One of the hardest parts of aging can be giving up beloved activities because of changes in health or limitations in mobility.
Getting out and about to restaurants, shopping, vacations and engaging in other pursuits can take a lot out of a senior with pain, limited energy, or difficulty walking.
Mobility scooters enable older adults to participate in activities that may otherwise be closed off. Mobility scooters are motorized machines that can be used indoors or out, to get an active senior back into the swing of things!
Folding mobility scooters are specifically designed for ease of portability and travel. They are lightweight and designed to quickly collapse into a compact size, so they can easily be transported in the trunk of a car, a bus, or an airplane.
Due to their small dimensions, some seniors prefer portable scooters over standard models simply because they fit better into the limited space in their home.
Folding mobility scooters come in many makes and models, optimized for performance in all kinds of different scenarios. For example, today’s top pick, the Ephesus S5 Foldable Mobility Scooter, features a powerful battery for a high top speed and extra-long drive range between charges, a unique child seat for driving the grandkids around, and environmentally conscious construction.
There are so many choices that it really can be a bit overwhelming at first glance. We’ve worked to simplify the process by picking out some of the top choices in an assortment of different categories.
We’ll also walk you through some of the important factors you’ll want to consider as you select the best folding mobility scooter for your specific needs.
So, without further ado, here are today’s top portable mobility scooters in a variety of categories.
Portable Travel Scooters Roundup
1. Ephesus S5 Foldable Mobility Scooter
About: The Ephesus’ newest model features a number of unique features at an economical price point. It’s built to be environmentally friendly, yet features a powerful battery for a high top speed, and a drive range that’s practically unheard of in folding scooters – 25 miles! It also includes a unique child seat and is available in any of 6 colors.
- Powerful battery for high speed and extra-long drive range
- Removable child seat
- 6 color choices: Black, blue, gold, red, silver, white
- Constructed for environmentally friendly operation
- Adjustable handlebar
The powerful lithium battery enables a swift 12mph top speed, a remarkable 25 mile drive range, and the ability to climb hills of up to a 12 degree grade – steeper than most portable scooters. The battery is certified for airline travel and can fully recharge in 5-8 hours time.
The Ephesus’ padded seat is narrow and without armrests, but it does come with a small, removable backrest. Its unique removable child seat enables seniors to delight their little grandchildren (up to 65 pounds in weight) as they whiz along with Grandma or Grandpa!
The four-wheel design of the Ephesus scooter offers good stability in various indoor and outdoor terrains, however its chunky 60 inch turning radius may cause problems in tight spaces.
Seniors with poor hand strength or dexterity may find the t-bar tiller to be challenging to control. Its seat has been likened to a bicycle seat, which some seniors find to be less comfortable than cushier seats found in other models.
At 62 pounds, the Ephesus might be a bit heavy for some seniors to hoist into the back of their car alone – but it can be pulled along behind like rolling luggage, which makes transporting it through the airport a breeze.
The Ephesus company is based in California, USA, and has earned a reputation for excellent customer service. They employ energy efficient technology, and boast the Ephesus’ environmentally friendly footprint. As such, this scooter emits no pollution and runs silently.
The Ephesus features an adjustable-height handlebar to accommodate seniors both tall and short. It also comes with a small storage basket for the front and a headlight and brake light for visibility.
- Max Speed: 12 mph
- Range: 25 miles
- Scooter Weight: 62 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 265 pounds
- Turning Radius: 60 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Folds
- Seat size: 9 x 10 x 4 inches
- Economically priced
- High top speed of 12mph
- Impressive drive range of 25 miles
- Stable on rough terrain and up hills
- Includes headlight and brake light
- Small storage basket included
- Some seniors find the small, bicycle-like seat to be uncomfortable
- T-bar tiller with hand brake and twisting throttle may be difficult for seniors with poor hand dexterity or strength
- Heavier than some lighter weight options
2. EV Rider Gypsy Ultralight Collapsible Scooter
About: This EV Rider Gypsy Ultralight is as slim as they come, at barely 16.5 inches in width. It weighs in at only 37 pounds – and that’s including the battery!
This portable scooter collapses compactly, making it a breeze to store and transport. With its feather weight and small size, it’s easy to lift into the trunk or backseat of a vehicle, or stow in an airplane’s overhead compartment.
- Ultra lightweight at only 37 pounds (including battery!)
- Collapses and folds down into a carry-on bag
- Available in Red or Ocean Blue
- Anti-tip wheels
- Comfortable, cushioned seat
With a solid four-wheel base and anti-tip wheels, the Gypsy is good to go, even in rough outdoor terrain. WIth its 57 inch turning radius, it may struggle a bit around super-tight corners, but its slim 16.5-inch chassis can easily maneuver down narrow hallways.
