How To Buy A Scooter
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The focus of this site has always been to help scooterists find the best machine. This entire site is designed to be a comprehensive resource on every scooter from all the main manufacturers, but it still can be difficult to get started. This article will help you do just that by asking some of the key questions.
Most scooters that fall into the budget e-scooter class are not recommended for anything but minimal or light recreational use. At this budget price point, expect under-powered motors, low capacity batteries, and weak brakes. However, there are some excellent and very functional electric scooters in this category. They are worth taking a look at if this fits your budget.
The commuter class of electric scooters is the biggest one and therefore divided into three categories. At these price points, we generally find that scooters are fairly balanced in terms of features, quality, and performance.
These scooters are great for traveling shorter distances, have a reasonable range, and suitable build quality for daily commuting. Expect occasional repairs over the few years expected lifetime. Budget commuter scooters are best when your commute has relatively smooth surfaces and not a lot of steep hills. They are light enough that you can fold and carry them up stairs once in a while.
Performance electric scooters start to offer either serious speed or ultra-long range. Many of these scooters incorporate dual motors and sizable battery packs. The longest-ranged scooter in this category can deliver up to 81 kilometers of real-world range. At this price point, which ranges from $1200 to $1600, you will also start to see some premium features including large tubeless pneumatic tires, semi-hydraulic or hydraulic brakes, powerful lights, and turn signals.
Extreme scooters like these are the highest performing in every category except portability. They have massive, dual motors (some reaching speeds above 64 kmh), extended battery life for extreme range (>64 kilometers), top-notch suspension, and hydraulically-activated disc brakes for stopping at fast speeds. Although still suitable for daily commuting, their larger tires are the only ones built for off-roading. These extreme performance scooters are the heaviest as well (typically +32 kgs), so if you need to fold and carry these scooters, make sure you are comfortable with the weight.
You can use the comparison database to set min and max limits for the price to a budget range that suits your needs. This will return all scooter options available in that range, and you can jump to our detailed reviews (written and video) for most.
Range refers to the distance a scooter can travel before it runs out of battery power. The range of your electric scooter will depend on various factors, including motor power, rider weight, scooter weight, weather, mode, and average speed. We perform a real-world range test on all scooters to determine a realistic assessment of range.
A cautious rule of thumb is to take whatever the manufacturer advertises and divide by two. Results from the 2018 electric scooter survey show most manufacturers overestimate by 30% in their range claims.
Like all batteries, as time goes on your battery capacity (and scooter range) will diminish. Most batteries will maintain their integrity for at least 300 to 500 charging cycles, with the best batteries enduring up to 1000 charging cycles before beginning to degrade. Think about your commute and how far you travel in a typical day. Remember that when your scooter runs out of power, no matter the size, you can still kick to push it.
Pro Tip: You can also bring your charger with you or buy an extra charger to leave at your destination. Some high performance scooters have dual charging ports, cutting charge time in half when using two chargers.
Most scooters with a reasonable range (>24 kilometers) will weigh over 11 kgs. Scooters far exceeding 14 kgs will be fairly difficult to carry for long durations. Having a handle or shoulder strap will help bear the weight. Some scooters have extra wheels or a folded configuration that allow them to be rolled like the compact, commuter-friendly Glion Dolly. However, scooters will still have to be carried up stairs or lifted into a vehicle when transporting. Even the highly portable Dolly has folded dimensions of 94 cm by 30 cm by 20 cm and weighs 13 kgs, which can be awkward for some to carry.
If you are in the market for recreational joyriding or beast mode off-roading and not focused on its portability, the weight is not as important a factor as build quality and top speed. If you are looking for a commuter electric scooter to solve the last mile problem on your everyday route, its weight is important to consider.
Some conditions, like rainy weather, may call for you to take public transportation or a rideshare home. Most drivers will allow you to put your scooter in the trunk, but you still need to be able to maneuver it into the vehicle yourself.
