If you've noticed people in your area breezing by you on their electric scooters, you might wonder if an e-scooter would also fit your commuter lifestyle.
Well, if you want to save money, contribute to the environment, and avoid traffic, electric scooters deliver on all bases.
Whether you're looking for a practical commuting solution, a fun way to run errands or a leisurely ride, electric scooters have you covered.
But with so many options available, how do you choose the right one? Don't worry; we're here to help. In this article, we'll provide valuable insights and tips on what to consider when purchasing an electric scooter as an adult.
The environmental benefits of buying an electric scooter
Rechargeable batteries power electric scooters and offer an alternative to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, minimizing emissions. Let's explore the various environmental benefits associated with electric scooters.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, transportation is the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions in the USA, and the battle to decrease them continues. While electric cars are a great alternative, their high price point means many people can't afford them.
One of the key advantages of electric scooters is their zero-emission nature. By using electricity as a power source, electric scooters help improve air quality and reduce pollution - especially in densely populated urban areas.
Reduced noise pollution
Electric scooters operate silently compared to traditional scooters or motorcycles with internal combustion engines. The absence of loud engine noise makes electric scooters an ideal choice for noise-sensitive areas such as residential neighborhoods and quiet zones.
Electric scooters create peaceful and harmonious urban spaces by reducing noise pollution.
Energy efficiency and sustainability
Electric scooters are highly energy-efficient compared to their gasoline counterparts due to the use of electric motors. These motors convert more electrical energy into mechanical energy, resulting in less energy wastage.
The regenerative braking systems in electric scooters help recover and store energy that you'd otherwise lose during deceleration, enhancing their energy efficiency and sustainability.
Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
With the depletion of fossil fuel reserves and the adverse effects of fossil fuel consumption on the environment, reducing dependence on these non-renewable resources is crucial.
Electric scooters offer an alternative means of transportation that relies on electricity, which uses renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. Promoting electric scooters can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a more sustainable energy future.However, it's also important to mention that fossil fuel pollution kills around eight million people worldwide yearly (CNN), so reducing our dependence can also save lives.
Last-Mile connectivity and reduced traffic congestion
Electric scooters are particularly beneficial for short-distance travel and last-mile connectivity because they bridge the gap between transportation hubs and final destinations.
Not only does this reduce the need for longer trips using conventional vehicles, but it also allows us to address the issue of traffic congestion effectively. Reduced traffic congestion translates into fewer idle vehicles, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.
Considerations for Adults: Finding the Perfect Fit
As you can see from the above environmental benefits, electric scooters are a great way to save money and contribute to the environment. If this is your first electric scooter choosing a brand and model can seem daunting, but considering the following factors ensures you'll make the right decision.
First things first, let's evaluate your riding experience and skill level. Are you a beginner or an experienced rider? Scooters aren't tricky to use, but it's a different experience from driving a car or using an e-bike.
If you're just starting, you should probably stick with e-scooters that are easy to use and offer a stable, smooth ride. Experienced users prefer a more powerful and agile option that gives them more speed and distance.
Safety is everything when it comes to electric scooters, and the weight limit is something you should always check before buying a model. Scooters have varying weight capacities, but most will suit individuals of average weight.
There are also scooters designed for heavier adults, and these models will offer more comfort and maintain their optimal performance.
Range and Battery Life
One of the key factors to consider is the range and battery life of the scooter because they'll define how often you need to charge it. If you're traveling with your electric scooter over long distances, you'll want to ensure that a full charge will get you where you need to go.
Scooters with a longer range are ideal for more extended rides but have a longer charging time, so it's a balancing act between longevity and convenience.
For example, commuter scooters such as the Unagi Model One Voyager have a decent range and take around two to three hours for a full charge. Think about where you'll take the scooter and choose a model that suits your needs—that way, you won't get stranded anywhere.
Speed and Power
Just how fast do you want to go, speed demon? More importantly, how fast will your state let you go? Most e-scooter manufacturers create models that align with the maximum speed limit, but that doesn't mean you should pick the fastest.
Safety and weather considerations are huge factors in your decision, so make sure you pick a scooter that can keep up with you and keep you safe. The top speed for most electric scooters is around 20 mph, but you may not need to travel that fast. The Model One hits 17 mph at its fastest.
You should choose an electric scooter with at least 250 watts of power to get you across flat ground and over small hills and choose a suitable motor setup.
Single-motor scooters do offer some benefits, but dual-motor scooters have more power. If you're on a tight budget, electric scooters with single motors are still a good choice, but check how much power you'll need daily.
Portability, storage, and durability
Nobody wants to invest in a scooter that falls apart after a few rides. That's why inspecting the build quality and durability of the scooters you're considering is crucial. Ensure they're made from high-quality materials and withstand regular use and varying weather conditions.
