Electric scooters vary a lot in price, which is a positive for commuters looking to invest a few hundred dollars in an easy-to-use commuting vehicle.
However, knowing which e-scooter to buy can be challenging, especially when you don’t know if a better price equals better performance, or if the company is playing off its brand name recognition.
There are a few ways to determine if an electric scooter is worth the money. Specifics like speed and distance, overall quality of material, extra features, battery quality, and riding software are the most common features to consider become purchasing an e-scooter. Regardless, the average price of an e-scooter is $300 – $600.
If you want a high speed, long-distance scooter – you can expect to pay a pretty penny for it.
Let’s look at the difference between a cheap and expensive e-scooter, as well as an explanation of features to help you make an informed choice on your shiny new ride.
|Budget||Entertainment||<$300||Kid scooters, low capacity batteries, underpowered motors, and sub-par braking.|
|Budget Commuter||General Commuting||$300-$600||Balanced in quality, performance, features, and price. Good for short distances.|
|Mid-Range Commuter||Hilly Commutes||$600-$900||More range, more mortar power, and a significantly larger battery. Suspension.|
|Premium Commuter||Bumpy/Hilly Commutes||$600-$1300+||Suspension, great brakes, big batteries, and large motors. Heavy.|
|Performance||Long/Hilly Commutes||$1200-$1600||Offer premium features like turn signals, hydraulic brakes, and tubeless tires. Fast at 40+ mph, long-range. Heavy.|
|Improved Performance||Off-Roading, Super-Long Commutes||$2000+||Great suspension, long-range (50+ miles or 80+ km), dual motors (speeds above 35 mph or 56.33 km/h), and hydraulically-activated disc brakes. Very heavy.|
Categories of Electric Scooters
E-scooters are considered power-assisted vehicles that don’t require a license in most of the United States, with many cities already implementing a ride-share pilot program. However, unlike e-bikes, there isn’t a class system applied at a federal level. Check the laws in your state before purchasing an e-scooter to ensure you’re following the law.
Budget Electric Scooters (<$300)
Anything less than $300 is considered a budget electric scooter. Many kids scooters cost around $100, while adult e-scooters start at $190 to incorporate taller frames. At this price point, you can expect low capacity batteries, underpowered motors, and sub-par braking. If this is your first time using an e-scooter, or you have a small budget, consider this category. You’d be surprised how many functional and excellent models fall in this category.
Budget Commuter ($300 – $600)
Commuters are the most popular class of e-scooter because they serve a general function of getting to and from work by either using the road or sidewalk. Commuter scooters are balanced in quality, performance, features, and price.
The budget commuter takes you short distances, but is more likely to fall apart after a few rides and won’t take steep hills.
In one of our previous posts, we listed out the best electric scooters for under $500. I definitely suggest you checking that out if a commuter scooter sounds right for you.
Mid-Range Commuter ($600 – $900)
Photo Courtesy: Zera Li/Unsplash
For a few dollars more, the mid-range commuter can do everything the budget commuter does but with more range, more mortar power, and a significantly larger battery.
However, you won’t see a duel-motor variety at this price. Expect to see suspension incorporated into most, if not all, mid-range commuters for comfort and stability.
Premium Commuter ($600 – $1300+)
Although you can find premium commuters for $700 – $900, the best e-scooters fall in the $1000 bracket on average. These models will always have suspension, great brakes, big batteries, and large motors. Although premium commuters are safer, they can weigh a hefty 40 lbs or more, so expect a lot of back pain if you plan to carry it around.
Performance E-Scooters ($1200 – $1600)
Performance e-scooters aren’t necessary for short commuting, but they offer super-long ranges and impressive speeds for anyone with a long ride to work. It’s common to find long-ranged scooters in this category that deliver 40 (63 km) or more miles on a single charge. Performance e-bikes offer premium features like turn signals, hydraulic brakes, and tubeless tires.
Improved Performance E-Scooters ($2000+)
Only the best of the best have a position in this category. Although they are heavier compared to other e-scooters (60+ Lbs or more), the features more than make up for it. Improved performance e-scooters typically have great suspension, long-range (50+ miles or 80+ km), dual motors (speeds above 35 mph or 56.33 km/h), and hydraulically-activated disc brakes.
E-Scooter Features vs. Price
A more expensive e-scooter will come with more features, but some features are more costly than others. When deciding what to purchase, consider the range, weight, max weight, top speed, motor power, suspension, brakes, lighting, tires, and IP rating.
Range plays a large roll in pricing because this feature is determined by the weight of the scooter, your weight, and the size of the battery. As time goes, this number will diminish with an older battery, but most e-scooters, even the budget ones, will see top speeds of 18 mph (29 km/h) and 15 miles (24 km) on a single charge.
Many commuter scooters are foldable to allow you to carry them on busses or store them in the trunk of your car. Heavier scooters aren’t as portable, but that usually means there are more features (like a bigger motor). Compact, lighter scooters (25 lbs) have fewer features but are more comfortable to use daily.
