As we age it becomes harder to get around. Life can feel difficult for seniors who are struggling to go out and about the way they used to. Being stuck at home can lead to isolation, depression, and stress.
A mobility scooter is a useful tool for seniors who can’t walk very far or have mobility issues. Some seniors use their scooter to get around their home, if walking at all is difficult. Others use them to go out and about.
Using a mobility scooter removes the need to get a taxi, navigate public transport, or rely on lifts from other people. Not to mention that once you reach your destination, be that a quiet country town for lunch or a busy shopping street, it’s much easier to get around.
For seniors who want and need to go out and about, an outdoor mobility scooter is a good solution.
Who Uses Outdoor Mobility Scooters?
Outdoor scooters are for seniors who find it difficult to get out and about, or who find it challenging to take public transport. This is frequently due to mobility issues such as arthritis, or problems with balance or getting breathless quickly.
How Do Outdoor Mobility Scooters Work?
Outdoor scooters are small motorized vehicles consisting of a wheeled base with a seat and handlebars. Seniors simply sit down on it as if on a chair and use the handlebars to navigate.
Outdoor mobility scooters run on batteries and need to be charged regularly. It’s a good idea to charge it every night, so it’s always ready to use during the day. Every model is different but you can expect an average of around 8 miles of use per charge (though some models offer more). The top speed of an outdoor scooter is usually between 4mph – 8mph.
What’s The Difference Between An Indoor And Outdoor Scooter?
Outdoor scooters are more robust because they’re designed for use out of doors. They’re often heavier and sturdier. While some indoor models have three wheels, outdoor models have four wheels. Having four wheels rather than three makes them much more stable and more suited to outdoor use.
What Do I Need To Know Before Choosing A Mobility Scooter?
One of the most important things to consider before purchasing an outdoor mobility scooter is the logistics of using it. If you plan to use it out of doors, you’ll need a way to transport it. That means you’ll need a vehicle big enough to carry the scooter, plus a way of getting it in and out of the vehicle. Whether that’s some kind of lift or having someone to help you lift it, it’s important to know how you’ll get the scooter where you need it to be.
In some cases you might benefit from a lighter, folding model. You can also look out for easy to disassemble models that are made to take apart and put back together quickly and easily while on the go.
Depending on where you live, you might find you can gain a lot of independence simply by driving the scooter out of your home and to your neighborhood amenities. Do bear in mind that many shops don’t allow scooters into them, but you can park them close by and walk around the shop if walking a short distance is ok for you.
How Much Does an Outdoor Mobility Scooter Cost?
It’s also a good idea to have a budget in mind (Medicare generally does not pay for mobility scooters). You can get a handful of basic scooters for a little short of $1000, though for more features budget for around $2000. Some of the fancier scooters run as high as $5000 or more. You can sometimes find reconditioned scooters for a lower price, but do make sure they’re in decent working order – we recommend having a close look at them before agreeing to purchase. Do keep in mind that if you make a private purchase, you won’t have access to a warranty if things go wrong.
What Other Specs Should I Look Out For?
Here are some other things you’ll want to check when choosing your scooter:
- The weight capacity – it’s important to know you can sit comfortably on your chosen scooter.
- The turning capacity – you want to know you’ll be able to maneuver it easily enough.
- How long the battery lasts – that way, you know you can go where you want to go on a single charge.
- What kind of terrain it’s suitable for – some scooters are suited to being driven on the road while others are more suited to sidewalks only.
- What safety features are included – at the very least we suggest looking for non-tip wheels, easy controls, and an easy-to-use brake.
- Comfort features – depending on your overall physical health and pain levels, you might want to look for extra comfort features such as an adjustable backrest or arms, or extra padding on the seat.
- What kind of warranty the manufacturer offers – repairs can be costly, so it’s important to be covered.
- Whether your chosen model has suspension – this makes for a much smoother and more comfortable ride.
Best Outdoor Mobility Scooters
Here are four outdoor mobility scooters that are worth a look:
(Prices are based on current prices and are subject to change at any time and depending on where you buy your scooter from.)
The Merits Silverado is a sleek but rugged scooter that features great shock absorption, an LCD control panel, and plenty of storage room.
Speed: 9.5 mph
Distance per charge: 32 miles
Weight capacity: 350 lbs
Turning radius: 65.7”
Suspension: Yes – full suspension with shock absorbers.
Other specs: LCD dashboard lets you know if your battery is low along with any other maintenance messages. LED light system means less power consumption. Semi-reclining seat and adjustable armrests make it easy to get comfortable once seated.
Anything else: Extra storage space and a large basket make this ideal for longer trips or running errands.
Our verdict: The sturdy frame and extra storage coupled with the impressive distance per charge makes this an ideal model for those who want to be out and about frequently. It’s also got a slighter higher weight capacity than some models, so it’s good for seniors who need that extra bit of weight support.
Jazzy Zero Turn (Pride Mobility)
The Jazzy Zero Turn from Pride Mobility, as the name suggests, was designed for scooter users who want to maneuver easily. It’s a four-wheel model that features patented technology that allows it to handle and turn like a three-wheel model. That makes it easy to steer and turn wherever you go. Click here to see other options from Pride Mobility.
Speed: 4 mph
Distance per charge: 10 miles
Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Turning radius: 38.25”
Suspension: Yes- features Comfort-Trac suspension.
Other specs: Padded seat and adjustable armrests for extra comfort, plus a bright LED light.
Anything else: Features two under-seat storage bins, and a USB port so you can even charge your phone while driving.
Our verdict: If you’re worried about turning and getting in and out of smaller spaces, the Jazzy Zero Turn might be just what you need. The lighter frame and unique turning technology mean it can manage hills, corners, and turns lightly and easily.
Buzz Around XLS (Golden Technologies)
The Buzz Around XLS is made for comfort and ease of driving, with easy-touch controls and steering and even some extra padding for a much more comfortable ride.
Speed: 4 mph
Distance per charge: 14 miles
Weight capacity: 325 lbs
Turning radius: 47”
Suspension: Yes- full front and rear suspension for maximum shock absorption.
Other specs: Flip back armrests and a padded seat for extra comfort, along with an LED headlamp.
Anything else: Features a longer frame for extra foot room, and you can upgrade to a slighter bigger seat for added comfort too. The easy-touch handlebars are designed for one-handed steering.
Our verdict: The Buzz Around XLS was made with comfort in mind. The extra foot room and padded seat combined with the capacity for single-handed steering makes for a comfy, easy drive for anyone with mobility issues.
Phoenix HD 4 (Drive Medical)
The Phoenix HD 4 was designed to be sturdy, reliable, and easy to drive, even for those who have manual dexterity problems. Despite being a rugged model with higher weight capacity, the Phoenix HD 4 is still relatively light and easy to maneuver and disassemble.
Speed: 4 mph
Distance per charge: 15 miles
Weight capacity: 350lbs
Turning radius: 54”
Other specs: Adjustable swivel seat and armrests for maximum comfort and control, plus a bright LED lamp.
Anything else: The unique finger-pull throttle control makes it easier for users with limited strength or dexterity to operate the scooter. It also features a basket to store your things. You can upgrade to a larger seat for added comfort.
Our verdict: The finger-pull control makes this one a great choice for seniors who struggle with strength or dexterity in their hands. It also features a good weight capacity, and the adjustable seat makes it easy to find the right sitting position.
An outdoor scooter means you can get around even if walking is a challenge. With such a range of outdoor scooters available, from heavy-duty and high weight capacity to easy-touch controls and easy assemble frames made for traveling, you’re sure to find something that suits you.