What is a mobility scooter?

A mobility scooter is an electric vehicle, typically with 3 or 4 wheels, usually with capacity for one person and a few items. They are powered by batteries that are recharged by plugging the scooter into a standard 110 v. outlet. Mobility scooters are designed to be used in outdoor pedestrian areas like sidewalks and parks, or in large buildings like shopping malls and “big box” stores.

Mobility scooters are typically used by people with ambulatory problems, who retain dexterity in their hands and arms and are able to support themselves sitting in a chair. People with more motion limitations may find power chairs a more suitable choice.

Choosing a mobility scooter

First, a disclaimer. Although we’ve done our best to make sure it’s good advice, please don’t rely on this guide alone in choosing your mode of transport.

It is a good idea to check with your doctor to advise whether you can operate a scooter safely, particularly if you haven’t driven for a long time, or if you have recently had to give up your driver’s licence. You may also be working with an occupational therapist who might recommend which scooter or power chair best suits your particular capabilities. When the time comes to go and look for yourself, remember, any good store should give you all the time you need to look, try and consider equipment, without any pressure to buy.

Like any purchase, choosing a scooter means weighing up competing factors and deciding which type is best for your needs. Some mobility scooters are light and easily portable, but have relatively short travel range and less powerful motors. Others that are more powerful, have longer range and battery life, but are larger and heavier. It’s not yet possible to have it all but there are many model choices in the spectrum between the two extremes. See the table below to see how this applies to the Shoprider range.

Shoprider Scooter Range
Chameleon Cameo Spirit Explorer TrailBlazer SE
Weight capacity: 250lbs 300lbs 300lbs 300lbs 350lbs
Weight: 94lbs 123lbs 176lbs 218lbs 220lbs
Power: 0.5hp 0.75hp 0.8hp 0.87hp 2hp
Maximum speed: 6kph/3.8mph 7kph/4.4mph 8kph/5mph 8kph/5mph 15kph/9.4mph
Batteries: 2x12ah 2x21ah 2x35ah 2x50ah 2x50ah
Distance on one charge: (dependant on terrain and load) Approx. 13Km/8mi Approx. 20km/12mi Approx. 28km/17mi Approx. 32Km/20mi Approx. 35km/22miles
Turning radius: 94cm/37” 115cm/45” 133cm/52” 146cm/58” 150cm/59”
Safe climbing gradient: (dependant on load) 6º/10% 6º/10% 9º/15% 8º/14% 9º/15%

Points to ponder

One of the first things to consider is the type of terrain you will be taking the scooter on. Do you live on or need to go up any steep hills? Will you be wanting to be able to drive in unpaved areas? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘yes’ you will be limited to larger scooters with more powerful motors and bigger wheels.

Also, if you need to travel longer distances, more than a few miles from where you charge the scooter, you will need a larger model with bigger batteries.

Your size and weight will influence on size of scooter you need, although even the smallest scooters can often carry up to 300lbs. Check with your supplier.

Conversely, if you would like to fit your scooter into the trunk of a car, there are models available which come apart easily into small, light components.

Would you like to use the scooter indoors? While most scooters will be fine around shops, only the very smallest will serve in most homes. There are also a few extra-manoeuvrable models available that are designed especially for use in tight spaces.

Secondary considerations include whether you will be wanting to use the scooter after dark; the very smallest scooters do not usually include lights as standard.

If you have a sore back or are sensitive to jarring, a model with good, soft suspension would be a wise choice. Suspension is generally only available in larger scooters.

There are very few scooters that offer weather protection as standard but it is still something worth thinking about when choosing a scooter. Will you be using the scooter in the rain? Does the manufacturer offer a canopy as an accessory or is there an aftermarket solution that will fit this model?

We hope you find this basic information helpful as you consider investing in a mobility scooter or power chair.