Perfect Homecare’s Guide to the Best Mobility Scooter
Being stuck in one place is an awful feeling. As humans, we have the urge to explore and take life into our own hands. Finding the best mobility scooter will help provide the freedom and independence you desperately want.
For some, the lack of mobility stops you from getting out and doing what you love to do. It doesn’t have to be like that.
My wife and I are not in a position to need a mobility scooter at the moment, but we do see them from time to time in our nursing homes. The freedom and independence they provide our residents really is remarkable.
After doing our research for this guide, Sarah and I discussed which mobility scooter we’d prefer if we had to choose one today…and of course we picked different ones. Isn’t that the case for most things? We are married after all.
My pick is more heavy duty because of my size and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a lead foot, so I picked the BuzzAround Extreme 4 Wheel Heavy duty mobility scooter. It’s a bit faster and is designed to be driven on any terrain.
The BuzzAround has a near perfect rating on Amazon with 4.8 stars (at the time of writing) which means customers are very happy with this mobility scooter, and the reviews speak for themselves!
I chose this scooter because it checked all the boxes I was looking for:
1. It’s heavy duty, so it can handle my big ass.
2. It can handle any terrain with its beefy 9 inch tires, 4 inch ground clearance, and spring suspension.
3. It’s a long distance scooter, getting up to 18 miles on one charge.
4. It’s max speed is 5 miles per hour which isn’t bad considering walking pace is 3 mph.
Sarah chose the Spitfire Scout light duty compact mobility scooter based on price and overall good reviews. It’s a great choice for those on a budget. That’s why we chose it for our best budget mobility scooter…
Best Budget Mobility Scooter
After hours of research and sifting through countless customer testimonials we have chosen the Spitfire Scout by Drive Medical as our pick for the best budget mobility scooter. We wanted to find you the best bang for your hard earned buck!
Since price played such a big roll in narrowing down our list, we had to exclude some of the better, but more expensive mobility scooters. If you have a larger budget, please check out our other picks.
It’s difficult picking just one mobility scooter as the best especially considering the amount of scooters available. Logic would say the best scooter would have the highest price tag and the most bells and whistle, and that may be the case, but most people (like ourselves) can’t shell out thousands upon thousands.
Will this be the best mobility scooter for everyone? Probably not. We realize everyone has different criteria when it comes to determining what is best for them.
Here is what we looked for to determine what we think is best.
- User Reviews
The SpitFire Scout is currently priced under $700 with free shipping, which is great considering most 4 wheel options we’ve researched are over $1000.
The SpitFire Scout comes with 3 wheels or 4 wheels depending on which option you prefer. We recommend the 4 wheel option for more stability (it’s a steal for the extra money).
Some features that are missing would be suspension, it doesn’t fold down for easy transport, and it won’t handle some terrains (snow, sand, mud) very well, if at all.
We’d also like to point out, at the time of writing, the SpitFire is Amazon’s Choice. Anything backed by Amazon is a great product. The vetting process is quite stringent.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Mobility Scooter
What terrain will you be driving on?
In my opinion, this is the most important question to consider. Before you can pick the best mobility scooter for your situation, it’s important to know how it will used and what type of terrain you’ll be driving on. If you’ll be driving on flat surfaces you may be able to get away with buying a light duty, compact mobility scooter.
On the other hand, if you’re driving on uneven, bumpy surfaces like cobblestone or wish to veer off road onto grass, you may need to find a mobility scooter with suspension and inflatable tires. The solid plastic tires on light duty scooters just won’t cut it. They’re likely to spin out in wet grass and snow.
You also need to take weather into consideration because some mobility scooters aren’t designed for mud or snow. Keeps this in mind. You’ll need a scooter with a higher ground clearance.
Do you require a light, medium, or heavy duty mobility scooter?
Now that you’ve considered what terrain and weather you’ll be driving in, you can decide if you need light, medium, or heavy duty mobility scooter.
If you plan on using it indoors on smooth surfaces, like at the mall or on cruise ship, you can get away with a light duty mobility scooter.
If you wish to use it more outdoors, you may want to get something more middle of the road. The scooters at this level have a higher ground clearance, beefier motor, and may or may not have inflatable tires.
