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Folding Mobility Scooters: Best Models & Complete Guide

What is a folding mobility scooter?

Travel mobility scooters are a subcategory of scooters designed to help the elderly or disabled move around locally.

Though foldable scooters themselves are made to get patients from point A to point B, sometimes the device itself needs to be transported. 

The most common example of this is when you’re travelling a longer distance than the scooter is capable of, or than is convenient for you to do on your actual scooter.

Travel mobility scooter in airport

You might need to take your scooter in your car trunk, on a bus, cruise ship or an airplane.

These scooters will focus on transportability - aiding you to be able to transport that scooter from place to place without too much hassle.

There are two main kinds of transport-friendly scooters:

  • Folding mobility scooters (figure 1)
  • Mobility Scooters that disassemble (figure 2)

Travel scooter in folded state

Figure 1

Disassembled travel mobility scooter

Figure 2

 

All mobility scooters are designed for easy travel and you will feature an emphasis on:

  • Lightweight materials and parts
  • Practical, easy to follow steps to get your scooter to the state you need it in
  • Simple design
  • FAA safe batteries (at least as an option)
  • Suitability for indoor environments 

 

Below we will go into each kind in depth, explain which type is best for you, whether perhaps a travel disability scooter is not the answer for your situation, and go through several travel models on the market, describing each in detail.

 

What advantages do travel mobility scooters offer?

 

Easy Travel 

The number one demand for such devices involves scenarios where there is a need to transport a mobility scooter over long distances.

 Elderly man placing travel scooter in car trunk

In these cases, where you can't actually ride your scooter to your destination, it becomes necessary to bring a scooter along as a piece of baggage.

The trouble is that even small mobility scooters take up a large amount of space, something that is usually in short supply across most forms of transportation. A folding scooter takes up the minimum amount of space once folded and opens the possibility of bringing a scooter for elderly people along on trips in ways never conceived before.

Preparing Zoome Flex travel scooter for easy storage

Scooters that disassemble don’t give you the same amount of convenience for travelling on public transportation, as you don’t always have the time to assemble and disassemble when getting on a bus, for instance.

disassembling a mobility scooter

When travelling with a car, disassembly scooters are very convenient, some patients even find them more convenient than folding scooters in some cases.

You have all the time you need to break your scooter into its parts and those parts will fit in virtually any car trunk around.

 

Lightweight

Essentially practical devices for easy travel, it comes as no surprise that travel mobility scooters are the lightest of their class, however we need to define this well as travel scooters are lightweight in different ways. 

When it comes to folding scooters, we’re talking about the weight of the entire unit combined, often batteries included. Folding scooters can often weigh 55 lbs or even less! 

Gypsy - lightest mobility scooter in industry

You'll find the most state-of-the-art materials used in these scooters, that are very lightweight yet extremely strong. The design of the actual scooters are also advanced, with material put in clever ways and shapes to support loads using the minimal mass of metal possible.

Despite these features, many users still find 55 lbs too much to carry on their own. This is where disassembling scooters can outrank folding ones. 

Though these scooters can weigh a substantial amount when put together,this is irrelevant as scooters that disassemble don’t ever need to be lifted as one piece.

State-of-the-art- lightweight materials used in Atto travel scooter

Instead, their heaviness is judged by the heaviest single piece once disassembled . Once you find a model with a heaviest piece you are comfortable lifting, it follows that you can carry every other piece of the scooter too, as they will all be lighter.

It easy to find disability scooters with heaviest pieces under 45 and you can even find units closer to 35 lbs! 35 lbs is in the lifting range of so many more disabled than people than 55 lbs so disassembling scooters are a critical part in the puzzle of travel mobility scooters.

Rear section (center) is usually the heaviest piece of travel disassembly scooters

The rear section (center) is usually the heaviest piece of travel disassembly scooters 

 

Storage

Many of our customers purchase travel mobility scooters because they live in compact apartments or houses.

This is very common with elderly people who live in sheltered accomodation, nursing home apartments and senior villages.

In these cases, senior residents must try their best to make space in their small living quarters and, if they only use the scooter for outdoors, a mobility scooter in the middle of their living is an unnecessary waste of space. 

 Mobility scooter taking up space inside home

Some patients don't even use their scooter every day - they might only have their scooter for trips or when family visit.

In these cases, senior residents must try their best to make space in their small living quarters and, if they only use the scooter for outdoors, a mobility scooter in the middle of their living is an unnecessary waste of space. 

Travel scooter using minimal space for easy storage

Consider people don't even use their scooter every day - they might only have their scooter for trips or when family visit. These patients need to be able to store their scooter in an unused area of their home such as under a bed or between a closet and a wall.

A scooter which folds into a neat little shape or disassembles works perfectly and enables the scooter to be totally put out of the way when not being used, freeing up living space for more important uses.

disassembled scooter in compact car trunk

 

 

All you wanted to know about folding mobility scooters


What are folding mobility scooters?

Folding mobility scooters are a class of scooters designed for disabled people. Unlike many models which are rigid, these folding models can collapse into a compact shape when necessary.

