A Closer Look at the Mobility Scooter

Mobility scooters are not exactly new devices and have been around for some time, with the first models first being developed around forty years ago. Up until the nineteen-eighties the cost of mobility scooters, and for that matter electric wheelchairs, was often rather prohibitive, making the device not as common. However, due to increased competition and improved manufacturing techniques, mobility scooters are relatively inexpensive today and are extremely popular among the elderly.

A mobility scooter is a motorized device that is used to carry a single person around their home or as they complete daily activities. Using rechargeable batteries, many mobility scooters are able to support an individual weighing more than 300 pounds over distances exceeding 10 miles on a single charge.

Differences Between Electric Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters

The function and manufacture of mobility scooters is actually quite similar to that of an electric wheelchair, but the actual design of these two devices is usually quite different.

Since an electric wheelchair is intended for constant use by its owner, it is designed so that it can be driven directly up to a table or desk, with its captain’s chair being positioned atop a small plastic base.

Mobility scooters, on the other hand, are designed more as a walking supplement and are usually used by those who are able to walk on their own for short periods of time. So, a much longer plastic base is used, with a set of handlebars extending from the front of the base.

The handlebars, or tiller as it is usually referred to, make it impossible for a mobility scooter to be driven directly up to a table or desk in the same manner as a wheelchair could be. They also usually contain headlights, turn signals, and other gauges to indicate things like battery strength.

Due to the larger wheelbase of a mobility scooter in relation to an electric wheelchair, they are often better suited for uneven terrain and outdoor conditions.

Types of Mobility Scooters

There are actually quite a few different types of mobility scooters. There are a number of ways to classify them, such as by their range and weight capacity, as well as their intended use.

One of the most common ways to differentiate between different types of mobility scooters is by classifying them as travel scooters, heavy duty scooters, and traditional scooters.

Travel Scooters are designed so that the scooter can be easily disassembled into more manageable pieces. As the name implies, this can make it much easier to travel with, as there is no need for a vehicle scooter lift and often the heaviest piece weighs around thirty pounds, so most people can lift the scooter into their trunk without difficulty. Of course, travel scooters have fewer features and are less durable, as they are instead designed to save weight.

Heavy Duty Scooters are designed for rugged outdoor use and to support a great deal more weight, often well over 500 pounds. They also have a much higher top speed and range than other scooters, as well as being better suited for outdoor conditions. This includes reinforced bumpers, larger wheels, more comfortable seats, and a wider wheelbase. However, due to their size, transporting a heavy duty scooter usually requires a scooter carrier and they may not work as well in the tight corners of a home.

Traditional Scooters fall in between travel scooters and heavy duty scooters. They usually include more features and can often be disassembled, but the individual pieces are heavier than a travel scooter. They also usually have a larger per-charge range and weight capacity than a travel scooter would, while being less than that of a heavy duty scooter.

The Importance of the number of Wheels

The number of wheels an adult scooter has is also used to classify the scooter and can determine what type of activities it is best suited for.

For outdoor use, a four wheel scooter is usually the best choice, as it is more stable and able to provide better weight support. Most heavy duty scooters are four wheeled, as this provides better stability.

A three wheel scooter will typically be more maneuverable, as it has a smaller wheel base, making it a good choice for indoor use. Many travel scooters will use a three wheel design as this makes it lighter as well. In general, an electric scooter with three wheels has a much smaller turning radius, which also causes it to be less stable.