The Gypsy’s T-bar tiller is best for seniors with hands that are able to grip the handles, so those with hand arthritis or weakness may do better with a delta tiller.
There are no back or armrests, and the seat won’t swivel, so seniors with back pain or severely impaired mobility may prefer a more supportive seating option.
The lithium ion battery is airline-friendly. Its drive range is 10 miles with the standard battery or 12.4 miles if you opt for a second battery. The battery fully recharges in 8 hours.
- Max Speed: 4 mph
- Range: 10 miles (12.4 miles with optional second battery)
- Scooter Weight: 39 pounds with battery
- Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
- Turning Radius: 57 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Folds
- Seat size: 13 x 9 inches
- Extra light weight for easy portability
- Slim design
- No back support
- No arm rests
- Some customers report inconsistent customer service
3. iLiving V8 Foldable Electric Mobility Scooter
About: This iLiving V8 Foldable Scooter is a three-wheeled scooter that comes equipped with a handy USB charger on the control panel.
Its twin lithium-ion batteries have plenty of power to charge a phone, power its LED lights, and allow it to travel up to 15 miles on a single charge – among the highest drive ranges available in a portable folding scooter! It also emphasizes stability with some unique anti-tip features.
- USB port for charging a phone on the go
- Durable cushioned seat with backrest
- Bright LED headlight and taillights
- Secure battery compartment and key-based operation
- Stability enhancing safety features
The iLiving V8 was designed for easy travel. It takes only seconds to fold up this little scooter, and then it’s easy to pack into the trunk of a car – with plenty of room leftover for groceries. It can also be pulled behind like rolling luggage in the airport or on the go.
Made from durable yet lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum, this iLiving scooter weighs only 40 pounds, including its airline-compatible battery set.
As a three-wheeled scooter, the iLiving is at its best on smooth surfaces, although it can be driven in most grass, gravel, and up modest hills. Plus, the scooter’s solid rubber tires won’t ever get flat or require inflation.
The iLiving V8 has some interesting safety features to reduce the risk of toppling over sideways. Unfortunately, 3-wheeled scooters are prone to tipping over when hitting bumps or holes in the road. They also are at risk for tipping when they turn too quickly, or when they travel sideways on hills or sloped areas.
The iLiving’s unique casters on either side of the front wheel provide protection and stability if the single front tire hits a hole or bump. The iLiving also comes with a unique electronic stability control feature which automatically reduces the scooter’s speed for safety when turning.
The thick cushioned seat features a moderate backrest, and ergonomically designed footrests support a senior’s feet comfortably. However, the seat won’t swivel and there are no armrests, which may make getting on or off the seat a bit tricky for seniors with serious mobility impairments.
- Max Speed: 3.7 mph
- Range: 15 miles
- Scooter Weight: 40 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
- Turning Radius: 52.7 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Folding
- Seat size: 18.5 x 17.5 x 13.5 inches
- Simple, clear controls are easy to understand and see
- Light weight
- Long 15 mile range
- USB charger
- Headlight and tail lights
- No armrests
- Stationary seat can be hard to get in or out of for those with serious mobility impairments
4. WISGING Folding 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter
About: This Wisging Folding Mobility Scooter is a three-wheel scooter featuring a powerful battery for an extra-long drive range and high top speed. Its cushioned seat, full backrest, arm support, and shock absorption system contribute to a smooth, stable, and comfortable ride.
- Extra-long 18.6 mile drive range
- High 9.3 mph max speed
- Under-seat storage bag included
- Shock absorption
- Tight 31.5 inch turning radius
Thanks to its airline-friendly powerful Lithium battery, the Wisging supports an extra-long drive range of 18.6 miles per charge, and a 9.3 mph max speed – quite decent compared to other portable mobility scooters. Just be careful at higher speeds, which raise the risk of tipping!
The Wisging scooter folds up for storage or travel in 3 seconds flat. It can easily slip into the trunk of a vehicle, although at 58 pounds, it pushes the limit of what many seniors can lift independently. It does include a handle, so it can easily be pulled along like a piece of rolling luggage.
The Wisging features shock absorption for a smooth ride in bumpy terrain. It can climb hills upto 15 degrees, which is steeper than most portable scooters.
The Wisging accelerates by twisting the right handlebar, similar to a motorbike. This may be tricky for seniors with difficulty gripping due to arthritis or other issues.
The Wisging’s comfortable cushioned seat features a full backrest for excellent support. As a bonus, the seat cover is removable for easy cleaning.
