Personal electronic transit devices are the crux of the micro-mobility revolution. If you live in a metropolitan area, you have probably seen electric scooter rental services like Bird, Lime, and Skip accumulating on every street corner. In the long run, though, it is almost always cheaper to buy your own scooter, especially given the abundance of cheap electric scooters available on Amazon. Check out our picks for the best budget electric scooter options and best electric scooters under $500.
Best budget electric scooter
Pneumatic tires ride smooth
Bright LED lights
Combo electric and disc brakeCons:
Long battery charge time
Fold down bar can become loose
Slow acceleration The Xiaomi Mi M365 Electric Scooter is one of the most popular electric scooters under $500, as it is common knowledge that they are the same OEM scooters used by rental brands Bird and Spin. Its frame is made of aerospace-grade aluminum, which is both lightweight and durable. It is easy to transport while standing up to the everyday abuse you could expect this type of device to go through regularly. The front post is designed to fold away easily, but be aware that the fold-down bar can become loose over time. Dedicated riders of the M365 have already worked around this, though, as there are tons of cheap 3D printed parts available online to help brace it. The controls are simple and make for an easy ride. The M365 has a single button that you press to turn on and long press to shut down. One short single press toggles the front and rear 1W LED headlights. A double press toggles a power saving mode that sacrifices go power for mileage. The display panel has four LEDs to show battery remaining. If you want any additional information to current speed, you’ll have to download the Ninebot app (Ninebot is Xiaomi’s parent company). The app also has a cruise control feature. Acceleration is controlled by a thumb knob and you’ll find the brake lever on the left. The scooter also has a built-in bell, which is always nice. As for how the M365 actually rides, it is one of the smoothest and zippiest e-scooters in its price range. The M365’s 8.5-inch tires are both air-filled, which makes for a bump-free ride at the cost of requiring a little more maintenance. All you have to do is check the air pressure every couple of months but flats are possible as proven by the inclusion of two spare tires. This e-scooter could certainly accelerate a little faster, but once you reach top speed you can zip around at 15.5 MPH with relative ease. That is unless you encounter any sort of incline, which puts a lot of stress on the motor. It will get you up a slight hill but it will be slow. The M365 has a rotary cable disc brake in the rear and an electric ABS (anti-lock braking system) in the front. The electric brakes engage quickly but your deceleration is quickly smoothed out by the rear disc brake. The front brake uses a technology called regenerative braking is used to extend the battery life beyond 30 minutes by recycling the scooter’s kinetic energy to recharge the battery. Unfortunately, the battery takes almost 5 hours to fully recharge with the included charger. A half hour may seem like a short ride, but using the power-saving mode can get you as far as 18.6 miles off a single charge, which is more than enough for 78 percent of the trips the average person makes in a week. That makes the Xiaomi M365 a truly viable commuter device. Top speed: 15.5 MPHBattery life: ~30 minutesCharging time: 5 hoursMax travel distance: 18.6 milesMotor power: 250 WattWeight: 26.9 poundsMax rider weight: 220 poundsFind more Xiaomi Mi M365 Electric Scooter information and reviews here.VideoVideo related to xiaomi mi m365 electric scooter2019-04-17T18:06:33-04:00
best electric scooter 2020
3 ride modes plus cruise control
LED display panel shows speed, gear, and battery chargeCons:
Handles dirt poorly
No electric brake (disc brake only)
No rear lightsThe second version of the Hiboy Max Electric Scooter shows marked improvement over the original model, namely in the form of added horsepower and improved braking. It is overall well-built but its sturdiness makes it one of the heaviest scooters we reviewed at 34 pounds. It is comfortable to ride because of a padded standing deck and handlebars that accommodate riders of most any height. The scooter’s solid 8.5-inch honeycomb wheels don’t need to be air-inflated, which is great if you fear maintenance but not so great if you need to ride on rough sidewalk. Thankfully, the Hiboy Max has a shock absorber built into the front post so you have some basic suspension to cushion bumps, but it’s still