In this guide, we will only consider disability scooters that fold fully into one solid piece. Many other non-folding mobility scooters have parts that may fold such as the seatback (top right in image below) or tiller (top left in image below). These won't be considered proper folding scooters. 

 Folded tiller and seatback

True folding scooters will be defined as handicap scooters with not only a folding tiller and seatback, but also a seat that collapses right into the deck of the scooter, leaving no part sticking out in any significant way (figure 2).

Scooter with no parts sticking out

The resulting folding scooter is a compact piece with little space within it and super easy to store and move around. 

Folding scooters will usually have scissor-like supports (figure 2) holding up the seat rather than a seat post (figure 3) or shroud holding the user up (figure 4). You might rarely come across a handicap scooter that folds where modern materials are used, eliminating the need for scissor supports (figure 5).

 scissor supports holding up seat

Figure 2

 Seat supported by seat post

Figure 3

 Seat supported by shroud

Figure 4

 

Folding scooter with alternative to scissor support

Figure 5

 

 

What advantages do folding mobility scooters offer?

As soon as Luggie released their first-of-a-kind folding scooter for handicapped people, it was immediately apparent that this was a device that would be a game changer to patients using mobility scooters.

Early version of Luggie travel scooter

Portable mobility scooters that come apart did and do exist, though these necesitate tasks that not all users are able to accomplish, due to limited dexterity and body flexibility.

 

 

With the new folding units, gone was the need to rely on scooters that disassembled or worse, needed a vehicle lift or ramp.  

 Luggie brand logo FreeRider mobility brand

Folding Scooters were actually such a hit, that virtually every other mobility scooter manufacturer has followed FreeRider (Luggie's parent company) and now each have one or more mobility scooters that fold in their collection. 

 

Batteries

The batteries of folding mobility scooters are also almost always lithium-ion - something not found ond standard scooters that run on SLA batteries which can add a lot of weight to a scooter. 

Battery box for mobility scooter

This technology stores much more power per pound, allowing you to go far using batteries weighing under well under 10 lbs. Compare that to SLA batteries that can weigh 40 lbs each!  

 

Venues 

There may be certain places you wish to visit where you would want to get off your scooter for your visit, yet the premises are unable to store a mobility scooter. A good example is a small community chapel or cinema.

 Senior couple enjoying cinema

Many people only need their disability scooters to get across the distance to these places rather than walking. Once there, they would much rather sit in a normal pew or cinema seat that awkwardly sitting in their scooter.

 

A scooter that folds for easy storage anywhere allows users to put their scooters aside at such venues and then look and feel the same as everyone else.

Already unable to join society in many ways, being able to join in entertainment or other events with other people can be a vital part of disabled people's wellbeing and quality of life. 

In some instances, a cane may be needed to aid the user in getting around after the scooter has been folded and placed to the side.

Cane holder on mobilty scooter

Though not all mobility scooter accessories are suitable for lightweight folding models, there are strap-on cane holders available that would allow you to carry your cane at the back of your seat which you can slip out when you fold your scooter.

 

Superior Looks

 

Since folding mobility scooters are a fairly new invention, with new models regularly coming out to cope with an ever growing demand, these units invariably have newer, more chic look.

Take a look below at a standard mobility scooter versus one that folds. Both are are great in quality, but the regular one is more traditional in it's design, that has stayed pretty much the same over the last couple of decades.

 

 Modern, chic look mobility scooter

  • Modern, chic look folding mobility scooter

Standard looking mobility scooter

  • Regular traditional looking mobility scooter

 

 

Folding mobility scooters are also smaller and make less of a statement. Many patients requiring a mobility scooter do so reluctantly - it can be extremely difficult to accept the fact you're not able to walk unassisted as healthy people are able.  

It's also not fun looking different and being the subject of people's attention as you go around, say the supermarket on your scooter. 

 

Mobility scooter inconspicuous in supermarket

Folding scooters don't look conspicuous and don't make their rider look so "handicapped". They understate and downplay their presence with very minimalistic bodies, and non traditional, sleek design.

 

Which disadvantages and limitations of folding mobility scooters should I be aware of?

Every good thing comes at a price. They say there's no such thing as a free lunch and this is true for folding mobility scooters.

Along with very specific advantages that no other type of scooter offers, comes a range of drawbacks that as a flip side.

This does not mean folding mobility scooters are bad or poorly designed. It just means you have to choose which features are the most important to you and which ones are negotiable.

 

Let's dive right in. 

 

Weight Capacity

 

Constructed to be lightweight and easy to move or lift, folding mobility scooters do not support the same weight capacities as do regular scooters. 

travel scooter may not support overweight persons

Whereas other even portable scooters start with weight capacities of 300 lbs and you can find mobility scooters with weight capacities reaching 500 lbs or more, folding mobility scooters can start as low as 230 lbs and aren't easy to find folding models that can support above 300 lbs.  

 

Ruggedness & Performance

Similar to weight capacity, folding mobility scooters often have extremely low ground clearances, almost never have suspension, wheels that wear out quickly on gravel trails and aren’t designed to absorb shocks the whole time.

