How to Choose Electric Scooter: Ultimate E-Scooter Buying Guide

man choosing between 2 electric scooters

Electric scooters offer a compact solution for urban mobility. Powered by efficient motors, these vehicles glide across various landscapes, ensuring swift and smooth journeys.

Their appeal lies in being both practical and budget-friendly. Operating them is straightforward, making them a viable choice for daily commutes.

Yet, picking the perfect e-scooter involves understanding several key aspects. These include the presence of suspensions, brake systems, battery longevity, motor strength, and much more.

From personal experience, owning multiple electric scooters and reviewing dozens of models has equipped me with insights into what makes each scooter unique.

This article delves into essential considerations for potential e-scooter buyers. Read on to discover crucial tips for making an informed choice.

Importance of Choosing the right Electric Scooter

Selecting an electric scooter that aligns with individual requirements is vital. It significantly influences daily usage and the overall experience with the scooter.

A wide range of electric scooters exists, each differing in size, performance, and features. An unsuitable choice could lead to discomfort, inconvenience, or, more critically, safety risks.

off-road scooter vs on-road scooter
For off-roading, I am using my dual-motor Nanrobot scooter, but for cruising on a bike lane, I use my Niu scooter. Photo: Electric Wheelers

For example, a person who commutes in a busy city may need an electric scooter with excellent maneuverability and lightweight design, whereas a person who needs to travel long distances may require a scooter with a more robust battery and better suspension.

Therefore, choosing the right electric scooter is crucial to ensure that it meets the user’s needs, enhances their daily routine, and provides them with a safe and enjoyable ride.

Types of Electric Scooters

Choosing the perfect electric scooter is hard because there are so many different types of e-scooters available. Here are the most popular options:

Related: All Kinds of Electric Scooter Types Available

Main Features to Consider When Buying an Electric Scooter

Before buying a new scooter, you must always check the scooter’s features to ensure they meet your needs and preferences. Remember, there is no such thing as an ideal e-scooter for all occasions. But there might be an ideal scooter for your needs.

So, here are some main features to consider when buying an electric scooter.

1. Battery and Range

Ask yourself, how long are your commutes? An electric scooter battery is responsible for how far you can ride. Typically, most e-scooters have battery capacities that range between 200Wh and 1,000Wh.

man attaching a battery to electric scooter.
Photo: Electric Wheelers.

A 200 Wh to 300 Wh battery capacity is best suited for shorter urban commutes or leisurely rides. These e-scooters can typically provide a range of 10 to 20 miles on a single charge, depending on the rider’s weight, terrain, and level of motor assistance.

A 300 Wh to 500 Wh battery capacity provides a bit longer range. Around 20 to 30-mile range would be a realistic result.

Read also: Best Long-Range Electric Scooters

Larger battery capacity provides better performance and range. So, a battery over 1000 Wh can cover a range of 50 miles or even more.

Can You Charge the Scooter at Work?

You may ask yourself this question if you use an electric scooter for going to work. If the answer is yes, then you need a scooter with a battery that will last until your workplace. You can recharge the battery while you are working.

However, you can’t trust e-scooter manufacturers’ numbers entirely. If they say the range of the scooter is 10 miles, it is probably less. They have calculated the scooters’ range in ideal conditions, which are often impossible to achieve in real life.

2. Motor Power and Speed

How Fast Do You Want to Ride Your E-Scooter? Electric scooter motors take care of the speed.

Before buying an electric scooter, check its motor power and top speed. Usually, electric scooters have motors between 250 and 1,000 Watts. However, some electric scooters have dual motors with each over 1,000 Watts.

Read also: Best Dual-Motor Electric Scooters

Ordinarily, e-scooters with more powerful motors provide quicker acceleration and better hill-climbing ability than those with lower-powered motors.

man on an off-road track with powerful electric scooter
You need a powerful electric scooter for offroading. Photo: Unsplash

Most e-scooters have a top speed of 15-20 mph, but some can be faster. So, It’s essential to know how fast you want to ride the e-scooter and your intended use to decide on the specific model to purchase.

Overall, the lower-power e-scooters are best for leisure rides, while high-power scooters are best for tougher or off-road commuting.

3. Braking System

E-scooters have various braking systems. However, there are three common ones – disc brakes, drum brakes, and electronic brakes.

Disc brakes are the most popular braking system. These types are more efficient than drum brakes. The best type of brakes for electric scooters is hydraulic disc brakes. They are silent and provide the best stopping power. But hydraulic brakes are the most expensive.

hydraulic disc brakes of vsett electric scooter
Hydraulic disc brakes on Vsett electric scooter. Photo: Electric Wheelers

Drum brakes are lightweight and easy-to-maintain brakes that actually provide quite a good stopping power. These brakes are popular on cheaper electric scooters because the brake system itself costs less.

