Getting out and about can be challenging for seniors. As we get older we might find ourselves struggling with stiff limbs, balance problems, impaired eyesight, or difficulty breathing. That’s where a portable mobility scooter can be very helpful indeed.
What Is A Portable Mobility Scooter?
A portable mobility scooter is a three or four-wheel motorized vehicle designed to help seniors or others with mobility issues get around. The driver sits on a seat, as easy as sitting in a chair, and uses the handlebars to steer the vehicle.
Mobility scooters are ideal for taking trips to the shops, going about outdoors, or stopping off at a cafe to see friends. Some scooters are also suitable for use indoors, and therefore are helpful for seniors who struggle to get around the house. Mobility scooters can also be very helpful on vacation, helping you see the sights without walking much.
Who Can Benefit From A Portable Mobility Scooter?
Portable mobility scooters are ideal for seniors who want to stay active, but can’t walk very far. Because the scooter must be disassembled and loaded into a vehicle, they’re particularly well suited to either
- Seniors who still drive their own car and are ok with loading and unloading
- Seniors who regularly go out and about with a caregiver or partner who can help them
How Do Portable Mobility Scooters Work?
Portable mobility scooters run on batteries, and those batteries need to be charged regularly. Most manufacturers recommend charging overnight so your vehicle is always ready to go the next day.
Many models have a top speed somewhere between 4 mph and 8 mph, though some are higher. You can expect to get around 8 – 10 miles of use from each battery charge but some sturdier models offer a much higher mile per charge ratio.
Why Choose A Portable Scooter?
Portable scooters are designed to be much easier to transport in a vehicle or even on public transport. Portable models are usually lighter than other kinds of scooters and can be made smaller for ease of storage.
Scooters are made smaller either by folding down (so you don’t have to disassemble it at all) or by having an easy-disassemble mechanism that means you can take it apart quickly and easily.
If you know you want to pack up your scooter and drive to different places with it, a portable model is a great choice. It’s hard to fit a fully assembled scooter into most vehicles, but a portable model solves this problem.
Is Fold-Down or Easy-Disassembly Best?
Before choosing a portable scooter, we recommend deciding whether a fold-down or easy-disassemble model is the best option.
Consider who will be getting the scooter in and out of the vehicle trunk. How much can they comfortably lift? A fold-down model wins points for shrinking down without the need to disassemble individual parts. However, this also makes them a bit heavier, as you’re lifting the entire scooter all at once.
An easy-disassemble model, on the other hand, comes apart into four or five components. Although this does mean taking your scooter apart and putting it back together when you reach your destination, it also means lifting lighter individual pieces instead of lifting the whole scooter at once.
Think about who will be doing the moving and lifting, and where the scooter will be stored for transport, to help you make your decision.
What To Think About When Buying A Portable Mobility Scooter
As well as thinking about who will move and lift the scooter, we also recommend thinking about:
- Whether it’s as comfortable as you need. Some models feature extra padding on the seat or a moveable back or armrests for comfort.
- If it has suspension. Check whether it has suspension or shock absorbers, as not every portable model does. For smooth easy drives such as round the local shopping area this isn’t a problem, but if you plan on taking it onto rougher or more uneven terrain such as grass, you might want to opt for a model with suspension.
- Where you’ll be driving it. Is this just for the sidewalk, or do you need one that you can drive on the road? What about sand, grass or gravel? The terrain you plan to drive it on can make a big difference to which model is best for you.
- The weight capacity you need. Weight capacity isn’t just about your personal weight, but also anything you want to carry on the scooter such as groceries, or an oxygen tank.
- Which safety features are included. Non-tip wheels are important, and flat free wheels are a good addition too. Not all portable models include a headlamp, so be mindful of whether you’re going to be driving on roads or after dusk.
- Battery life. You want to know how far you can drive it between charges.
- If there’s a warranty included. Scooters cost in excess of $1000, so you want to know you’re covered if something goes wrong.
Best Portable Mobility Scooters
Here are four portable mobility scooters to help you get out and about.
(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 on where you buy your scooter from.)
Buzzaround EX 3-Wheel (Golden Technologies)
The Buzzaround EX 3 is small, sleek and portable, yet has the staying power to travel up to 18 miles per charge, so you can take it anywhere.
Speed: 5 mph
Distance per charge: 18 miles
Weight capacity: 330 lbs
Turning radius: 43”
Fold-down or disassemble: Disassemble in four easy steps
Other specs: Features an adjustable seat and armrests, plus adjustable headlamp.
Anything else: Easy touch steering designed for one-handed use to provide comfort for those with dexterity issues. Also features extra deck space to provide extra comfort for taller riders.
Our verdict: We love the extra comfort features on this one – easy touch steering, suspension, adjustable-height seat, and extra deck space. It’s small and portable yet made for a comfortable ride. Many portable models don’t feature suspension, so this is a particular plus point.
Go-Go Sport (Pride Mobility)
Speed: 4.7 mph
Distance per charge: 12 miles
Weight capacity: 325 lbs
Turning radius: 50.5”
Fold-down or disassemble: Easy feather-touch disassembly breaks it down into 5 transportable pieces.
Other specs: Features a bright LED lamp, and an extra charging port on the tiller for ease of access. It also has a height-adjustable seat and flip-up armrests.
Anything else: The Go-Go sport features 3” wide flat-free tires for extra stability and safety and easy one-handed steering.
Our verdict: This is a robust yet sleek model that’s ideal for driving around your local town.
Go-Go Elite Plus (Pride Mobility)
The Go-Go Elite plus is a portable model that’s made to go the distance. With an extra-wide platform and comfy seat, drivers can go out and about in comfort.
Speed: 4.5 mph
Distance per charge: 8.3 miles
Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Turning radius: 45.75”
Fold-down or disassemble: Easy feather-touch disassembly breaks it down into 5 pieces.
Other specs: Comes with both a standard front basket and a deck basket. It also features an adjustable seat and flip-up armrests.
Anything else: The tiller is designed for easy and even one-handed steering if need be. It also comes with two sets of easy to change colored panels.
Our verdict: We like that the Go-Go elite was designed for larger persons, giving them the comfort they need while still offering portability.
Spitfire Scout 4 (Drive Medical)
The Spitfire Scout is sturdy enough to feel safe while still remaining sleek and light. It’s designed for all-day driving and maximum portability, while still having everything you need to stay comfortable.
Speed: 4.25 mph
Distance per charge: 15 miles
Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Turning radius: 53.75”
Fold-down or disassemble: Disassemble
Other specs: Adjustable seat back, and adjustable padded armrests.
Anything else: Comes with interchangeable red and blue outer panels.
Our verdict: The Spitfire Scout doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as some of the other models, but it’s sturdy, light, and has everything you need to get from A to B.
Even if mobility is an issue for you, you don’t have to be homebound or rely on a wheelchair to get around. A portable mobility scooter is easy to take apart and pack into the trunk of your car, so you can explore to your heart’s content.