Advantages of getting a folding mobility scooter
The advantages of a mobility scooter are obvious to anyone who is mobility impaired. With a scooter, you can cover the long distances required to shop at the grocery store or go for a casual stroll around the neighborhood with family and friends. Scooters can help eliminate pain while keeping you mobile.
But why get a folding mobility scooter, instead of a fixed model? Foldability is key for transporting your scooter to wherever you need it. For example, if you want to use your scooter to navigate the grocery store, it first needs to fit inside your car. This can be a massive challenge for an upright scooter, but it’s no problem if your scooter collapses down to a small size.
Another advantage is that many folding mobility scooters can be taken on planes. If you travel for leisure or to see family, this is a huge advantage. Not only can you use your own mobility scooter at the airport, but you’ll have your scooter with you for your entire trip.
Features to consider before you buy a collapsible scooter
Figuring out which collapsible scooter is right for you can be tough, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Here, we’ll highlight the most important factors you need to consider when choosing a folding mobility scooter and explain why they matter.
Ease of folding and unfolding
If your scooter is difficult to fold, it’s almost as if it doesn’t fold at all. After all, there are very few occasions when you will be willing to spend a half hour or more fighting with your scooter to get it to open or close. As a result, you will probably end up not using your scooter as much as you should, which can lead to spending more time closed up at home or even injuring yourself by trying to walk too far.
The folding mechanism is different on every mobility scooter. Some have latches to unlock the folding components, while others, like the Transformer scooter, fold automatically with the touch of a button. Some models, like the Innovative Mobility Products SmartScoot, break down into multiple pieces. This can be more work, but it may be necessary if you need to fit your scooter into a small space like the trunk of your car.
Folded and unfolded dimensions
The size of your scooter – both when folded and when unfolded – matter a lot. If your scooter won’t fit inside your car even when it’s folded, for example, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to put it to good use.
Look closely at the dimensions of your scooter and consider where you’re most likely to use it. Keep in mind that size is often a trade-off with comfort, as larger, heavier mobility scooters tend to have bigger seats and more storage area.
Seat size and comfort
The seats on folding mobility scooters come in all shapes and sizes. Some scooters, including the Glion, WISGING, and Transformer scooters, are built with full chairs complete with armrests. Others, like the EV Rider and TravelScoot scooters, have slimmed down seats with just a tiny backrest.
When thinking about the seat size, consider how much time you plan to spend sitting in your scooter. You should also consider whether a small seat is likely to cause back pain for you. While these smaller seats are often surprisingly comfortable, they can be painful if you suffer from low back problems.
Materials and durability
A folding scooter is a major investment, so you want to be sure that it’s going to last. Look for scooters that are made out of durable materials, both in the scooter frame and in the seat. For example, you might want to consider scooters that have leather upholstery such as the Ephesus or Transformer scooters.
It’s also worth considering what the wheels are made of. One of the reasons we like the Glion scooter, our Editor’s Choice, is that it is outfitted with durable never-flat tires.
Heavier individuals will need to think about the weight limit that a scooter is rated for. Most foldable mobility scooters are capable of carrying heavier loads, up to 250 pounds or more. If you’re looking for the best folding bariatric electric mobility scooter, you might want to consider a model like the TravelScoot scooter that has a weight limit of 350 pounds.
Speed typically isn’t a huge concern when choosing a mobility scooter – the point is to get around safely and painlessly, rather than to zip around town. Still, it’s worth considering speed if you plan to use your scooter to cover longer distances.
Many of the scooters we reviewed have a maximum speed of just 4 to 5 mph. But the Ephesus S5 sports a maximum speed of 12 mph, and the WISGING scooter isn’t far behind it with a max speed of 9.3 mph.
Range per charge
The distance you can travel without having to recharge your scooter is critical if you spend most of your day out of the house. All of the scooters we reviewed can carry you at least 10 miles before needing a recharge, and most of them can go 15 miles or more. The Ephesus S5 stands out for its incredibly long 25-mile range – most people will only need to recharge this scooter every several days.
If you plan to use your scooter on grass or other uneven terrain, then ground clearance is well worth thinking about. Most mobility scooters are very low to the ground because that makes them more stable, not to mention smaller in size.
Generally, scooters with larger wheels, like the WISGING scooter, tend to have slightly more ground clearance than competing models.
Be sure to look at what warranty a mobility scooter comes with. It’s important that your purchase is protected in case there’s something wrong with the electronics or mechanical components. Most of the scooters we reviewed come with a warranty of just one year, and often that excludes the battery or motor. Some scooters, including the Transformer and EV Rider models, have longer warranties on the frame.
Unfortunately, folding mobility scooters aren’t cheap. Expect to pay over $1,100 for a budget-friendly model like the WISGING scooter, and up to $2,800 for a premium scooter like the model from ATTO.