Low ground clearance travel mobility scooter

 

They will typically have low top speeds of around 5 mph and the dashboard will often only feature the bare minimum  - just battery levels for instance.

The lightweight nature of the devices also automatically means they will be less stable relative to regular mobility scooters. 

Also bear in mind that most folding mobility scooters are 3 wheelers or have their front two wheels right next to each other, effectively combining to act as one. This means less stability than 4-wheelers overall.

Front to wheels of travel scooter acting as one

Seats & comfort

It’s challenging to design a compact folding scooter with a deluxe seat. Normal scooter seats can stretch out to either side of the scooter deck which would be annoying and stick out when the scooter would be folded.

To ensure a slim and neat folded scooter, seats here are made with lower seat backs, are narrower overall and provide less padding.

less comfortable folding mobility scooter seat

This is a generalization - you can also find folding models with seats that match regular mobility scooter standards if you know where to look.

Higher comfort seat with armrests, even on folding model

Look out to see if armrest are included with any folding scooter you intend to buy - many don’t as this helps the folded shape be more practical, however, for some people armrests are a must and 

Weight of unit

As mentioned above, even with the best efforts on the parts of the manufacturers, even the lightest folding scooters weigh around 55-60 lbs which is too much for some people.

Since the batteries in these units are lightweight in case, taking them out before you lift your scooter doesn’t help much.

Lifting travel mobility scooter as one piece into car trunk

One solution to getting a folding scooter into your car trunk is to stand it on its two rear  wheels , lay the two front wheels against the rear bumper, and then roll the scooter up and in. A rug hanging out from the trunk over the bumper can minimize risk of damage to the car when performing this.

 

Battery life

What kind of battery range per charge can you expect from a folding mobility scooter? Certainly less than your typical mobility scooters. This is in an attempt to keep the overall weight low with less battery mass, but also Lithium-Ion technology that weighs less but costs more.

lithium-ion battery pack for travel scooter

With the cost of lithium batteries being several times that of sealed lead acid batteries, manufacturers are eager to keep the battery size low and avoid adding substantial cost to the scooter.

To give you an idea, most standard scooters give you a battery pack with at least 30 Ah of charge. Folding mobility scooters might only give you less than 10 Ah - these aren’t the right devices if you want to take long trips on your scooter.

 

Accessories

Most regular mobility scooters come with a rear universal hitch that measures 1” x 1”. The hitch allows users to attach any accessory attachment that has a matching receiver, including a rear basket or equipment holder.

Universal accessory hitch on mobility scooter

Folding mobility scooters often do not come with this accessory hitch due to the temporary way they are used and because they wouldn’t be able to support the weights placed on them anyhow.

Pay attention to this if having a rear accessory is a deal breaker to you.

 

Folding Procedure

You might be wondering how difficult it is to actually fold and unfold such a scooter. The truth is this is made very easy for the user, though some models go a step further. 

Manual folding scooters

These fold by pulling or pushing some form of  lever that unlocks the scooter and allows you to either press the scooter into itself or pull it out of its folded state. 

Yellow push bar for manual folding of mobility scooter

Yellow push bar for manual folding of mobility scooter

 

Automatically folding scooters

There to make your life even easier, these scooters fold or unfold with the click of the button on a provided keyfob or on the scooter itself. You might just have to fold the seat back or armrests; all the rest is done electrically.

 Key fob for automatically folding scooter

Button operated auto scooter unfold

Auto fold scooters always have a manual backup system in case you lose the fob or it runs out of battery. In this case you would treat the scooter exactly like a manual one.

 

Your Scooter in its Folded State

What does a folded handicap scooter look like? How easy is it to lug around? When folded, most units look like and behave like a small suitcase. An average folded scooter will measure around 17” x 17” x 20”.

Travel scooter in both folded and unfolded states showing huge difference in compactness

 

Most models fold in a way that allows you to you use the scooter’s wheel as “suitcase” wheels so you can roll your scooter around without much effort. 

Wheeling a travel scooter like a suitcase

 

Should I buy a folding mobility scooter?

According to above you should buy a folding mobility scooter if:

  • You need to transport your scooter regularly
  • You can carry around 55 lbs or can have someone to help you with this
  • Disassembling a scooter is too demanding for you
  • You don’t need to ride your scooter for many miles before charging
  • You aren’t planning on going on much gravel or uneven terrain 
  • Extra comfort in your scooter is top a top priority

 

All you wanted to know about travel mobility scooters that disassemble 

Disassembling scooters are built to come apart and be put together with ease and involving no tools. Unlike initial assembly which is intended to be permanent, these pieces are design to click in and out of each other like lego and withstand constant pulling apart and putting together.  


In a sense, disassembling scooters can be considered “standard” scooters. It's rare to find a non recreational, non folding mobility scooter that doesn’t disassemble and these make up probably the largest chunk of mobility scooters.


Think of it, if you were designing a non heavy-duty, non off-road standard scooter, why not add the advantage of easy disassembly?


