Mobility issues can be truly frustrating for seniors. It’s hard to go from being active to struggling to get around.
Mobility scooters are one way seniors can regain some independence and go out and about again. Having a mobility scooter can help prevent seniors from becoming housebound, reduce the risk of isolation, and even help them retain independence and age in place more easily.
If you’re looking for a mobility scooter, you naturally want to get the best bang for your buck. Let’s take a look at cheaper mobility scooters and how to choose the right one for you.
What Is A Mobility Scooter?
A mobility scooter is a small motorized vehicle. It consists of a stable, comfortable seat mounted on a three or four-wheeled base, and a tiller with handlebars for steering. Mobility scooters come in all shapes, from lightweight foldable models to big sturdy off-roaders.
Who Can Benefit From A Mobility Scooter?
Any senior who is struggling with mobility. This could be because of physical aches and pains, such as arthritis, or because of a heart condition or shortness of breath. It might be due to stiffness, energy levels, or fatigue.
Mobility scooters are ideal for seniors who still want to go out, run errands, meet friends, or enjoy the fresh air, but can’t walk as far as they used to.
How Do Mobility Scooters Work?
Mobility scooters are battery-operated, and you can expect anything from 8 – 40 miles of driving per charge, depending on the model. You plug them in to charge up – it’s usually best to charge them overnight so they’re ready to go the next day.
Most scooters operate at around 4 mph, though some go a bit higher.
What Can I Expect From A Cheap Mobility Scooter?
Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean you have to accept a loss in quality! The most expensive scooters tend to be big sturdy off-roaders, which often cost in excess of $5000. However, you can find excellent everyday models for anywhere from $800 – $1300.
You’ll find most cheaper models don’t have quite the same bells and whistles as their more expensive counterparts. That might mean they don’t have an adjustable seat or armrests, or extras such as LED lamps, easy-touch steering, or extra storage space under the seat. That said, you’d be amazed at the features you can get on cheaper models – as you’ll see at the end of this article!
It’s all about deciding which features you need to be comfortable, and which ones aren’t necessary. That way you can find a cheaper model that works for your budget but is still comfortable to use.
Are There Any Other Ways To Save Money On A Mobility Scooter?
You might be wondering if Medicare or Medicaid will cover a mobility scooter. The answer is, well, sometimes. It’s harder these days to get coverage for a mobility scooter. In some cases, you might qualify, if you have written evidence from a medical professional that a scooter is an absolute medical necessity for you.
You can also save money by spreading the cost – some sellers offer financing for scooters. Be sure to check the fine print before signing up for anything.
Finally, you can look into getting a reconditioned scooter. If you choose this option, find out if you'll have access to a warranty, and what will happen if something goes wrong. You don’t want to save on a purchase but pay more on repairs!
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Mobility Scooter?
The most important things to know before buying a mobility scooter are:
- Where will it be used. Is this only for indoors? Or only for sidewalks? Or do you need it for driving on the road or off-road, such as on grass or sand?
- How it will be transported. Before you can use your scooter, you need to get it to your destination. If you happen to live in an area where your local amenities are within easy scooter-driving reach of your home, this isn’t such a worry. But if you need to transport it in a car you’ll want to be sure your chosen model fits in your vehicle (some scooters fold down or disassemble.)
- Who will transport it. Will you manage to get it in and out of the vehicle yourself? Is there a caregiver or family member who can help you?
What Should I Look For When Buying A Mobility Scooter?
Before making a purchase, ask:
- Is it comfortable? It’s important to have the comfort features you need, especially when looking at cheaper models.
- Do you need an adjustable seat, or flip back armrests?
- Does it have suspension? You don’t necessarily need suspension for driving around the sidewalks, but if you plan to go off-road it’s a must.
- Where can you drive it? Some models are only suitable for indoors or the sidewalk, while others are ok with other terrains.
- What’s the weight capacity? Some cheaper models have a wee bit of smaller weight capacity, so be sure yours suits you. Don’t forget to factor in carrying shopping too!
