If you recently broke a leg, foot, or have an upcoming surgery on either, you need a way to stay mobile. Recovery could take two months or more. The good news is you do NOT have to put your life on hold during this time! A knee scooter (also known as a knee walker) is a great option for keeping weight off of your injured leg while working and maintaining the active lifestyle you were used to before your accident or surgery. A knee scooter will make your recovery SO much easier.
This comprehensive buyers guide is designed to assist you in buying the best knee walker that meets your needs. This is a research based article providing reviews of the leading knee scooters and is designed for those doing their research to make an informed buying decision.
If a knee walker was recommended by your doctor, check the price on Amazon or other online outlets first! You could pay a fraction of the price for the exact same model. A knee scooters is not cheap, but is well worth the money if you need one. It will allow you to stay mobile and maintain your independence during your recovery period. After you have recovered and no longer need it, you can donate it to someone else or sell it on sites like eBay or Craigslist to recoup much of your investment.
Table of Contents
- What is a Knee Scooter?
- Best Knee Scooter & Knee Walker Side by Side Comparison Chart
- Best Steerable Knee Scooter
- Best Knee Scooter for Kids and Short Adults
- Considerations When Buying a Knee Scooter
- A Few Tips
- Knee Scooter Cover
- Best Basket for Your Knee Walker
- After Your Recovery
- Final Thoughts
What is a Knee Scooter?
If you are like most, you may have never heard of a knee scooter. If this is true, I can assure you it is worth your time to continue reading. A knee scooter is a wonderful alternative to crutches for your injured foot or leg.
A knee scooter is just what it sounds like. It is basically a scooter that you can rest your injured leg on. Depending on the model, knee scooters have three or four wheels, a knee pad to rest your “bad leg” on, and handle bars similar to a bicycle. The basic function of a knee scooter is to rest your “bad leg” on the knee pad and propel yourself forward with your good leg.
As mentioned previously, a knee scooter is a wonderful alternative to crutches. Crutches are often not an option due to physical limitations or simply because folks choose not to use them. Like crutches, a knee walker is non-weight bearing, but much more stable. A knee walker may help allow you to continue your normal life including doing light housework, going to and from the bathroom, cooking, and in some cases even going back to work. For many, it will prove to be a lifesaver if you are temporarily disabled by a broken foot or leg.
Best Knee Scooter & Knee Walker Side by Side Comparison Chart
|Description||DV8 Steerable Knee Walker (Model 790)||Steerable Knee Scooter||All Terrain Knee Walker||All Terrain Knee Walker Jr||Knee Walker Jr (Pediatric Knee Scooter)|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Type||Adult||Adult||Adult All Terrain||Short Adult or Child All Terrain||Pediatric / Child|
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs||300 lbs||400 lbs||250 lbs||160 lbs|
|Number of Wheels||4||4||3||3||4|
|Handle Height||33" - 37.5"||33” - 43”||35" - 47"||32” - 38”||27” - 32.5”|
|Knee Pad Height||17.5” - 21.5”||17” - 22.5”||19" - 22.5"||16” - 19.5”||14” - 17.5”|
|Knee Pad Dimensions||7.25” x 14.25”||6.5” x 12.5”||6.75” x 12.5”||6.5” x 12.5”||5” x 10”|
|Caster (Wheel) Size||8”||7.5”||12”||10”||5.75”|
|Recommended Operator Height||N/A||5’ - 6’6”||5’ - 6’5”||4’ - 5’9”||3’6” - 5’4”|
|Knee Scooter Weight||19 lbs||22 lbs||27 lbs||24 lbs||18 lbs|
|Other Features||Aluminum Frame||Detachable Basket, Disc Brakes||All terrain, Detachable Basket||All terrain, Wire Basket||Detachable Basket, Disc Brake|
Best Steerable Knee Scooter
Our highest recommended knee scooter is the Drive Medical DV8 model 790. It is a great option for those who are over 5’ tall and weigh less than 300 lbs.
Even for some of the tallest folks out there (around 6’5”) this knee walker will still work for you. The height of both the handlebar and knee pad can be adjusted to a level that is comfortable.
It is easy to assemble, operate, and features a beautiful matte finish.
The unit will arrive with three primary pieces – the base, seat, and steering column. An adjustment knob to adjust the knee pad height is also included. It’s super easy to assemble with little effort required.
The DV8 model 790 is steerable and offers great maneuverability. The knee scooter being steerable is one of its greatest advantages. Non-steerable knee walkers require you to pick up the front end and slide the unit around when you need to turn. Since this one is steerable, you simply turn the steering column in the direction you want to go and take off with your “good leg”. The turns are tight.
It comes with 8” wheels. The wheels are made of polyurethane which is a hard (and solid) rubber-like material. The wheels will not leave marks on your floor. They are also large enough to easily roll on carpet.
