Portable, Folding & Dismantlable Scooters
Portable scooters reduce in size for storage and transport. They fall into two types--foldable and dismantlable. Foldable scooters offer the convenience of folding down flat to fit into the trunk of an automobile. Some new models fold down into a suitcase-style that you can pull behind you like luggage to negotiate airports quickly. A few of these transport devices fold electronically at the push of a button. Scooters that disassemble into pieces weigh less per piece and offer easier handling. However, more pieces come at the price of the inconvenience of assembly and disassembly.
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Scooters provide for transit away from home. To qualify as “transportable” the scooter must be able to fit into the trunk of a typical automobile. Since these mobility aids are large in size, they must be able to easily dismantle or fold to be able to fit in a car. Along with reducing in size, the device should be lightweight so that people can lift it to the car trunk. Scooters that disassemble typically breakdown into parts that are less than 50-pounds. Scooters that fold typically weigh between 45- to 85-pounds and compact to a size similar to a large suitcase. This allows a folding mobility device to be pulled or pushed by the tiller while rolling upon its wheels, similar to a rolling suitcase, making it easy for anyone travel and get around airports.
Recent statistics on growth among the older adult population from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration of Aging show that the number of people aged 65 years or older increased from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010. This population represents 12.9 percent of the U.S. population, which means one out of eight Americans are now older than 65.
This anticipated increase in life expectancy may also cause a proportional growth in disability and, ultimately, an increased need for technical support for this population in performing daily activities. Coupled with estimates that show that 75 to 90 percent of disabled older adults currently use some form of assistive technology for mobility....1
Powered scooters are no longer just for the mobility impaired. "In Taiwan, the government considers the zero-emission scooters to be a sustainable form of transport like walking, cycling and public transport, which play a vital role to support sustainable urban mobility. Therefore, the development of zero-emission scooters is an important strategy in constructing the sustainable transport network of Taiwan. It is also the government's priorities about the policy of emission-reduction and energy-conservation in the transportation sector. "2 "Currently, there are various different types of power wheelchairs and scooters available to consumers. Static and dynamic stability are two of the most important safety issues associated with powered mobility."3
Foldable vs. Devices that Disassemble
Foldable scooters offer the convenience of folding down flat to fit into the trunk of an automobile. Some new models fold down into a suitcase-style that you can pull behind you like luggage to negotiate airports quickly. There are a few that fold electronically at the push of a button so that you do not have to do all the work of folding. Mobility devices that disassemble into pieces have lower weights per piece and offer easier handling but come at the price of the inconvenience of assembly and disassembly.
- Supports an active lifestyle
- Easy to maneuver
- Navigate tight spaces
- Traverse short distances
- Lightweight design
- Fits most car trunks
- Folds or disassembles for easy transport
- Simple to operate
- Suitable for vacation travel
- Several are FAA approved
- Compatible with cruise ships, trains, hotels
- Conducive to shopping, family gatherings, ballparks, theme parks, zoos, markets,
- Supports user independence
Three-Wheel Scooters have short turning radii but are less stable than four-wheels. Some of these mobility devices come with small caster wheels or anti-tipper wheels integrated near the third wheel to increase stability. They tend to have less legroom and often smaller seating. They are generally less weight, making them easier to transport. These devices are also smaller making them easier to negotiate tight spaces.
Example: Pride iRide
Some three-wheel models add another wheel adjacent to the third wheel to gain more stability. However, the wheels are so close together that they classify as a 3-wheel scooter. For easier identification, we call these scooters a "3-Wheel Plus." Many of these devices come equipped with anti-tippers for additional safety.
Four-wheel scooters usually have a wider wheelbase, offering better stability. There is more legroom, and often the seat is wider and more comfortable. They are heavier and larger, making them more challenging to maneuver in tight spaces and more challenging to transport and travel up steep slopes. These mobility devices are usually more expensive than 3-wheel options.
The purpose of disassembling a scooter is to make them more transportable. By breaking down the scooter into several parts, the pieces have less weight to make them easier to lift and place in the trunk of a car. The design of many dismantling scooters supports the ease of assembly and disassembly. Many of these devices disassemble in seconds and reassembl3 just as fast.
