You need to get to work every day but don't have access to a car (or don't want to pay for one), what options do you have? Hands down, an electric scooter is the number one choice for urban commuting.
Urban commuting can be a real drag - sometimes it simply quicker to walk or take public transport than to take your own car, which kind of defeats the point of owning one.
Electric scooters make moving around easy. No worrying about getting caught in traffic, no having to wait for the bus. Plus, riding an electric scooter is quite simply great fun, not to mention incredibly easy to use.
However, not all e-scooters are created equal, and with dozens of different models readily available, all with widely disparate specifications: battery life, performance levels, and most importantly of all, price tags.
So, how do you know which one will meet your precise needs? Well, we've done the hard work testing the various models for you, so read on to discover the best electric scooters for urban commuting.
Defining urban commuting
Urban commuting: the everyday journey of people from their residences to work, education, or any other destination within a city.
With cities' expanding population and resulting traffic congestion, urban commuting has become an increasingly difficult endeavor, with commuters looking for convenient, quick, and cost-effective alternatives to get about.
Cars, buses, and trains were once the principal modes of mobility for city dwellers. These means of transportation, however, have significant disadvantages, including traffic congestion, parking issues, and expensive fares.
To address these challenges, individuals have begun to adopt more eco-friendly and cost-effective ways of transportation, such as electric scooters.
Electric scooters are quickly becoming a popular means of urban mobility because they have various advantages over other ways of transportation. They are simple to use, quick, and inexpensive, making them an excellent choice for anyone aiming to avoid the hassles of traffic and parking.
They're also an environmentally-friendly option because they do not emit harmful pollutants into the environment, making them an excellent alternative for those looking to lessen their carbon footprint on their urban commute.
So what makes the best electric scooter?
Deciding on the best electric scooters for commuting isn't a straightforward task, because everyone has different commutes, different priorities for their scooter and also different weights and heights that can affect their level of comfort too.
For example, one person's urban commute might include multiple hills requiring more motor power as a priority, whereas another might have flatter ground and a longer distance, meaning the battery power is more important.
So one commuter electric scooter that's perfect for one rider might not be the best choice for someone else, making the task of crowning the best electric scooter relative to the reader.
To that effect, we've dedicated this article to detailing which attributes you should be looking out for when considering electric scooters, how they affect your ride, and how you the rider will also affect your ride, before finishing off with a pick of five of the best on the market.
Something to consider before even starting this article is the weather that you expect to encounter on your daily commute, because urban or otherwise, if we're out on two wheels we can't control what happens to fall from the sky any day of the week.
If you're likely to be commuting on icy or wet ground, you'll want more than just drum brakes and rear-wheel drive to stop you from skidding out. For example, a rear disc brake could give you better braking power in wet weather, but could cost you more, so do your research.
Things to consider that will affect the suitability of your e scooter
When selecting an electric scooter for urban commuting, one of the most important variables to consider is its range. It refers to the greatest distance an electric scooter can travel on a single charge, and knowing the range accurately will help you make the best option for your needs. Here are some of the reasons why the range is a crucial issue to consider:
Avoiding Interruptions in the Middle of a Journey:
One of the most notable advantages of electric scooters is the convenience they provide for urban travel, but having a scooter with a limited range might rapidly become irritating. Many electric scooters have cruise control these days for longer distances but remain vigilant whilst riding as it's easy to get distracted in this mode.
If your scooter's battery dies in the middle of your ride, you'll be stranded on the side of the road, unable to continue your journey. Choosing a scooter with a range that surpasses your daily commuting needs might help you avoid such disruptions and ensure a pleasant and continuous journey.
Planning Your Route:
If you have a lengthier daily commute, it's critical to select a scooter with a range that will allow you to complete your journey without needing numerous charges. This will save you from having to stop and wait for your scooter to charge during your route, allowing you to complete your daily commute with ease.
Peace of Mind:
Having a scooter with a range that exceeds your daily will have the additional benefit of giving you peace of mind, knowing that you will be able to complete your journey without worrying about running out of power. This will also save you the stress and annoyance of being stranded on the side of the road due to a dead battery.
Top speed and acceleration
Potentially the most critical statistics to consider on your search for the best commuter scooter for urban travel are the vehicle's top speed and acceleration, and indeed they're often two of the most marketed statistics that you'll come across. Here are some of the reasons why these statistics are significant:
First and foremost, Speed:
The maximum speed of a scooter can have a major impact on the time it takes to get from point A to point B. Generally, a scooter with a higher top speed could be perfect if you need to travel a longer distance in a short amount of time. However, if you are simply commuting within a city, a slower top speed may not be an issue.