The max weight listed on an e-scooter is how much the device can take without breaking or slowing down significantly. Most scooters have an upper limit of 220 lbs (100kgs). Anyone heavier than 220 lbs should consider a performance or premium commuter scooter with at least a 500-watt electric motor.
E-scooters can’t exceed 20 – 28 mph (32 – 45 km/h) in the United States to legally ride on sidewalks, and most scooters don’t exceed 15 mph (29 km/h) unless they’re in the premium or performance category. As a rule, high-top speeds are more expensive. For anything above the legal limit, we recommend safety gear while traveling.
It’s uncommon to see motors above 500 watts. Budget commuters usually sport a 250-watt motor, which is more than enough for a daily commuter who rides on flat surfaces. For medium-sized hills, we recommend upgrading to 750 watts or more, unless you’re okay with kicking the scooter with your legs.
A suspension smooths out the road by molding to cracks and hills, leading to a more comfortable ride. With airless tires, a suspension-less budget e-scooter will vibrate your body and become uncomfortable. For both front and rear suspension, you’ll have to at least invest in a premium commuter class, but mid-range commuters usually have front suspension.
Photo Courtesy: Sergey Lapunin/Unsplash
There are four brake types on an e-scooter listed in order of least to most effective: electric, foot, drum, and disc. Electric and foot brakes are always found on budget scooters because max speed is low, but drum and disc are available on premium scooters for better-stopping power on wet roads or high-top speed commuters.
It’s only necessary to have lights on your e-scooter if you commute at night. Regardless, lights aren’t very visible in the rear so, use caution when you’re traveling at night to avoid accidents. Premium e-scooters will come with lighting, but to keep yourself safe, opt for installing flashing red lights on your helmet to better alert drivers.
Both pneumatic and airless tires are found in all e-scooter categories. Airless has virtually no maintenance because you don’t need to check air pressure, while pneumatic tires offer better traction and shock absorption. What you choose is based on preference and how much time you want to focus on maintaining tires.
An IP rating on an e-scooter determines the degree of protection against dust, intrusion, accidental contact, and water. Not all scooters have an IP rating, but ideally, your commuter will have a rating of IPx4 or higher (considered suitable for riding in the rain). IPx4 has enough protection to ride in the rain for 10 minutes.
Buying Domestic vs. Foreign
Where you buy your e-scooter can make as much of a difference as its features. Buying domestic is expensive, but shipping is typically faster, and you have better support after purchase from online retailers. As an alternative, buying from China is cheaper, but the support is lacking, and you may accidentally purchase a very convincing knock-off brand.
In my opinion, it’s better to buy from a trusted domestic distributor because you gain more value in troubleshooting support. Local retailers are also more likely to offer better parts, an extended warranty, repair, and potential replacement if the e-scooter is faulty.
Additional Costs After Purchase
You can purchase multiple accessories for your new e-scooter for cosmetic or safety purposes. We recommend getting a helmet for any e-scooter that exceeds speeds of 28 mph (45 km/h) for safety purposes. It’s possible to crack your head open at lower speeds than that, but you can still step off of the e-scooter between speeds of 20 – 28 mph (32 – 45 km/h) but not higher.
Storage is another additional cost if you require a backpack or bag to transport your scooter. For colder months, you can store your e-scooter long-term in your home or garage as long as the space doesn’t dip below freezing. Anything below 32F (0C) could cause the battery or motor to freeze and lead to irreversible damage.
A repair kit is another excellent investment to make for monthly maintenance. You can choose to keep a small repair kit on your person during rides as well. Finally, a water bottle holder can create a hands-free, better riding experience for the daily commuter. They’re inexpensive and attach to the neck of your scooter.
Repairs and Maintenance
Photo Courtesy: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash
E-scooters don’t require a lot of maintenance, but the parts can be challenging to find when you’re in a pinch. Think about ordering a few spare parts like nuts, bolts, screws, tires, and brake pads to save yourself the headache of tracking them down once they’re broken.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many repair shops that off maintenance on e-scooter, so most of the repairs will be conducted by yourself. Although this means you save money on general maintenance, you also have to spend more on a repair infrastructure in your home.
The best course of action is preventative maintenance, especially on your tires. Although airless tires don’t require a pressure gauge or upkeep, they can still puncture.
For all other air-pumped tires, you must check them at least once a week to ensure you have significant traction on the road during rainstorms or harsh terrain.
Besides your tires, e-scooter riders will find that mid-range commuters are sturdy and are only likely to have issues twice per year or every 600 miles (965 km). The brakes, tires, and fenders are the most common parts to break or become loose.
Are you an e-scooter enthusiast?
Are you interested in more in-depth articles on e-scooters? Browse around our site for more great e-scooter and e-bike content.
Before you go, leave a comment about your thoughts on e-scooter pricing and features, or read one of our other articles.