- Max Speed: 9.3 mph
- Range: 18.6 miles
- Scooter Weight: 58 pounds (includes battery)
- Weight Capacity: 280 pounds
- Turning Radius: 31.5 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Folds
- Seat size: 16.1 inches wide
- Comfortable seat with back and arm support
- Generous top speed of 9.3 mph
- Extra-long drive range of nearly 19 miles
- May not work well for seniors with limited grip due to T-tiller and twist accelerator
- At 58 pounds, its heavier than some other portable scooters
5. Moving Life ATTO Folding Mobility Scooter
About: Moving Life’s ATTO Folding Mobility Scooter pairs quality workmanship with sleek, modern style for a head-turning scooter its owners simply love!
The ATTO offers an adjustable seat and tiller for a comfortable custom fit. It’s also uniquely designed with a variety of portability options, optimizing it for all kinds of travel.
- Adjustable tiller and seat height for a custom fit
- Plenty of room beneath the seat for toting packages
- Long drive range
- Quick charging battery
- Designed and approved for airline travel
The ATTO’s generous 12 mile drive range equates to roughly 4.5 hours of traveling between charges. The battery recharges quickly, in only about 3-5 hours. The battery is small, light, easy to carry, and can be charged either on or off the scooter, so some seniors opt to bring along a second to extend their drive range even further.
The ATTO’s adjustable height seat provides a full backrest. It is available with or without armrests. If present, the armrests fold up out of the way to enable easier boarding.
The seat is not cushioned, but most seniors find it comfortable anyway. An optional seat cushion is available along with a number of other accessories which are designed to perfectly fit and match the ATTO’s unique sleek style. Plus, there’s plenty of space under the seat to stow a purse, small suitcase or shopping bags.
The ATTO scooter folds up completely into a compact, rolling package the company calls “trolley mode”. About the size of a small suitcase, a senior can easily pull it along much like rolling luggage. It weighs 62 pounds, and can fit easily into the trunk of a car or other small place.
If desired, the ATTO Trolley can be split into two separate segments, the heavier of which weighs only 35.7 pounds. The segments are designed to fit nicely into the overhead compartment of an airplane. Savvy seniors have figured out that this allows them to skip the wait for their scooter after disembarking the plane!
The ATTO is a three-wheeled scooter, which is at its best indoors. It fares best on flat, smooth surfaces, although it can handle tamer outdoor terrain and slight inclines, up to about 6 degrees. Its airless tires won’t ever go flat.
One drawback is the lack of lock to prevent unauthorized usage. Some seniors opt to remove the battery (which is small and comes with a nice carrying handle) while others use a bicycle cable lock to secure the scooter if necessary.
- Max Speed: 4mph
- Range: 12 miles
- Scooter Weight: 60 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 265 pounds
- Turning Radius: 53 inch
- Folds or Disassembles: Both! Folds down, and may also be split into two segments for easier storage or transport
- Seat size: 14 x 14 inches
- Stylish, unique design
- Full size backrest
- Long drive range of up to 12 miles
- Can be easily disassembled for airline travel
- Higher price point
- No built in lock or key
- T-bar tiller may be hard for seniors with poor hand strength or dexterity to operate
6. Pride Travel Pro Premium 3-Wheel Mobility Scooter
About: Although the Pride Travel Pro Premium 3-Wheel Scooter is priced near the very low end of the spectrum, it offers solid craftsmanship, comfortable seating and many nice amenities, earning consistently high feedback from many hundreds of happy users.
- Disassembles into 5 lightweight parts
- Flat-free tires
- Adjustable height, padded faux-leather seat with full backrest
- Flip-up padded armrests
- Front basket, cup holder and saddlebag included
The Pride Travel Pro is a three-wheeled scooter, designed especially for maneuverability around tight corners and small, indoor spaces. It can also travel outside, although it’s best to stick to somewhat flat, even ground.
While this scooter weighs 126 pounds in total, it disassembles into 5 separate parts, the heaviest of which weighs 27.5 pounds. This makes it lightweight enough for many seniors to lift – although breaking it down may be challenging for seniors with poor hand dexterity or other disabilities.
The Travel Pro’s t-bar tiller control will be best suited to seniors who can grip and twist the handlebar. Those with arthritis in their hands may find a lever throttle or delta tiller to be more comfortable and accommodating.
The Travel Pro’s seat features a full size backrest, faux leather cover, and ample padding. It also includes padded armrests, which lift out of the way for ease of entering and exiting the seat.
This scooter also comes with several handy accessories included: a front carrying basket, a saddlebag, and a cup holder.
- Max Speed: 4mph
- Range: 6.3 mile
- Scooter Weight: 126 pounds total (disassembles into 5 pieces; the heaviest is 27.5 pounds)
- Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
- Turning Radius: 40 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Disassembles
- Seat size: 17 inch width
- Budget friendly
- Key-secured ignition
- Comes with basket, cup holder and saddlebag
- Very quiet motor
- Slow charging battery (10-12 hours)
- Lower drive range of 6 miles
- Disassembling the scooter may be more challenging for less able-bodied seniors, and there’s no easy folding option
7. Drive Medical Spitfire Pro
About: The Drive Medical Spitfire Pro boasts a ton of great benefits, with solid construction and a bargain bin price tag. However, its swap-out color options really take the cake when it comes to stand-out unique features.
