Have you been limiting life’s activities because of a lack of mobility, missing out on family adventures, or enjoying the outdoors? Maybe walking has become difficult, so you set on the couch spending your days in boredom. Do you miss your independence that limited mobility may have? Perhaps it’s time you look into purchasing one of the many types of electric scooters for seniors.
Before you haphazardly go out and get on a scooter, there are some options and differences you want to understand and consider before purchasing. First and foremost, you want to be safe. Can you safely enter the scooter? Will you need help in doing so? Are you able to look side to side watching for other people, vehicles, obstacles? You will want to be sure you can ride and drive safely. There are some safety options discussed below.
After reading this article you might want to jump over to a post where I reviewed and compared 5 different scooter models on the post, “5 Best Electric Scooters for Seniors-Product Comparison/Review.”
Number of Wheels
Which brings us to the number of wheels you want. There are 2, 3, and 4 wheel scooters, and each has their advantages and disadvantages. For the purpose of this article, we will look at the 3 and 4 wheel electric scooter.
- Good for indoor use
- Sharper turning radius
- Fits in smaller spaces
- More legroom because of the absence of the 2nd wheel in front
- Not as stable as a 4-wheel
- Usually lighter than the 4-wheel
- Lower price point than the 4-wheel
- Better for outdoor use and uneven terrain
- Not as maneuverable as a 3 wheel
- Broader stability
- Heavier than a 3 wheel
- Expect a higher price point than the 3 wheel
Class 1 and 2
Class 2 scooters are restricted to 4 mph on pavement and cannot be used on the road. In most states, you do not need to be licensed to operate a class 2 scooter, and it does not need to be registered. Though seat belts are not usually required with a class 2 scooter, it can be wise to wear one. Seat belts will better secure you if you come upon potholes or have to stop suddenly. However, you will want to check with your local laws to be sure you are compliant with the regulations in your area.
Class 3 scooters can run up to 8 mph – this is about twice as fast as an average person walks. Class 3 scooters can be used on the road; however, check with your local laws to see what is allowed in the area you will be driving. You do need to be licensed, and the class 3 scooter does need to be registered, and seat belts are required. But again, check with your local department of motor vehicles to be aware of your local laws.
Charge Distance and Battery Life
Travel distance on a single charge varies from scooter to scooter but usually ranges from 6 to 20 miles. Some higher-end models can get up to 45 miles on a single charge.
The life of the battery depends on how often the scooter is used. If used daily, the battery will usually last on average of 18-24 mths. If you use the scooter less, say once a week, then it may last up to 3 years.
Will you be using your scooter away from home? An option you should consider is if you need the scooter to be foldable to transport. Do you travel via airplanes and need the scooter to be approved for flights? There are racks you can purchase for the back of your car to transport your scooter if you are buying one that is not foldable.
Will you be using your scooter primarily for the outdoors, or are you looking for one that is going to be utilized inside your home. You might not think this would be an issue; however, if you are planning to ride your scooter outside you want to have one that can handle bumps, grass, gravel, hills, and other types of terrain you might encounter.
Standard Handlebars have thumb levers that control the forward motion of the scooter.
Wrap Around – Allow for both left and right-handed operation. This allows for the wrist to rest on the bar. A good option if you have hand strength or dexterity limitations.
Seat Size and Adjustability
The average width of most mobility scooters is somewhere between 16″ and 18″. Some scooters come with the option to upgrade to a wider seat. Also, a height adjustment option for the seat will give you the ability to fit comfortably given your height.
An option with scooters is the suspension. Some scooters have suspension that will absorb some of the impact when riding over uneven surfaces. If you suffer from back issues, a scooter with suspension is an excellent option to make the ride more comfortable.
The weight limit of an electric scooter comes into play based on the rider’s weight. You can find scooters with a weight limit of 250-450 lbs., but each model is different. When looking for a scooter, you want to be sure the rider fits the weight limit the scooter is intended for.
There are many accessories for scooters. Maybe you want lights, mirrors, or a basket. If these are important to you, then, by all means, look for them in your scooter package. But, also remember that many accessories are sold separately, so even if they don’t come with the scooter, you may be able to purchase them separately. To read about some accessories that are available I wrote an article, “Best Mobility Accessories” – there may be some accessories you haven’t thought of that you would find beneficial.
Most scooters do not come with an anti-theft device. Being that you are spending a lot of money, you will want to invest in some type of anti-theft device, whether it’s a lock or alarm to deter theft. You will also want to look into insuring your scooter to cover liability and theft.
Insurance is not required on a scooter; however, it is strongly advised that people take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people’s safety, and the value of the vehicle. Again, check the laws in your area.
When looking at a scooter, an important component you don’t want to overlook is its warranty. Since each brand and model have different warranties, this should be part of your purchasing decision. Will the company be there if your scooter should break down? Does the battery come with a warranty, what about the drive train? Again, this can be an important part of your purchase decision.
When looking to purchase your mobility scooter price can be a significant factor. Mobility scooters can range anywhere from $700 up to $5000 and more. Look at your budget and know what you can afford before looking – this way, you can see what is available for the amount you want to spend. No sense looking at a $7000 scooter if your budget is $900.
Considering an electric scooter for seniors can be a life-changing event. Your once dependent unable to get around self might be able to go for new excursions. Whether a shopping trip, a vacation, or just getting out and around can be a new adventure. Consider all the options and carefully make your purchase based on what you want and the choices you find important.
You don’t have to buy all the bells and whistles up front there are always add on accessories you can buy at a later time. Remember, a scooter is a motorized device, so stay safe and enjoy your new-found mobility.
Disclaimer: This article is provided solely as guidance and does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for knowing and following the laws that pertain to mobility scooter use in your local area or state.
Do you have any experience(s) with purchasing and riding an electric mobility scooter I would love to hear about them. Please comment below.