When to Get a Mobility Scooter: 9 Signs You Need One

If you have mobility issues, you may have considered getting a mobility scooter to improve your quality of life and give you more independence. 

But how do you know if it’s the right time to get one? 

In this article, we’ll explore 9 signs that you might need a mobility scooter. 

From struggling to walk long distances to feeling reliant on others for transportation, we’ll cover the key indicators that it’s time to consider a mobility scooter. 

We’ll also discuss the different types of powered mobility aids available, some of their most important features, and provide tips for choosing the one that’s best for you. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of when it’s time to get one of these assistive devices and how to find the right one for you. 

Let’s get to it!

Key Takeaways:

  • Mobility scooters are great aids for people starting to lose independence in their life because of physical problems
  • This loss of freedom comes with a decrease in quality of life that’s easily preventable
  • Mobility scooters are not the same as electric wheelchairs, they are mostly intended for outdoor use, although some models can work at home
  • Some signs that you might need a mobility scooter:
  • You avoid going to places because you worry about walking
  • You feel pain that prevents you from walking
  • You are afraid of falling or hurting yourself
  • You feel short of breath often
  • You have previous injuries
  • You feel pain after walking
  • You need independence
  • Weather stops you from doing things you love
  • You want a better quality of life

What Is a Mobility Scooter Actually?

Mobility scooters are often confused with electric wheelchairs, so I think a small disambiguation might be important to kick things off.

While there are many differences between powered wheelchairs and scooters, I believe the most important one is that the former are designed to work as a permanent mobility aid, while scooters are used, in most cases, as temporary aids.

Scooters are great for traveling short distances on pedestrian pathways or browsing big stores.

They are even great for visiting tourist attractions like amusement parks.

For indoor, house use, they could also work, but you might be restricted to 3-wheel variants since they have a tighter turn radius that will help you navigate narrow hallways and small rooms.

9 Signs You Need a Mobility Scooter

Sometimes making the final decision is hard, and even if the idea has emerged in your mind you might be still putting excuses up.

First of all, there’s no shame in getting a device that will help you improve your quality of life.

Second, you are not the only one in this situation. Almost 7 million Americans use mobility aids to assist them with their daily activities.

To help you identify if you will benefit from a scooter, here are 9 signs you are refraining from doing things you would otherwise do:

1. You Avoid Going to Places Because You Worry About Walking

If you started putting down invitations or postponing important things because having to walk to a place or at a place gives you anxiety because you don’t know if you are going to be able to do it, you might benefit from a scooter.

2. You Feel Pain That Prevents You From Walking

If you experience chronic pain or discomfort while walking, or if walking long distances is difficult for you due to physical limitations, a mobility scooter may be a good option to consider.

3. You Are Afraid of Falling and Hurting Yourself

If you are afraid of falling or tripping while walking, or if you have already experienced falls due to your mobility issues, a mobility scooter can provide you with a safe and stable way to get around.

4. You Feel Short of Breath Often

If you have a condition that causes you to feel short of breath easily, or if walking long distances causes you to become winded, a mobility scooter can help you to get around more easily without having to worry about your physical condition.

5. You Have Previous Injuries

If you have had injuries in the past that affect your mobility, a mobility scooter can help you to move around more easily and comfortably without straining sensitive joints, muscles, or bones.

6. You Feel Pain After Walking

If you experience pain or discomfort after walking long distances, or if you find that walking is tiring or exhausting, a mobility scooter can help you to get around more easily without causing further strain on your body.

7. You Need Independence

If you have mobility issues that make it difficult for you to get around on your own, and you are ashamed or tired of depending on family or friends for doing your chores, a mobility scooter can give you the independence you need to go about your daily activities without relying on others for assistance.

8. Weather Stops You From Doing Things You Love

If you find that inclement weather, such as rain or snow, prevents you from doing the things you enjoy, a mobility scooter can help you to get around more easily and comfortably in any type of weather, given that it is of an adequate type.

9. You Want a Better Quality of Life

If you feel like your mobility issues are affecting your quality of life, a mobility scooter can help you to get around more easily and comfortably, allowing you to enjoy a whole new level of well-being, that you probably even forgot was possible.

Mobility Scooter FAQs

If you have said “yes” to one or more of the situations above, chances are you are considering a Mobility Scooter more seriously now.

Because of that here I compiled some of the most frequent questions people ask me about them.

I hope this helps you make up your mind!

Mobility Scooter or Electric Wheelchair?

As I mentioned earlier, many people tend to confuse mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs.

