Buying an electric scooter can feel a bit like buying a car or other large purchase. We created this ultimate buying guide to help you along the way. This guide covers technical aspects of the electric scooter itself, price categories, where to buy, and maintenance.
The guide can be used in conjunction with our electric scooter comparison list. The list contains the price and specifications of every electric scooter available on the market today. It is a useful tool for researching electric scooters. Let’s go straight to the best Scooters to buy.
Categories of Electric Scooters
Budget Electric Scooters (<$300)
Most scooters in this category are not recommended for anything but minimal or light recreational use. At this budget price-point, expect under-powered motors, low capacity batteries, and weak brakes. However, there are some excellent and very functional values in this category. They are worth taking a look at if you this is your budget.
Commuter Electric Scooters
The commuter class of electric scooters is the biggest one and therefore divided into three price categories. At these price points, we generally find that scooters are fairly balanced in terms of features, quality, performance, and price.
Budget Commuter ($300 to $600)
These scooters are great for traveling shorter distances, have a reasonable range, and suitable build quality for daily commuting. Expect occasional repairs over the few year expected lifetime. They are best when your commute has relatively smooth surfaces and not a lot of steep hills. They are light enough that you can fold and carry them up stairs once in a while.
Mid-ranged Commuter ($600 to $900)
A mid-ranged commuting electric scooter will have slightly larger batteries for more range and possibly more motor power than the Budget Commuter. You won’t see any dual-motor scooters at this price, but you will see the incorporation of suspension into some models.
Premium Commuter ($600 to $1200)
These scooters typically add suspension, larger motors, bigger batteries, and better brakes to the Budget or Mid-range offerings. The ride will be more comfortable, safer, and have a better range due to these upgrades. However, there is a tradeoff with increased weight — expect these scooters to be around 40 lbs (18 kg) — that makes loading into a car or carrying upstairs more difficult.
Performance Electric Scooters
Performance electric scooters are a class of scooter that starts to offer either serious speed or ultra-long range. Many of these scooters incorporate dual motors and sizeable battery packs. The longest-ranged scooter in this category can deliver up to 50 miles (80 km) of real-world range.
At this price point, which ranges from $1200 to $1600, you will also start to see some premium features appearing, including large tubeless pneumatic tires, semi/hydraulic brakes, powerful lights, and turn signals.
Extreme Performance Electric Scooters ($2500+)
These scooters are the highest performing in every category except portability. They have massive, dual motors (some reaching speeds above 40 mph), extended battery life for extreme range (40+ miles), top-notch suspension, and hydraulically-activated disc brakes for stopping at fast speeds. Although still capable for daily commuting, their larger tires are the only ones suited for off-roading. These are the heaviest as well (typically 70+ lbs), so if you need to fold and carry these scooters, make sure you are comfortable with the weight.
Scooters to buy
They’re cheap. They’re nimble. They’re relatively low-maintenance. (Most) everyone thinks they’re adorable, rather than a menace. Scooters may not have the gravitas of automobiles and motorcycles, but there’s no better way to get to the post office, the grocery store and the bagel shop in less than 20 minutes. Here are five I’m looking forward to testing this year; some are all-new, some are tried-and-true.
2020 Piaggio Beverly 350 Tourer $6,599
Piaggio’s “Beverly” line isn’t new, but their flagship 350 Tourer is. It’s one of the best-looking new scoots available, with its sporty smoked windshield, spacious 36-litre top box and a host of options. It’s also got some major relative “oomph” with its 30-horsepower, 333 cc engine and 16/14 tires and includes the hella mod PIAGGIO MIA connectivity system, through which you can connect your smartphone to the vehicle via Bluetooth.Most Popular In: Cars & Bikes
Using the App, you can thus record and display a rich set of information about the trip and the operating status of the vehicle on your mobile device. Available colors are plentiful and you get a seat with a double lining and comet silver finishes which also extend to the passenger foot boards. Black wheel rims with diamond edge and new black plates add to the stealth factor.
The standard equipment is plentiful, with an ABS braking system and ASR traction control system and a remote control for opening the seat at a distance. You can also find your Beverly by flashing the indicators (‘bike finder’ function, optional). The storage compartment in the leg shield houses a practical USB port. Also on deck are a Cyclops Headlight, LCD Display, USB Charging Port, Remote-Control, Seat Lock, and more.
