Getting around can become tricky in later life. Before then, millions of us struggle to walk long distances, whether it is a result of chronic conditions or fatigue. However, help is always at hand from a variety of mobility aids and scooters.
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Mobility Scooter Buying Guide For 2019
Mobility scooters are fantastic at helping less mobile people get around when they need to do shopping or head out and about for several hours at a time.
A great mobility scooter is not just one which is comfortable and easy to use, but one which offers complete independence and practicality. It can be hard to find the best scooters sometimes, as a result of there being so much choice, and plenty of sales jargon thrown into the mix.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider shopping around, and to read buying guides such as these to try and cut through the pack!
We will take a close look at everything you need to know about mobility scooters before buying one outright. A good scooter is a solid investment. However, it can mean spending a lot of money on something which may not be right for you.
Therefore, make sure to read on and find out more about the basics, as well as the finer points of scooter shopping you may not have already considered.
Why Use a Mobility Scooter?
Sometimes, using basic walking aids such as sticks and frames simply aren’t enough. Millions of people find themselves unable to walk too far as a result of joint and muscle conditions and other factors.
Therefore, there is a wide market available for the scooters – which help people to reclaim independence so they can get from A to B without having to depend too much on their own legs or walking aids.
Mobility scooters are generally very easy to use and come in a variety of types and models. Some are built for everyday street driving, while others can tackle rougher, coarser terrain.
Naturally, the model you choose will depend on the types of excursion you are likely to take on a regular basis. Some scooters are even built for road use, while others can fold up and store away with ease.
These are all factors you may wish to bear in mind – and we will, of course, take you through the basics.
Types of Mobility Scooter
Before buying a mobility scooter outright, you should know that they are generally split into three categories. These categories, or classes, will dictate where you can use them, as they are designed for specific terrains.
Class 2 Scooters
Strangely, there isn’t a ‘class 1’ range as such, which means the basic scooter range is class 2. These scooters are ideal for pavement use. They can be very lightweight and easy to transport, and may also be easy to store away when not in use.
Class 2 scooters are, on the whole, the more affordable options on the market as they are a little more limited than those which fall under class 3. These scooters have variable speeds, though there are limits which you should stick to – we will cover this in more detail a little further down.
Class 2 scooters aren’t always the least functional or the least diverse of models on the market. Some will have four or five wheels, while others can function perfectly well on three.
These scooters are perfect for everyday use and for driving through pedestrian areas. If you are more likely to head onto roads, you should consider looking at class 3 models instead.
Class 3 Scooters
Class 3 scooters are considered the next step up in terms of power and terrain control, however, they are often limited in terms of the speed they can achieve. This is because of road rules, whereby you will need to drive your scooter within safe limits.
In any case, class 3 scooters are perfect if you want to travel a little further afield than your local shopping district. They will let you take to main roads and coarse terrain with ease, and are generally able to travel long distances in one push.
This means if you do want to get exploring but may not have the leg power to do so, this is the class of scooter you should primarily be taking a look at.
These scooters can, generally, do more than class 2 models.
However, they are bulkier and heavier and are harder to store – on the whole – than class 2 scooters. They are more powerful and can traverse gradient terrain, too, so if you are likely to drive up hills and slopes, you are going to need a class 3 in your life.
These scooters, as they must be registered with the DVLA, arrive with various road vehicle adjustments and accessories. You will need mirrors, lights, braking systems, a higher speed limit, a horn and an indicator system.
Class 3 scooters are only allowed to travel a maximum pace of eight mph, and many of them are capped. This is double the speed class 2 scooters can travel at.
Foldable scooters can fall under their own class, though are generally class 2s in all but design. As the name suggests, these systems are easy to fold up and are ideal for carrying via car boot.
Some models will dismantle, while others will fold up. The choice you make, of course, will depend on personal convenience, as well as cost. These scooters are used for pavements.
Things to Consider
As well as scooter classes, there are a handful of other points to consider before buying.
Portability and Storage
As mentioned, many scooter systems are easy to store, with some being able to fold up, and others being dismantle-friendly. If you don’t have much room for a scooter, consider looking at a class 2 model.
Class 3 scooters can be difficult to store if you have limited space, though naturally, they have a good trade-off in terms of power and functionality.
Power and Charge
Your scooter’s battery life is obviously going to play a big factor in your purchase. How long do you aim to travel for? Check out product marketing and user reviews, as class 3 scooters on the whole will travel for many more miles per charge than your average class 2.
Weight and Bulk
This can fall under portability, however, foldable scooters can often be very heavy. Consider the bulk of the scooter you’d like to buy. What if you need to pack it up or store it away? Is it light enough for you to handle?
If you don’t know your own strength, make sure to follow what other reviewers have to say.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s time to take a look at a few questions shoppers ask when buying mobility scooters first time around.
Are Mobility Scooters Legal for Road Use?
Class 3 mobility scooters are legal for use on UK roads. However, you must register a scooter with the DVLA. You can also only drive a scooter at a maximum of eight miles per hour, and you are subject to highway rules and regulations as with other road users. Class 2 scooters are legal for pavement use.
What is the Speed Limit for Scooters on Pavements
On pavements and in pedestrian areas, you will be allowed to drive your scooter up to four miles per hour, half the speed of class 3 limits. However, some scooters can actually drive much more quickly. Make sure to buy a scooter that has limited speed for safety.
How Much Do Mobility Scooters Cost?
This really can vary on the class of scooter you buy, as well as on its build quality, its charge capacity and its branding. Most mobility scooters will cost in excess of £1,000, which means it is an investment you should make carefully.
You should also be careful to consider financing options. You can find some scooters for less than £500-£600, however, you may find that there is a trade-off in terms of functionality and support.
Do I Need a Mobility Scooter?
If you struggle to walk around for long periods of time, a mobility scooter is a must. Therefore, do make sure to consider shopping for a vehicle which is comfortable and compatible with your lifestyle. If you are likely to head to local shops regularly, you may benefit from a cheaper class 2 model.
If you want to explore the wider area, you should think about using a class 3 vehicle. However, do bear in mind that, on the whole, class 3 scooters are the most expensive.
Mobility scooters provide people with a lot of support and independence. Struggling with mobility is no fun – and scooters can help to enhance your quality of life if you are unable to get out and about.
There are a few factors you must keep in mind when buying, so make sure to consider the above and take a look at what verified buyers and users have to say.