A folding scooter folds down to a compact size for easy storage and transport. The original weight of the device does not decrease, but the size significantly reduces. Some mobility devices fold electrically with the push of the button to minimize the amount of effort required. They weigh between 34- to 83-pounds, so the heavier models can challenge some users to lift into a trunk.
Enjoy a larger world with the freedom afforded by being able to bring these folding mobility scooters with you wherever you go. Folding the scooter only takes a moment, too. For example, the Go-Go Folding Scooter from Pride Mobility folds in 3 quick and easy steps. In addition, after the initial assembly, you do not have to worry about taking it apart and putting the scooter back together which will save you time. This also prevents pieces from getting lost or misplaced that would cause the scooter to not function properly.
These features make folding scooters ideal for anyone under 275 lbs who wants to be more independent. Because the scooters easily compact and fit in the trunk of your car, you do not need to install a power lift on your vehicle. Aside from being compact while folded, these folding scooters for adults are small when in use. They are not as bulky as many of the other mobility scooter options, so you can squeeze into smaller areas than you could with a different scooter. The compact size, both folded and unfolded, and portability allow you to take your electric scooter places that do not provide mobility aids such as the library or your child's or grandchild's school play. Your caregiver will also thank you for choosing such a simple, compact, and light option.
Although these electric folding scooters are great for travel, they do have their limits: they are not designed for rough terrain. Folding scooters work well indoors and on relatively flat surfaces like sidewalks and roads, but do not expect great results if you go off-road. Also, they do not have very high weight capacities. This could be a barrier for bariatric drivers. If you are a bariatric user or need a device better suited for off-road, look at our other available mobility scooters.
- Folding 4-Wheel Scooter: ZooMe Flex
Product Selection Continuum
The product selection continuum above displays 3-wheels scooters on the left and 4-wheels on the right. Pricing tends to be lower for the 3-wheel versions and higher for the 4-wheel options. Prices are also lower for the models that dismantle and higher for the folding versions. The most convenient models that can fold electrically are the highest costing models. The continuum also displays six significant characteristics of scooters and where they generally fall along the continuum. The lower weight models favor the 3-wheel versions. The 3-wheelers also tend to have a higher speed and more extended range than the 4-wheel versions. Below are other key purchasing considerations.
A vital selection criterion is a reverse gear. This feature allows the mobility device to go backwards when needed. Going in reverse is an essential feature for navigating tight spaces. Reverse gear is available in both 3- and 4-wheel models but at a higher cost.
More extended warranty periods tend to be mostly a factor of who the manufacturer is that makes the device. Like Drive Medical and Pride Mobility, some manufacturers have lifetime warranties on the frame and 2-year warranties on the electrical components.
Some manufactures have agreements with local service providers to adjust and repair scooters locally. Local repairs and primarily in-home service is more convenient than shipping a mobility aid back to the manufacturer when it requires maintenance. This added service is very convenient and can be an essential purchase consideration.
The mobility aid weight is significant, playing a massive role in portability, range, speed, max climbing angle, and ease of lifting. The lower the weight, the more favorable the scooter can perform. It is crucial to get the weight as low as possible without compromising durability and safety.
Heaviest Part Weight
For devices that dismantle for easy lifting and trunk storage, the individual component weight is significant. As people age, they have more difficulty lifting items and bending over to pick them up. Many manufacturers reduce the weight of individual components to make it easier to lift and transport.
Some mobility patients require a more durable, heavy-duty device to carry them where they need to go. This style of scooter can be very limited in their ability to function under heavy loads. None of the top ten foldable or dismantlable scooters can support weights over 300 pounds. To sustain a high weight capacity, the user may need to consider a standard bariatric scooter.
The width of the seat affects the level of comfort for the rider. Generally, the wider the chair, the more comfort offered to the rider.
Max Climbing Angle
If the mobility aid has to negotiate steep terrain, the maximum climbing angle becomes a significant factor. Also, if a ramp is necessary to negotiate stairs, the slope may be substantial as well. Many mobile devices can safely traverse up to a 5% grade. A few can go up to 10%. Buyers should consider this factor in their purchasing decision.
