There are hundreds of electric scooters in the market and if at first they all seem the same, on closer inspection they can be very different from each other.
Without being familiar with their features and differences, it can be hard to choose an e-scooter that suits your needs.
There are several ways to categorize electric scooters. They can be categorized by wheel types, speed, manner of use, etc. Each category has its unique features, strengths, and weaknesses.
Read more to learn how many different categories I found.
1. By Use Case
Commuter electric scooters are built to ensure that your daily commutes are easier. They are easy to maneuver and save you a lot of time by efficiently navigating heavy traffic and crowded streets.
Commuter scooters have smaller wheels, batteries, and lighter frames, compared to other scooters. Most of them are also foldable. This makes them easy to handle, pack up, and store.
Because of their small batteries, commuter e-scooters tend to have shorter ranges but they will definitely get you around the city.
Off-road scooters are designed for rugged terrain, hill paths, and outdoor adventures. They are built to be sturdy, durable, and strong enough to withstand the stresses of rough roads.
Off-road scooters also come with unique features that make outdoor adventures easy. For example, they come with large tires, large motors, and suspensions that absorb the impact of rough roads and prevent you from feeling the shocks.
Off-road scooters also have larger capacities for loads. Most of them can carry loads of more than 100kg (220 lbs). They are also faster compared to other types of scooters. Some can move faster than 50 km/h (30 mph).
Performance scooters are for riders who like to test their speed limit. They are very fast and have a faster acceleration. Just like the off-road scooters, they come with bigger motors and batteries and are perfect for intermediate and expert riders.
Performance scooters come with motors between 1000W to 2000W and can easily move at 40mph. Some high-performance scooters even move faster.
Performance scooters also come with premium features which makes them more expensive than regular scooters. For example, they come with high-quality suspensions, hydraulic brake systems, and bigger frames and wheels for hilly paths and rough roads. Most are also foldable.
Kids’ Electric Scooters
Electric scooters designed for kids are very easy to identify. They are smaller, lighter, and are usually push scooters. Adults’ scooters on the other hand tend to be kick scooters and are usually bigger and heavier.
The narrower decks and smaller wheels of kids’ electric scooters make it easier for them to handle and control. They also come with lesser motor power which gives them a reduced speed. This gives them a sense of control and builds their confidence.
For example, while adult scooters come with motors between 250W to 1000W or more, kids’ scooters come with motors between 50W and 250W.
Mobility scooters are designed for people who cannot walk, cannot operate a manual wheelchair, or do not want to. They are also built for seniors who cannot get around as much as they would like to.
Mobility scooters are unique because they can be used both indoors and outdoors. There are portable types, the three-wheel types, and the four-wheel types.
The portable and the three-wheel types are great for moving around indoors but the four-wheel types are better suited for outdoor activities because of their sizes.
They are usually foldable or can be disassembled easily into parts, for easy transportation.
There are various types of electric scooters in the market and most of them are suitable for adults. Factors like budget, intended use, and skill will determine what you go for.
Entry-level electric scooters are the most affordable but they are basic and will lack some features you want if you are an experienced rider.
For an expert rider, you’ll prefer a premium electric scooter with awesome features but they are more expensive.
The kind of terrain you intend to use the scooter will also determine the type of scooter you choose.
2. By Motor Placement
Hub Motor Scooters
Hub motors are the main types of motors that come with scooters. They are efficient and respond well.
Scooters with hub motors are divided into two. They can either be single-motor scooters or dual-motor scooters. Let’s take a look at the features of each category.
Single-motor hub scooters as the name suggests are equipped with only one motor. As a result of this, they deliver less power and speed. They are however more affordable and consume less battery.
If you want a scooter for daily commutes and want to get longer ranges on a single charge, then you should consider a single-motor hub scooter.
If you are however a skilled rider, who likes to ride fast and enjoy the thrills of the moment, you will find single-motor scooters boring.
Dual-motor scooters are equipped with two motors; one at the front wheel and the other at the rear wheel. This makes them very powerful and responsive.
Power is distributed to each wheel which makes acceleration better and enhances speed. With dual-motor hub scooters, you can cover a long distance in a short time.
Related: Best Dual-Motor Electric Scooters
Unlike single-motor scooters, they are also great at climbing steep hills. They give the rider better control and are easier to maneuver.
However, the two motors put a toll on the batteries so some do not last very long. They are also more expensive.
Chain Drive Scooters
Most electric scooters use hub motors but a few are equipped with chain drives. They require more maintenance and break down more often. This is why they are uncommon these days.
Related: Electric Scooter Motors Explained
3. by Battery Type
Lithium-ion Battery Scooters
Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used batteries in e-scooters. They are durable, require less maintenance, and store more energy per their physical weight.
Because they store more energy, lithium-ion batteries last longer on a single charge and do not lose their efficiency over time. You can charge them multiple times without worrying that they will degrade.
Compared to other batteries, they weigh less and contain multiple battery chemistries.
Lithium-ion batteries are however more expensive compared to other types of batteries, and they sometimes overheat.
Lead Acid Battery Scooters
Lead acid batteries are the oldest type of batteries and are commonly used in large vehicles like trucks and golf carts. You will find them in some kids’ scooters, and some bulky adult scooters too.
They are the most affordable type of batteries for scooters and are great at generating high instant current. They are however bulky and have low energy density. This means they store less energy compared to their physical weight.
Overall, they are quite uncommon for electric scooters these days.
Lithium Polymer Battery Scooters
Lithium polymer batteries are not commonly used in scooters but you can find some electric scooters that use one. They are lighter than lithium-ion batteries and have less risk of getting damaged or overheating when charged.
