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A Look at the Different Kinds of Mobility Scooters

Updated on July 20, 2009

There are a number of disorders and diseases that can make walking more difficult, but among seniors arthritis is the most likely cause of limited mobility. Arthritis is a joint disorder that can make bending the knees and other joints very difficult, making it impossible to walk for extended periods of time. To help improve accessibility and make it easier to spend time with family, many seniors use mobility scooters.

However, with all the different models and types available, selecting the right mobility scooter can feel a little bit overwhelming at first, but it doesn't have to be.

Mobility scooters can basically be divided into three different groups: Heavy Duty Scooters, Travel Scooters, and Standard Scooters. By having an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of these different types of scooters, it is much easier to select the right mobility scooter to fit your needs.

Heavy Duty Scooters

Heavy duty scooters are probably the most fun type of scooter to drive. They have the highest top speed and are designed to preform well over rough terrain, offering larger tires, improved suspension, reinforced bumpers, and a higher ground clearance. Heavy duty scooters also have the largest weight capacity and a very high per-charge range, often exceeding 20 miles on a single battery charge.

In addition to being well suited for rougher ground and outdoor use, heavy duty scooters also include a number of extra features and comforts. The chairs are usually larger with more padding and can sometimes recline. They also usually offer a complete set of running lights, with brake lights and headlights.

While these types of scooters are incredibly powerful and robust, they are also the most expensive type of mobility scooter, usually costing between $1500 and $4500. Also, due to their size and high turning radius, they might not be as well suited for use inside of your home, nor is it possible to transport them without a vehicle scooter carrier.

Travel Scooters

Travel scooters are pretty much a direct opposite of a heavy duty scooter. They are very lightweight and are designed so that they can be taken apart. Usually they can be dissembled into a few easy to manage pieces, so the scooter can quickly and easily be placed into the trunk of a car. As a result, it is not necessary to invest in a vehicle scooter carrier to transport a travel scooter. Due to their size, they are great for indoor use and typically have a very low turning radius. Travel scooters are also the least expensive, usually costing between $700 and $1500.

The advantage of a travel scooter is its lightweight, but to achieve this, they are fairly scaled down in terms of features. The seat is lightweight and does not contain a lot of padding and travel scooters seldom include any type of lighting. The range of these devices is also fairly low and they can not support as much weight as other scooters. Travel scooters are also less stable, have a lower battery range, and lower top speed.

Standard Scooters

Standard scooters form the middle ground between travel scooter and heavy duty scooter. They are much sturdier than a travel scooter and much more solid as well. Most include running lights, as well as an upgraded seat. They also have a fairly large per charge range, but it is still about half of what a heavy duty scooter would offer. Due to their size, most people choose to invest in a scooter carrier to transport a standard scooter.

Standard scooters preform well indoors and usually have a fairly low turning radius. They can also be used outdoors and can be driven across most well packed surfaces. Price wise, standard scooters also fall in the middle, usually costing around $1200 to $2500.

Selecting the Right One

To select the right scooter, it is important to consider where the scooter will be used and the physical attributes of the user, as well as taking into account the users budget. It is also a good idea to compare and contrast the advantages of an electric wheelchair, which for some may be a better option.

Often, while a travel scooter offers a very attractive price tag, for everyday use, they often do not hold up as well or offer enough functionality. Heavy duty scooters offer much more power, but for those who don't spend a lot of time outdoors and driving on unpaved surfaces, they might offer a little too much functionality and are often just a little too big

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