Exploring the Different Types of Folding Travel Mobility Scooters: A Comprehensive Guide
All Folding Travel Mobility Scooters in the UK are what are termed ‘Class 2’ mobility scooters. This in essence differentiates them from the large and generally heavy ‘Class 3’ mobility scooters which are designed to be capable of being used on the road and require registration with DVLA to be used on the road.
There are many different types of folding travel mobility scooters on the market including three-wheelers and four-wheelers. In general all are designed to be as lightweight as possible. In this article we want to help you decide which model is best for you by discussing each one and delving into the benefits each one presents. By understanding these options, you can make an informed choice and select the most suitable scooter to enhance your travel experiences. We will split the options into ‘3-wheelers’ and ‘4-wheelers’.
The first one you might want to consider is the three-wheelers, they are agile and portable and fantastic for manoeuvring through crowded spaces.
- Portability: They are designed to be very lightweight as they are made in a way that makes them easy to be folded and transported. For example, our Lupin model can be folded to fit in a car boot, taken on public transport and is even airline approved. Three-wheelers are ideal if you like to explore!
- Ideal for indoor use: they are also suitable for navigating around homes, shopping malls and other indoor spaces due to their compact size. Because of only having one front wheel they have a smaller turning circle which is suitable for tight corners, tight spaces, crowded areas, and narrow hallways.
- Larger Wheels: Many 3-wheel travel mobility scooters have larger diameter wheels than their 4-wheel counterparts (up to 10 inches). This is possible due to their folding architecture and means that they can be much better at travelling over rough ground including grass, gravel paths, woodland paths and uneven pavements.
Economical Choice: Three-wheel folding scooters are often available at a more affordable price point compared to their four-wheel counterparts, despite having particularly good functionality.
- Some 3 wheel mobility scooters are less powerful due to the manufacturers trying to keep weight down. Some however (for example the Ren from Betty & Bertie) focus on having high-levels of power and have dual motors and the ability to carry passengers of up to 25 stone, more than most 4 wheel travel mobility scooters.
- A 3 wheel mobility scooter can initially feel a little less stable than a 4 wheel scooter. In the vast majority of cases users get accustomed to this very quickly and love the manoeuvrability the single front wheel brings. On a practical note users should be mindful that driving a 3 wheeled mobility scooter fast (particularly downhill) and then turning sharply can cause it to tip, but sensible driving eliminates this risk.
Four-wheel folding travel mobility scooters are an excellent choice for individuals who prioritise stability and comfort. . There are many different designs but can be broadly split into manual folding and automatic folding. These two types share the majority of the features below but the automatic folding mobility scooters fold and unfold at the touch of a button (see an example here), usually via a keyring fob.
- Stability: Four-wheelers offer an enhanced feeling of stability due to their wider wheelbase and oblong ‘footprint’, making them suitable for outdoor terrain and uneven surfaces.
- Increased weight capacity: these scooters tend to have a higher weight capacity, accommodating for heavier users.
Outdoor versatility: because they have four wheels, their design promotes stability, making them excel on various terrains, including parks, pavements, and gravel paths.
- Due to their slightly more complex design 4-wheeled mobility scooters tend to be a little heavier than their 3-wheeler cousins
- The way most 4-wheeled scooters fold up means that they have to have generally smaller wheels than can be put on a 3-wheeled scooter. This can mean that, although stable over grass and other ‘non-tarmac’ surfaces, the smaller wheels can dig into the ground and the ground clearance is not particularly high.
- Batteries: For all travel mobility scooters it is advisable to look for models with Lithium batteries as these are extremely efficient and reduce the overall weight of the scooter considerably.
- Solid v. Inflatable Tyres. The tyres on the smaller wheels of 4-wheeler mobility scooters are generally sold, whereas on some of the larger wheels of the 3-wheeler models there is the option of inflatable tyres. The benefit of solid tyres is that you can never get a puncture but this comes at the cost of a less comfortable ride as you do not get the suspension effect that you do from an inflatable tyre. In addition inflatable tyres tend to have better grip as they put down a larger surface area onto the ground.
- Where to buy: A folding mobility scooter is a major purchase. The general advice would be to make your purchase from a reputable UK-based business as post-sale customer services for customers who buy from China (often inadvertently through Amazon) can be very difficult.
- VAT: The vast majority of people who need a mobility scooter should be able to purchase one without paying VAT. This makes a major difference to the price the customer pays for their scooter. HMRC in the UK runs a ‘self-certification’ system which places the onus on the retailer to keep the necessary records that they require. So wherever you decide to purchase your scooter from, make sure they are set up to be able to deduct VAT from the purchase price for you.
If you are looking at a travel mobility scooter and are trying to decide which type is right for you it is a good idea to phone an expert from a reputable company who can lead you through a discussion around your needs and how you will use your scooter so that you make the right decision. For starters you could call the team at Betty & Bertie on 0800 999 6606.
If you would like to receive a FREE booklet covering many aspects of enjoyable and healthy living as well as pointers on selecting the right mobility scooter for you, click HERE.