I've been riding this Razor A5 kick scooter for years, and have loved it. It's built like a tank, light, and folds quickly. I've found that a kick scooter is consistently 3x faster than walking, and often way less effort. So I can arrive in 7 minutes somewhere that would take 20 minutes to walk.
I've recently moved to a new home in a more urban area, and I'll be using a scooter even more, so I've been testing electric scooters. The delta between "great" and "horrible" is massive, and not immediately obvious. After doing hours of research, I've compiled this comprehensive guide.
Riding a scooter is still a little bit weird. Pedestrians don't enjoy having you blow by them on the sidewalk, and bikers don't feel like you deserve to share the bike lane with them. As with most areas of being an early adopter, you have to be willing to deal with these issues if you choose to scoot. But the payoff is worth it: Upgrading to a battery powered scooter means you can easily get somewhere at least twice as fast as a kick-powered scooter, and six times as fast as walking. Compressing a 30-minute walk into a 5-minute scooter ride is amazing if you really value your time.
First off, here are the things I've determined do matter when looking for a scooter you can use to commute (in descending order):
- Wattage of the scooter's motor: Higher wattage = ability to climb hills. 500 watts is a minimum target here.
- Weight: Some scooters are under 20 lbs. Others are over 80 lbs. Huge range.
- Range: Cut a scooter's claimed range in half if you ride like I do: In "turbo" mode all the time and trigger happy
- Max speed: Anything over 15mph works for me. Shoot for a scooter that can hit 20mph on level ground. Some can hit 40. Personally, I feel irresponsible riding above 20mph on one of these things.
- Charge time: Some can recharge in 2hrs. Others take 6 hrs. Again, a huge range here.
- Wheel size: Bigger is better here. The bigger the wheel, the less likely you are to be thrown off when the scooter hits a jagged sidewalk.
- Suspension: Some have full suspension, and some have none. Some scooters try to make up for a lack of suspension w/ air filled tires, which you absolutely do not want, because they massively cut down on your range and when flat are a pain to change. I recommend a full suspension and hard rubber (not plastic) tires.
- Paddles vs. Levers: Older scooters will have bike-style brake & acceleration levers. Newer scooters will have paddles. I greatly prefer the paddles.
- Collapsibility: Scooters vary greatly in how they fold down, and how small a package they fold into. Specifically, look for scooters that can easily fold the handlebars, especially if you need to take it on public transportation.
- Trip computer: Some scooters have one, and some don't. Look for one that can show your speed and remaining battery life.
- Drive wheel: Some are front wheel drive, and some are rear wheel drive. Some are hub motors, and some are belts. I greatly prefer hub motors to belts -- less maintenance, and less chance that water gets into the components (and you *will* be riding through puddles). Front vs. rear each have their own tradeoffs. A belt-driven scooter will have more torque.
- Lights: I really, really appreciate a good, integrated headlight & tail light.
- Deck height: FWD scooters sometimes have the battery in the vertical stem, allowing for lower standing deck heights. Lower decks mean the scooter is easier to kick once the battery runs out. Deck height and rideability w/o battery power vary greatly.
- Cruise control: Some scooters have this, where you can release the accelerator and the scooter will maintain its speed. Great when you're commuting long distances.
- Max rider weight: If you (and your stuff) weigh under 220lbs, you'll pretty much be fine on any scooter. If you're above 220, you should definitely check this -- especially as it relates to the scooter's ability to climb hills.
- Build quality: I put this one last from a feature perspective, but it's really the most important for long-term durability. Varies greatly among brands. And the price isn't necessarily indicative of quality here.
There's also stuff I've realized doesn't matter:
- Max Speed: A scooter's ability to maintain a speed above 20mph isn't a net positive -- at least for me. I'm a risk taker: I kiteboard, I ride a motorcycle... and yet I wouldn't enjoy cruising on one of these scooters above 20mph. Even that's pushing it. Just doesn't feel safe to be on such small wheels at such a high speed. Oh, and definitely wear a helmet. No, seriously.
- Companion app: Some scooters have a Bluetooth connection and can send data to an app. I've found that's pretty useless, especially when it's in lieu of an integrated trip computer. Taking the time to connect your phone, open the app, troubleshoot it, etc., isn't realistic each time you want to hop on and just go somewhere.
