Whether going to the grocery store, shopping mall or just cruising through the neighborhood, a scooter makes getting around much easier for anyone with a mobility challenge.
Rather than looking like a medical device, scooters have a "friendly" image. They are easy to use and easy to maintain.
There are more scooter models that you can imagine, so how do you choose the right scooter for your needs? It's like shopping for a car, lots of models, options and features. We’ve put together a list to help you in making your selection of the right scooter a little easier.
- User weight: Your weight is the first consideration when selecting a scooter. The important threshold is 250 lbs. Standard scooters typically have a 250-lb capacity. Standard-weight-capacity models range from compact indoor models, to larger, outdoor models with larger wheels and higher speeds. Heavy-duty models are usually bigger and have weight capacities up to 500 lbs.
- Environment: Will you be using your scooter primarily indoors where the hallways are narrow and the corners are tight, or outdoors, where surfaces are not always smooth or level?. Because scooters inherently have a large turning radius, only the compact models are suitable for use around the home or other areas where maneouvrability can be a challenge.
- Transportation: Will you be transporting your scooter in the trunk of a car, in a van or the back of a truck? Most scooters disassemble but sometimes the heaviest component is too heavy to lift easily. Consideration must also be given to the size of the largest component. This might be the main frame or the seat. Will these components fit into the vehicle? The main frame section may be too long to fit into a car trunk. If the vehicle is a van or pickup truck, you might consider a powered lift that can lift the scooter into the vehicle without any dissassembly.
- Seating: If you are in and out of your scooter seat all day, then you would probably be fine with the seat that comes standard. If you remain in the seat most of the day, you'll want to consider upgrading to a more comfortable seat that is designed for sitting on for extended periods. Most seats swivel in order to facilitate transfers and lock into place when facing forward. The more comfortable seats are usually called Captain's seats. This is because they look like the chair/seat used by a captain on a boat. Another common seat, which is less bulky but more compact for transport, is the Fish-On seats. It is a boat seat adapted for scooter use.
- Arms: Most scooters include arms. Some are adjustable in height and/or width. If a specific arm height is important, being able to adjust the arm height may be essential for comfort. Also, if your body requires more seat width, being able to adjust the width between the arms may be useful.
- Tiller. If you have limited ability to grip, be sure you don't get a scooter that has knobs for tiller angle adjustment. The tiller is like the handlebars of a bicycle, and it can be moved forward for easy access to sit down, then moved back in place for when you are ready to drive. Some scooters are made with a lever that allows for easy adjustment.
- Accessories: Most scooters offer a wide selection of accessories. Here are a few to consider when making your purchase: pouches, baskets (front and rear), lights (standard on many), power seat elevator, cane/crutch holder, solid tires (or foam-filled) and oxygen tank holders.
It's recommended that you consult an Occupational therapist or Physio therapist prior to making your purchase.