A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Folding Mobility Scooter
As our lives change mobility can become a slight issue. A folding mobility scooter is a fantastic way of maintaining our independence. The fact that we can own a scooter which is incredibly easy to store, easy to fold and unfold, easy to take on public transport or on holiday or to pop in the boot of a car means that we can maintain an active lifestyle that we enjoy so much. But if we’re going to buy a folding mobility scooter it’s really important that we go through the thought process to make sure that the model we choose is exactly what we need and fits our lifestyle.
We hope this article will help in objectively choosing either a specific folding mobility scooter or at least help you decide which type of scooter would suit you best.
Types of Folding Mobility Scooter
Manual V Autofold?
Several models on the market today, generally 4 wheel models, have the ability to be folded at the touch of a button, usually on a key fob. For some people, particularly those with enhanced mobility issues or conditions such as arthritis in the hands or wrists, this is a great benefit - but the drawback can be that the folding mechanism can add considerably to the weight of the mobility scooter. Zinnia is the automatic folding mobility scooter that unfolds at the click of a button! It boasts a comfortable folding seat with optional armrests too.
3 or 4 Wheels?
The choice between a 3 wheeled mobility scooter or a 4 wheeled mobility scooter is really dependent on personal choice as well as the type of terrain you are likely to be using your scooter on. The difference generally is that with travel mobility scooters the 3 wheel versions tend to have much larger wheels (up to 10 inches diameter) and these wheels generally have pneumatic inflatable tyres. Ren the easy folding mobility scooter has 3 wheels and weighs 28kg and has dual motors making it so much better on hills and tougher terrain!
The deciding factor on whether or not you can take your folding or travel mobility scooter on a plane revolves around the batteries. There are specific battery power specifications articulated by the international airline industry which dictate whether or not a mobility scooter can travel on a commercial airline. If you buy a mobility scooter from a knowledgeable specialist outlet they will be able to tell you whether or not the scooter will be allowed on an aeroplane. See our airline information page for more detail on taking your folding mobility scooter abroad.
How Will You Use Your Mobility Scooter?
The type of terrain you’re most likely to be using your scooter on should be one of the fundamental indicators of the type of folding mobility scooter that you should buy. Travel scooters are by their nature smaller and lighter than the traditional pavement mobility scooters. This means that quite often they have smaller wheels and narrower profiles than the larger scooters. This is fine if the scooter is likely to be used on flat ground, but if it is likely to be used on uneven surfaces or non tarmac surfaces consideration should be given to the size of the wheels and also as to whether or not those wheels are pneumatic.
Another potential restriction on choice is the weight of the user. Travel mobility scooters generally are less powerful than the non-folding pavement type. This is because the larger the motor the heavier that motor and the larger and heavier the battery needed to power the motor. A combination of these factors make the mobility scooter far too heavy to be folded and regarded as a travel scooter. Look for a scooter that has a high load capacity as they often have dual motors which makes them extra powerful on terrain.
Travel mobility scooters are a fantastic way of maintaining the ability to use public transport. If easily folded they can generally be taken on escalators and in lifts and can easily be taken onto tubes, trains and buses and popped into the boot of taxis. One significant consideration if your folding mobility scooter is likely to be used in this way is how easy it is to pull along when it is folded. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to wheel a folded scooter along a train platform when it is not designed specifically to be pulled in this manner.
One of the most common ways of transporting a folding mobility scooter is in the boot of a car. If this is likely to be part of the way you use your scooter it is very important to look at firstly the size of your boot to check that the scooter will fit in it and secondly, and particularly importantly, how you will lift the scooter and if this will be done by one or two people. Although folding mobility scooters are advertised as being lightweight, which most of them are, this is relative to the weight of a traditional pavement scooter.
One of the benefits of buying your folding mobility scooter from a reputable and knowledgeable UK-based company is that they will understand the rules around VAT. In the UK the vast majority of individuals buying a travel mobility scooter will be eligible for VAT relief which means in effect that you pay 20% less for your mobility scooter.
It is essential that the company from which you purchase your scooter understands the rules as it is for them to ensure the self-certification process is undertaken for HMRC to agree that no vat need be charged to you. This should be done instantaneously during the purchase process and if done correctly means VAT is excluded from your purchase price – so a cheaper scooter for you!
We hope this article has been helpful in focusing on the key deciding factors when choosing your folding mobility scooter. Whichever one you choose, we hope you enjoy using it and feel that you have regained your freedom and can maintain your independence. Enjoy!