A heavy duty mobility scooter is the Rolls-Royce of the pack. They tend to be bigger, faster, and some come with suspension to minimize the impact on uneven terrain.
That’s not to say a heavy duty mobility scooter is the best of the best. If your main priority is to navigate indoors, a compact mobility scooter is definitely a better choice for you.
How much weight does it support?
Most mobility scooters can handle up to 250lbs. Some light duty models even support up to 300lbs. Make sure to check the weight limit of your scooter before buying.
What size do you need to fit comfortably?
The majority of mobility scooters come with adjustable seats and tiller to fit to your body size, but if you’re taller you may need to find a larger mobility scooter.
Another option for taller folks would be to buy a 3 wheel mobility scooter over a 4 wheel because there’s more leg room. You have to way your options because a 4 wheel is more stable.
How easy is it to control?
Most mobility scooters are simple to operate, but they do have some small differences. If you have dexterity problems there are scooters available with a delta shaped handle that is great for that purpose.
How easy are they to assemble?
Your mobility scooter will come partly assembled, but you’ll be required to install a number of pieces each weighing 10-50 pounds each. Each scooter is different so it’s nice to know beforehand, that way you can have help.
Will you need to transport you mobility scooter?
Another great question to ask is whether you plan on transporting your scooter from one place to another.
Can it be taken apart and fitted into a trunk of a car?
If you do a lot of travelling, you may be better buying a folding mobility scooter.
3 Wheel vs 4 Wheel
One the of the questions we hear often is, should I get a 3 wheel or 4 wheel mobility scooter?
Well, each option has its advantages and disadvantages..
A 3 wheel mobility scooter is known for turning better due to having a shorter turning radius. It’s usually also a better for indoor use, but it depends on the size of the scooter. Another advantage is the cost, as it will typically be cheaper than a scooter with 4 wheels.
The 4 wheel scooters are notably more stable and will be less likely to tip over at higher speeds. I’m reminded of my childhood when comparing a 3 wheeler to a quad and how much easier it was to roll the 3 wheeler. 4 wheeled scooters are more geared towards driving outdoors and will provide a smoother ride. You’re also more likely to find suspension in mobility scooters with 4 wheels and they can hold more weight.
Mobility Scooter Brands
There are quite a few mobility scooter brands you should consider when you’re ready to buy.
Drive Medical is a leader in medical equipment. We have crossed paths with them while doing research for hospital beds. They put out great products at reasonable prices.
Quingo is a new name to us, but we thought it was important to include because their mobility scooters have features other brands don’t, such as: 5 wheels and the ability to self load into your vehicle.
Pride Mobility is another great name to look for. We came across this brand while researching lift chairs. Their products have great reviews allround.
Top 3 4-Wheel Mobility Scooters Under $1000
SpitFire Scout Transportable Mobility Scooter Review
The SpitFire Scout is Drive Medical’s light duty transportable mobility scooter, but don’t let it deter you. It’s a well built machine and is a great option for people that don’t require all the bells and whistles the more expensive scooters have. It’s compact and lightweight making it easy to transport and store. You can also customize the look of your scooter with additional accessories like a cane or walker holder, or the included blue or red exterior decoration panels.
Before buying the SpitFire, or any mobility scooter for that matter, it’s advantageous to know how you’ll be using it. What kind of surfaces will you be driving on? Will there be steep hills present? What distances to you plan on travelling each trip? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you find the right mobility scooter for you.
As a light duty vehicle, the SpitFire Scout is designed to drive well over flat surfaces such as indoor flooring like tile or carpet and outdoor surfaces like smooth pavement and asphalt. It’s also helpful to know that it can handle speed bumps and grass according to customers. But with a small ground clearance of 2.5 inches it’s a good idea to take it slow. If you do plan on using it on grass frequently, we’d suggest upgrading to a mobility scooter with inflatable tires and even suspension.
It’s not good option for you if you plan on driving on uneven surfaces or up inclines higher then 6 degrees. Steep hills are out of the question, but it is designed in accordance to ADA compliant wheelchair ramps.
Snow, sand, mud, and wet grass may cause issues when driving. The wheels of the SpitFire are small and made of solid plastic and don’t provide as much traction as inflatable tires. Driving on these surfaces can cause you to get stuck and drain the battery. If you do drive on these surfaces, make sure to clean your scooter after.