Pro Tip: For comparison, the average weight of a household standup vacuum cleaner is 5 kgs to 8 kgs and many have similar dimensions to large folded scooters. Alternatively, visit a sporting goods store and pick up a few dumbbells or kettlebells to test what weight you can comfortably manage.
Top speed is not a huge factor for most commuters as long as the scooter can reach 24 kmh. In fact, some municipalities have laws against going over 24 kmh on electric scooters and most restrict scooters from driving on pedestrian sidewalks.
Riding in a car or even on a bicycle at 24 kmh feels different than riding an electric scooter at that speed because of the tires and acceleration. In reality, when traveling on roads or in bike lanes, 24 kmh to 29 kmh is fast enough. If riding in urban traffic regularly, scooters with good acceleration and top speeds in this range can help you avoid accidents. If you are interested in extreme performance scooters, those can go up to 81 kmh (like the Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11) and we recommend wearing serious safety gear when traveling at those speeds.
Adult electric scooters have hub motors, which are brushless direct current (BLDC) electric motors that are built into the hub of the wheels. All electric kick scooters have at least one motor while more powerful ones will have dual motors.
An average budget commuter scooter, like the Xiaomi Mi M365 has a 250-watt motor; a mid-range commuter scooter like the Fluid FreeRide Horizon has a 500-watt motor; and an extreme performance scooter, like the Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11, has dual 1200-watt motors (or 2400-watt motor power).
For adults, we do not recommend anything under 250 watts for daily commuting. This will be adequate for flat surfaces and very small hills. If you live in an area with steeper hills, think about going to 350 or 500 watts. Even with 500 watts, your scooter will slow down on medium-sized hills. Larger motors will not only help with powering up hills, but they will also get you up to top speed more quickly.
Suspension, similar to that in a car, smooths out bumps and indentations in the road and improves ride quality. Without it, and especially if you have solid (airless) tires, you will feel every bump that you travel over. If your commute is longer or has rough terrain to cross, strongly consider purchasing a scooter with suspension.
Scooters, like bicycles, can have a white front light and a red rear light. If you ride after dark, it is necessary to have both a front and rear light. Due to the design of electric scooters, they typically do not have very visible rear lights. If you are going to ride at night, strongly consider adding some flashing red rear lights to your helmet or backpack.
A quality braking system is essential for staying safe and in control while riding an electric scooter. Like those on a car or bicycle, brakes are what slow the electric scooter down. Electric scooter brakes can be broken into two categories: mechanical and electronic.
Mechanical brake systems are those that rely on a physical mechanism to slow the scooter down and include foot, drum, and disc brakes. The typical 24 kmh stopping distance for mechanical systems is 6 meters, with the absolute best being under 3 meters.
Mechanical braking systems will offer much stronger braking than electronic systems. However, electronic systems benefit from not requiring any periodic adjustments or maintenance. Many scooters will have a combination of both electronic and mechanical braking systems. For safety reasons, we recommend scooters that have at least two braking systems in case one fails.
The ESG Editors tend to favor buying from a good domestic distributor, even though it will generally cost more. A decent electric scooter will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. The value added from buying an electric scooter from a good domestic distributor will be enormous. These distributors will often provide a good warranty with customer support for troubleshooting, replacement parts, repair, and so on.
Local personal electric vehicle (PEV) dealers are a good option if you have any nearby. You can check out scooters in person and the dealers will offer the best post-purchase support. However, they tend to be the most expensive option with the smallest scooter selection.
Specialty distributors are online retailers that import, sell, and provide post-purchase support for electric scooters. Each of these retailers tend to specialize in a specific brand. Some scooter distributors include Apollo, Fluid FreeRide, and VORO Motors. Due to their specialization, they tend to offer a balance of the best prices and post-purchase support.
The history of electric scooter crowdfunded ventures has been fraught; numerous campaigns such as Eon and Unicorn have failed outright, leaving backers empty-handed. Nearly 500 Kickstarter supporters eager to get their hands on the Raine One electric scooter were disappointed in 2021 when the Raine Team announced they would not be issuing refunds even though they are unable to complete production on a single scooter. 59ce067264