Electric Scooter Buying Guide
- Read Time: 16 min
Thinking of getting an electric scooter?
Maybe you’ve surfed the internet and feel overwhelmed by all the choices, brands and categories of scooters as well as the tonnes of reviews available.
You would not be the only one feeling that way as there are a plethora of all kinds of information out there from YouTubers, websites, and brands all adding to the confusion if you don't already know what you are looking for or unsure which the most important buying considerations are when looking for a good electric scooter.
Some reviews are not to be taken too seriously as the reviewer is clearly sponsored by the manufacturer and thus….probably a bit biased.
And some other guides are really good and informative and give an honest straight forward review.
The trick, we believe, is to keep it simple, to the point without confusing you too much. Hopefully we’ve managed to do just that.
Let’s dive in.
Why do you need or want an electric kick scooter? What is the purpose?
Are you looking for a last-mile solution only, or do you want a combination of fun sporty activity as well as a daily commuter?
The type of scooter you need will vary depending on your specific needs in performance as well as price.
For an inner city last mile solution, you typically don’t need a very advanced e-scooter. One motor with solid tires and low weight with maximum portability is probably the best choice.
In this range there are a lot of choices and you will have quite a few options to put on your short list.
If higher top speed and longer range is on that list, then you will want to look at dual engine options with a higher wattage and air-filled tires with good brakes as part of the overall package as well as a bigger battery.
It is possible to get a budget e-scooter for under 300 USD. Needless to say, in this price bracket, one should not expect top-end quality or performance.
Expect underpowered motors, low capacity batteries, and weak brakes as part of the package.
That doesn’t mean that they are all bad choices and are not for you though. There are some out there that are still good value for money. If you can live with the modest performance figures.
Between 300-1200 USD is where you will find most commuter scooters. The budget category will be from 300-600 USD.
If your daily commute is not too challenging with a lot of steep hills and/or rough surfaces, these scooters can be a perfect choice.
600-900 USD will place you in the typical midrange category where you can expect a longer range and maybe a bit more motor power.
900-1200 USD is where the whole package delivers more of everything. Bigger battery capacity, dual motors or a stronger single motor, better suspension and brakes and a more comfortable ride.
But all this also adds weight and you will now find yourself in the 39+ lbs (18+ kg) area.
1200 USD - 2500 USD (and beyond), will place you in the ”performance scooter world”.
This is the big boys league and is reflected in more of everything.
Top speed, power, range, quality, brakes, suspension and usually proper info displays and….more overall weight.
You can find scooters with a real-world range of 50 miles (80 km) and top speeds of 60 mph (96 kph).
As with most things, quality will rise with the price. You can’t expect top quality for 300 USD.
Sturdier metal parts add more weight but also improve longevity and durability.
A famous brand name does not always guarantee a quality product.
Brands like Xiaomi & Segway f.e. are very famous brand that has good products at decent price but, some of their e-scooters leave a lot left to desire due to limited range, speed and overall quality and performance turning a lot of riders to other brands have overall better scooters, but without the famous name attached.
Weight is to be considered if you need to fold and carry your scooter every day.
An ordinary commuter scooter with a range of about 12 miles (20 km) will typically weigh around 22-26 lbs (10-12 kg).
It might be a good idea to pick something up of that weight and see what it feels like to carry it up some stairs.
If you are looking for a more powerful recreational or off-road monster, the weight will be of less importance as you will want the higher quality that the sturdier construction provides.
Not all electric kick scooters are foldable and they don’t all fold in the same way.
If portability is a top priority on your list, make sure you find out how the scooter folds and how quickly it can be done. Some are a proper faff to fold.
Everyday wear & tear of folding will require a mechanical solution that can take the repeating punishment lest metal fatigue sets in.
Folded measures are also of interest especially if you plan to bring your scooter to your workplace or public transportation.
This means how far you can ride before running out of power. A lot of various factors will play a part on how far you can get on a single charge.
The size of the battery, motor power, rider weight, ambient temperatures, average speed, the terrain and your specific riding style. Do you like to accelerate as fast as possible, use kick and go or full force from a stand still..?
As you can see it's difficult to give exact range estimates on the range which is why we always do our own range tests and base them on “normal” riding conditions in eco mode to get a good idea of how far you could ride your scooter if you wanted to.
As a rule of thumb, a grain of salt is needed within each manufacturer's claimed range. If you want to get closer to the truth, deduct approximately 30% of what is being stated.
As with all batteries, the capacity will diminish with time. 300-500 recharging cycles is the normal average lifespan. Some will manage 1000 cycles. You will have to replace the battery once those cycles are up.
One charging port or dual charging ports are also an option to consider. Some have dual charging ports to speed up the recharging process.
Most adults scooters on offer today will reach around 15+ mph (24+ kph) which is fast enough for a lot of city commuters.