Swap out the color panels depending on your mood, your outfit, or anytime you want to change the color of your scooter to red, orange, green, blue or white!
- Delta tiller is great for seniors with poor hand strength or control
- 5 interchangeable sets of color panels included
- Flip-back, expandable armrests
- Anti-tip wheels
- Swivel seat with full sized backrest
The Spitfire disassembles into 5 segments for easy transport. The heaviest weighs 40 pounds, so some seniors may find that they need assistance to lift the disassembled pieces into a vehicle.
The Spitfire features a comfortable padded seat with a full sized backrest. The seat swivels, which can make it much easier for seniors with mobility challenges to get in and out of the chair.
The Spitfire’s seat includes armrests, which flip back out of the way when necessary. They also can expand for a more roomy fit, if desired.
As a four wheeled scooter, the Spitfire navigates rough terrain outdoors quite well. It features solid tires that won’t run the risk of popping and anti-tip wheel technology. However, it pays a price in terms of maneuverability in tight indoor spaces and won’t be able to hug corners as well.
The Spitfire’s standard battery supports a 9 mile drive range, and its optional upgraded battery extends this to 15 miles.
- Max Speed: 5mph
- Range: 9 miles
- Scooter Weight: 111 pounds total (disassembles into 5 pieces, the heaviest weighs 40 pounds)
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Turning Radius: 54 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: disassembles
- Seat size: 17 inches wide
- Delta style tiller is easier for seniors with weak or painful hands to control
- Swap out color panels
- Budget friendly pricing
- Full backrest
- Flip-up, extendable armrests
- Swivel seat is easier to get in and out of for seniors with mobility challenges
- Anti-tip wheels
- Heavier than other portable scooter options
- Less maneuverable in tight indoor spaces than 3-wheeled scooters
About: The TravelScoot is the lightest folding electric scooter in the world, weighing in at a mere 35 pounds! It folds up neatly, but can be further disassembled, if needed, making it the best lightweight folding mobility scooter on the market!
Amazingly, the TravelScoot also boasts one of the highest weight capacities among portable mobility scooters – it can handle passengers over 350 pounds!
- Adjustable steering column
- Removable backrest and adjustable seat height
- Carry / Storage bag included
- High 350+ pound weight capacity
- Swivel seat allows seniors to sit and get up easily
The TravelScoot accommodates seniors of different heights, sizes and needs with its adjustable steering column and seat. The small backrest can be adjusted, or removed completely, if desired (bringing its total weight down to only 33.5 pounds!)
Designed and optimized for travel, the TravelScooter is airline-approved, and small enough to fit on a cruise line tender ship. An optional cruise kit accessory (sold separately) allows seniors to mount a front basket, which can securely hold a cafeteria tray.
The wide front wheel is designed to smooth the ride over uneven surfaces. Its solid rubber tires fare well on rough terrain, without worries about going flat. An optional suspension seat post (sold separately) can further cushion the ride for comfort.
Its rear-wheel drive design improves the TravelScoot’s traction and prevents wheel spin-out on uneven terrain or hills, which can occur with front-wheel drive models. The TravelScoot is rated for an impressive 15% (8.5 degree) incline, which is considerably steeper than many three-wheeled scooters.
As a 3-wheeler, the TravelScoot is designed to shine indoors, and is made to navigate narrow doorways and tight turnarounds.
- Max Speed: 4.5mph
- Range: 13-15 miles
- Scooter Weight: 35 pounds including battery
- Weight Capacity: 350 pound rider + luggage!
- Turning Radius: 38 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Folds, then disassembles further if desired
- Seat size: 18 x 10 x 3 inches
- Comes with a cable lock
- Decent range
- Most lightweight portable scooter
- Offers high weight capacity for heftier individuals
- Good hill capabilities
- Many helpful optional accessories available
- T-bar tiller may be hard for seniors with poor hand strength or dexterity to control
- Higher price point than some other options
9. Glion SNAPnGO 3-Wheel Mobility Scooter
About: The Glion SNAPnGO 3-Wheel Mobility Scooter’s standard deluxe seat is one of the best mobility scooter options out there with its generous cushioning, full backrest, and flip-up padded armrests.
The seat can swivel to make it easier for seniors with limited mobility to get in and out, and the adjustable seat position ensures a comfortable fit for seniors of differing heights.