A sturdy scooter will be your reliable companion for years, but portability and storage are also essential factors in your decision. Nobody wants to carry a heavy scooter around, but there are lighter scooters that fold and make it easy to fit the scooter into tight storage spaces.
We usually see two types of tires with electric scooters; pneumatic and airless. Pneumatic tires use air to provide more shock absorption, while airless tires are typically made with rubber. If you live in an urban area, you can choose either tire type because they both deliver a safe riding experience.
Airless tires require little to no maintenance, making them a popular choice for commuters as they're easy to care for and will still give you peace of mind.
E-scooter brakes are central to your safety on the road. There are a few different types of brakes available for e-scooters:
- Electric or regenerative: These brakes use the electric motor to slow down when using the brake lever.
- Foot brakes: As the most basic braking system, foot brakes require the rider to step onto them.
- Drum brakes: These brakes have a hollow drum that attaches to the wheel and works well with low-powered scooters.
- Disc brakes: Disc brakes use a hydraulic system to provide fast-stopping power and are highly popular in premium scooters.
Disc brakes are the most effective and reliable of these types, but they're typically only found in the most costly electric scooters. Regenerative brakes can also be effective, as they Electric require zero maintenance and work well when combined with a foot brake.
However, if you have a low-powered scooter and don't depend on it for daily travel, you might find the foot brake system more affordable than hydraulic disc brakes.
Types of Electric Scooters: Finding Your Perfect Ride
With so many electric scooters available, how do you know which suits you? Well, the best way to narrow your search is to look at what you'll use the scooter for.
From commuting to cruising around cities or even revving your life up with some no-holds-barred power riding, these are the best e-scooters for adults.
Commuter scooters: For the city slickers
E-scooters make commuting an absolute joy. Imagine weaving through traffic with a slightly smug look on your face as you breeze past buses and cars. Stop at your favorite coffee shop and grab that latte or just enjoy the wind on your face and take in your surroundings—you've got plenty of time.
As long as you choose the right commuter scooter.
The best commuter scooters balance speed, range, and portability, making them perfect for urban riders.
If you're looking for convenience, portability, and an ultra-stylish way to cruise into the office, the Unagi Model One Voyager is the way to go.
The Unagi Model One Voyager is the younger sibling of the classic Model One scooter. After three years of planning, brainstorming, and innovating, the Voyager finally hit the roads, giving commuters an epic riding experience.
Unagi Model One Voyager key features:
- A 25-mile range, which is the highest you'll find in a lighter scooter.
- Rapid charging time of around 2.5 to 3 hours for a full charge.
- 500 Watts of power, up to 1000 Watts when the scooter's at peak performance.
- An intuitive braking system that allows riders to use a foot brake.
- LED headlight for improved visibility.
- Puncture-proof tires.
- One-Click folding system.
- Maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.
Why choose the Model One Voyager?
The Model One Voyager was designed for city riding and commuting, so each feature makes your journey a lot easier.
Despite its many safety features, the voyager still manages to maintain a sleek aesthetic, with an integrated command hub within the handlebars, giving you a seamless experience without sacrificing anything.
What makes the scooter stand out most is its accessibility. You don't even have to budget for the Model One Voyager, as Unagi offers an all-access subscription for a low monthly price.
For just $69 a month (less than your daily trip to Starbucks), you get unlimited access to your scooter, insurance, and free services.
Off-Road Scooters: For the explorers
If your idea of a great time is a thrilling off-road adventure, you'll need a powerful scooter to take you on the ride of your life. Off-road e-scooters are designed to handle rugged terrains and challenging outdoor environments.
These scooters are built with robust construction, powerful motors, and durable components to ensure they can handle off-road adventures.
These scooters have reinforced components and sturdy frames because they need to offer stability on rough terrain. The wheels are also much larger than your traditional commuter scooter, which means they're not very portable and lack the compact features of the Unagi Model One.
However, off-road models aren't meant for the roads, and their motor power often means they don't meet each state's legal requirements.
There are plenty of off-road models available - but which is the best? In our option, it's the Nanrobot D4 2.0 scooter. This beast of a machine packs a real punch and will take your off-road experience to new heights.
Nanrobot D4 2.0 key features:
- Maximum range of 40 miles.
- Dual motors offering 2000 Watts of power.
- Top speed of 40 miles per hour.
- Choice of a traditional deck or seat to make your rides more comfortable.
- Special tires designed for off-roading.
Why choose the Nanrobot D4?
Most scooters designed for off-road use pack powerful features, but what we love about this model is its customization elements. Choosing between a traditional standing deck or a seat makes the D4 more accessible, and for an extra fee, you can also upgrade from disc brakes to hydraulic brakes.