Few of us want to go slow from one place to the next. Most mobility aids are on the slow side of 5-miles per hour (MPH) or less. If speed is a critical factor for the user, they may want to consider some faster options like ZooMe 3.
Closely related to the max speed of the mobility device is its range. How far it can travel on a fully-charged battery can make a big difference in the user’s freedom and independence. Some transport systems have a low range of only 6 miles, and others can go as high as 15 miles. More extended range models are usually more expensive but often worth the price.
Bumpy and uneven terrain requires higher ground clearance. Many of the mobility devices have a ground clearance of less than 2-inches. Higher clearance models tend to be less stable and are prone to tipping, so anti-tippers may also be necessary. Increased width devices can also help with stability when the device has a high ground clearance. Users with rugged terrain to cross may want to select a higher ground clearance model and other safety measures for safe transport.
Devices that can traverse very tight corners are more maneuverable and are easier to operate. Some mobility aids have a very short turning radius of only 20-inches, while others may require 55-inches. Users who will drive their devices in tight places should consider a scooter's advantages with a smaller turning radius.
Advanced braking systems like hydraulic disc brakes, electromagnetic brakes, and automatic braking systems are significant safety features. These systems are easier to use and have better-stopping power than mechanical braking systems. These advanced systems are more expensive but often worth the additional cost.
Compatibility with Airlines and Cruise Ships
Many seniors love to travel during their retirement years. Transport device conformance with airlines and cruise ship requirements may be an essential factor for them. See the section on FAA Guidelines in the FAQ’s below for more information.
List of Additional Scooter Features For Purchase Consideration
- Fully assembled and ready to use from the box
- Storage – baskets, under-seat, or saddlebags
- Docking cradle
- Charging station
- Remote control
- Quick disassembly & assembly
- Interchangeable color panels
- The suspension (front and rear)
- Digital dashboard
- Swivel seat
- Delta tiller
- Adjustable tiller
- Rearview mirrors
- Cell phone holder
- USB charger
- Fold-down backrest
- Height-adjustable swivel seat
- Padded armrest
- Reclining seatback
- Captain’s chair
- Overstuffed seat
- Two-rider seat
- Flat-free tires
- Non-marking tires
- Safety flag
- Security – key, FOB, or security code
- Electronic folding (REMO Auto-Flex)
- Trolly mode for easy towing
- Adjustable handlebars
- Headlamp and tail light
- Clutch throttle
Does Medicare cover scooters for disabled individuals?
Medicare covers mobility devices under Part B as durable equipment (DME). It requires a doctor’s prescription and the conditions below:
- You have a health condition that causes significant difficulty moving around in your home.
- You’re unable to do daily living (like bathing, dressing, getting in or out of a bed or chair, or using the bathroom) even with the help of a cane, crutch, or walker.
- Able to safely operate and get on and off the wheelchair or scooter, or have someone who is always available to help you safely use the device.
- Your doctor who is treating you for the condition that requires a wheelchair or scooter and your supplier are both enrolled in Medicare.
- You can use the equipment within your home (for example, it’s not too big to fit through doorways in your home or blocked by floor surfaces or things in its path).
You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after you pay your Part B deductible for the year. Medicare pays the other 80%.4
Does VA cover folding mobility scooters?
Yes, the VA does cover these devices. The VA has a number of criteria for reimbursement approval. Some of the requirements includes "the veteran’s medical diagnoses, prognosis, functional abilities, limitations, goals, and ambitions. Evaluation of mobility will assess musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, pulmonary, and cardiovascular capacities and response, effort, quality and speed of gait (or manual wheelchair propulsion), and overall function. Power mobility is indicated when the veteran demonstrates a clear functional need that cannot or is not likely to be met by conventional rehabilitation or medical interventions and is not otherwise contraindicated. The VA supports the dispensation of power mobility to allow the veteran to access medical care and to accomplish necessary tasks of daily living in ordinary home and community environments such as paved surfaces and mild terrains (low grass, packed sand and gravel, etc.)"5
The VA requires the following patient indications:
A. Inability or limited ability to propel a manual wheelchair or walk despite compliance to prescribed standard medical and rehabilitative interventions due to one or more of the following:
Limited mobility due to a documented medical condition.