rough. One of the best qualities about this scooter is its high max speed of 18.6 MPH. When you pair this with its respectable battery life, you can get decently far off a single battery charge. The 350 Watt motor is stronger than other scooters at the same price range but this doesn’t translate to any extra acceleration or torque because the scooter’s frame is heavier as well. The scooter has an LED dashboard that displays basic information such as your current speed, rider mode, and battery level. The Hiboy Max supplements this dashboard with the Hiboy App for Android and iOS. This app is the only way to cycle between the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced rider modes (which have different max speeds). It is also used to toggle the headlights, check the battery power, and to toggle the cruise control. There is even a system self-check so you can anticipate maintenance that needs to be done over time. As for stopping, the Hiboy Max forgoes the jerky electric brakes of its earlier design for a lone manual disc brake. This makes braking to a full stop take a bit longer than it would on a model with two brake styles but this style handles more like a bike, which is nice. The braking is regenerative, so gently riding your brakes on a slope will help preserve battery life. Disclaimer: all electric scooters on this list are only for riding on flat (+/- 15 degrees) surfaces, and can be permanently damaged by riding them down steeps hills. Yes, I learned this the hard way. The scooter folds down easily for storage but it weighs enough to be a hassle to carry around. It has a decent front LED light and some blue underglow lights to add visibility at night but only a reflector on the rear. If you plan to ride this scooter at night, you should definitely invest in a supplementary set of lights. The scooter gets about 50 minutes of ride time off one charge, with conditions like weather, incline, and rider weight potentially cutting this figure short. It has a fairly standard 5-hour recharge time, which is comparable to most other scooters we reviewed. The charge port is a little harder to get to than on other models but it is still acceptable. All in all, the Hiboy Max is a pretty solid scooter especially considering the price. The manual disc brake and the high-torque motor make it a great pick for those who are shopping for a performance-based scooter model. Top speed: 18.6 MPHBattery life: 50 minutesCharging time: 5 hoursMax travel distance: 17 milesMotor power: 350 WattWeight: 34 poundsMax rider weight: 34 pounds
electric scooter with seat
3 ride modes plus cruise control
LED display panel shows speed, gear, and battery chargeCons:
Electric brake is somewhat jerky
Cruise control is difficult to disable
High price tagThe Turboant X7 Electric Scooter stands out from other scooters in its price range because it fits a powerful 350 Watt into a small and maneuverable form factor. This added power output translates into quicker acceleration and an impressive max speed of 20 MPH, making this the fastest scooter we reviewed. When I ride the sample unit of the X7 that Turboant sent me to review, I can get it up to 17 MPH and I weigh 220 pounds. So bigger folks rejoice because this scooter’s 275-pound max rider weight really makes a difference when it comes to performance. That said, this scooter will struggle with slopes steeper than 15 degrees even with the optimal load weight. However, this is a problem that can’t really be avoided without spending more money. The Turboant X7 has three different braking systems, which you’ll want to take full advantage of if you plan to ride around at max speed. The scooter’s handlebars have a single brake lever to engage both the front electric brake and rear disc brake. The electric brake takes a half-second to fully engage but when they do they bring you to a full stop quite suddenly. They can feel a little jerky but you can smooth out the experience by also using the manual stomp brake. The scooter’s 8.5-inch pneumatic tires handle bumpy terrain well without any added shock absorbers and the rider deck has a healthy 4.7 inches of clearance underneath it. But don’t get too crazy with the off-roading as the X7’s tires aren’t indestructible. Bumpy terrain and crowded sidewalks are both good reasons to use the scooter’s electric gear system to reduce your max speed to either Low or Medium power modes, which improve battery life and control in tight situations. The Turboant X7 is powered by a 36V battery that delivers a max 45 minutes of ride time off one charge. This figure will vary quite a bit based on riding conditions and what