- LED headlight and tail light
- Deluxe padded seat swivels and comes with detachable armrests
- Mechanical rear brakes offer extra stopping power
There is an optional featherweight, bicycle-style travel seat for the SNAPnGo, which is sold separately. Seniors who don’t need the support of backrest or armrests, and wish to drop the weight of the seat from 20 pounds to just 2 may find this option attractive.
It takes just a couple of seconds to pop the seat off the frame before folding the scooter for storage or transport. The frame with the battery weighs 33 pounds, so many seniors can lift these lightweight segments independently.
The 3 pound airline-friendly battery is also detachable, if desired, which would bring the weight of the heaviest piece down to 30 pounds.
The folded scooter is easily portable. Pull it along like rolling luggage, or slip it into the backseat of the car.
- Max Speed: 7-12mph
- Range: 15 miles
- Scooter Weight: 53 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Turning Radius: 41.6 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Disassemble into 2 segments, then fold
- Seat size: 18.5 x 16 inches
- Good drive range of 15 miles
- Higher than average top speed between 7-12 mph
- Comfortable swivel seating with backrest
- Easy to fold and disassemble
- T-bar tiller thumb controls may not work well for seniors with poor thumb control or inadequate left hand strength to squeeze the brake lever
10. Spitfire Scout by Drive Medical
About: The wraparound delta tiller on this Spitfire Scout by Drive Medical enables seniors with limited hand strength or dexterity to control this scooter safely and comfortably.
The swivel seat, full backrests and flip-back, adjustable-width armrests contribute to a supportive, comfortable, and accessible experience in spite of pain or limited mobility.
Plus, the low price tag is a great fit for seniors with a limited budget!
- Adjustable tiller and seat for comfortable fit
- Swivel seat to easily get in or out
- Full backrest and adjustable armrests for support and comfort
- Front storage basket included
- Delta tiller is ideal for seniors with less hand strength or dexterity
The Spitfire Scout is available in several interesting color choices, including green, white or a set of swap-out color panels, which allows the senior to easily change its color between blue and red as desired.
The Scout’s supportive seat features a full backrest and adjustable width armrests, which can flip out of the way for easy access. The seat’s swiveling capacity also enhances ease of entry and exiting.
The Scout disassembles into 5 lightweight pieces for transport, the heaviest of which weighs 39 pounds.
The Scout is a 4-wheeled scooter, designed to handle rough outdoor terrain. It features flat-free tires and anti-tip technology. It doesn’t have the high level of maneuverability in tight spaces as a 3 wheel scooter does.
- Max Speed: 4.25mph
- Range: 9 miles
- Scooter Weight: 94 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Turning Radius: 53.75 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Disassembles
- Seat size: 16.5 x 16 inches
- Budget-friendly pricing
- Delta tiller for easy control
- Adjustable seating and tiller
- Larger turning radius and less maneuverability in tight spaces than 3-wheel scooters
11. Vive 3-Wheel Folding Mobility Scooter
About: This Vive 3-Wheel Folding Mobility Scooter features an amazing 30 inch turning radius, for the best maneuverability in this collection’s lineup.
It’s a master of navigating tight corners and small spaces on smooth surfaces, making it ideal for indoor use.
- Front basket included
- Adjustable speed knob for easy, reliable speed control
- Swivel seat for easy boarding and exiting
- Key switch to prevent unauthorized use
The Vive’s seat is padded for comfort, and features a backrest and padded armrests, which can flip upward when entering or exiting the seat. The seat is height adjustable to accommodate a range of individuals.
This Vive scooter disassembles into 4 separate segments for easy transportation. The heaviest piece weighs 29 pounds, so many seniors can lift these into a vehicle unassisted.
The Vive features simple, intuitive controls that won’t take long to master. Engaging a thumb lever with the right thumb moves forward while the left thumb lever moves back. A speed control dial ensures a safe and consistent speed.
- Max Speed: 3.7mph
- Range: 12.4 miles
- Scooter Weight: 77 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 265 pounds
- Turning Radius: 30 inches
- Folds or Disassembles: Disassembles into 4 pieces
- Seat size: 16.9 inch wide
- Economical price point
- Excellent maneuverability
- Thumb lever throttle
- May not fit into very small vehicles or spaces
- Not for rough outdoor terrain (smooth / paved outdoor surfaces are okay)
Selecting a Travel Mobility Scooter: Standard vs Folding
There are numerous variables to consider when selecting a portable mobility scooter. A good place to start is by looking at the differences between standard mobility scooters, and those designed to optimize portability.
Folding Mobility Scooters vs. Standard Mobility Scooters
Folding mobility scooters offer a decided advantage over standard scooters when it comes to portability.
Standard mobility scooters require a wheelchair or scooter car lift to raise and store them in the back of a large SUV or van. With a focus on keeping its weight light and its size compact, folding travel scooters don’t require any kind of car lift device and take up comparatively little space. They are ideal for taking along on vacation or tossing in the trunk of a car for short jaunts about town.