One of my electric scooters NIU KQi2 Pro comes with drum brakes and if they are adjusted well, the stopping power is very good.

Lastly, there are electronic brakes. They serve as supplementary stopping mechanisms, not as the primary means of halting the scooter. Activating these brakes cuts motor power, initiating friction that gradually slows the scooter. While some models use a push button on the handlebars, others require a slight pull on brake levers.

Related: Electric Scooter Brakes Explained

If budget permits, opt for a scooter equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, offering superior stopping power and reliability. For those seeking a more budget-friendly option, a scooter with either dual mechanical disc brakes or dual drum brakes is a sensible choice.

A combination of one drum or disc brake paired with an electronic brake is also acceptable. However, avoid compromising on anything less than these configurations to ensure safety and effectiveness in your scooter’s braking system.

4. Wheels and Tires

Electric scooters come in different wheel sizes and different types of tires. The two most common options are:

  • solid tires
  • pneumatic tires
different types of electric scooter tires
Different types of electric scooter tires. From the left: Pneumatic off-road tire, honeycomb solid tire, solid tire. Photo: Electric Wheelers

Pneumatic tires are filled with air. The advantages of pneumatic tires are a more comfortable ride experience and better traction. However, they may have more punctures than solid tires.

Solid tires are basically puncture-resistant and don’t need any maintenance. However, they provide lousy ride comfort on a bumpy road and are almost unrideable on off-road tracks. Also, they may be very slippery on wet surfaces.

Related: Electric Scooter Tires Explained

Additionally, take a look at the size of the wheels. Usually, electric scooters have 8-10-inch wheels. Some kids’ electric scooters may have 6″-wheels.

The rule of thumb is that bigger wheels provide better ride comfort and better handling.

I suggest choosing always pneumatic tires with a size of at least 10 inches. These air-filled tires adapt well to various terrains, providing a smoother ride across different surfaces. On the other hand, while solid tires perform adequately on smooth pavements, their lack of flexibility makes them less suitable for more varied or rough terrain.

5. Suspension System

Not all electric scooters are equipped with suspensions. If the scooter is solely meant to ride on smooth city asphalt, it doesn’t need suspensions.

Electric scooters with durable suspensions provide smoother and more comfortable rides on all terrain.

The ideal suspension systems usually make a ride more comfortable and reduce the risk of fatigue, discomfort, accidents, and injury. Furthermore, you will get a more comprehensive shock-absorbing feel with durable suspensions.

Read also: Best Electric Scooters for Off-Roading

If you also want to ride on forest trails, choose an e-scooter with a dual or adjustable suspension system. If you ride only in the city, then suspensions are not necessary. However, if you have a scooter with solid suspensions in the city, you can comfortably ride over the curbs.

6. Portability and Foldability

The portability and foldability of an e-scooter are essential factors to consider when choosing an electric scooter.

The average weight of an e-scooter is about 20 to 50 pounds (10 to 25 kilograms), depending on its model and features.

trying to fit the dcooter into the trunk of my car
I like my big Nanrobot scooter but it doesn’t fit into the trunk of my car. Photo: Electric Wheelers

Some lightweight electric scooters (made from lightweight materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber) can weigh as little as 15 pounds (6.5 kilograms). In comparison, heavier and robust models can weigh even 100 pounds (45 kilograms) or more.

Read also: Best Folding Electric Scooters

Overall, a portable and lightweight electric scooter is important for transport or storage in a compact space. You can enjoy the convenience and flexibility of transporting it wherever you want.

So if you live on a higher floor and constantly need to carry the scooter for several flights of stairs, it would be wise to choose a smaller and more lightweight model. But if you have a storage room on the ground floor, take the as bulky model as you like.

7. Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of an electric scooter varies depending on its brand and model. However, most standard electric scooters have a weight capacity of about 200-250 pounds (90-110 kg). However, some models can handle more weight to compromise safety when riding.

Read also: Best Electric Scooters for Heavy Adults

A small scooter can often be uncomfortable for a rider, while a large one can be difficult to control. So, it is crucial to consider the overall weight capacity of the scooter, plus the size of the deck and handlebars.