Typical examples include:
1. Cardiovascular disease
2. Pulmonary disease
3. Neurological disorder (ex. stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Guillain Barre Syndrome)
4. Musculoskeletal disorders (e.g. muscular dystrophies, rheumatoid and other arthritides)
B. Limited upper and lower limb function:
1. Symptoms or signs of significant upper limb dysfunction that are likely worsened with use of a manual chair (e.g. long-term wheelchair user with rotator cuff disease or carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.)
The patient has a progressive disease that is likely to cause limitations such as the above (Items A.1 - A.4) within a year.
2. All of the following additional criteria must be met:
a. Physical limitations must be objectively demonstrated.
b. Examples of objective measures include tests of walking or wheeling that include the parameters time, distance, and quality of movement, measurement of physiologic parameters such as oxygen saturation, heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate, strength and range of motion of the upper and lower limbs and pain. Non-specific chronic pain or fatigue secondary to deconditioning are not typical indications for permanent use of power mobility devices.
c. Adequate functional mobility without the device cannot be achieved by standard medical or rehabilitative treatments.
d. Use of manual wheelchair is prohibitive due to the energy expenditures required to meet frequent, unavoidable environmental demands (i.e., long distances, inhospitable environments such as hills, sand, gravel, and inclines) OR use of a manual wheelchair is prohibitive due to frequent, unavoidable time challenges (e.g. veteran cannot propel the chair quickly enough to complete tasks in a timely fashion) Or use of a manual wheelchair will exacerbate a musculoskeletal or neurological impairment as documented by an appropriate medical professional.
e. Patient has adequate judgment and cognitive abilities, vision, and motor coordination for safe use of a motorized device. Trial of the device in the environment intended for use, or in an environment that simulates the intended environment is encouraged.
f. Home/Community environment is compatible, or could be reasonably modified to support the use of motorized device.
g. A method for transporting the device to the intended environments of use have been identified.6
What is the most lightweight folding mobility scooter for adults?
The Pride iRide weighs only 46.5 pounds. It is available in four colors and has a short turning radius to get spun around in small spaces.
What are the best folding mobility scooters for sale?
ZooMe 3 is one of the best selling mobility devices on the market. The tiller folds down, and the seat removes for easy transport. It has a short turning radius of 22-inches, and ground clearance is 4.25-inches. It has a top speed of 15-mph with a range of 20-miles. This device has a powerful 350W motor.
Top Ten List
- Pride Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus
- Drive Spitfire Scout
- Drive ZooMe 3
- Shoprider Echo
- Pride Go-Go Ultra X
- Pride Go-Go Sport
- Pride Jazzy Zero Turn
- Drive Spitfire EX2
- Drive Spitfire DST
- Pride Go-Go Folding
Mobility Power Scooter Comparison Chart
|Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus||3||Dismantles||86||32||300||21.25||17||34.5||1.3||14.5||4.5||5||180||Yes|
|ZooMe 3||3||Seat Removes
|Go-Go Ultra X||4||Dismantles||98||34||260||19.5||17||44||1.3||7.2||4||5||180||Yes|
|Jazzy Zero Turn||4||Dismantles||151.5||48||325||20||18||38.25||1.4||13.4||4||5||350||Yes|
Up and Coming
- Drive ZooMe Flex
- Pride iRide
- eWheels EFORCE1 EW-07
- eWheels EW-41
- eWheels EW-41
- eWheels EW-M50
- eWheels Auto-Flex
Up & Coming Comparison Chart
|REMO Auto Flex||4||Electric Folding||65||59||300||19.7||16.5||44.1||1.7||13||5||6||250||No|
What are the FAA guidelines for mobility devices?
Some mobility scooters board on aircraft as checked baggage. Others qualify for carry-on. To meet carry-on requirements, the battery that powers the device must meet the following:
- The device must provide adequate protection to the battery.
- Lithium-ion battery size is limited to 300-watt hours (Wh) or 25 grams equivalent lithium content (ELC).
- One spare battery not exceeding 300 Wh or two extra batteries not exceeding 160 Wh (13.5 grams ELC) each may be carried in carry-on baggage.
- Lithium metal (non-rechargeable lithium) batteries are forbidden.