Lithium polymer batteries are however expensive, and have a low energy density when compared to lithium-ion batteries. This means a lithium-ion battery of the same size will store more energy. Lithium polymer batteries are however more durable and less likely to be affected or degraded by age.
Related: E-Scooter Batteries Explained
4. by Wheel Type
Just as its name implies, two-wheeled scooters come with only two wheels. Because of this, they are lighter and cheaper than other types of electric scooters. They are easier to control with their handlebars as this directly turns the tires in your desired direction.
Additionally, these scooters are very easy to carry and transport from one place to another. They also require less maintenance.
However, although two-wheeled scooters are easy to maneuver, they are not so great on uneven roads. They have less balance and stability.
Three-wheeled scooters come with three wheels as the name suggests. The extra wheel could be either at the front or at the back.
As a result of having three wheels, they provide more stability and balance, which is an advantage on rough terrains. This is what makes three-wheeled scooters the best option for kids. They are usually recommended for kids between 2 and 5.
They are however more expensive and not as easy to maneuver as the two-wheeled scooters.
Related: Best 3-Wheeled Electric Scooters
If you think the three-wheeled scooters provide stability, try the four-wheeled ones. You will be amazed at how much balance and stability you get. They are great at climbing hills and descending or ascending concrete stairs on the streets, and give you a sense of confidence that you cannot fall.
Four-wheeled electric scooters also have a better battery and can last longer on a single charge. However, these scooters are the most expensive of the three. Also, they are heavier and not easy to pack up, transport, or store. Additionally, they require more space to turn and are not too easy to maneuver in traffic.
5. by Speed
Low-speed scooters just like their name implies go at low speeds. They are perfect for within-city commutes.
Low-speed scooters have less powerful motors (less than 250W), and can only go at a speed of less than 20 mph. They are also very affordable and come with basic features.
However, if you’re a very skilled rider who loves speed, you will find these scooters boring on city roads.
Medium-speed electric scooters are faster than low-speed scooters. However, when compared to high-speed ones, they fall short. You will get a decent speed between 22 and 25 mph on them.
They are more expensive than low-speed scooters but the difference isn’t that notable.
High-speed scooters are designed for people who love the thrill of riding very fast. They have powerful motors and batteries that deliver long ranges and can move at a top speed. Some models have motors that peak between 2500W and 8000W easily and can move at a speed of about 50 miles per hour or more.
High-speed scooters also come with premium features like upgraded brakes, tires, motors, and extra features that low-speed scooters may not. Also, they are very versatile. They can be used on different terrains and have good balance.
Additionally, they can carry more weight so they are good for heavy riders, but can be very expensive.
6. by Price Range
Budget Electric Scooters (Entry-Level Scooters)
Entry-level scooters are budget-friendly and great for commuters who do not travel long distances. Their price range is below $1000.
As a result of their affordable prices, they usually come with a not-so-powerful motor and low-capacity battery. On a single charge, you’ll get between 10-20 miles, but depending on the model you may get more.
Entry-level scooters are also not fast. Their top speed is about 15 mph, and some of them lack basic features like rear lights. Some models are also not great for riders above 6 ft.
Related: Best Cheap Electric Scooters
Mid-Range Electric Scooters
Mid-range electric scooters have better features than entry-level scooters. For those within the price range of $1000 to $2000, you’ll get an improved speed of over 20 mph, and their batteries can last about 20-40 miles on a single charge.
They can also tackle small hills and have a better brake system. Their motor capacity is usually between 300W and 1000W.
For mid-range electric scooters that are slightly above $1000, you will get better features. Some can ride as fast as 25 mph and their batteries can last about 40 miles on a single charge.
Premium Electric Scooters
Premium electric scooters are high-end scooters that look and feel luxurious. They are packed with amazing features that make riding a thrill and an exciting experience.
They come with powerful motors of about 2000W or more, and it is not unusual to see two motors on these scooters.
Such premium electric scooters can move as fast as 30 or 40 mph and some high-performance models move faster than that. They also have long ranges so they are perfect for long distances. You will get about 50 miles or more on a single charge, depending on the model.
However, they can be very expensive and too heavy to carry or transport.
7. by Folding Capability
Foldable Electric Scooters
Foldable electric scooters are popular among scooter lovers because they are so easy to pack up and store. Because they fold, they do not require a lot of space for storage in the home.
They also come in different speed limits, price ranges, and quality so you can easily get your choice.
Non-Foldable Electric Scooters
Although foldable electric scooters are more common, some still prefer non-foldable scooters. This is because they offer better stability, have a fixed frame that provides better balance, and usually have larger batteries.
Non-foldable electric scooters also require less maintenance. The folding joints on foldable scooters are more prone to wear and require constant maintenance and repair.
However, non-foldable electric scooters are difficult to store or travel with. They are also bulky and not very easy to maneuver due to their sizes.
As you can see, there are so many different ways to categorize electric scooters. But by knowing different types, it is much easier to choose the correct electric scooter that fits your needs.
I hope this article was helpful to you and I wish you good luck choosing your next e-scooter.
The founder and the editor-in-chief of the Electric Wheelers blog. With a previous background in IT, sales, and video editing, he has now established himself as a micromobility expert.
He bought his first e-scooter over 5 years ago and since then has owned dozens of e-scooters and e-bikes. His deep understanding of the technical aspects, coupled with a keen eye for market trends, enables him to provide insightful and reliable content.
His commitment to promoting sustainable and efficient urban mobility solutions has made him a respected voice in the community of eco-friendly transportation enthusiasts.