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Choosing a mobility scooter

What to look for when choosing a scooter

A mobility scooter can help people get around independently. How do you know if a scooter is right for you?
See below for advice on what to think about when buying a scooter which will suit your needs, safety and insurance, as well as information about controls and other features.

close up of mobility scooter controls and handlebarsMobility scooters can offer you a great deal of independence. There are many different types available and prices can range from under £400 to over £5,000, depending on the size and quality of the scooter.

Because there's so much variety, it's important to think about what will suit you before you buy.

Find a scooter that's comfortable, easy to use and suited to what you want to use it for.

Shop around and try out different types before you commit to anything.

Our mobility scooter checklist can also help you work out what to look out for.

When you're ready to start looking, our scooter search has prices and information on over 120 scooters - but always double-check, because prices do vary.

Top tips:

Before getting a scooter:

What do you want it for? Decide what size and type you need:
  • Small (Class 2) scooters can go on pavements. Some can be dismantled and put in your car boot. The smaller they are, the easier they are to use indoors, store and transport.
  • Class 3 scooters are larger and can go on the road. They're more robust and better at travelling for long distances.
  • Will you use your mobility scooter on public transport?
Try before you buy
  • Try out different scooters to see what suits you, and don't buy anything without having a test drive.
  • Good retailers will let you try their products first, and some will do home visits (all Motability dealers do this).
  • Other good places to try could include Mobility Centres, Disabled Living Centres and Shopmobility. You can rent scooters from Shopmobility to get round the shops - this also a good way to try different models out.
Will it suit you?
  • Our consumer research forum tested scooter controls to find out what to look for. Make sure the controls are easy to see, reach, grip and use for long periods.
  • The seating needs to be comfortable, too. Check back support and legroom.

If you decide to get a scooter:

How to pay for it:
  • Motability can be a good option if you're eligible - you pay for the scooter using your mobility payments. You also get extra services such as insurance and repair.
  • Alternatively, some charities provide funding.
Buying one yourself:
  • Shop around, as prices vary.
  • We don’t recommend buying online unless you know exactly what you want. You can't try the scooter out and may have to assemble it yourself. Read our blog post I bought my scooter online
How to use it safely:
  • Remember the speed limits - 4mph on the pavement and 8mph on the road.
  • If you're going on the road, know your highway code.
  • Slopes, kerbs and rough ground can make your scooter unstable. Make sure you know what it can handle and how well you can balance.
  • Get insurance so that you're covered against theft, accidents and third-party claims.

The information on mobility scooter controls comes from usability research with older and disabled people, funded by Motability. Other information comes from consultation with independent experts.

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is a UK consumer research charity. We don't sell products. Search online by product name to find suppliers.
Our unbiased research with real scooter users aims to help you choose the mobility scooter that will work best for you.

Last updated: May 2018

Introduction | Next: Class and size | See also: Accessible public transport | Mobility scooter research reports