When searching for electric mobility scooters, you can quickly become overwhelmed with the various terms and industry jargon. What is the difference, if any, between a power scooter, a compact, folding scooter, a mobility scooter and a mobile scooter? Is a power scooter the same as a foldable mobility scooter in features or uses? Various scooter brands use colorful terms to define their different mobility scooters and power chair designs. Though these brands can be very distinct, the one thing in common is that they all sell electric scooters for adults that provide the ability for people with mobility difficulties to keep up with their family, friends and active lifestyles.
These ‘electric mobility scooters’ have differences ranging from the battery capacity (think ‘range of the scooter battery’) and type (lithium-ion batteries are lighter than lead-acid) to the top speed and the choice of configuration. Do you want a highly maneuverable three-wheeled scooter or a heavy-duty four-wheeled model? A light, foldable mobility scooter has advantages, but so do heavier traditional models. Though easily confusing, with a little help, it is easy to sort out what is important for your purchase.
First and foremost is scooter size and weight. When comparing electric mobility scooters you will find that fully-assembled they can range from ~40lbs to over 100lbs. Most disassemble to some extent, but the first important question to answer is finding out the weight of the heaviest part. This is the main determining factor of how ‘mobile’ the scooter actually is. Can you easily load it into your trunk and take it various places?
Next is defining your lifestyle; what do you intend to use your scooter for primarily? Do you plan on having a scooter for daily uses like shopping, or is it primarily for travel on airplanes or to take cruises? Do you think your scooter will need to be able to be easily carried upstairs, climb hills or some other specific need? Maybe your ideal power scooter needs to fulfill all of these roles, stable and convenient for everyday use while being compact and light for easy travel. Determining your needs will allow you to know if you need an FAA approved or Cruise Line approved foldable mobility scooter or can indicate if front-wheel drive is important to your lifestyle for the hill-climbing ability it confers. Make sure you also read user experiences about the electric mobility scooters you are considering.
Stability is always an important factor in power scooter choice. One option is to choose a heavier traditional four-wheeled mobility scooter if stability is a possible issue or if you are confined to a seated position by a disability. Many heavier four-wheeled scooters are FDA/Medicare approved as ‘power mobility devices’. It is a key part of your buying decision to understand whether you need a mobility scooter or a medically approved device for people with mobility disabilities. If your lifestyle demands a lightweight, foldable mobility scooter, choosing a three-wheeled scooter with an adjustable rear wheelbase allows control over the mobility scooter’s stability and ‘stance.’