- Are there any safety features? At the very least, non-tip wheels are important.
- How far can it go on one charge? Think about where you’d like to drive it, and make sure it can go the distance.
- Does it come with a warranty? You want to be sure you’re covered if something goes awry.
- How does it steer? Some cheaper models feature two-handed steering only (more expensive models frequently offer easier single-handed steering.) If grip or dexterity is an issue for you, keep this in mind.
Best Affordable Mobility Scooters
Here are four budget-friendly mobility scooters to consider.
(Prices are based on current prices we found at some online sellers who have these models, and are subject to change at any time and depending where you buy your scooter from.)
Zip’r 3 Xtra Traveler (Zipr)
The Zip’r 3 Xtra is small and light enough to be convenient, yet sturdy enough to sit comfortably and travel around. The Zip’r 3 is a three-wheel model which means it’s made for flat surfaces, but you can drive it on the sidewalk or around the shopping mall with no problems. And even better, it costs less than $800!
Speed: 4.25 mph
Weight capacity: 250 lbs
Turning radius: 25.8”
Suspension: 10 miles
Other specs: Features a swivel seat (not all cheap models do), and a headlight. Comes with a basket.
Anything else: The upgraded seat is larger than you’d expect for this kind of model. Also features easy-disassembly, so it also does double duty as a travel scooter, too. Has front and back basket brackets so you can decide where to put it.
Our verdict: Small and light enough to take anywhere, and with a small frame and turning distance that make it ideal for smaller spaces. It’s powerful enough to get you where you want to go, at a very budget-friendly price.
EV Mini Rider 4 Wheel (EV)
This tiny scooter is very budget-friendly, while still giving you the performance you need to run errands or visit the mall. Its 4 wheel frame lends extra stability, and it’s small and light enough to transport easily.
Speed: 5 mph
Distance per charge: 15 miles
Weight capacity: 275 lbs
Turning radius: 35”
Other specs: Flip-up armrests and foldable seat with extra padding for comfort.
Anything else: Comes in a choice of red or blue, and is easy to disassemble if needed.
Our verdict: If you need a straightforward model that’s small and easy to maneuver, this is a great choice. The 15 mile per charge distance is impressive for a scooter of this class, too.
Go-Go Elite Traveler 4 (Pride Mobility)
If you want something a bit sturdier without breaking the bank, the Go-Go Elite Traveler 4 might just be for you. With a 4-wheel frame, a heavier weight limit, and anti-tip features, it’s a sturdy secure ride that’s ideal for everyday use. Check out the full review of Pride Mobility scooters here.
Speed: 4 mph
Distance per charge: 6 miles
Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Turning radius: 44”
Other specs: Front basket, plus space for a deck basket for extra storage. Adjustable height seat and flip back armrests for added comfort.
Anything else: You can upgrade the battery for 9.7 miles of travel time per charge. Batteries can be charged on or off-board. It also comes with different color panels.
Our verdict: A solid and reliable model for the price, with enough features to make it comfortable and versatile.
Roadster Deluxe (Merits)
The Roadster Deluxe is a wee bit more expensive than the other scooters on this list ($1200 plus change), but if you need a few more features, the Roadster gives you amazing value for money.
Speed: 4 mph
Distance per charge: 6 miles
Turning radius: 35.4”
Other specs: Comes with a basket and an LED lamp. The tiller angle is easy to change and set, for the perfect driving position and to make it easier to get on and off the vehicle.
Anything else: Extra charging port under the dash and a detachable battery pack so you can charge the battery anywhere. Finger grip or palm steering makes it that bit easier for those with pain or dexterity issues. Easy to disassemble into 5 pieces.
Our verdict: A sturdy and full-featured model that’s light enough for daily use. We like the additional charging port, detachable battery, and choice of steering options – they’re wonderfully convenient features for a lower-priced scooter.
Getting a mobility scooter doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. For a little under or a little over $1000, you can pick up a light, portable model that’s ideal for everyday use and will give you back your independence.