Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Choosing a mobility 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.

What to look for when choosing a scooter:

  1. Introduction and quick guide (this page)
  2. Class and size
  3. Controls - overview
  4. Controls - starting and stopping
  5. Seating and stability
  6. Batteries and range
  7. Travelling with a scooter
  8. Safety and insurance
  9. Buying advice
  10. Finance
  11. Checklist
  12. Using our scooter search
  13. Useful contacts


Mobility 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.

This guide aims to help you decide whether a scooter is for you and, if so, what type to go for. Use the quick guide below to get an idea of what to think about, or look at our detailed information if you want to find out more.

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

When you're ready to start looking, Rica's 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 in your locality to try could include Mobility Centres, Disabled Living Centres and Shopmobility. You can rent scooters from them` to get round the shops, but this also a good way to try different models out.
Will it suit you?
  • Our consumer panel 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 if you're paying by yourself, 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.

Travelling on public transport with a scooter

Some smaller scooters can be taken on public transport.

Go to our unique information pages, below, to find out about the policies for taking scooters on:

Research on mobility scooters

Rica has published reports about its research into mobility scooter use:

You can also go straight to our scooter and powered wheelchair search.

Personal experiences

Acknowledgements: This guide was produced by Rica. 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.

Last updated: October 2015

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