The pieces most such scooters break down into are:

  • Battery case (one or two cases)
  • Deck with front wheels & tiller
  • Rear wheels with motor
  • Front basket
Mobility scooter pieces: Battery case (one or two cases), deck with front wheels & tiller, rear wheels with motor & front basket

What advantages do travel mobility scooters that disassemble offer?

Having a scooter with the ability to break down into smaller pieces gives you liberty and convenience you could never get with a “one piece” solid scooter, and even couldn’t get with a flooding scooter .


Here are a few of them to consider:



Can I get a free travel mobility scooter under Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance?

 

Getting a free travel scooter from Medicare

If you need a travel mobility scooter, it would seem only reasonable that you’d be able to get one free from Medicare, Medicaid or other scheme. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to get one of these health schemes to pay for your scooter. 

It’s not technically impossible but there are very strict criteria that need to be fulfilled. Only the most severely restricted individuals will qualify. In a nutshell, to get a free scooter from Medicare you must:

  • Have mobility problems that mean you can’t carry out the normal activities of daily living, such as bathing, using the bathroom, dressing even if you use a walking frame or cane
  • Have a health condition that means you have significant difficulty in moving around your home or getting up out of chair 
  • You can use the scooter safely by yourself or you have a permanent companion who can
  • Your home is large enough to accommodate a scooter
  • Your physician and your scooter supplier are both registered with Medicare

 

You must meet all of the conditions for Medicare to buy your scooter - you can read the rules about scooters here in full. 

If you think you tick all the boxes, you’ll also need your physician to agree with you. The word of you or family members won’t be enough. Your physician will need to be able to explain in detail why you need a scooter and in what ways you meet the qualifying conditions.

The Medicaid scheme is more or less the same as Medicare. Although it varies state by state, you’ll normally need to have the same level of mobility to qualify. 

Of course, all of this refers to using a scooter in your home. What about traveling? If you’re hoping to get a medical care plan to pay for a scooter that you need just for getting out of your house, there’s no good news. None of the schemes will pay for a mobility just for travel purposes. We know, it sucks.

 

The 9 Best Dissembling and Folding Mobility Scooters to Buy in 2020

 As you won’t be able to get your travel scooter paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, you are free to choose your own from whichever supplier you prefer. That’s a pretty big task because there are so many different folding mobility scooters out there in the market. 

 

Scooters are what we’re all about; they’re what we live and breathe every day so we’ve put together a list of what we think are some of the best.

 

Folding Scooters:

 

Drive Medical: ZooMe Auto Flex Folding Scooter

 

Drive Medical: ZooMe Auto Flex Folding Travel Scooter - unfolded

No of wheels: 4

Turning radius: 47.2”

Top speed: 4mph

 

The ZooMe Auto Flex weighs just 60lbs, making it a lightweight model that’s easy to load into the trunk of your car. A FAA-approved battery, speedy recharge time of 3-5 hours and a distance range of 13 miles means this is great for general use anywhere. 

 Drive Medical: ZooMe Auto Flex Folding Scooter - Folded

Pros:

  • Automatic folding
  • Light weight makes it extra portable
  • Anti-tip wheels provide more stability while accelerating
  • 14-month warranty
  • Trusted brand

 

Cons:

  • Detaching the battery takes a bit of practice

 

ShopRider: Echo Folding FS777

 

ShopRider: Echo Folding travel scooter - unfolded

No of wheels: 4, like 3

Turning radius: 36”

Top speed: 3.75mph

 

Taking just 10 seconds to fold/unfold, the ShopRider Echo is a mobility scooter which prioritizes ease of use and convenience. With a range per charge of 8.7-10 miles, you won’t find yourself running short of power while you’re out at the shops. 

 ShopRider: Echo Folding travel scooter - folded

Pros:

  • Curved tiller provides extra comfort
  • Folds to a very compact size
  • The cheapest folding scooter on the market
  • No punctures due to solid tires

 

Cons:

  • No arm-rests
  • Lower user weight capacity (200 lbs)

 

EV Rider: Transport AF+ Automatic Folding Mobility Scooter S19AF

 

EV Rider: Transport AF+ Automatic Travel Folding Mobility Scooter S19AF

No of wheels: 4, like 3

Turning radius: 31”

Top speed: 3.8mph

 

A light weight of just 44lbs and an FAA-approved battery means you can easily take this scooter on transport of all types, including planes, cruise ships and trains. A tight turning circle makes it easy to maneuver while a remote control will automatically fold it up within seconds. 

 EV Rider: Transport AF+ Automatic Travel Folding Mobility Scooter S19AF - In folded state with keyfobs

Pros:

  • Very competitive price for an automatic folding scooter
  • Light weight for easy transportation
  • Excellent steering and maneuverability 
  • Two-way throttle control

 

Cons:

  • Shorter driving range, up to 6.8 miles

 

Enhance Mobility: Triaxe Sport Scooter

 Enhance Mobility: Triaxe Sport Travel Scooter

No of wheels: 3

Turning radius: 33”

Top speed: 12mph

 

2020 Triaxe Sport from Enhance Mobility on Vimeo.

 

This mobility scooter really does live up to its sports label with the ability to reach up to 12mph and last for 35 miles on a single charge. If you opt for the additional Travel Battery which is approved for airline use, it’s still an impressive 18-mile distance range. 