If you’re keen on faster electric scooters make sure to consider that small wheels, quick acceleration as well as standing up make the experience of riding a kick scooter different from f.e. a bike.
There is a wide selection of scooters from “low” 15+mph to high-speed 60+MPH and most speeds in between - the difficult part for scooter manufacturers is not to make the scooter go fast but to be as safe as possible at any stage of the ride from start to finish.
If you find “cheaper” models that claim high top speeds our recommendation is to stay away or be very careful. You do not want to be going 30+mph and experience heavy stem wobble or find out that the brakes have not been dimensioned properly to handle those high speeds.
If you have little to no riding experience we recommend getting comfortable in the 15-25mph speed bracket of scooters.
And ALWAYS wear protective gear, even if you are riding small scooter, falling at just 15mph can still cause serious injury. Always wear at least a helmet, other protective gear is also recommended, gloves are really great to avoid bruises on the hands and fingers in case of falling over.
Honestly, top speed should not be a huge factor in deciding what scooter to choose. Most commuter scooters on offer today will reach around 15+ mph (24+ kph) and that should be fast enough for anyone.
Any electric kick scooter will have a stipulated max weight limit. Usually spanning from 220-264 lbs (100-120 kg).
For safety reasons, it would be wise not to exceed the number specified. If you are heavier than this, you need to opt for a scooter that will allow for that. On larger scooters, the weight limit can go up to 330 lbs (150 kg).
The scooter's performance will be affected if you are near or at the limit. Top speed and range will be less than for a person that is 25 % lighter.
Add a backpack with a few extra lbs in it and it will hurt even more.
Consider a stronger motor version as well if you are a big person. 500-watt minimum.
You might have seen people riding more than 1 person on a scooter (especially rental ones) and we can understand that it seems like a great practical solution even if its just for a short ride… we strongly advise against this for multiple reasons.
You’re not only exceeding the weight limit of your scooter, you will also be putting yourself and your passengers at risk as you lose a lot of control when more than one person's weight is being balanced on the scooter.
The risk of breaking the scooter is higher as well, as mentioned the weight limit is not just a “can the scooter sustain my weight if I stand on it” - the limit is taken into consideration when designing the scooter, which means smaller parts holding together stem, brake calipers and other bolt, screws etc all take a lot more pressure.
A simple example is breaking and two people relying on the stem not to fall forward, its not taking double the amount of pressure than if you were riding yourself.
When learning and researching about electric kick scooters, you will see the word hub motor all the time.
That is because all e-scooters have the motor in the hub of the wheel, so-called BLDC hub motors, which is short for; Brushless Direct Current Motors.
They are rated and based on units of watts which is a measurement of their power consumption.
The more powerful the motor, the greater the wattage. It generally starts from 200 watts and goes up to 6000+ watts.
Most average low-priced commuter scooters will have a 250-watt motor. This is OK if you are an average-weight person and only ride in areas that are not too challenging with many steep hills or undulations.
We generally recommend opting for a 500-watt motor at minimum, not only is it a lot more enjoyable to ride but can also handle hills that are not too steep.
For anything above 500watt you’ll find that the combination of battery and motor plays a big role, meaning that two scooters with the same wattage (for example 2 x1000 watt motors giving a total output of 2000w) can have different performance depending on the battery size and the Ah-output. This is why its common to see the same scooter come in variants where the main difference is the size of the battery. Usually the top speed is the same but the peak output of the motors can vary and acceleration will be faster on the scooters with the stronger battery.
The battery is the single most important as well as expensive part of any e-vehicle, including e-scooters. Not to mention it being the biggest challenge for the whole industry.
Technology is moving forward and batteries are improving all the time. A bigger battery with a bigger capacity will give you more performance even with the same motor power.
The longevity of the battery can also be improved by proper maintenance. While charging make sure it is not too hot. Batteries like it cool. Charge slowly if possible for longer battery life.
Don’t overcharge. Some chargers will turn off automatically when it’s full but remove the charger anyways.
And you never want to run the batteries completely dry as this will reduce the overall battery lifetime.
One of the most important components of the vehicle, not to be ignored or taken for granted.
Many scooters today have two types of braking systems, mechanical and electronic. Some scooters are equipped with both systems and some are mechanical only.
Mechanical brakes come in three versions and rely on a physical mechanism to slow down. Foot brake, drum brake, disc brake.
Foot brake works by pressing down the rear fender against the rear tire to create friction and stop. Not as effective as the drum or disc brake but will slow you down.
Drum brakes. Enclosed system in the hub of the wheel and good in wet circumstances.
Disc brakes. The best option by far. Lighter and more effective than the drum brakes.
Electric braking is when the motor itself is generating a stopping power and sometimes regenerative braking as well.
Not to be relied on too heavily as the stopping power is the weakest of them all. But in combination with drum or disc brakes it can be a great benefit and add extra security by way of having in effect, two braking systems.