Electric scooter Acceleration
Acceleration is vital on an electric scooter since it dictates how soon you can get up to a tolerable or useful speed, somewhere around the 15-20 mph range is normally all you'll need in urban areas.
A quicker scooter will get you to your destination faster, but it will also burn more battery life. A scooter with reduced acceleration, on the other hand, will save battery life but take longer to reach your target speed.
A greater max speed means you'll be able to move faster in traffic, which could be risky. It is critical to select a scooter with a top speed appropriate for your riding conditions and skill level. There are obviously other things to consider here like whether it has a dual braking system and front and rear lights, but those aren't relevant in this section.
Battery life in relation to top speed:
A scooter's top speed has a direct impact on its battery life. The faster you go, the faster the battery drains. If you intend to use the scooter for longer commutes through the city, maybe look to select a model with a longer battery life and a lower top speed.
Battery capacity and type
Battery capacity is a critical aspect to consider when choosing an electric scooter for urban commuting. It refers to the amount of energy stored in the scooter's battery and is usually listed by the manufacturer in Watt-hours (Wh).
A larger battery capacity allows you to travel further on a single charge, which is unsurprisingly important for individuals who need to cover longer miles on their commutes.
So when comparing electric scooters it's critical to pay special attention to battery capacity as it can vary substantially between models, with some scooters having a battery capacity of 100 Wh, and others coming in at some 600 Wh or higher.
Consider the distance you'll be traveling and the time you have available to recharge the scooter to decide the best battery capacity for your needs.
Most electric scooters run on a lithium-ion battery pack (Li-ion) battery types these days (Li-ion), and realistically you'd be hard-pressed to find an old-style lead-acid one in a newly-built model in the US today (although they were once all the rage).
Li-ion batteries are light, compact, and have a high energy density, which means they can store a large amount of energy in a little amount of area. Li-ion batteries also have a long lifespan, quick charging times, and low self-discharge rates, allowing them to hold a charge for a lengthy period of time.
In practice, a larger battery capacity in an electric scooter might make the difference between having to stop regularly to recharge and being able to ride further without fear of running out of power. It also gives people who rely on their electric scooters for daily mobility peace of mind without having to have to drag around a spare battery.
Choice of tires
The type of tyres on your electric scooter can have a significant impact on the overall riding quality and safety, so if you're buying an electric scooter for urban transportation, choosing the proper tyre type is critical. Here are a few reasons why tyre type is an important issue to consider:
When compared to solid tires, pneumatic tires, or air-filled tires, give a smoother ride and superior shock absorption. This can contribute to a more comfortable and stable ride, especially on tough terrain or bumpy roads.
Solid tires, on the other hand, are more durable and require less maintenance, but they may provide a less smooth ride, so your choice is dependent on what your roads to work look like...
When selecting a tire type, you first have to consider the type of terrain you will be riding on. Pneumatic tires are more suited to smooth roads, whereas solid tires can easily handle tougher terrain. Consider the type of terrain you will be commuting on and select the finest tire type to enable you to ride smoothly to work.
Pneumatic tires are more prone to punctures and require routine maintenance such as adding air and checking for leakage, whilst solid tires are more durable and require less maintenance. Honeycomb or air bubble tires (like those on the Unagi) are the best of both worlds, they absorb shock and require zero maintenance.
Ride quality and suspension
The final thing we'll explore on our journey through what makes commuter electric scooters good is the suspension and ride quality, two of the most crucial elements to an enjoyable ride.
This is due to the fact that they have a direct impact on the ride's comfort and stability, and therefore can mean the difference between a pleasurable and stress-free commute and one that leaves you feeling jostled and weary.
Suspension is vital because it absorbs road shocks and vibrations, lowering the amount of impact communicated to the rider. This is especially crucial in cities and urban environments, where roads can be rough and full of potholes, or beautifully and irritatingly cobbled.
A solid suspension system can assist keep the ride smooth and stable even on tough terrain, but not all rides need front and rear suspension and these extras can add unnecessary weight.
The smoothness and comfort of the ride are other essential considerations. They can be impacted by elements such as the scooter's size and type of wheels, handlebar height, and overall design and weight distribution.
A high ride quality scooter should be easy to manage and maneuver, and it should not create any discomfort or strain on the rider's body, even on prolonged journeys.
