As we get older, we often find ourselves getting less and less mobile, and finding it more difficult to get around. It can be particularly jarring to watch a formerly active parent or grandparent struggling to keep up with daily activities and social outings.
For seniors who are finding it harder to get around, a mobility scooter might just be the ideal solution. Buying motorized scooters for seniors represents a fairly large purchase, and there is a lot of choice on the market.
To help make the shopping process easier, here is a look at what’s available at some of the top mobility scooter retailers, followed by a comprehensive guide to mobility scooters .
Top U.S. Mobility Scooter Retailers
There are many scooters on the market today. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve highlighted some of the popular retailers and the range available from each of them. Please note that each retailer offers several models and the ranges stated cover the main models on each site. The complement of features varies from model to model.
About: ScootersNChairs is our top pick for the best scooters for seniors. Not only do they offer a large variety of scooter options, they pride themselves in the care and customer service engrained in the company. If you visit their website, (ScootersNChairs.com) make sure to check out their handy product finder tool that will help you narrow down the best scooter for your home and budget.
Scooter weight: Starting at a lightweight 46lbs (after seat and battery removal) for the EV Rider: Transport Plus Foldable and up to 363lbs for the heavyweight Drive Medical King Cobra.
User weight: Starting at 220lbs up to 600lbs for the sturdiest models.
Cost: Scooters range from $779 for the Drive Medical Spitfire EX 3 and up to $7200 for the completely enclosed Shoprider Flagship Model!
Speed: From 4 mph up to 20 mph.
Travel distance: From 6 – 45 miles per charge, depending on the model.
About: 1800 Wheelchair offers an impressive range of scooters, including 3 and 4 wheel, travel, and indoor and outdoor.
Scooter weight: Starting at just 100 for some of the travel models, ranging to 300lbs for some of the heavy duty ones.
User weight: Starting at 250lbs for the foldable models, up to 500lbs for some of the three and four wheelers.
Cost: You’ll find a range for most budgets here, starting at $699 for basic models and ranging all the way up to $7999 for the most high spec options.
Speed: From 4.8 mph all the way up to 8 mph.
Travel distance: From 5.6 – 18 miles per charge, depending on model.
About: Walgreens offers a small but surprisingly varied range of mobility scooters, including three or four wheel, and foldable models. Although the site doesn’t specify if they’re suitable for use on highways, at first glance most models look like indoor and sidewalk models.
Scooter weight: Starting at just 59lbs for their foldable model, ranging to 94 lbs for some of the heavy duty ones.
User weight: Starting at 200lbs for the foldable model, up to 275lbs for some of the three and four wheelers.
Cost: From $549.99 – $1799
Speed: All models are around the 3.8 – 4 mph mark.
Travel distance: From 6 – 10 miles per charge.
About: As you can imagine, Amazon offers a huge range of mobility scooters! Our initial search found many 3 and 4 wheeler models, and some highway worthy models, plus travel scooters. Amazon offers 100 plus listings – the specs below are from some of the top searches.
Scooter weight: Starting at just 82lbs for some of the travel models, ranging to over 200lbs for some of the heavy duty ones.
User weight: From 200lbs – 400lbs.
Cost: We found some models around the $679 mark, ranging all the way to $2000 plus.
Speed: Most of the models we found were around the 4 – 5 mph mark.
Travel distance: From 6.3 – 18 miles per charge, depending on model.
About: You’ll find a huge range of scooters here, including three and four wheel, foldable, heavy duty, and several covered canopy models. As well as mid-price models they also offer very high-spec and heavy duty scooters, suitable for use on many types of terrain.
Scooter weight: Starting at just 62lbs for their foldable model, ranging to 233 lbs for some of the heavy duty ones.
User weight: Starting at 250lbs for the foldable model, up to 500lbs for some of the three and four wheelers.
Cost: You’ll find a range for most budgets here, starting at $779 for basic models and ranging all the way up to $8995 for the most high spec options.
Speed: From 3.8 mph all the way up to 8 mph.
Travel distance: From 5.6 – 32 miles per charge, depending on model.
Related: Does Medicare Pay for My Scooter?
About: Medical Supply Depot offers the full range of scooters, including indoor, outdoor, travel, and both 3 and 4 wheel models.
Scooter weight: Starting at just 70lbs for some of the travel models, ranging to over 300lbs for some of the heavy duty ones.