The SpitFire’s speed maxes out at 4.25 mph and can go up to 9 miles on one charge, but it largely depends on the user’s weight, their driving habits, the surfaces being driven on and their speed. With all these factors taken into consideration, you can likely expect to get 5 to 8 miles with ease. You also have the option to upgrade to larger 20AH batteries that will increase travel distance from 9 miles to 15.
The SpitFire comes in a 3 wheel or 4 wheel option. The 4 wheel scooter will provide more stability when you’re driving, especially over uneven surfaces you may encounter. It’s also a safer alternative as it’s less likely to tip over. One drawback to the the 4 wheel option is the larger turning radius of 53.75 inches compared to the 3 wheel turning radius of 45.5 inches.
This scooter is equipped with a cushioned seat that adjusts and swivels to meet the users need a to maximize comfort. The armrests and backrest are also adjustable to fit most body types. The armrests swing up for easy entry.
Driving the SpitFire is made easy with the large surfaced steering handle making is a great option with limited dexterity. It’s also padded.
Putting this mobility scooter together is fairly simple as it comes mostly preassembled with the exception of 4 pieces you’ll need to install on the base. It’s helpful to have a friend, family member, or care provider present. The packaging will need to be cut open and following the instructions, lift the necessary pieces into place. These include the battery, seat, front, motor. When it’s all put together you can drive it to your designated charging station.
Note: Remember to push down the red lever on the back of the scooter to engage the rear wheels. Some customers have missed this important step.
One great feature the SpitFire is designed for is the ability to break down easily if you need to store or transport it. Just reverse the steps you took to assemble it. It will fit in the trunk of most cars. The process can be finished in less then 10 minutes and you’ll get quicker every time.
Here are the weights of each piece:
- Base Weight 58 lbs.
- Battery Weight (pair) 20 lbs.
- Seat Weight 16 lbs.
- Total Weight 94 lbs.
- Heaviest Piece Weight (Front Section) 39 lbs.
The SpitFire Scout comes with a quick-connect battery pack containing 2 batteries as well as a charger. The battery pack can be removed and charged indoors or you can charge while in the scooter’s battery housing. You can expect up to 9 miles on a single battery charge.
GO-GO ULTRA X 4 Wheel Electric Travel Scooter Review
The Go-Go Ultra by Pride Mobility is another option for those seeking out a compact transportable mobility scooter. It’s ability to be disassembled into 5 easily manageable pieces makes it easy to store and transport. It can even be transported by plane with checked luggage for those going away.
The Go-Go Ultra is comparable to the SpitFire Scout. We’d even go as far as saying the SpitFire Scout is a better buy considering you’ll save over $200, while getting the same or better specs and features. You will however, receive an accessory package with the Go-Go Ultra including a rear basket and cup holder, as well as a 1 year hassle free in-home service plan.
If speed is what you’re looking for you may want to pass on the Go-Go as it’s only rated for 4 miles per hour. However, if you are looking for a stable and safe ride, this machine is perfect for you. At this rate of speed you’ll still be able to go faster than walking pace.
Customers agree the Go-Go is well built and very stable. Some even suggest it can hold more than it’s rated 260 lbs, although we recommend purchasing a scooter designed for your size and body type.
Being a light duty vehicle the Go-Go is designed for smooth surfaces. It’s suited more for indoors, but can be driven outside on flat pavement. If you plan to use your mobility scooter outdoors more than occasionally, we highly recommend upgrading to a mobility scooter with suspension and a higher ground clearance.
The Go-Go can handle grass, but not very well according to some customers. The main culprit is the hard rubber tires that have trouble getting enough traction and limited power. A great heavy duty option is the BuzzAround Extreme. For the reasonable increase in price it’s worth the flexibility.
The Go-go Ultra is very easy to use. Many customers said it can even be steered with one hand if you have dexterity issues. It’s also easy to get seated because the seat swivels 360 degrees and will lock at 45 and 90 degree angles so the chair doesn’t move.
If that wasn’t enough, the armrests move up and down and can be taken off completely if needed. This is a good option depending on your size as it will give you a bit more room to breathe.