On the topic of having a comfortable ride, rider weight can also influence your decision because it affects the scooter's overall stability and performance. Electric scooters, in general, have a maximum weight capacity, and it is critical to select one that is appropriate for your weight to guarantee that it can bear the load.
Whilst an ultra-lightweight scooter might seem appealing when thinking about the walk at either end of your commute with your e-scooter slung over your shoulder, you need to prioritize finding a balance where a scooter will be able to properly support your own rider weight, taking into consideration any extras like bags or equipment that might add to it.
5 examples of the best commuter scooters
The Emove Cruiser
First on our list is the EMOVE Cruiser electric Scooter is a stylish and adaptable urban commuting alternative, with large pneumatic tires and a solid aluminum chassis which make it ideal for navigating rough roads and rocky sidewalks.
It boasts a 158 kg rider weight limit, which is significantly higher than the vast majority of commuter scooters, and a powerful 1000w single rear-wheel motor, as well as high-performance, LED lights, making it a powerful, safe, and efficient solution for city commuting.
For ultimate comfort it also has a sister model, the Emove RoadRunner, which is a sit-down model with a seat and ergonomic handlebars, allowing you to lay back and relax even on lengthy excursions.
The Fluid Mosquito
Our second notable contender is the Fluid Mosquito, a relatively lightweight and compact electric scooter ideal for city commuting.
Its small size makes it easy to store and transport, while its high-performance motor provides plenty of power for quick and efficient city travel. However, the small wheels and limited suspension may make for a bumpier ride on more troublesome roads.
The Mosquito, like its namesake, is tiny, nippy and packs a strong punch, being able to carry a rider weight of nearly 120kg. The downside is the battery capacity and range, which can be problematic if your commute is a bit further than a few miles.
The Apollo Air
The Apollo Air Electric Scooter is a top-performing option for urban commuting; a high-performance scooter boasting a range of impressive features that make it a standout choice for city travel.
One of the most notable of these standout features on the Apollo Air is its advanced suspension system. The scooter is designed with a dual suspension system that provides a smooth and stable ride, even on rough roads. The front and rear suspension work together to absorb shocks and vibrations, making for a much more comfortable and stable ride.
Despite its impressive features, the Apollo Air does come with some limitations in the form of a limited range and a high price point, which can make it slightly unappealing to some potential riders.
The Hiboy S2
The Hiboy S2 is a really budget-friendly option for city commuting, one of the cheapest on the market that still comes industry-approved. With its lightweight construction and powerful motor, it's a great choice for quick and efficient travel and is easy on the wallet too if budgeting is a concern.
However, the limited suspension system and smaller wheels may make for a bumpier ride on uneven roads, and for that reason (amongst a few other teething problems) we would only suggest it as an entry-level scooter for those new to the scooter world.
The Unagi Model One
Ok so admittedly we might be biased, but in our opinion, the Unagi Model One Electric Scooter is the ultimate option for urban commuting.
With its sleek design, powerful motor and globally popular aesthetic, it's been designed for a stylish and comfortable ride (even if we do say so ourselves).
The dual-braking system and high-performance LED headlights make it a safe option for city travel, whilst its ultra-lightweight and sleek design mean that it really is the most portable option on the market.
Additionally, the exceptional range and minimalist folding mechanism make it a top choice for anyone looking for a high-quality electric scooter for their daily commute.
You don't even have to take our word for it, Electric Scooter Guide (the independent authority on ranking electric scooters) placed us at the top of their commuter scooter comparison, as the 'best commuter electric scooter' out there today.
Each of these electric scooters has its own strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes to urban commuting, there's no doubt that the Unagi Model One Electric Scooter stands out as the top choice.
If you're still not sure if Unagi is the right electric commuter scooter
If you want to start riding an e-scooter as part of your urban commute, hopefully, this article has given you some solid ideas on what type of commuter electric scooter will work best for your particular needs. If you have any questions on any of the Unagi models in particular, by all means, reach out to our team who will be happy to help.
Alternatively, you can try our Unagi All-Access subscription, where we'll deliver one of our top-of-the-range Unagi Model One e-scooters direct to your door anywhere in the Continental US for you to trial, for just a small subscription fee of under $50 at the time of writing.
This way, you can get a feel for it in real life and even try it on your urban commute without having to commit to the price of buying a vehicle outright. All of our scooters are supplied fully serviced and insured as well, so all you need to do is get yourself a helmet.