 Enhance Mobility: Triaxe Sport Travel Scooter in folded state

Pros:

  • Generous weight capacity of 350 lbs
  • The furthest distance range of any FAA-approved mobility scooter
  • Optional wider seat available
  • Intuitive steering controls and tight turning circle
  • Pull-out luggage rack

 

Cons:

  • No arm-rests

 

Atto Scooter - The Newest Style Folding Disability Scooter

 Atto travel scooter by Moving Life

No of wheels: 3

Turning radius: 53”

Top speed: 4mph

 Atto mobility scooter folded

A truly exciting design, the Atto looks less like a mobility scooter and more just like a cool bit of kit. The innovative folding style provides two options: either split down into a trolley mode, or divide into two parts for its split mode. Flexible and contemporary, this scooter also features a USB port and holds enough charge to take you on a 12-mile ride. 

 Atto travel scooter handlebars and control panel

 

Pros:

  • Innovative folding and splitting design which is easy to use
  • Compact size is ideal for travel
  • Excellent distance range
  • Has a funky and youthful appearance
  • Advanced features include a USB port 

 

Cons:

  • Bit stingy on leg room
  • More expensive than other models
  • Wider turning circle

 

FreeRider: Luggie Superior Edition - Super Plus 4

 FreeRider: Luggie Super Plus 4 Travel Mobility Scooter

No of wheels: 4

Turning radius: 36”

Top speed: 5mph

 

Luggie Plus 4 Features from FreeRider USA on Vimeo.

 

You’ll be delighted with a distance range of 22 miles from a single charge as this is one mobility scooter you’ll want to stay in. Slick design which includes rose gold suspension and metallic paint make it look attractive, but it’s the smart engineering which really makes this folding scooter stand out. The Smart Turn facility makes this scooter a cinch to handle while a sports chassis and stiff springs make sure you have the smoothest ride of your life. 

 FreeRider: Luggie Superior Edition Travel Scooter dashboard and handlebars

Pros:

  • LED dashboard
  • Luxury appearance
  • Handles uneven terrain without a problem
  • A wider track, wheelbase and rear wheel provide superior stability and space
  • Folds flat

 

Cons:

  • More expensive than many rival models

 

Dissembling Scooters:

 

EV Rider - MiniRider Lite

 Minirider Lite Travel Mobility Scooter by EV Rider

No of wheels: 4

Turning radius: 41”

Top speed: 4mph

 

The EV Rider MiniRider brings the best of both worlds: the stability of a four-wheeler with the maneuverability of a three-wheeler. Able to carry up to 280 lbs and with a distance range of ten miles, this is a sturdy dissembling scooter that’s got plenty of comfort features such as flip-up arm-rests and a thick padded seat. 

 Senior woman on Minirider Lite Travel Mobility Scooter by EV Rider

Pros:

  • Puncture-proof tires for confident riding
  • Anti-tip rear wheels
  • Generous weight capacity of up to 280 lbs
  • More comfortable than many other scooters
  • Great budget price

 

Cons:

  • Much heavier than folding models

 

Drive Medical: Phoenix 4-Wheel Heavy Duty Scooter

 drive-phoenix-4-wheel-heavy-duty-scooter

No of wheels: 4

Turning radius: 54”

Top speed: 4mph

 

If you have difficulty with dexterity or finding a comfortable riding position, try climbing onboard the Phoenix 4-Wheel. With deeply padded seats and a design that reduces knee stress, it’s a scooter that you’ll enjoy riding. Flat-free tires, a 15 miles distance range and ergonomic throttle controls make this a top pick. 

 Drive Phoenix Control Panel

Pros:

  • Folds flat when dissembled
  • Anti-tip wheels
  • Automatic straightening for the most comfortable driving position
  • Larger seat available
  • Swiveling seat with adjustable height
  • Generous weight capacity at 350 lbs
  • Front basket

 

Cons:

  • At 129 lbs, it’s a heavier scooter
  • A wider turning circle than other models

 

Pride Mobility - Jazzy Zero Turn 8

 

Pride Mobility - Jazzy Zero Turn 8 disassembling mobility scooter

No of wheels: 4

Turning radius: 38”

Top speed: 4mph

 

Smart engineering sets this dissembling scooter apart, as it offers a wonderful driving experience as well as a number of luxury features. The iTurn technology means you get the stability of four wheels combined with the agility of a three-wheeler. With a distance range of 10 miles, there’s not much this beast of a scooter can’t tackle with ease. 

 Pride Mobility - Jazzy Zero Turn 8 disassembling mobility scooter getting out of elevator

Pros:

  • Luxury features including USB charging and bright LED lighting
  • Underseat storage for convenience
  • Quick to dissemble
  • Tight turning radius
  • High ground clearance makes challenging terrains easy
  • Wide, padded seat for comfort
  • Generous weight capacity of 300 lbs

 

Cons:

  • Heavier than a folding scooter

 

Can I take my folding mobility scooter on a plane?