User weight: Starting at 250lbs for the foldable models, up to 500lbs for some of the three and four wheelers.
Cost: You’ll find a range for most budgets here, starting at $795 for basic models and ranging all the way up to $5712.99 for the most high spec options.
Speed: From 3.8 mph all the way up to 11 mph.
Travel distance: From 8 – 35 miles per charge, depending on model.
In-Depth: What are Mobility Scooters?
Mobility scooters are small motorized vehicles. They can be front or rear wheel drive. The user sits on them in a similar seated position to sitting in any chair, and steers them by way of handlebars (much like a bicycle.)
Scooters run on integrated batteries and need regular charging. Each model differs slightly, but in general you can expect around 6 to 8 miles of use from each charge for a standard model, though some heavy duty models go as far as 30 miles per charge.
Models suitable for road use run at up to 8 mph, while indoors and sidewalk suitable models max out around 4 mph.
What is the Purpose of a Mobility Scooter?
A motorized scooter for seniors is a mobility aid designed to make it much easier to get around. Some seniors use their mobility scooter in place of walking, taking public transit, or relying on a lift from another person, to get around their local area with minimal trouble. Others use their scooter to get around the home if walking is difficult.
What Features are Important in a Mobility Scooter?
- What terrain does it drive on? Some mobility scooters are only suitable for indoor use, while others can only be driven on sidewalks, and still others can be driven on roads.
- How easy is it to transport? If your loved one needs a scooter that can be folded up for taking on public transit or in a car, make sure the model you pick is designed to do so.
- How easy is it to turn? Three wheeled models have a much smaller turning radius, but are only suitable for use at home. Consider where the scooter will be driven to make sure it’s maneuverable enough.
- What is the maximum weight capacity? For larger individuals, it’s important to check out the maximum weight capacity before purchase, to be sure they can use their scooter comfortably.
- Does it have good safety features? The three most important safety features to look for are non-tip wheels, an easy to use brake, and an easy to use single hand controller. Some models also offer non-leak batteries for extra reassurance.
- What is the battery range? Some batteries allow 6 to 8 miles of use, while others go as far as 30 miles – be sure to pick one that suits the typical distance the scooter will be traveling.
- How comfortable is it? Finding a scooter that’s comfortable to sit on for long periods of time is a must. If this a particular concern, look for one with an adjustable backrest, movable arms, and an extra padded seat.
What are the Different Types of Mobility Scooters?
There are four types of mobility scooters:
- Three wheel: Three wheel mobility scooters are ideal for indoor use as they are typically smaller and lighter than their four wheel cousins, and offer a tighter turning radius that is much better for indoor use. Their outdoor use is limited, however, so think carefully before choosing one.
- Four wheel: Four wheel mobility scooters are a much better option for those who want to drive their scooter outdoors. Having four wheels gives them extra stability.
- Travel: Travel scooters are the lightest weight mobility scooters and are designed to fold down for transportation in the trunk of a car.
- Heavy Duty: Heavy duty mobility scooters can carry up to 500lbs or more and are suitable for heavier people who might exceed the weight limit for a smaller model.
Some three and four wheel models also come with a canopy to protect the user from the elements.
What Does Mobility Scooter Class Mean?
When choosing a mobility scooter, it’s important to be aware of its class:
- Class 2 scooters are only licensed for use indoors or on a sidewalk, and can legally travel at up to 4 mph. A class 2 scooter user is considered a pedestrian and may travel anywhere a pedestrian would walk – which rules out roads and highways!
- Class 3 scooters are classified as highway worthy and come fitted with lights and indicators. They can travel at up to 8 mph.
Always be clear on whether the scooter will need to be used on roads or highways, and if so, make sure to purchase a class 3 scooter.
Why Would Someone Need or Consider a Mobility Scooter?
For many seniors, loss of mobility is a distressing part of getting older. When it becomes hard to walk around the home, or to get to church, the library, the shops or for meetups with friends, a mobility scooter can be a wonderful piece of equipment . Using a mobility scooter gives many seniors their independence back, which is good for their confidence, and helps them keep up with their social life and stay active.
How to Choose a Mobility Scooter
The most important thing when it comes to choosing a mobility scooter is to be very clear about when, where and how the senior will use it. This will dictate which model you need, and whether it should be class 2 or class 3.
It’s also important to take into account the weight and overall health of the scooter driver, so you can buy a heavy duty, extra comfortable, or adjustable model if necessary.