- Remove lithium-ion batteries from this type of mobility device, and protect battery terminals from short circuit.
- Protect the battery from damage (e.g., by placing each battery in a protective pouch).
- The lithium-ion batteries must be carried in carry-on baggage only.
- The passenger must advise the airline of the battery location.
- The airline must notify the Pilot-in-command of the battery location in the cabin.
- Though allowable, airlines may not accommodate a folded-up wheelchair/device in the passenger cabin.
- The device, with batteries removed, may travel as checked baggage.7
For mobility devices eligible for baggage transport the following guidelines apply:
- The battery may remain installed only if it is securely attached to the mobility device, the battery housing provides protection from damage, and the terminals are protected from short circuit.
- When the batteries are adequately protected, they should remain installed in the mobility aid; however, there may be situations when that is not possible or safe to do so, and in these cases, remove the batteries.
- The battery cables may remain connected only if the device is protected from accidental activation.
- A maximum of one spare battery not exceeding 300 Wh or two extra batteries not exceeding 160 Wh each may be carried. Spare batteries must be carried in the cabin.8
Gel Cell, Absorbed Electrolyte, or Dry Cell Battery Devices
- The battery may remain installed if it is securely attached to the mobility device, the battery housing provides protection from damage, and the terminals are protected from short circuit.
- The battery cables may remain connected only if the device is protected from accidental activation.
- For complete passenger instructions contact your airline.
- Advance arrangements and extra check-in time may be necessary.
- A maximum or one spare battery is allowed per passenger in accordance with airline instructions.
- Extra conditions and strong rigid packaging are required for spare batteries.
- For complete passenger instructions contact your airline.
- Advance arrangements and extra check-in time may be necessary.9
Spillable Battery Devices
The battery may remain installed if it is securely attached to the mobile device, and the battery housing provides protection from damage, the terminals are protected from short circuit, and the battery remains in an upright position when stowed on the aircraft.10
Pride Mobility Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus Review Video (5:00 minutes)
Drive Medical Spitfire Scout 3 Review Video (1:01 minutes)
Drive Medical ZooMe 3 Review Video (1:24 minutes)
Shoprider Review Video (1:02 minutes)
eWheels EW-M35 Review Video (1:23 minutes)
ZooMe Flex Electronic Review Video (1:28 minutes)
- 1 Souza, Ana E., et al. "Evaluation of scooters using ANSI/RESNA standards." Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development 50.7 (2013). (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 2 Hwang, Jenn Jiang. "Sustainable transport strategy for promoting zero-emission electric scooters in Taiwan." Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 14.5 (2010): 1390-1399. (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 3 Rentschler, A. J., and R. A. Cooper. "A comparison of the dynamic and static stability of power wheelchairs versus scooters." Proceedings of the First Joint BMES/EMBS Conference. 1999 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 21st Annual Conference and the 1999 Annual Fall Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (Cat. N. Vol. 1. IEEE, 1999. (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 4 Medicare’s Wheelchair & Scooter Benefit. Revised October 2019. (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 5 CLINICAL PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MOTORIZED WHEELED MOBILITY DEVICES: SCOOTERS, PUSHRIM-ACTIVATED POWER-ASSIST WHEELCHAIRS, POWER WHEELCHAIRS, AND POWER WHEELCHAIRS WITH ENHANCED FUNCTION. Recommendations for Motorized Wheeled Mobility Devices. VHA; Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service. Veterans Administration. Page 1 (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 6 "CLINICAL PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS..." Pages 2-3. (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 7 "PackSafe for Passengers." Assistive Devices Tab, Wheelchairs and mobility devices with lithium ion batteries, collapsible design, battery removed. Federal Aviation Administration. United States Department of Transportation. (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 8 "PackSafe for Passengers." Assistive Devices Tab, Wheelchairs and mobility devices with lithium ion batteries, normal design, battery installed.(Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 9 "PackSafe for Passengers." Assistive Devices Tab, Wheelchairs and mobility devices with non-spillable or dry batteries. (Last Accessed August-31-2020)
- 10 "PackSafe for Passengers." Assistive Devices Tab, Wheelchairs and mobility devices with spillable batteries.(Last Accessed August-31-2020)