Folding scooters pay a price to offer this portability, however. Foldable scooters are designed primarily for use on flat, smooth surfaces, so their outdoor usefulness is limited.
They tend to have smaller battery packs than standard sized scooters, which saves on weight but also limits battery life, meaning they can’t travel as far on a single charge. They also sacrifice top speeds, averaging a max speed of about 4 miles per hour.
Because of their smaller size, they usually support less weight than standard scooters, approximately about 250-300 pounds, so they may not be a safe option for larger seniors.
Pros and Cons of Folding Scooters as Compared to Standard Scooters
- Ultra mobile for travel
- Compact, ideal for apartments or limited-space living situations
- Not suitable for larger or heavier individuals
- Fewer accessories or “extras” (like built-in basket or additional battery pack)
- Not always as comfortableSince emphasis is on compact size, there is usually less padding, smaller wheels (which provide a bumpier ride over rough terrain), or other cuts that sacrifice comfort
- Smaller, lighter batteries usually translate to slower top speeds and shorter drive ranges (meaning they need to be recharged more frequently)
- More expensive
Four Wheels vs. Three Wheels
3-wheeled folding mobility scooters are ideal for use indoors, due to their lighter weight, slimmer builds, and tighter turning radius. They are easier to maneuver indoors, through smaller door frames, and cramped spaces.
4-wheeled mobility scooters tend to have the upper hand when it comes to stability, especially over uneven outdoor terrain, like gravel or grass. However, the trade off is that 4-wheeled scooters tend to be heavier and need more room to maneuver.
Some users only feel safe when they’re using 4-wheel scooters versus 3-wheels, as there is less likelihood to tip over when traveling over uneven ground.
Folding vs Dismantling Scooters
Often called folding or foldable scooters, there are actually two different kinds of portable mobility scooter: the folding scooter, and the dismantling scooter.
Folding scooters fold up into one piece. Often there is a button which can automatically fold the scooter, although some models must be folded up manually. Some come with a transport case to stowaway the folded scooter.
Some seniors find that a folding scooter is too heavy for them to lift in and out of a vehicle. They may opt for a mechanical vehicle scooter lift or hoist, or rely on the assistance of a family member or caregiver.
An alternative option to a folding scooter is the dismantling scooter.
The dismantling scooter is designed to be taken apart into four or five different pieces. Each piece is then much lighter than the entire scooter, of course, making it easier to lift and require even less space to store.
However, it can be a little tricky or time consuming for some seniors to take apart and reassemble their scooter each time they need to do so. If they have stiff or painful fingers, such as from arthritis, some seniors may find dismantling scooters to be too difficult.
Features to Consider in a Portable Mobility Scooter for Seniors
When considering folding scooters, give thought to the features described below. Each senior’s needs and preferences will vary, depending on their unique situation.
Most folding scooters are built to support a 200-300 pound rider. Larger or bariatric seniors should look for a heavy-duty scooter, which can typically support up to 500 pounds.
Folding scooters, with their focus on compact size, usually can’t support that much weight. The TravelScoot can support up to 350 pounds, plus luggage, which is the highest weight capacity we found for folding scooters.
When considering the weight capacity, be sure to include your own weight, plus the weight of anything you may have on the scooter with you, such as accessories, oxygen tanks, or shopping bags, for example.
Portable or folding scooters generally weigh between 35-100 pounds, although some ultra-light models can be found in the low 30’s. Most of the heavier scooters, anything above 60 pounds or so, are designed to be dismantled into a number of lighter pieces, which are much lighter and easier to manage.
Many folding scooters include a dolly mode, in which they can be pulled along like rolling luggage. Seniors who will need to lift their scooter into their vehicle should pay special attention to the overall weight of the scooter, or the weight of its heaviest part when disassembled.
The scooter’s drive range refers to how far the scooter can go on a battery’s single charge.
Usually, folding mobility scooters can travel around 6-15 miles per charge. Keep in mind that the driver’s weight, the age of the battery and the number of hills will also affect how much energy the scooter needs to travel, and can shorten the drive range.
It’s important to keep a close eye on the battery’s charge if you are using your scooter away from home – well, away from an opportunity to recharge it, that is. Some can be charged in the car, or of course, at a vacation home!
Always factor in the round trip miles when calculating how far of a range you need for your trip. You wouldn’t want to run out of juice halfway home from the store, for example. While many scooters can be pushed if they run out of energy, not many seniors want to end up in this position.
Some travel scooters have easy-swap backup batteries that can double the range simply by swapping out the battery.
A scooter’s battery life refers to how long the battery pack can be expected to last. Generally, scooter batteries tend to last between 2-4 years (3,000-5,000 miles, or 300-500 recharges) before needing to be replaced. This lifespan can be affected by various factors, such as the battery quality, how it’s stored, or how often it’s used.
Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding optimal conditions for storage, recharging and use, because they differ from brand to brand. General recommendations for getting the most life out of a battery include:
- Store the scooter at a little less than a full charge (about 75%) most of the time.
- Don’t use the scooter battery below freezing temperatures or in very hot temperatures (above 113 degree Fahrenheit)
The charging time refers to how long it takes to recharge the battery pack from empty to full. This can range from just a few hours to 10 or 12.
If you have a backup battery, or don’t need to take your scooter long distances, the charging time may not be an important issue.
Seniors who are giving their scooter a workout on vacation may want to look for a scooter with a quick recharge time or invest in a second battery so they don’t end up waiting around.
The throttle control is what accelerates the scooter. It may require one or both hands, and come in the form of a handlebar that needs to be gripped and twisted, or a lever that must be squeezed or pushed.
Levers vary in design. Some are positioned for the thumb, while others may allow for pressing with a different part of the hand.
Look for a lever that you will be able to hold in place while driving without your hand becoming fatigued or painful. Some levers require only minimal pressure to operate, which is important for those weak or stiff fingers and thumbs.
Seniors with arthritis may benefit from steering controls that are designed to be positioned close to the body. This can reduce strain on stiff or sore hands and shoulders.
Some scooters allow for acceleration controls to be set up for either hand to use, depending on which is stronger. A few scooters offer foot pedal acceleration, which can be neccesary for seniors with severe arthritis or other conditions that affect their hands.
The tiller is the vertical rotating shaft used to steer the scooter. The tillers’ height and angle are often adjustable to accommodate different needs for various users.
There are two main types of tillers.
- T-shaped tillers require decent hand strength and dexterity to grip and steer safely. They feature straight handlebars, similar to those found on a bicycle.
- Delta tillers support a variety of options for gripping or resting one’s hands, so they are usually a better choice for individuals with poor hand strength or dexterity. Delta tillers feature handlebars that wrap around in a D shape.
Look for controls that are easy to see, easy to reach and easy to operate, considering any limitations to the senior’s vision, height or range of motion.
- Easy to See. Look for large, simple displays and controls. Be sure the low-battery indicator light is easily visible.
- Easy to Reach. Look for an adjustable seat and tiller, especially for seniors who are shorter or taller than average. Keep in mind the distance of the seat from the control panel, and any recommendations regarding minimum or maximum user height. Some scooter manufacturers make junior models, which may be more suitable for seniors under 5 feet tall.
- Easy to Operate. Look for controls that are intuitive, easy to understand and remember, and easy to operate given physical limitations, such as painful hands or arms. Some controls require twisting or gripping of a handlebar, while others are controlled by pushing a button, twisting a dial, or pulling a lever.
The turning radius refers to the amount of space needed to turn the scooter completely around, 180 degrees.
Seniors planning to use their scooter indoors, especially in environments with tight corners or smaller doorways, like older houses, or cruise ships, should look for a scooter with a very small turning radius for the best maneuverability.
Three-wheel scooters almost always have a smaller turning radius and better maneuverability than four-wheel scooters.
Due to their smaller battery size, as compared to standard scooters, many folding mobility scooters top out at around 4 miles per hour, which is about the normal walking speed of a young adult.
Some speedy seniors may prefer to move faster and may prefer a portable mobility scooter that can go upto 10 or 12 mph, which is close to an athletic adult’s running speed.
Keep in mind that scooters are harder to control (and easier to tip) when they are traveling faster.
Depending on a senior’s health, and how much time is spent seated in a scooter, the issue of comfort can range from a negotiable luxury to a must-have feature.
Folding mobility scooters often lack the extra support and cushioning that may be easier to find in a standard scooter model.
Of course, what is comfortable for one senior, may be uncomfortable for the next, but in general, a few features to consider regarding comfort include:
- A full backrest can offer better postural support for seniors with back pain. Many portable scooters forego this, however, because they do add considerably to their total weight.
- While rare, a reclinable back rest may allow seniors to adjust their position for comfort.
- Comfortable padded armrests are a must for seniors who lean on them for support.
- Be sure that the seat is wide enough, especially for larger seniors.
- Adjustable width armrests may accommodate a larger senior more comfortably.
- Contoured or well-cushioned seats can provide a much more comfortable ride.
- An adjustable seat height and ample leg room can make a difference for cramped long legs.
- Shocks, air-filled tires or a good suspension system can smooth a bumpy ride.
A swiveling seat means that the senior won’t need to climb up on the scooter to get in the seat. Swivel the seat to the side, so the senior can sit down safely and easily, then twist back to face front.