To give you a clear distinction, their most apparent difference is that scooters have a tiller in front, which you grab to steer and drive, while powered wheelchairs have an open frontal design and are driven with a joystick in one of their armrests.

This open front, make wheelchairs excellent for approaching surfaces like bathroom sinks, kitchen counters, or dinner tables.

Pair this with the ability to spin in place, and you will understand that wheelchairs tend to be the better option for patients that require permanent mobility aid at home.

Scooters, on the other hand, are not that agile in tight spaces.

Particularly 4 wheeled units that don’t always come with zero-turn capabilities like wheelchairs.

Three-wheeled versions work better for indoor use since their design allows for them to be turned around in smaller spaces.

How Far Can you Go With a Scooter?

You can expect an average range of 10 miles on a regular scooter.

However, extended-range capabilities are a big upsell for products in the higher tiers, with some even reaching 45 miles of range.

For cheaper models, 5 miles of autonomy are not rare and could be more than enough for a lot of people.

Can You Take Mobility Scooters on Public Transport?

There are no regulations in place to require bus companies to take mobility scooters on their units, so your experience might vary from provider to provider.

For trains and cruises, scooters are usually fine.

Airlines will most likely ask you to check your scooter at no extra cost at the gate, or even before that.

Have in mind that there are specific kinds of scooters especially designed for travel, and many of them even use non-spillable batteries that are preferred by airlines.

Can You Use Mobility Scooters Inside Shops or Stores?

There are usually no restrictions for scooters inside shops or stores, especially in bigger ones, however, it’s always a good practice to ask the staff, whenever possible.

How Fast Do Mobility Scooters Move?

Most mobility scooters have a top speed ranging between 4 mph and 8 mph depending on the model.

It might not seem as much, but remember these are devices intended for use in pedestrian paths, and indoors.

Are Mobility Scooters Safe?

Mobility scooters are designed with safety as the priority.

Manufacturers know their clients, and they wouldn’t want to put them in harm’s way.

As long as you drive safely, there’s nothing to worry about them.

How Much Does an Electric Scooter Cost?

Mobility scooters start at about $800 on average and can go up to $10,000 or even more. 

It will depend greatly on the model and its features.

A good standard mobility scooter such as the Victory 10 3-wheel version will go for about $2050, while the 4-wheel version usually retails for $2150.

Can You Rent a Mobility Scooter Instead of Buying it?

Yes! Renting a mobility scooter is a great idea, especially if you know you will need it for a short period of time, such as a trip, or vacation.

It is also a great idea to rent one for a while before pulling the trigger on purchasing it, so you can decide if it’s worth it in your particular use case.

Does Insurance Cover Mobility Scooters?

Most insurance companies, including Medicare, will cover mobility scooters up to 80% of their cost, on average.

However, to get them to pay for one is a long process that will require you to pass a series of qualification exams.

In short, you will have to prove that you can do daily activities without one.

And they will not cover scooters only intended for outdoor use.

You can learn more about Medicare’s coverage in this article:

Can You Finance a Mobility Scooter?

Yes, if you can’t get insurance coverage for your mobility scooter, most retailers will have financing options in place for you to offset the cost in monthly installments.

You can learn more about this here:

Are There Any Good Reasons Not to Get a Scooter?

There are a few reasons why someone might not want to get a mobility scooter:

  • Cost: Mobility scooters can be expensive, and purchasing one may not be feasible for everyone. Some people may not have the financial resources to afford a mobility scooter, or they may have other priorities for their money.
  • Lack of storage space: Mobility scooters can be large and may require a lot of space to store. If you live in a small home or apartment, you may not have enough space to store a mobility scooter.
  • Limited upper body mobility: Some people may not be able to use a mobility scooter due to limited mobility in their upper body. For example, if you have difficulty using your hands or arms, you may not be able to operate a scooter.
  • Health conditions: Certain health conditions may prevent you from using a mobility scooter. For example, if you have severe vertigo or balance issues, you may not be able to safely use a scooter.

It’s important to carefully consider your needs and abilities when deciding whether a mobility scooter is a right option for you. If you have any concerns or doubts, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a mobility specialist before making a decision.

Now, if the price is a concern for you, here’s an article we wrote with different ways of getting a free mobility scooter, or at least a discounted one:

You should check it out!

Different Types of Mobility Scooters

Finally, if you are interested in getting a scooter, it’s important that you know what are your alternatives.

From standard to heavy-duty ones, every user will have their preferences.

Here’s an article where we go over the most common kinds of scooters one by one:

All the claims made in this article are only for informational purposes, based on the writer’s experience and not clinical advice. You should always consult your physician or physical therapist if you have any doubts about how this applies to your specific case.