I reviewed six scooters, from the brand new EcoReco XS ($299) and weighs just 15 lbs, to my buddy's crazy-fast Speedway Mini4 Pro ($925), which can hit 28 MPH.
The hands-down winner for me is the Zoom Stryder ($699).
It takes the 2nd best version, the E-TWOW (also branded as the UScooter) and improves on it with:
- A more powerful hub motor (500W instead of 300W)
- Rubber rear tire vs. plastic rear tire
- Folding handles
- Updated trip computer
- And to top it off, it's $299 cheaper (although pro-tip: Search Amazon Warehouse for a $700ish price on the E-TWOW if you want to buy a scooter from Amazon)
If you can't find the Stryder (it's not yet available on Amazon; you have to buy it directly from Singapore), then the E-TWOW / UScooter is a close 2nd -- and it's available on Amazon Prime. Here's more info on how the two compare.
For me, no other scooter beyond those two was really worth considering. Although I didn't ride it myself, it's likely that the Xiaomi M365 would be a 3rd place contender.
I recommend staying away from the Swagtron (or its many other knockoff brands). You can recognize it from the red "brake" paddle. The build quality is poor and the hub motor is underpowered. The EcoReco XS shares many components with the Swagtron. It appears that EcoReco took the Swagtron as a base and upgraded some areas of it, like adding a better front tire and folding handles. But it suffers from the same build quality issues (mine refused to unfold after a few folds) as the Swagtron.
I also made a Google Sheet that has stats on all the different scooters, which you can find here:
(I've filled that sheet out with all the data I have, but if you have more 411 just leave a comment in the sheet)
Here's a comparison of the Scooters I tested:
My Top Choice:Zoom Stryder, $699
Winner by a long shot. Currently only available from the manufacturer and shipped from Singapore. I loved this scooter so much that got them to give me a promo code -- "DROdio30" for $30 off the scooter.
- 8" solid rubber front & rear wheel
- 500W hub motor
- Cruise control
- 18.6 MPH max speed
- Front and rear lights -- and the rear red LED brake light illuminates more brightly when you brake.
- Has a rear foot brake in addition to a paddle brake. Additionally, stepping on the rear foot brake engages the hub motor regen brake
- Recharges in 2 hours
Here's my test ride on the Stryder:
Here's a great video review of the Stryder from someone else on YouTube:
Second Place: USCOOTERS/E-TWOW, $949 from Amazon.
The older model of the Zoom Stryder. Still a very solid choice (especially if you'd prefer to buy from Amazon vs. some manufacturer in Singapore)
- 3 point folding system takes the scooter down to 38 x 6 x 12 inches and it’s under 24 lbs, carry it anywhere or pull it along in trolley position.
- 21 mile range, 18 mph max speed, 290 lbs max load recommended, adjustable handlebars go from 31 to 39.5 inches from the platform.
- Comfortable ride with front and rear suspension, double braking system, 8-inch airless rubber tires, horn, led display, headlight, kick start, and cruise control.
- Double braking system, one on handlebar for electronic motor brake and a foot brake for motor brake and friction brake on the back wheel. KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) expands battery life.
- CNET says it is the best folding electric scooter you can buy
Here's my comparison of the Stryder vs. the E-TWOW / USCOOTER:
3rd Place (tie): Xiaomi Mi/Mijia/m365, $899 from Amazon.
- Material: aircraft-grade aluminum alloy - Wheel size: 8.5 inch inflatable tire - Motor size: 6.7 inch
- Maximum torque: 16N.m - Maximum speed: 25km/h ( common mode ), 18km/h ( energy-saving mode ) - Cruising distance: 30km
- Braking system: front E-ABS anti-lock system, rear mechanical disk brake - Rated motor power: 250W - Maximum motor power: 500W - Battery pack power: 280Wh
- Climbing gradient: approx 14 degree - Waterproof grade: IP54 - Pedal ground clearance: 87.5mm - Max load: 100kg - Charger rated power: 71W
- Charger input voltage: 100 - 240V, 50 / 60Hz - Battery limited voltage: 42V - Charging time: 5.5 hours - Standard power consumption: 1.1kWh per 100km - Unfolding size: 108 x 43 x 114cm - Folding size: 108 x 43 x 49cm - Net weight: 12.5kg
- Disc brake
- Air tires (you'll eventually want to swap to hard rubber)
- No trip computer
- From the manufacturer: Xiaomi released its M365 electric scooter recently. Boasting a unique folding design, Xiaomi M365 electric scooter has been made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and weighs 12.5kg. Further, it adopts advanced E - ABS braking system, kinetic energy recovery system, cruise control system and intelligent BMS system.