Armrests can be helpful for seniors to push up on when standing up to get out of the scooter, but in some cases, they can make it harder to get into the seat, especially if it doesn’t swivel.
Flip-up armrests can make getting in the seat much easier, by moving the armrest out of the way when boarding the scooter. Flip the armrests up, get in, and flip them back down to offer additional support or security throughout the ride.
While most travel scooters are designed for at least some outdoor travel, most are not intended for use in heavy rain, snow or inclement weather.
Seniors who intend to travel outside in cold or rainy conditions should look for materials that can withstand water, UV rays and rust.
More concerning than the materials, however are the electronic controls. When these get wet, it can cause severe damage to the machine, and can void the scooter’s warranty. Some seniors use special scooter ponchos or covers to protect them from the elements.
Some folding scooters offer an automatic folding mechanism with the press of a button on the machine or a remote. This can be a helpful option for seniors who have difficulty folding up a scooter manually.
Optional Scooter Accessories
Some scooters come with baskets or other accessories standard, while others can be purchased separately. These accessories can make a noticable difference in terms of convenience, comfort or safety, for particular individuals. If they don’t come with the model that you select, they can usually be purchased separately. Examples of accessories may include:
- Storage baskets or bags
- Cup holders
- Phone compartments
- USB chargers
- Rear view mirrors
- Safety gear
- Cane holder
- Oxygen tank holder
Folding Mobility Scooter FAQs
Why are some electric scooters foldable and others aren’t?
Some portable electric scooters fold up, while others disassemble. This is because there are different scenarios in which these options shine.
It’s usually a bit quicker to fold a scooter than to disassemble it. In a situation where every second counts – such as boarding a bus – a folding scooter may be the preferred option.
Many folding scooters can be pulled behind like rolling luggage once folded, which is much easier than lugging 5 pieces of disassembled scooter around by hand. In some cases, disassembling a scooter may require more hand dexterity or eyesight than some seniors have, making the folding option more manageable.
Disassembling scooters may take a wee bit longer to dismantle than folding ones, however they also have their perks. They can usually offer more features, because, although the total weight of the scooter might be twice as high as a folding one, once disassembled, each piece weighs considerably less – often under 30 pounds. So disassembling scooters may be more comfortable, more cost effective, and ultimately lighter to lift each individual piece than the entire folding scooter.
Can you ride an electric scooter on dirt or gravel roads?
Some scooters are designed for use on dirt or gravel roads, and other rough outdoor terrain.
Four-wheel scooters offer a better base of support as compared to three-wheelers. Some may come outfitted with anti-tip devices, shocks, and wide wheels. Air-filled tires are more prone to popping or going flat, but offer better traction and overall better ride quality.
Since not all e-scooters are suitable for grass, dirt or gravel, if it’s important to you, be sure to check specifically for that feature when considering a purchase.
Do I need to service my foldable mobility scooter?
Generally, portable mobility scooters require little, if any maintenance. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to maintenance recommendations. Doing so will ensure your scooter enjoys its maximum longevity, and will keep it safer as well.
Battery – Some scooters recommend discharging the battery completely every so often, while others can withstand continuous charging.
Body – Most scooters can be cleaned with a simple cloth and all-purpose cleaner. Keep the scooter protected from the elements to avoid rust and corrosion around the battery, and to keep the body in tip top condition.
Tires – If the scooter has air-filled tires, check the pressure regularly to lengthen their life and provide a smoother ride.
Can I take a fold-up mobility scooter on a plane?
You can generally take your folding mobility scooter on a plane as long as it has a sealed battery.
The only batteries that are questionable are lithium batteries. They are ok for airline travel as long as they do not exceed 300 amp hours. All other battery types in these units, as long as they are sealed, are okay for airline travel.
When you check-in at the airport, airline staff will usually stow your scooter in the cargo hold. Notify the airline at least 48 hours in advance if you plan to fly with your scooter.
Does Medicare cover the cost of a folding mobility scooter?
If your doctor determines that a mobility scooter is medically necessary for you, he or she can write an order, or prescription, for one. A “medical need” for a scooter generally means that you are unable to manage with only a cane or walker.
If approved, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the cost of a mobility scooter as durable medical equipment (DME). Medicare typically won’t cover the costs of any scooter accessories.
Sometimes private insurance will cover some of the costs towards a scooter. Check with your insurance agent with questions about your specific policy.
Top Pick Recap: The Best Folding Mobility Scooter for the Elderly is…
Today’s Overall Best designation goes to the Ephesus S5 Foldable Mobility Scooter on account of its environmentally friendly construction, powerful battery, extended drive range, unique child seat, and economical price tag.
Of course, the best folding mobility scooter for the senior in your life will depend on many factors. All of the portable scooters on this list are great picks, depending on your needs.
Last update on 2021-02-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API