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Electric Scooter Buying Guide

Electric Scooter

Buying Guide

An e-scooter is a versatile, sustainable, and fun mode of transportation. The design of an e-scooter goes beyond the aesthetics and includes quality of construction and its convenience features. These factors will determine the smoothness of your ride, as well as the cost and frequency of maintenance and repair. Below you can find the information you need to make an informed purchase.

E-scooter speed.

Most e-scooters have a maximum speed of 15–20 mph, although some performance-oriented models can go as fast as 40 mph. An e-scooter’s maximum speed also depends on factors such as temperature, road conditions, wind, rider weight and battery level.

Many e-scooters have riding modes that can limit the device’s top speed. This can be a helpful feature when navigating crowded areas or when you’re first starting to ride. No matter how fast you’ll be driving your e-scooter, it’s important to wear a helmet and protective gear during every ride.

E-scooter range.

The range of an e-scooter is the maximum distance it can cover before running out of battery power. Another way to determine an e-scooter’s range is by comparing the total watt hours (Wh) of the batteries. Watt hours are calculated by multiplying the voltage (V) and amp hours (Ah) of the battery.

It’s important to understand that the maximum range quoted by the manufacturer reflects ideal road and weather conditions and at or under the weight limit. 

If you plan to ride an e-scooter at top speed for a lengthy period, the actual range of the vehicle could be roughly half of its stated maximum range. This is important to know if you plan to take your e-scooter for longer rides.

Single motor vs. dual motor.

Most entry level and mid-range e-scooters will have a single motor on either the front or back wheel hub. Single motor e-scooters tend to require less maintenance and are quieter than dual motor models.

Many premium e-scooters will offer motors on both wheels. This is known as a dual motor system and the benefits of this setup are increased acceleration and traction. Dual motor scooters will also climb hills more easily. On the downside, these vehicles tend to be heavier and more expensive.

Motor power.

A more powerful motor will give an e-scooter more speed, greater acceleration, larger weight capacity, and more ability to go up hills. A motor’s power is measured in watts. For an adult e-scooter, 250 watts is the minimum motor power you’d want. An e-scooter with this wattage can travel comfortably over flat ground and small hills.

Those planning to ride their e-scooters on steep inclines should consider motors with 400–500 watts. The fastest e-scooters available are performance models that have dual motors with a combined power of 1000 watts or more.

E-scooter weight and rider capacity.

Weight and rider capacity are critical factors when choosing an e-scooter.

Weight determines maneuverability and portability. Heavier scooters are harder to turn when riding but offer increased stability. Heavier models also have more carrying capacity than lighter models. If you have limited space, a foldable lightweight model may meet your needs.

The rider weight capacity is the maximum load the vehicle can carry while maintaining expected performance. Most e-scooters have weight capacities between 180 and 275 pounds. If you exceed the weight capacity, you may still be able to operate the vehicle, but it might not be able to reach top speed or top range.

E-scooter wheels and tires.

The e-scooter wheel connects to the axle, whereas the tire is a piece of rubber attached to the wheel. Smaller wheels have 5–8" diameters, while larger wheels can be 10" or more. If you plan to go on longer rides, larger wheels will offer a smoother ride by absorbing smaller bumps in the road.

An e-scooter may use pneumatic (air-filled) or solid (airless) tires. Pneumatic tires offer smoother rides over uneven surfaces but require more maintenance, such as checking tire pressure and tread wear. Some manufacturers offer self-sealing air tires, which minimizes the potential of having a flat.

Solid airless tires, with pressure that remains consistent, deliver a longer distance range. These tires don’t require as much maintenance, as they don’t lose air and won’t flatten.

E-scooter suspension.

An e-scooter’s suspension system will absorb the bumps caused by uneven surfaces and cracks in the pavement. Entry-level e-scooters may not have a suspension system, but mid-level devices will have a front suspension at minimum.

Many premium e-scooters will offer front and rear suspension, or full suspension. This is crucial for absorbing impacts at higher speeds. If you plan to take your e-scooter off-road, you’ll definitely want full suspension.

E-scooter brakes.

As with any vehicle, the ability to stop quickly is a priority. Foot brakes, found on most nonelectric or entry-level kids’ e-scooters, are the most basic. With a foot brake, you press a pad into the rear tire with your foot to slow down.

The e-scooters used by adults will feature some combination of drum, disc (mechanical or hydraulic), or electric brakes. Drum brakes require less maintenance and last much longer than disc brakes. Disc brakes offer increased braking power. If you’ll be riding your e-scooter on crowded city streets, you may want disc brakes so you can react quickly to your surroundings.

Some e-scooters will combine drum brakes with electric brakes to increase stopping power. Many e-scooters will also use different brakes on different wheels. For instance, you may have electric brakes on the front wheel and a disc brake on the rear.

Safety gear and accessories.

Although not legally required in most states, wearing a helmet during your rides is the way to go. Given the speeds at which e-scooters travel, you’ll want to protect your head in the event of an accident. Elbow and knee pads will provide additional protection. Depending on where and how often you plan to ride your e-scooter, you may also want a bag, lock or other accessories.

Find your electric scooter.

If you like what you’ve seen so far, now’s the time to take the next step. Check out our entire assortment of e-scooters from a variety of top brands.