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Everything You Need to Know about 3-Wheel Mobility Scooters

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When you want as much of your mobility returned to you as possible, you want a scooter that delivers that mobility. When looking for a scooter you are met with two distinct options, regardless of branding: a 3-wheel scooter, or a 4-wheel scooter. What’s to know about this curious 3-wheel contraption?

Best 3-wheel mobility scooters are superior indoors for their easier portability and maneuverability but are not designed to face nature, except for on sidewalks, because of their poorer stability. 3-wheel scooters are unable to bear as much weight as 4-wheel scooters, but they are significantly cheaper.

To learn more about the pros and cons that you should be aware of with 3-wheel mobility scooters, and to see if they are for you or not, keep reading the information below.

Better Maneuverability

Compared to the typical 4-wheel mobility scooter, the 3-wheel scooter has superior mobility and a tighter turning ratio that helps you to get around much more easily. They have the bulk of their contact points with the ground on their backside to make it easier to ride in reverse. Doing donuts with a 3-wheeler is like nothing you’ve tried before!

You can imagine how much time and patience you’ll save yourself by being able to turn around large furniture pieces, like chairs and sofas, small pieces of furniture, like coffee tables and end tables, and turn corners without hitting the opposite wall. 

How many times have you tried to turn, had to stop, switch to reverse, adjust your trajectory, and try again, hearing that annoying beeping each time you switch to reverse. The worst part is when, in spite of your carefully calculated trajectory and moving at a snail’s pace to be as gentle as possible, you still hit the corner and leave a mark.

They Have Slower Acceleration

The design of 3-wheeled scooters doesn’t allow them to accelerate or decelerate as quickly as a 4-wheeled scooter. Don’t forget that as you ride forward, it’s one wheel that usually has to do all of the pulling and when decelerating, is subject to the weight that is all at the back of the scooter. Naturally, the brakes take care of the latter. 

They Have More Leg Room

Another benefit of removing a wheel is the fact that you get to have more leg room. While a 4-wheel scooter must have a wheel on either side of your feet, effectively keeping them surrounded, and a little cramped, or else the wheels are covered by a bulky, curved bumper. 

On 3-wheel scooters, the front is usually the side with one wheel, and that has to be directly in the middle, leaving plenty of room for your feet. This can make climbing and get out of the scooter easier.

They’re Less Suitable for the Outdoors

In spite of the fact that they allow for much more mobility indoors, 3-wheel mobility scooters don’t supply that same mobile assurance or stability outdoors as 4-wheel scooters.

This isn’t because they’re made with more breakable materials than 4-wheel mobility scooters, but since they have only one tire either in the front or the back, they are more likely to get caught and stuck among rocks and won’t cross ruts as easily.

If you intend to be outside as much as you possibly can in areas that don’t have convenient sidewalks, you’re better off with the 4-wheel scooter. However, even most 4-wheel scooters aren’t built for nature. 

If being able to move virtually freely outdoors is what you’re looking for, you may need to invest in two scooters. The first would be a heavy-duty disability scooter that was made for nature trails. The second would be a 3-wheel scooter because those heavy-duty scooters are quite big and not meant for indoor use. 

They Have a Lighter Load Bearing Limit

Because the 3-wheel mobility scooter lacks a wheel, the remaining wheels have to share a greater dispersion of any weight set on top of the scooter. Because the weight is dispersed to 3 wheels instead of 4 wheels, this scooter usually can’t bear as much weight as the 4-wheel scooters. 

While 4-wheel scooters can hold up to 600lbs, depending on the scooter you get, 3-wheel scooters can only hold about half the weight at 300lbs or 350lbs. However, some 3-wheel scooters, such as the heavy-duty Maxima scooter. Just be aware that in exchange for a larger weight capacity, you sacrifice some maneuverability because of the bigger scooter size.

They are Less Expensive

It’s hard to tell which scooter is actually cheaper because many 4-wheel scooters are cheaper than the 3-wheel scooters, and vice versa. 

However, generally, because the limitations of 3-wheel scooters are recognized by the sellers, manufacturers, and reviewers, 3-wheel scooters will assuredly be less expensive than 4-wheel scooters. But other factors will affect the price tags of both, such as weight capacity, max speed, electric hub features, and whether it’s powered by gasoline or an electric battery.

To make it easier, let’s compare two very similar scooters, with the main difference being one has 3 wheels and one has 4: The Vive-3 and Vive-4 scooters.

Vive-3 Vive-4
# of wheels 3 wheels 4 wheels
Weight Capacity 265lbs 265lbs
Max Speed 3.7mph 3.7mph
Price $799.99 $899.99

Bizarrely, in spite of having the same speed and weight capacity, and practically the same features, including the ability to be foldable, the difference of a single tire was a $100 difference. Unless someone decided to copy and paste the product descriptions for these two scooters simply because they are from the same company, the 3-wheel mobility scooter is the obvious choice.

Conclusion

In short, 3-wheel mobility scooters are meant for those who don’t really desire to go out amidst nature but are satisfied to ride down sidewalks, streets, and other paved paths. They are also suitable for those who live in homes with tighter spaces and are willing to choose a scooter with a lighter capacity than choose to spend more on their scooter. 

About the author:

Trevor James is the founder and owner of Mobility Paradise, a one-stop-shop for mobility scooters, electric scooters, electric wheelchairs, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, lift chairs, saunas, steam showers, massage tables, exercise equipment, electric bikes, massage chairs, and bathtubs. Years ago, Trevor’s grandma had an accident that made her dependent on a wheelchair; this forced Trevor and his family to put her into an elderly care facility. Since then, Trevor would visit her to take a walk around the neighborhood. Mobility Paradise was created because Trevor couldn’t find an online store that offers a wide selection of mobility equipment and educational resources. What started as a business focusing on mobility scooters grew to include all kinds of mobility products. You can shop for the most reliable mobility products at Mobility Paradise