- No folding handlebars & taller when collapsed as compared to Zoom Stryder:
3rd Place (tie): Ninebot ES1 / ES2$594 on Amazon
- Foot pads can easily be cleaned in order to look as "new" as possible
- Large 8" and 7.5" tires provide smoother rides
- No chain Engine- range of up to 15.5 miles
- Anti breaking system- cruise control- front shock absorption
- Front LED light and digital display
- Can go up to 15 mph (25km/h) and travel up to 15 miles (25 km). Its rear shock absorption ensures a comfortable ride and the customizable ambient and rear lights are not only
fun,but allow riders to be seen in low light.
- Top Speed 15.5 MILE Battery Range 187 WH
- Features Certifications UL Certified - Bluetooth Connectivity Bluetooth remote control and firmware upgrades via Ninebot App Easy to Store Lightweight and foldable for easy storage
- Specifications Weight ~28 lbs (12.5 kg) Size (Unfolded) 40" x 17" x 45" (102 cm × 43 cm × 113 cm) Size (Folded) 45" x 17" x 16" (113 cm x 43 cm x 40 cm) Max Speed 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
If you want a cheaper scooter (but... don't buy this): Swagtron $279 on Amazon.
You will be tempted to buy this scooter. It will look like the right features at the right price. Don't do it! The build quality is horrible. It has a small, crappy front tire. If you really want a light-weight, cheaper scooter, buy the EcoReco XS, which shares many components w/ the Swagtron, but is slightly less bad (still not good, though). Also, do not buy any of the other knockoff brands that have the red "brake" paddle.
- The best thing about this scooter is its front light. It's all downhill from there.
- An (underpowered) 250-watt motor propels the e-scooter to a max speed of 15 MPH for a range of 4 to 15 miles. Supports 250 pounds
- The Swagger scooter folds down in a few simple clicks for easy transportation and storage when not in use.
- The control panel allows you to view your motor scooters speed and battery life
, $1,299 on Amazon. I didn't try this one, but if I were in the market for a beefier scooter, I'd take a good look at the iMax.
- Powerful ride at speeds of up to 20 mph
- Short charge time and long battery life
- Electric and Silent Motor with rear mechanical disc brake
- Multi-function LCD display with backlight for night use
- Sturdy folding mechanism for easy storage
If you want an older, more bulletproof (but heavier) model: EcoReco S5 / M5
$739 and up on Amazon. EcoReco makes an entire line of scooters. I found their M & S series scooters to be bulletproof but also suffer from the limitations of older technology (levers vs. paddles, higher decks, heavier). The XS and R are newer models, but I wasn't impressed with the XS (it's just a lightly upgraded Swagtron), and the R isn't out yet (and it looks really gimmicky to me from the videos). I applaud what EcoReco is doing as a startup trying to solve the commute challenge.
- Energy efficiency: 2,000 MPGe/ 500 miles on one dollar
- Agile and comfortable: Top speed 20 MPH
- Rangy and efficient: up to 20 miles per charge
- Long battery cycle life: 2000 charge cycles
- Fast charge time: 2 hrs to 80 percent and 4.5 hrs to full
There were other scooters I considered...
- Scrooser: Awesome to ride once. Wouldn't want to own one. And hella pricey.
- Hollyburn P5 for offorad; A 4500 watt beast. Not really for commuting. But would be fun to take on the trail.
- Cycleboard: Love the idea of this three wheeled scooter, but it doesn't have shocks, which is a deal breaker for me. I hope a future version will have shocks.
- Glion: Interesting idea, but too heavy
- Xcape and Eon Scooter: Interesting IndieGogo projects. Status unclear.
- ElectricMood: I like the inventor's goals, but it still seems to be in prototype stage.
- UrbanCityGo - These looked promising but the company was acquired by Segway, and they refunded the Indiegogo deposits