If you enjoy traveling, you may be wondering whether you can take you folding mobility scooter with you on the plane.  

The good news is that mobility scooters are treated in a very similar way to wheelchairs, and accepted as a vital piece of equipment for travelers. Whichever airline you fly with, you should be able to take your mobility scooter with you. This is great news if you want to travel and see other places! (If you’re in need of some inspiration, check out this great blog with suggestions of the top locations to visit with a mobility scooter).

 Flying with mobility scooter

Although you have the right to take your scooter, you will need to let the airline know at least 48 hours before you are due to fly. Some airlines are more restrictive than others, so it’s a good idea to give the airline even more notice if you can. 

 

You won’t be able to take the scooter into the cabin; the airline will store it in the hold for transport. But don’t panic as you’ll normally be able to ride on your scooter right up to the gate and the airline will provide a wheelchair to get you comfortably into your seat,. 

 Mobility equipment can often be taken up to the airbridge/jet way

Each airline has a different procedure so you will find it helpful to check what to expect before you arrive at check-in. You will find airlines sympathetic to your need to use a mobility scooter. All are legally obliged to have proper procedures in place to support travelers with mobility difficulties. This means that they can’t refuse to consider your needs. 

 

Even though an airline must accommodate your request to take a mobility scooter, it has to be a model which is suitable for transport. This is why you’ll need a lightweight folding mobility scooter for travel, rather than the larger and heavier models which don’t dissemble. We know there’s a lot of scooters out there and it’s hard to know what to look for. To make it easy, you can see our recommendations above for the scooters which we think are the best to travel with.

 

Some of the major airlines have information on their websites that will help you decide if your folding mobility scooter is suitable for travel. For example:

 

  • Southwest Airlines asks for all removable parts of the scooter (cushion, arm rests etc) to be taken off and stowed in the overhead lockers in the cabin. The smaller cargo door measures 33 x 48 inches so you will need to ensure the folded dimensions of your scooter are smaller than this. 

 

How much does it cost to take a mobility scooter on a plane?

So, you know now that you can travel with your scooter but you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost, right? We’ve got some really good news for you. 

 

It won’t cost you a thing.

 

The FAA rules don't permit extra baggage costs for bringing along a medical device. The FDA classify mobility scooters (and wheelchairs) as medical equipment so you should not be charged for transporting your scooter, no matter which airline you fly with.

   Federal Aviation Administration regulates mobility scooters on planes

You’ll also benefit from a number of laws that help you to travel around.  

 

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) protects you from discrimination in the airport as it states that all public places must be accessible to a disabled person. However, it does not regulate your rights while in the air. 

 Americans with Disabilities Act

The Air Carrier Access Act protects the rights of disabled travelers and sets out the provisions that airlines must make. You can read these in full here. 

 

Therefore, to prevent breaching discrimination laws, airlines must be able to accommodate your need to travel with a mobility scooter. 

 

What does all of this mean for you in practice? It means that not only can you take your folding mobility scooter with you for free, the airlines must also ensure that they properly consider your needs. 

 

Which mobility scooters are air travel/FAA approved?

 

You may have heard that it’s not possible to fly with a mobility scooter because of the battery. Don’t worry, this isn’t actually the case. Many people fly every day with their mobility scooters and batteries.

 

However, you do need to take care to make sure your batteries are the type approved by the FAA. 

 

Batteries can be categorized into two groups: lead acid batteries (figure 1) and lithium batteries (figure 2). Both types can be used to power travel mobility scooters. 

Sealed lead acid batteries used in mobility scooters

Lead acid batteries (figure 1)

 

Lithium ion mobility scooter battery
Lithium battery (figure 2).

 

 Lead acid can be either a spillable or non-spillable battery. You can see what a non-spillable battery looks like below. 

 Maintenance free lead acid battery

All mobility scooters come with non-spillable batteries. You can tell the battery is non-spillable as there’s no cap on the top which can be removed to add more water. A flat and sealed surface confirms the battery is non-spillable.

 

Non-spillable lead-acid batteries are far less hazardous than spillable lead-acid batteries and this makes them suitable for flying. Non-spillable lead-acid batteries meet with the FAA guidelines and can be taken on board the plane. 

 

(Spillable batteries can be taken on board providing they meet strict criteria but you won’t need to worry about these rules for your mobility scooter. You’ve already got enough to think about!)

 

Lithium batteries are a little bit more complicated, but it’s still possible to fly with many lithium batteries.

 

There is a risk of lithium batteries catching fire if they overheat, get damaged or if there is a short circuit in the battery terminal. You can read more about what the FAA says about the risks of flying with lithium batteries here

 Lithium ion battery on fire

There is a limit on the types of lithium batteries that you can take onboard. The FAA only allows batteries which are no larger than 300 watt hours (or two batteries of no more than 160 watt hours each).

 

FAA flying with batteries rules

 

Lithium batteries must be removed from your scooter before it’s loaded onto the plane. In addition, the battery circuits must be protected from short circuiting. This helps to reduce the risk of a fire. This may sound like it’s a lot of effort but it’s easier than it sounds. A bit of tape over the battery circuits is often all that’s needed to protect them from friction and damage. 