With so many mobility scooters on the market, you are sure to find one to suit your needs and budget. We recommend getting clear on what specs you need and making a list before you start shopping, to be sure the scooter you choose is the ideal one for your loved one.
Scooters for Seniors – What You Need To Know
There is a lot of marketing material out there (online AND in radio/TV/print) telling us about scooters for seniors, and how easy it is to acquire one. The fact is that scooters for seniors ARE easy to get your hands on… especially if you have $800-$2,900 to spend today!
Given that we've had great feedback on our posts entitled “How To Buy Medical Alert Systems – Top Questions To Ask” and our post entitled “10 Questions to Ask About Senior Friendly Cell Phones“, we thought we'd come up with another Top 10 List… This one focused on “The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Scooters for Seniors“.
Remember, there's a lot to get to know before purchasing a mobility scooter, and this should only be used as an initial list of questions to consider.
Scooters aren't for everybody, and some of them can be downright dangerous (even the simplest to operate). In a subsequent article, we'll showcase many of the more popular scooter models available today, and the features/benefits of each.
The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Scooters for Seniors
1. Will the mobility scooter be used primarily indoors, outdoors or both? There is a lot to this question, and understanding where the user needs mobility-assistance will determine many factors about the models to consider. For example, a scooter for (primarily) indoor use doesn't need to be as durable as many of the outdoor models.
Most of the indoor models can get away with 3 wheels (one leading and two trailing). A single leading wheel makes the scooter easier to steer, and lighter too. Outdoor scooters are usually heavier, more sturdy, have more “range” under the hood (ok in the box), and can be a bit more expensive.
2. Are you paying cash for the mobility scooter, or are you hoping Medicare will pick up the cost? Many manufacturers and marketers tout that mobility scooters for seniors can be paid for by Medicare (if you qualify for Medicare).
There are stipulations to this strategy however. In most cases, your physician will need to “prescribe” and/or recommend a mobility aid/scooter for you with appropriate documentation.
3. Do you require a new model OR would a used (reconditioned) scooter do the job? There are great discounts to be had on used and/or reconditioned mobility scooters. A scan of “mobility scooters” on a local sale by owner website shows over 20 scooters for sale in the Portland, Oregon area most of the time! Scooters are usually well maintained by their owner/operators, which makes buying a used scooter a wise choice if you're spending your own money.
RELATED: DOES MEDICARE PAY FOR MY SCOOTER?
4. Do you (or someone you know) have the means to transport your scooter if you intend on using it outside the home? The larger grocery chains usually have mobility scooters available for people that need assistance, but some do not.
If you plan on taking your scooter with you, you need ample space in your vehicle (like a mini-van) AND someone to muscle it in and out for you. Van lifts are obviously the best alternative, but you need to think about transport as it relates to using a scooter away from home.
5. How much do you plan on spending on your mobility scooter? For reasons mentioned above, there is a wide range in prices for mobility scooters for seniors. Pricing for a new mobility scooter ranges from $750 on the low end up to $4,500 on the high end. Features, durability, and quality raise the price points considerably.
6. Have you found any ratings and reviews for mobility scooters? Here at The Senior List we plan on showcasing many of the popular models, so that our users can provide feedback on senior-friendly-scooters.
Until then, you can check out Amazon.com on many popular models today. You can also check with the manufacturers, or the sales outlet (but you might not be getting unbiased feedback. Just keep that in mind.)
7. Is the scooter comfortable to sit in? Now this may seem obvious, but if you plan on purchasing online, make sure you find that model locally and take it for a spin. Mobility Scooters are designed to be comfortable, but I can tell you from experience that people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes!
Leg room is a big consideration when evaluating the comfort of a mobility scooter. Another consideration is that we all sit a bit differently! My posture isn't perfect so I may sit differently than the next person. Test drive your mobility scooter… you'll be glad you did.
8. What is the maximum load weight? Load weight refers to all of the weight-bearing-stress being placed on (or in) the scooter and any one time. Individuals that are overweight, or need to carry heavy objects with them need to understand and answer these questions when evaluating mobility options.
9. What safety features and/or accessories come standard with my purchase? You don't want to spend $2,000 on a new scooter only to find out you need to purchase arm rests as accessories… (enough said).
10. What kind of warranty comes with my purchase? Make sure you understand the warranty inside and out. Service can be expensive on mobility devices (not to mention a pain in the posterior). Know your rights upfront.