The steering column is positioned behind the axle of the front wheel. This design makes the knee walker more stable when you are pushing off. It will help prevent you from toppling over the front when bearing down on the handlebars with extra weight.
You may run into problems when operating it outdoors. It tends to want to tip over when you are operating it off road. Rocks, tree roots, curbs, etc. can cause some instability when you run over them. This is especially true when you have the disadvantage of an injured leg and/or have little practice operating the knee scooter. For outdoor settings, we recommend an all-terrain knee scooter.
The knee pad is made of a single cushion. It has two indentations. One indentation fits to your leg as you are moving. The other indentation can be used as a knee rest when the parking brake is on.
It can be adjusted up and down to accommodate your height. If you are shorter, you can adjust the knee pad down. If you are taller, you can adjust the knee pad up. The photo below shows the adjustment knob and the holes in the column which allows adjustment.
The brakes are on each side of the handlebar. The brakes operate much like a bicycle. When you squeeze them the knee scooter slows down and stops.
To lock the brakes, you just squeeze the brake handle and then press the lock button down. This function serves as a parking brake. When the brakes are in a locked position, the knee walker serves as a sturdy support as you are getting up and down from your chair, in and out of the shower, and other everyday tasks. It can also serve as a temporary seat while the brakes are locked.
Please note, no matter how good the brakes are, you should always take it slow, especially on inclines and when turning!
- Easy assembly. All that you need to do to assemble the unit is attach the steering column to the base. Installation instructions can be found here. We have also included an assembly video in the section below.
- Transporting the model 790 is easy. Weighing in at about 19 lbs, you can easily carry it with you wherever you go. The steering column folds down and easily fits in your car. The fact that it folds up also makes storage easy. It is worth noting that it does not fold completely flat like many walkers. It will take up some space in your trunk or back seat. This will not likely be an issue for most people, but just a heads up before you buy it.
- The knee pad is adjustable from 17.5” to 21.5”. The knee pad height is important because you need to distribute the weight between your “good” and “bad” leg. You do not want too much weight on your “bad leg” for obvious reasons. Too much weight on your “good leg” will make you hop when pushing off. Adjusting the knee pad height to the right balance will help with a smooth, less painful ride.
- The handlebar is adjustable from 33” to 37.5”. Like the knee pad height, the handlebar height is important as well.
- It does not come with a basket. The basket is sold separately. With a basket you can carry important items such as your phone or a flashlight.
- The wheels have very little resistance. They are almost too fast. This can pose a problem when starting down a steep slope without holding on tightly. Also, be sure to have the parking brake on when getting on and off. You don’t want it to shoot out from under you.
- Operating the knee walker on non-level ground can be tricky. Take extra precautions when you are outside and not on pavement.
Below is an informational video from YouTube courtesy of Drive Medical.
Best Knee Scooter for Kids and Short Adults
The best knee scooter we found for kids and short adults is the KneeRover Jr. All Terrain Knee Walker. This all terrain model allows you or your child to maintain an active lifestyle outdoors while recovering from an injury or surgery.
We chose an all-terrain model because it handles the outdoors and uneven surfaces much better than a traditional knee walker. If the knee scooter will be used outdoors, there is a clear advantage using an all-terrain version over a traditional knee walker.
The difference is in the tires. This all terrain version offers more stability through larger, air filled tires. The tires coupled with it being lower to the ground, makes it less likely to tip over compared to a traditional knee scooter. With traditional knee scooters that have smaller wheels, you run the risk of being thrown if you run over a rock or catch a wheel in a sidewalk gap. With these big tires, the likelihood of that happening is lower.
Below are a few key points for this knee scooter.
- Size. This knee scooter is designed for children and smaller adults whose height is between 4’ – 5’9” and weigh less than 250 lbs.
- Tires. The 10” inflatable tires offer better maneuverability outdoors. The tires are about 2” wide. For comparison purposes, they are like a small bicycle tire. With these tires, the knee walker is less likely to throw you off when operating on uneven terrain.
- Adjustable. The seat can be adjusted higher or lower to accommodate your height. The seat has five different adjustment levels. The handlebars can be adjusted as well. The ability to adjust the seat and handlebar height allows the customized fit that works best for you or your child.
- Brakes. It features bicycle-like brake handles. The brakes can be locked for use as a parking brake.
- Portability. The handle bars fold down to fit in the trunk of your car. This also makes for easy storage. It weighs 24 lbs which is not too heavy to lift when loading in your vehicle.
- Basket is included. A portable basket is included with the unit. It fits on the front of the knee scooter. It’s a very convenient accessory.
- Assembly. Assembly is easy with only an allen wrench required to put together.
Considerations When Buying a Knee Scooter
Before purchasing a knee scooter, there are several things you may want to consider. Below are a few bullet points with our rationale of each.