speed you travel at, though. It recharges in 4 to 6 hours and the battery is easily removable so you don’t have to bring your entire scooter in to charge. The removable battery makes this scooter great for commuting, as do its included 1W LED lights in the front and the rear. The rear light even blinks when you are braking. For the icing on the cake, the X7 even has a built-in bell so you can politely inform people you are passing them on your baller scooter. With all of these features and a hefty aluminum frame, the Turboant X7 is still surprisingly portable. It folds down easily and locks shut so you can carry it onto a bus or train, but you wouldn’t want to walk it farther than a mile because of its weight. The scooter is IPX4-rated to withstand splashes but shouldn’t be used in anything more than light rain. All in all, the Turboant X7 is one of the top-performing electric scooters under $500. If you are comfortable climbing up to the higher end of this price range, then the X7 is sure to leave you wanting for not. Top speed: 19.9 MPHBattery life: 45 minutesCharging time: 5 hoursMax travel distance: 15.5 milesMotor power: 350 WattWeight: 29.7 poundsMax rider weight: 275 pounds
LED display panel shows speed, gear, and battery charge
Lightweight and durableCons:
High price tag
No rear disc brake (electric and manual brake only)
No rear lightsRobotics company Ninebot is an absolute juggernaut when it comes to personal transportation devices. Not only does Ninebot own the Segway brand, but they also provide their electric motors to numerous competitors. You’ll even find their hardware in the Xiami M365, another e-scooter reviewed on this list.Most of Ninebot’s scooters are well outside of the target budget of this round-up, but you can currently find their 2019 KickScooter ES1 Gen 2 for under $500. It forgoes some premium features but makes up for it with pure performance.The ES1 uses a front shock absorber to make for a smooth ride when crossing rough terrain. This e-scooter has solid rubber tires, which are maintenance-free though typically less shock absorbing. The front shock pad helps make up for this. The front tire is 8 inches and the rear tire is 7.5 inches.The ES1 has zippier acceleration than we saw from other scooters because of its 300 Watt motor. If you want the max performance, you’ll want to put the scooter into Sport Mode, which sacrifices some of its 50-minute battery life for improved acceleration. It won’t go faster than 15.5 MPH in either Sport or Normal Mode but if you want it to go slower you can set a manual limit in Beginner Mode by setting it up through the app.If performance is at all important to you, though, you’ll want to be equally wary of the max payload (max rider weight), which is 220 pounds. Unfortunately, that is my exact weight. The more you weigh the harder the motor has to work, especially on inclines with scooters at this performance point suffer with. There’s simply no cheating the laws of physics.The Gen 2 version of this scooter improves on battery life as well, allowing you to get an average 15 miles of travel distance from one charge if you ride the ES1 in the Normal Mode. The ES1 has an electric ABS brake on its front wheel that uses regenerative braking to convert kinetic energy back into charge for the battery. This helps you to get even more ride time if you are riding downhill.The electric anti-lock front brake is smooth and responsive, but the ES1 does not have a cable disc brake for its rear wheel. Instead, you have an old-fashioned manual brake to stomp on if you need to come to a sudden stop. Most will prefer the disc brake but the manual stomp brake gets the job done.Most parts of the ES1 feel well-built except for the low-quality foam handlebars. Those can be easily replaced if you don’t like them, of course. Because of the way the front post folds down for transport, this scooter feels just a bit more compact than other models. It is also a few pounds lighter and a bit more low to the ground. Another minor complaint is that this scooter doesn’t have a rear LED light, making it harder to spot from behind. Its front LED headlight is decently bright, though.All negatives aside, there are a number of compelling reasons to go with Ninebot’s ES1 scooter over the competition, but whether or not it’s right for you really depends on what you look for out of a “last mile” commuter device.Top speed: 15.5 MPH
Battery life: 60 minutes
Charging time: 4 hours
Max travel distance: 15 miles
Motor power: 300 Watt
Weight: 24.9 pounds
Max rider weight: 220 poundsFind more Ninebot KickScooter ES1 by Segway information and reviews here.