8. Additional Features

  • Lights – Built-in LED lights, for example, are crucial accessories in an electric scooter because they improve a rider’s visibility and safety when riding at night or under extreme weather.
  • Deck size – is another essential factor because it can improve or affect a rider’s comfort and stability. For example, smaller decks make the e-scooter more compact and easier to carry, while large decks provide more space for the rider’s feet, allowing a more comfortable and stable ride.
  • Display – A handlebar display screen will provide information about the scooter’s speed, battery life, trip distance, riding mode, headlight status, and other metrics.
  • Cruise control – is another functional fitting if you constantly ride long distances on flat terrain. It also reduces how you frequently adjust the throttle, extending its lifetime.
  • Locking point – If you need to lock your electric scooter often, it’s convenient if the scooter has a dedicated point for locking.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing an E-Scooter

Apart from scooter-specific features, there are lots of other factors you must consider when selecting a perfect electric scooter.

Here are the key factors to note.

9. What’s Your Budget?

The price of an electric scooter is important when choosing an e-scooter. In fact, the model, brand, and quality determine the overall price of an e-scooter.

Generally, entry-level scooters have a lower price range of about $300 to $600, while high-end scooters can reach over $3000, depending on the brand.

But note that cheaper scooters have smaller motors and fewer advanced features but can still provide a convenient mode of transportation for a limited range.

High-end scooters are expensive but reliable because they have larger batteries and better suspensions to cover longer ranges on rough terrain.

10. Intended Use

What type of terrain you are riding with your scooter? Is it for commuting or leisure rides?

Understand the e-scooter’s intention of use before choosing one. The correct scooter will help you meet your needs appropriately.

Consider one with high speeds and a more extended range for daily commuting. Also, it needs to be lightweight for easy handling.

A model with better suspension and larger wheels is ideal for leisure or recreation. But also check the weight capacity and range for a comfortable riding experience.

You might also want an e-scooter with good suspension, large wheels, or durable construction for off-road use and a comfortable riding experience.

11. Do You Live in the Hilly Area?

The ideal scooter should guarantee better performance if you live in hilly terrain. Typically, a more powerful and geared scooter that can handle the hill should be your choice. Consider a 500W or higher motor.

Related: Can Electric Scooter Go Uphill?

An e-scooter with multiple assistant levels should allow you to adjust the assistance level depending on the hill’s steepness.

12. What are Weather Conditions?

Different weather conditions will also determine how you choose an e-scooter. Consider these factors.

An e-scooter with waterproofing is ideal for rainy conditions because electronics are not exposed to moisture. Also, it should have broader tires to improve grip on wet terrain.

However, if you live in an area where it rains once a year, you don’t need an electric scooter with a high water-resistant rating.

For cold and snowy conditions, a scooter with wider tires for better grip is the best choice.

13. What is the User Experience Level?

For a beginner/new rider, we recommend choosing a scooter with lower speed and less power for easier handling.

A powerful motor and modern suspension scooter is ideal for an experienced rider who can handle challenging terrain and high speed.

An e-scooter with higher speed and powerful motors is ideal for intermediate riders who need some basic riding skills.

Related: Common Electric Scooter Riding Mistakes

14. The Warranty of the Scooter

Always check the warranty status of an e-scooter before purchasing it. The warranty guarantees protection in case of defects and malfunctions. The ideal warranty package should cover the necessary repairs and replacements for at least a year.

Some electric scooter brands provide even a 2-year warranty. However, there are electric scooters that come with a warranty that lasts for only a couple of months.

Before buying an e-scooter with a lengthy warranty, check if the warranty’s terms and conditions cover the battery, motor, frame, and other essential components for peace of mind.

15. Brand

The brand is another factor to consider when choosing an electric scooter. Top e-scooter brands guarantee quality and reliability for a comfortable riding experience and long-term value. Most reliable brands invest in quality control to produce high-standard scooters that will not disappear from the market.

Additionally, top brands supply better spare parts and accessories, making it easy for the owner to replace or upgrade all essential components.

The customer service and support with a well-known brand are also better, and the network of dealers guarantees quality service centers. So paying a little bit of premium for a well-known brand is totally reasonable.

16. Compliance with the Law

And lastly, make sure your desired electric scooter is street-legal. Electric scooters are relatively new means of transportation and the laws and regulations may change often.

We recently published an article about electric scooter laws in Europe. And here is a comprehensive guide to electric scooter laws in the USA made by Electric Scooter Guide and Unagi.

However, we recommend doing a little research to see what rules apply in your place of residence. You don’t want to risk that your new scooter will be illegal to ride.

Final Words

Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular as a mode of convenient transportation. Nowadays, you will find many e-scooters from different brands in the suburbs or urban areas. However, you must know how to choose an ideal scooter that guarantees a comfortable riding experience.

Overall, choosing a precise scooter that suits your needs and personal preferences helps you save money and improve your riding skills.

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