2020 Vespa Primavera 50 MRSP $4,199
No, it’s got nothing to do with pasta sauce. The Primavera 50 is a smart-looking little peanut, its 50cc engine powered by a 4.1 horsepower four-stroke engine with a top speed of about 40 MPH. That means you’ll be staying off the highways for the most part, but you’ll tool around your city or neighborhood like a champ, and mileage is an excellent 80 MPG. You can also ride this 50cc machine without a motorcycle endorsement in 16 states.
The Primavera 50 comes with 12-inch, cast-aluminum rims that roll with five paired spokes. Coil-over shocks support both your front end and back, and braking’s accomplished via a 140 mm drum-type brake at the rear and a hydraulic caliper that chomps down on a 200 mm disc at the front. ABS comes with. Also new for this year are a “fly” windscreen, espresso brown seat, new LED headlight and a new hinged fork design – the first new and improved Vespa fork design since 1977.
2020 Vespa Elettrica MSRP: $7,499
You didn’t think we’d neglect electric scooters, did ya? This handsome devil is the electric version of Vespa’s Primavera about, motivating with a lithium-ion battery and a 4kW motor “guaranteed” to achieve 62 miles on a single charge, though we’ll have to put that to the test on the practically vertical hills of Seattle in March. The Electtrica is also packed with the latest in electronics with its remote key, LED surround lights, USB charger, Ride-by-Wire, and two riding modes for you to choose from. And – what’s this? Reverse! HFS.
What’s impressive, too, is the 4.3 inch color TFT digital dashboard providing riding parameters and offering “journey statistics” for those interested in such things. The Vespa Mia system , too, allows for connectivity between vehicle and smartphone – at last! – so you don’t need to pull over and look at your phone to see where the next turn is. The app also saves the parameters and last position of the vehicle, so there isn’t any “Dude, where’s my scooter?”
It’s a mere 4 hours for a full recharge, but you also benefit from motorsport tech known as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) that recharges the battery while decelerating. It’s also infinitely customizable, with seven color options and seat trims. You can also get a special Bluetooth Jet helmet.
2020 Italjet Dragster
You may remember the original Dragster, built between 1998 and 2003. This one’s updated, brilliantly so judging from the photos, with Italjet’s signature independent steering system (ISS) a 125cc engine making 15HP, as well as a CVT transmission and belt drive. A single front swingarm sits atop a 12-inch wheel, with 13 inches at the back. ABS, of course. And it only weighs around 230 pounds. Exact prices and availability are difficult to come by, and it’ll be a limited edition, but you can expect to spend around $5,550 US dollars, not horrible, especially for what you get.
With its naked steel trellis frame with aluminum diecast plates, its Pirelli Diablo tires, its front-mounted radiator and forkless front suspension, Italjet’s Dragster is a must-have for those who want to scoot in style, cause a ruckus, and stop for photos. There’s more, much more, but it’s the only mass-produced scooter with all the above accoutrements and is a hands-down contender for “Best Looking Scooter of 2020.”
2020 Honda PCX 150 $3,699
The PCX 150 is one of my favorites because, like a good diner, it’s neither overly trendy nor flashy (unless you get it in red, like above) nor anything but a solid, affordable unit that does what a scooter is supposed to do – zip you here and there and back. (Read my review of the 2019 PCX 150 here.) The unit did get a makeover in 2013 with a more powerful engine and a bigger fuel tank along with various design tweaks to make it more sporty, and it’s all here this year. You’ve also got a 12-volt charging socket, more under-seat storage, new LED lighting and LCD instrumentation, a handy helmet hook for in-store dashes in safe neighborhoods (Not the Bronx.) There’s also a small storage space in the front that’s handy for holding gloves, a small amount of groceries or similar.
Powerwise, there’s a 149CC, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, 80 degree engine making around 13 horsepower and 10.3 lb-ft of torque. It is not the wildest, most on-the-edge unit available, but it never gave me a moment’s trouble and its price is lower than more a few scooters of its kind.