 

You will need to place any spare lithium batteries in a case and transport them in your carry-on bag. Lithium batteries should not be packed in your checked-in suitcase, just because of the small risk of fire. 

 Lithium ion batteries must be placed in carry ons during flight

You should also make sure the airline are aware that you have lithium batteries in your bag. This information has to be passed onto the pilot.

 

This may sound like a huge fuss for batteries that you use every day in your mobility scooter! When transported properly, the risk of a fire breaking out is very small but if it’s not caught in time, a fire from a single lithium battery could bring down a whole plane. This is why it’s important to take the FAA guidelines seriously. It’s probably worth saying once again: many people fly with their scooters and batteries safely every day so as long as you follow the rules, there’s no cause for concern. 

 

Travelling with mobility scooters

One of the biggest advantages to folding mobility scooters is that you can use them on various types of transport because they don’t take up much space. Folding mobility scooters are deliberately designed to collapse down and be very compact. This enables you to take them on all types of private and public transport

 

Understanding the difference between folding and dissembling scooters is key. Both can be transported but folding scooters are a bit easier. 

 

If your mobility is particularly restricted or you’re traveling alone, a folding scooter is preferable. This is because they just fold up and down, often by just pushing a button. There are automatic folding scooters available too which can be operated via the remote control for real ease. 

 

By contrast, although dissembling scooters are often used for travel, they’re not quite as straightforward. This is because they need to be broken down into separate pieces rather than just folded. These pieces are usually very easy to put back together and you won’t need any tools.  However, for sheer convenience and speed of use, folding mobility scooters have the edge. 

 

It’s perfectly possible to travel with a dissembling mobility scooter but if you are expecting to do so very frequently, a folding scooter might save you time and effort. 

 

Getting a foldable mobility scooter into a car

 

Although you might plan to just get on your scooter and head off straight from home, there might be occasions when you want to go further afield. One of the benefits of having a folding mobility scooter is that you can just load it up into your car and take off. 

Putting a folding mobility scooter into a car

The trunk is the best place for your scooter so it doesn’t slide around or get damaged. The compact dimensions of folding models mean that you can fit them into the vast majority of regular cars. 

 

Of course, you can opt for a dissembling scooter instead. These take a little longer to break down and put back together, but they can be more flexible if you’re struggling for space. 

 Travel scooter disassembled in car trunk

When you’re choosing your mobility scooter, the weight is something to bear in mind. While you’re want a scooter than feels firm enough to be stable, you still need to be able to lift it into the trunk. 

 

Some people may need assistance with this and even the lighter weight scooters might be too heavy, depending on the style of your trunk. If you’ve got a pick-up or a 4x4 with a low tail you might find it easier than a traditional trunk where you’ll have to lift the scooter up and over. 

 Pickup bed with no tail - great for mobility scooters

If you are finding it hard work to lift the folding scooter into your trunk, you could opt for a ramp instead. This allows you to simply push your scooter into the trunk. The ramp itself folds down for easy transport. 

 mobility scooter ramp for car

Other options include hoists or power lifters but these can cost several hundred dollars to purchase. 

 

How to maintain and repair your travel handicap scooter 

 

Having a folding mobility scooter means that nowhere is out of reach. Whether you want to hop on a plane and visit other countries or take your dog for a walk at the park, lack of mobility won’t stop you. 

 

Once you’re used to enjoying your freedom, you won’t want to give it up so it’s important to keep your scooter in tip-top condition. To do this, you’ll need to carry out some basic maintenance from time to time. 

 

Don’t worry, you won’t need to do anything complicated! Light maintenance on your mobility scooter is very simple and straightforward. 

 

 

Storage

 

When you’re not out and about exploring the world, you’ll need a clean, dry and sheltered place to store your scooter. Folding mobility scooters are more compact so you might be able to store them in the home but if not, a garage is ideal too. 

 Mobility scooter storage shed

The storage space for your scooter needs to be protected from the rain and preferably close to a mains electricity supply so you can recharge it. If you need to store your scooter outside, you’ll need a high-quality rain cover to prevent it rusting and corroding. 

 

Batteries

 Mobility scooter batteries

Even with regular use, the battery on your mobility scooter should last a decent amount of time; typically around 2-3 years. To get the maximum lifespan out of your battery, you’ll need to take care of it. This includes:

 

  • Charging your scooter if the battery is at less than 80%
  • If you’re an infrequent user, charge your battery 1-2 times per month to stop it going flat
  • Charge overnight to top up battery levels
  • Keep the battery clean by wiping with a damp cloth
  • If the battery gets wet, wipe it down and make sure it’s fully dry before using

 

Tires

 Tires and wheels of mobility scooters

There are usually four different types of tires on a scooter:

 

  • Pneumatic.

    Pneumatic tire of mobility scooter

    These are inflated with air and can get punctures so will need to be checked regularly. You may need to put more air in them occasionally. Although they require a bit more TLC, pneumatic tires can provide a much smoother ride


  • Solid tires.