It has a manufacturer’s speed rating of 4 mph which is slightly slower than the SpitFire Scout’s 4.25, but we’d wager a bet you wouldn’t notice the slight difference. The Go-Go does have quite the oomph though. When you accelerate forward or backwards it propels the scooter with gusto before evening out to a consistent speed.
Being a tad slower isn’t a deal killer. It’s ideal to go slower anyway because there’s no suspension or shocks to absorb any jostling you might experience. You’d feel every bump if it was any faster. We should mention the 4 mph will be affected by degree of incline, the weight of the user, and how much charge is remaining on the battery.
Similar to the SpitFire Scout, the Go-go Ultra breaks down into 5 easy to handle pieces. The Go-go has a slight advantage as it’s heaviest piece (axle/motor assembly) weighs only 30 lbs, give or take a couple pounds, compared to 40 lbs. It’s not a huge difference, but we realize the lighter the better. The next heaviest piece is the battery at just over 20 lbs.
You can also use a cargo carrier hooked to the back of your car, if that’s more convenient. It’s recommended that you take out the battery so it doesn’t shake off during transport.
The Go-Go Ultra comes with two 12v 12ah lead acid sealed batteries and an off board charger that will plug right into the battery pack. You can keep the battery pack on the scooter or remove it and bring it indoors.
While researching expected battery life for the Go-Go Ultra we came up with a mixed bag of answers. The hourly battery life can be anywhere from 2 hours to 10 hours according to customers. The length of time depends on quite a few factors:
*weight of the user
*is it in constant use?
To conserve battery power its suggested that you turn off your mobility scooter when you’re not moving. Customers seem to be happy with the battery life.
There’s is also a car charger available for around $100.
EV Rider MiniRider MiniRider 4 Wheel Travel Scooter Review
Don’t let the name fool you, the MiniRider is more than just mini. It’s power source is two 18 ah batteries compared to the 12 ah the SpitFire and Go-Go have. That means more power! The Mini Rider has a manufacturer’s rating of 5 mph and is capable of climbing inclines of up to 10 degrees.
This sporty scooter is easy to assemble and is transportable like the other two mobility scooters. It’s equally easy to use and is perfect for new riders.
The EV MiniRider can handle the same flat terrain as the other two picks and can also be driven on grass and small packed gravel. You may have trouble on really loose sand or gravel mixes because the solid plastic tires will spin.
This model is designed more for indoor use, but it can be used outside. Just be aware of you surroundings and take it slow. We’d suggest sticking to smooth side walk and paved roads, but it is quite durable, so if you’re feeling courageous you can try going off the beaten path. Try to avoid getting it wet if you drive it in the rain though.
The EV MiniRider is very easy to take apart for transporting. Just remove the seat, basket and battery pack and pull the pin on the base. It will separate into two parts. It can be accomplished in under 2 minutes with some practice. Try to arrange the pieces in an order so you can take out the base first and add the other parts to it when you’re ready to assemble.
You could also use a carrier on the back of your vehicle, but it could make it harder to back up your vehicle and may take longer to load in the long run.
Note: The batteries may ship separately from the scooter.
Unlike the the other 2 mobility scooters in this list, the MiniRider is powered by 2 sealed lead acid 12V18ah batteries rather than 12V12ah batteries. You could upgrade to the optional 12V20ah batteries, but the standard power seems sufficient enough. Quite a bit more powerful than the first to scooters on our list.
It’s hard to determine how long the battery will last. Some users said it will last all day in full use while another customer said it lasts them for a couple of weeks. It all depends on how often you use it, your weight, the terrain it’s driven on. I’m sure I’m missing a few factors that affect the battery life, but you get the point.
If you plan on taking it on trips, you can be happy to know that others have done it with great success, stating it lasted all day with continual use. It’s suggested you charge the battery for 6 to 8 hours overnight so it’s fresh for the next day.
If you’re curious to know how the battery life looks in miles, you can expect to get 12 to 15 miles per charge. Once again, it depends on the factors above. If you drive on gravel or dirt and are climbing up inclines you can expect it to drain the battery quicker.
You’d charge the batteries like most mobility scooters. The battery pack can be taken out of the scooter and plugged inside your home, hotel room or cruise ship suite using the off board charger or you can keep it on the scooter and plug it in a nearby outlet.