor storage is a folding garage. Lightweight, versatile and affordably priced, a folding garage is effectively a purpose-made tent for your mobility scooter. If you go with one of the most compact folding mobility scooters on the market, you’ll be able to fold and store it away under your bed (or anywhere else) with ease.