Rear storage basket
High max speed
Variable speed throttle controlCons:
No LED lights
Long battery charge time
Bulky frameSome may write off the EcoSmart Metro preemptively because it is made by Razor, the same company that kickstarted the push scooter fad of the ’90s. On the contrary, Razor makes many high-quality e-scooters and the EcoSmart Metro should be at the top of your list if you are looking for an inexpensive scooter with a seat.The cushioned seat post is the standout feature of the EcoSmart Metro, as it makes longer rides much more comfortable. The seat post also houses a detachable rear fender and luggage rack. The rack is great for carrying a few school books or a bag of groceries. The wide footpad makes it easy to sit however you find most comfortable.Because the EcoSmart Metro has tall 16-inch pneumatic tires and positions the driver facing forward, it almost looks more like a compact e-bike than an e-scooter. However, its lack of pedals and slower acceleration really make it apparent that this is still a scooter when you ride it.Even with a stronger 500 Watt motor, the EcoSmart Metro is sluggish to accelerate because its frame is weighed down by large lead-acid batteries. It does reach an impressive 18 MPH top speed, but it takes a few seconds to get there and struggles to climb hills just like a smaller scooter would.Its air-filled tires make for a decently smooth ride, but a shock absorber on the seat post would be a very nice upgrade. The scooter has a variable speed throttle control, which makes it easy to maintain a slower speed while you navigate a crowd. Its rear disc brake is connected to a cable lever on the handlebar, but no front brake. Consequentially, the EcoSmart Metro won’t stop as quick as scooters with two brakes.This scooter’s power switch is found under the footpad near the batteries. It only has a primitive battery status indicator, which simply lights up when you need a charge. The battery is good for around 40 minutes of go-time, which is enough for a couple of short rides. The biggest shortcoming of this scooter is that it charges back up incredibly slowly.The manual says to charge for up to 12 hours and a max of 24 hours for the best battery health. You can keep riding day to day with just a few hours of charging here and there, but in the long run, this will negatively impact its battery life.If you can work around the EcoSmart Metro’s slow charging and bulky design, it is a capable city commuter that has the unique privilege of being the only seated electric scooter available for under $500.Top speed: 18 MPH
Battery life: 40 minutes
Charging time: ~12 hours
Max travel distance: 11 miles
Motor power: 500 Watt
Weight: 67 pounds
Max rider weight: 220 pounds
Best Under $300 Scooter Finalists
To crown the best electric scooter under $300, we began with a field of 25 electric scooters. Using simple criteria, we narrowed it down to three finalists — GOTRAX Xr, GOTRAX GXL Commuter V2, and the Swagtron Swagger 5 — that we subjected to extensive did hands-on testing. Each scooter was graded in terms of performance, ride, portability, and quality.
Overall Results for the Finalists
The Swagger 5 (above) has the best performance of the bunch.
The Swagger 5 had the best acceleration, top speed, and hill-climbing ability of the bunch. The GOTRAX GXL Commuter V2 had the best range while the GOTRAX Xr had the best (shortest) braking distance.
Electric Scooter Guide Performance Tests Results
The Xr (above) and GXL V2 have the best ride quality.
They edge out the Swagger 5 due to their dual 8.5-inch pneumatic tires and tied for best ride. Both scooters have slight edge in ride quality due to their 8.5-inch pneumatic tires which serve as better shock absorbers on poor roads and have better traction in wet conditions.
Overall, all scooters have great ride quality on smooth roads. They are all very nimble due to their low weight, skinny tires, and small dimensions. On rougher terrain, none of the scooters have amazing performance due to lack of suspension.
The Swagger 5 (above) has just a single pneumatic tire in the front and an airless honeycomb tire in the rear. The airless tires does not have as good shock absorption or traction as pneumatic tires. This is most noticeable on rough roads; we also notice decreased traction on the rear wheel when riding in wet conditions.
The GOTRAX Xr (above) is the most portable scooter, for three reasons:
- Smallest folded dimensions of 41-inches by 15-inches by 6-inches. This ties with the GXL V2, which has the same dimensions.
- Best folding mechanism. The Xr has a folding mechanism that is quicker than the Swagger 5 and improved over the GXL V2. It features an additional safety pin to prevent accidental folding, which is absent from the GXL V2.
- Easiest to carry. When folded, both the Xr and GXL V2 have a 180-degree angle that gives them the perfect balance for carrying.
All the scooters are fairly portable, despite the Xr’s clear edge. They all have the same 26 lb weight, easy-to-use folding mechanisms, and relatively small folded dimensions.
The Swagger 5 (above) trails behind these other scooters in terms of portability. Due to the steeper angle of its stem, when folded, it is more difficult to carry. Its folding mechanism is slower to use and takes more hand strength to lock and unlock.
The GOTRAX Xr has the best overall quality — thanks to its quality components, good fit-and-finish, and bright LED display.
Thanks to its quality components, good fit-and-finish, and bright LED display.
Though the GOTRAX Xr and GXL V2 have a very similar quality, except for one noticeable difference — a nicer, brighter display compared to the GXL V2. For this reason, the Xr edges out the V2.
Both of these scooters have better fit-and-finish. Controls like the accelerator and brake lever feel stronger and have better mechanical action. The brakes, in particular, are quieter and smoother compared to the Swagger 5. The quality difference isn’t huge — but it’s noticeable.
All scooters have acceptable quality. None of the scooters had noticeably rattling parts or defects. All scooters survived the 3X drop tests with minor scratches or less.