    Solid tire for mobility scooter

    As these aren’t filled with air, they can’t be punctured and don’t need to be inflated. However, on the flip side, they are harder and provide a less comfortable ride. 


  • Filled.

    Foam filled tire of mobility scooter

    A combination of pneumatic and solid, filled tires try to offer the best of both worlds. Made from an open cell rubber material, they won’t puncture and give a better ride quality than solid tires. 


  • Deep tread tires.

    deep tread mobility scooter tire

    You can purchase these with varying levels of tread. The greater tread depth provides more grip and traction which is useful for slopes or other tricky surfaces. 

 

Tires will ultimately suffer from routine wear and tear so you’ll need them to be checked, ideally as part of an annual service. If you have pneumatic tires, keep an eye on the air pressure and inflate them as needed. 

 

Brakes

 Brake system for mobility scooter

Many scooters have a system which automatically applies the brakes as soon as you release the power. Before setting out on a journey, do a quick check to make sure the brakes are working as you’d expect. 

 

To keep them in prime condition, book an annual service where they can be professionally checked and repaired, if needed. 

 

General cleaning

 Cleaning a mobility scooter

A mobility scooter isn’t difficult to keep clean and you won’t need to spend hours scrubbing it down every week. After use, a quick wipe over with a damp cloth will keep the frame in the best possible condition by getting rid of dust and dirt which could cause rust and corrosion. 

 

When you’re wiping your scooter down, pay careful attention to the area around the battery terminals plus the underside of the scooter - it’s easy to forget about down there! An occasional power-wash can be a worthwhile effort to really blast away any stubborn grime. 

 

Servicing

 Technician with tools

The best way to get repairs carried out and to check for safety is to organise an annual service. All the key components in your scooter will be checked and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re safe to carry on riding. 

 

Is my Folding Mobility Scooter Under Warranty?

 

 Peace of mind warranty

 

We know that a mobility scooter is a big investment so a warranty can provide real peace of mind. Knowing that your equipment is covered in case it breaks down can be very reassuring. 

 

The warranty you receive will depend on the make and model of the mobility scooter that you buy. Some are more extensive than others so check carefully to make sure you understand the terms. 

 

It’s common for the warranty to be broken down into separate parts, usually the battery, frame and motor/electrical parts are covered by different warranties. These may be a lifetime warranty, more common for the frame, or a limited warranty which is only for a specified time. 

 Mobility scooter warranty showing split policy for batteries, frame, electronics

Mobility scooter warranty showing split policy for batteries, frame, electronics

 

 

Warranties usually cover defective workmanship or defective parts, not normal wear and tear, or damage caused by mistreatment. In some cases the warranty will cover the labor required for the repair of any new parts, but not always. This is why it’s essential to check the small print. 

 

 EV Rider warranty policy

EV Rider warranty policy

 

Aside from the main components which have a long-term warranty, you may also be covered by a warranty which covers the condition of certain parts when they’re new. 

 

When you open the box, parts such as the tires, upholstery and armrests should be perfect. Your user manual should have a full list of the parts covered. It’s important to check your scooter over thoroughly before you start using it as you won’t be able to claim for these parts later. 

 

How much do travel mobility scooters cost?

The price of a folding mobility scooter depends on the model you buy and the features that you’re looking for. If you’re on a tight budget it’s possible to purchase a mobility scooter very cheaply, especially if you look out for sale prices. 

 

 Selection of cheap mobility scooters under $1000

 

Even the scooters in the budget range will deliver a solid performance. A comfortable seat, decent distance range and stability are all that’s needed for a good mobility scooter. 

 

Of course, if you have the budget, it’s possible to find a whole host of other comfort features and designs that really amplify your riding experience. From sports chassis to higher speeds and smart steering functions, the higher up the price bracket you go, the more you will get for your money.

Higher-end mobility scooters

 

 

How quickly can I get a mobility scooter for travel?

Whether you’re getting a foldable mobility scooter for the first time or you’re upgrading to a new model, waiting for it to be delivered can be difficult. 

 

 Delivery and shipping

 

The good news is when you buy from Scooters ’N Chairs you won’t need to wait long for delivery. You’ll find the exact delivery times listed next to the model you want to buy. However, in general you could have your mobility scooter within 4-6 business days for a standard delivery or 6-9+ business days if you prefer a White Glove Delivery. 

 

In other locations you may find you have to wait longer for your delivery - just another good reason to come to Scooters ’N Chairs first!

 

Why purchase your travel mobility scooter from Scooters 'N Chairs?

Scooters ’N Chairs are the experts in dissembling and folding mobility scooters, as well as many other types of disability aids and accessories. We understand what you need from a mobility scooter and we can help you to find the right one to meet your needs. 

We’re not interested in just selling you a folding scooter, we want to make sure you find one that matches your requirements. That’s why we’re always available to provide help and expert advice

Customer service agents


Aside from our outstanding customer service, you’ll find that we offer a huge range of mobility scooters at exceptional prices. We’re very competitive as we love to bring our customers value for money.


With speedy delivery, credit options and free shipping on orders more than $99, we offer that little bit more than you’ll find elsewhere. Try us today and discover the difference for yourself!




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