Many scooters today have a white front and a red rear light. And if you plan on riding in the dark it is a definite must.
Having said that, a lot of scooters have quite poor lighting. And at the rear, it is placed very low to the ground obviously, due to the design. Adding extra light to your helmet or maybe backpack is probably a good idea.
Opting for a suspensionless scooter might be cheap, but you will pay the price on anything but a super smooth surface. Especially if you have solid tires as well.
Hydraulic, spring or rubber suspensions are the three main versions in use on scooters today.
The best scooters usually have a combination of two systems. Sometimes on the front wheel only, or the back wheel only, or both.
Choosing a scooter with air-filled tires will also help improve the ride quality.
You generally have two choices available, solid tires, or pneumatic/air-filled tires.
The air-filled tire will always be the better choice for ride quality regardless of circumstances. The only benefit of the solid tire is that you will never get a puncture.
Air-filled tires require more maintenance, yes, but they will have better grip, traction and comfort than their solid counterparts.
Solid tires are great if you have shorter simple commutes on flat surfaces.
IP is short for Ingress Protection and lets you know how protected the scooter is from water and other elements such as dust.
The e-scooter market is fast developing and as such not everything is fully explained or even established. So for instance, IP rating is sometimes classified on the scooter and sometimes it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean there is no water protection. Most new scooters are water-resistant to a certain degree even though they might not have an IP rating.
If you can find a scooter that fits your needs and it has an official IP rating we would say that's a big plus but don't be put off from a scooter if it ticks all the boxes and doesn't have an official IP rating.
Point of purchase
There are quite a few options where to get a scooter and this can be as crucial as which one you get for your scooter experience.
The availability of scooters is constantly increasing but unfortunately a lot of places where you can find an electric scooter lack industry knowledge and might be able to help you make the best-informed decision.
More importantly, far too many retailers and consumers still view scooters as “gadgets”, and treat the purchase similar to buying a laptop or a TV, and expect it to work like clockwork day in and day out. The fact is that electric scooters are vehicles, and as with any vehicle there will be wear and tear and potential damages as well.
Depending on where you buy your scooter from, actually owning the scooter can be heaven or hell depending on where you get the scooter from in the first place.
Spare parts, as well as repairs, are something you most likely will need help with at some point. Opting for a distributor or vendor who can provide some sort of guarantee is a good bet. Otherwise, you might find it can be tricky to get spare parts.
Fluidfreeride offers a lifetime service program for all customers as well as a 12-month warranty.
Not all people are comfortable with a spanner in hand and find fixing a problem might be tricky.
Fluidfreeride has service partners all over the USA to make sure you need not worry in case of any issues.
If you are lucky enough to have a local dealer nearby you can go and touch and maybe try out the scooter of your choice. Again, maybe not the cheapest option but you will have a point of contact where you can get help should you need it.
The cheapest would be to get one direct from China. But be aware. Don’t expect customer support to be on high alert for you, if you can reach them at all for that matter.
Shipping times are usually quite long as well, and your scooter might look like what you ordered but on closer examination, you will find it is a clone of the brand you expected.
And that's why this is the cheap option.
Fluidfreeride wants to put any concerns you have regarding the warranty to rest by offering a 12 month warranty on any scooter purchased as well as a Lifetime Service Commitment for 50% off parts and labor after the warranty has expired.
How this warranty and lifetime service works is well explained on our website.
What happens if your scooter needs repair?
An easy four-step process is explained as well as where you can find the nearest service partner.
What to do if your rear fender is broken, or LED light not working, flat tire, motor issues etc. Just click on each topic and you will find the answer.
Note on Rental scooters
Rental scooters can be a great option if you don’t ride frequently but rather on occasion. If your city has them that is.
They have been banned in some areas but more likely is that you will have some options.
Don’t expect too much of performance or ride quality as they tend to be of the simpler versions. Probably something you can live with if you only ride from time to time.
But be aware as prices have gone up. Makes sure you know the rate.
It is a convenient option as they are pretty much everywhere so finding one should not be a problem.
Take the quiz and find your ideal scooter
We’ve put together a helpful online quiz you can take that will guide you to the most suitable scooters for you. It covers questions as how much you plan to ride, how much you are willing to spend, what power you are looking for etc.
It will sift through our database and present the ones best suited to your specific needs.
In addition, you have a 7-minute introductory consultation video guiding you through the process which leads into four short videos to choose from, Casual, Advanced, Touring, Expert. Each one focusing on the scooters best suited for each segment.
1 Million Trees and counting!
As part of trying to be a responsible company in these environmentally challenging times, we have partnered with the Trees For The Future Foundation to further offset the carbon footprint we are responsible for.
After all, our warehouses and service centers need energy to be able to function.
We plant 10 trees for every scooter we sell and have already planted over 1 million trees!
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