If you have decided that the time is right to invest in a mobility scooter – either for yourself or a loved one – choosing the ideal model can be a difficult process. There are many different examples available, each with their own benefits and specifications, and not doing enough research before making your purchase could mean you end up with something which isn’t well suited to your needs.
Here, we will take you through the main differences between Class 2 and 3 scooters so that you can reach your own conclusions about which might be best for you.
Many people may think that most mobility scooters are essentially the same, with any differences between the various models available being largely cosmetic. In fact, there are several significant ways in which scooters differ from each other, with size being one aspect that can vary greatly and should be considered before any purchase is made.
In general, Class 2 mobility scooters are smaller and lighter than their Class 3 counterparts, so you will need to think about the implications of this when making your product choice. If, for example, you often feel uncomfortable in standard-sized chairs or find that you could do with more legroom when travelling on public transport, it may be worth investing in a Class 3 scooter.
On the other hand, it might be more important for you to have a mobility scooter that offers a small turning radius or can be safely stored away in a compact, limited space at home. If this is the case, buying a Class 2 mobility scooter would likely be the most sensible choice.
It is also important to be aware that not all mobility scooters are appropriate for indoor use. As a rule, Class 3 models are only designed to be used outdoors. This obviously means that, if you are thinking about purchasing a scooter primarily so that you can get around your home (or any other family and workplace properties) with greater ease, a Class 2 vehicle will be the way to go.
If you decide that indoor use is required, you will then have to narrow down your search to the different kinds of Class 2 scooters available. It may be that you think you will never need to use your scooter outdoors; if so, you could potentially save money by buying a model that is exclusively intended for the indoors.
However, there are several reasons why it is usually best to invest in a scooter that can be used both at home and when out and about. As well as being less convenient, mobility scooters designed exclusively for indoor use will usually also have a shorter distance range than other Class 2 models. As such, they will need recharging more frequently than outdoor-ready scooters.
Another way in which Class 2 mobility scooters make up for their smaller size is with their amazing folding ability. Some scooters, such as Monarch Mobility’s Mobie Plus, can be folded away in seconds after being used and then simply wheeled from place to place like a suitcase, thereby taking all the hassle out of what can be the tricky issue of transportation.
Class 2 folding mobility scooters are extremely convenient and can usually be put straight into the boot of your car, instantly opening up a world of possibilities in terms of the places you will be able to visit and explore, regardless of how limited your mobility or that of your loved one may be.
For the ultimate in ease of assembly and transport, consider a self-folding Class 2 scooter like the Smarti. This model would be ideal for anyone who has limited dexterity, with the simple touch of a key fob being enough to completely fold and unfold the scooter in a matter of seconds. The Smarti can then be wheeled away like any other folding scooter.
Probably the most significant difference between Class 2 and Class 3 mobility scooters is their suitability for travelling on the road. To put it simply, Class 2 models are not allowed on the road, whilst Class 3 scooters are.
The only exception to the rules regarding Class 2 scooters is that they can be taken onto the road if there is no pavement available or to cross from one side to the other. By contrast, Class 3 scooters are free to travel on the road at any time, providing they adhere to all the same regulations as other drivers. These larger models are allowed on pavements as well but have different speed restrictions when ‘off-road’ (you can find out more about this in the following section).
All this means that roadworthy, Class 3 mobility scooters are required by law to be fitted with many of the same safety features that you will also find on cars, including headlights, hazard lights, indicators and a horn.
Because they are not allowed to be on the road other than in exceptional circumstances, Class 2 scooters are always limited to a maximum speed of 4 mph. As you will see for yourself if you end up purchasing this class of mobility scooter, this speed is ample for riding along the pavement and minimises the risk of any unexpected collisions resulting in harm to either you, any pedestrians or property.
Class 3 mobility scooters, meanwhile, have a top speed of 8 mph. As alluded to above, however, this maximum limit is only allowed on the road; when it comes to riding on the pavement, speed is legally limited – as with Class 2 scooters – to 4 mph. It is also worth noting that, as they are subject to the same regulations as cars and other vehicles, Class 3 scooters must be registered with the DVLA.
If you want to be able to take your new purchase onto the road but think that all the 8 mph Class 3 models you have seen so far are a little too large for the storage space you have available, why not consider buying a 6 mph mobility scooter instead? These medium-sized mobility scooters are road legal, Class 3 vehicles but benefit from being almost as lightweight as 4 mph, Class 2 models.