- Where do you plan on using it? The top consideration in our opinion is to determine where you will be using your knee scooter. If you are active outdoors you will need an all-terrain knee scooter. The all-terrain knee walkers have larger wheels and are often inflatable. They are wider and can handle riding over rocks, grass, walking trails and other uneven surfaces. Traditional knee walkers have smaller and thinner wheels. They are suitable for riding indoors and on paved surfaces. Traditional knee scooters are more susceptible to “tipping over” when riding over a rocks or even cracks in the pavement.
- Is the knee walker steerable? A steerable knee walker can make it easier to get around, especially indoors. Without the ability to steer you will rely on picking up the front end of the walker and sliding it around when you need to turn. However, the non-steerable versions offer better stability when operating outdoors. With the steerable knee walkers, every bump you hit will cause it to slightly jerk. This is less of an issue with all-terrain models. Just be extra careful with a steerable knee walker when using it outdoors and be sure to hold on tight with both hands!
- Ease of transporting in your car. You will most likely be transporting the knee walker in your car. Make sure it is light enough for you to put it in and take it out of your car. Most knee walkers are around 20 lbs. Also, consider one that folds up. This will make it easier to transport. It will make storing it easier as well.
- Good brakes. This applies to slowing the knee walker down and the parking brake. Disc brakes tend to work best to slow the knee walker down. The parking brake is important when you are getting on and off of it. The parking brake stabilizes the knee walker. Always remember to set the parking brake when getting on and off so it does not fly out from under you!
- Adjustable knee pad and steering column. You will want to make sure the knee walker you buy has an adjustable knee pad and steering column. Based on your height, if it is too high or low to the ground, it can be very awkward to navigate and can lead to putting too much pressure on your “bad leg” or too much pressure on your “good leg” to push off with. The ability to adjust the knee walker to best fit your needs is a major plus.
- Price. Last, but certainly not least is price. No matter which knee walker you decide to buy, check the price on Amazon first! You could save a significant amount buying online vs. a local store or catalog from the doctor’s office. Those prices are often inflated. As always, shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal!
A Few Tips
A knee walker will take a little bit of getting used to. At first, it may see a bit awkward, but after the short learning curve, you may be a pro in no time. If you have an upcoming surgery, go ahead and buy one ahead of time to practice beforehand. It’s best to learn and become accustomed to it while you are well. If it can be avoided, don’t wait until after your surgery to learn how to use it!
Be especially careful when turning or operating on an incline. Knee scooters have the tendency to flip you off if you are not careful. Operators who have a deteriorated physical condition should pay special attention.
Knee Scooter Cover
The purpose of using a knee pad cover with your knee scooter is for the comfort they provide. The knee pad on many knee scooters are comfortable right out of the box. For those that use their knee scooter all day, some feel like they need a bit more cushion. That is where a knee pad cover comes into play.
Knee scooter covers also provide air circulation around your leg. Without a cover, expect your leg to “stick” to the knee pad due to sweat. Also, without a cover, the knee pad may rub your leg to the point of irritation and chafing. Instead of putting towels down across the knee pad, consider a knee pad cover. A knee pad cover will help eliminate these problems.
Our favorite is the Vive Knee Walker Cover. It is stretchable and will fit most knee walkers. It is a faux sheepskin / wool-like material. The measurements are 16” long x 8.5” wide x 4.5” deep. The knee scooter cover comes in a cream color and is machine washable. Be sure to check out the reviews on Amazon to see what others are saying about it.
Best Basket for Your Knee Walker
Since a knee walker requires both hands to operate, you cannot safely hold on to items that you need to carry with you. Some knee walkers come with a basket, but others do not. Our recommended knee scooter, the Drive Medical DV8 model 790, does not come standard with a basket so you will need to purchase one separately if it is something you need.
Our favorite knee scooter basket is the “Schwinn Quick Release Wire Basket”. It can be purchased from Amazon for quick delivery. This basket is commonly used on bicycles, but is perfect for most knee scooters including our recommended model. It measures approximately 10″ x 13.5″ x 10″.
After Your Recovery
After you recover and you are all healed up, what will you do with you knee walker? Some folks keep it, donate it, or even resell it. Donating it is always a good option to help those who are less fortunate. In some cases, you may even be able to write it off as a donation from your tax return.
You can also resell it at a consignment shop, yard sale or online venue. To recoup most of your investment, consider selling it through Craigslist or eBay. Online venues typically have a more targeted reach simply because the audience is larger. A lot of times you can get 50% – 75% of what you paid for it back.
We certainly hope you found this article informative as our goal with this article is to assist you in making a buying decision.
As outlined in this article, a knee walker can be an excellent alternative to crutches. They can offer the freedom of mobility while recovering from a broken bone or surgery. They also allow you at least some of the independence you enjoyed before your accident or medical procedure.
Thanks for reading and best wishes for a speedy recovery!