It weighs around 70 lbs, and the speed potential means you should avoid using it on public roads and bike lanes and stick to off-road adventures. Nanrobot is one of the most reputable scooter brands, and the D4 2.0 won't disappoint.
Folding Scooters: For the practical riders
If your main priority is portability when choosing an electric scooter, a folding model is a great choice. Folding scooters are easy to carry and store in even the smallest apartments or offices. Better still, you can take them on public transportation without worrying about handling a lot of weight.
However, not all folding scooters are made equal, and you'll need to consider whether your chosen brand packs enough features. They're lightweight, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise on scooter range, speed, and safety features.
The Unagi Model One Classic delivers on all of the above and offers a whole lot more. It's the portable electric scooter that never stops giving.
Unagi Model One Classic key features:
- One-click folding and locking mechanism.
- Made with TORAY carbon fiber tubing, which is highly durable and lightweight.
- Motor power of 800 Watts, which is ideal for city riding.
- Maximum range of 12 miles.
- 20 miles per hour top speed.
- Sleek design that comes in a range of colors.
Why choose the Unagi Model One Classic?
The Model One Classic delivers a lot of bang for your buck and has numerous features that make it stand out from other folding scooters in a similar price range. With its streamlined deck, you'll never have to worry about an uncomfortable riding position, as there are no seams and joints.
Riders can also take advantage of 26 Nm torque which gives the scooter good hill climbing ability and enough power to get to where you need to be.
At just 28.5 lbs, the Model One is easy to carry around and has solid tires to prevent punctures. Better still, you can grab a monthly subscription and start cruising today.
Performance Scooters: For the Mavericks out there
If you feel the need—the need for speed, then nothing but high-performance scooters will do. These powerhouses deliver high-octane thrills, taking even the most seasoned adrenaline seekers to the edge. With their large motors and supreme performance, these scooters are the Bugatti's of the industry.
However, just as you probably wouldn't take a Bugatti for a spin on busy roads, performance scooters are best for more isolated locations. Each US state has set speed laws for e-scooters, so remember to check with your local authority before hopping onto one of these powerful electric scooters.
Our top pick for performance scooters? It's the Qiewa Q-Power 2 Street scooter. Combining speed with range, this is one of the more powerful electric scooters you can buy.
Qiewa Q-Power key features:
- Top range of 90 miles.
- Maximum speed of 60 miles per hour.
- 6000 Watt full motor power.
- 620 lbs load limit.
- Tires with shock absorption for a smoother ride.
Why choose the Qiewa Q-Power 2?
With its many features, including high weight limits, the Q-Power holds nothing back, and its top speeds of 60 miles per hour give e-scooter riders the ultimate adrenaline rush. However, this colossal scooter weighs in at 99 lbs, and its bulky design means it's not the kind of scooter you'd take to the office.
Keep this one for adventures and enjoy long weekends of epic riding—remember your safety gear.
Budget electric scooters: For the toe dippers
If you're new to electric scooters, you might want to dip your toes in the water before investing in one of the more popular models. Budget scooter brands might not offer the same features as premium scooters, but their low price point means you can get used to riding and then move on to a better model.
Entry-level scooters often have low rider weight limits and a smaller battery capacity, but some brands still deliver a great experience.
Our top pick for a budget e-scooter is the Ninebot KickScooter ES1L, which costs just $299. It's not as powerful as other models, but the features it does offer a safe and secure experience.
Ninebot ES1L key features:
- Sleek design that's ideal for adults.
- Top speed of 12.4 miles per hour.
- Maximum range of 12.4 miles.
- Ability to climb slight inclines.
- 24.9 lbs weight.
Why choose the Ninebot ES1L?
As a true budget scooter, we can't expect the ES1L to offer a ton of features, but it has a sleek and highly portable design that won't take up too much space. The range is pretty impressive, especially if you only have short commutes, but the speed is a compromise.
The scooter travels 9 to 12.4 miles per hour; some commuters might feel unsafe on busy roads. However, as an entry-level kick scooter, you can enjoy experimenting with the Ninebot ES1L and then move on to something that offers better performance.
Things to consider before choosing an electric scooter
Now you know more about the best e-scooters for adults, it's time to look at further factors that might influence your decision. These aren't dealbreakers but will help you decide which features are most important.
Display and Controls: Stay informed and in control
A clear and intuitive display with essential information like speed, battery life, and mode selection can make your rides more convenient. Ensure the controls are easily accessible and user-friendly, allowing you to navigate your scooter effortlessly.
Most scooters have displays, but choosing one that gives you more control will keep you safer.
For example, the Ninebot ES1L has a display that can switch between riding modes, but the Unagi Model One has a display that shows you when you're in dual motor mode and numbers that let you seamlessly switch between riding styles.
The legal stuff: Checking if your scooter's road safe
Each state in the USA has its own laws surrounding electric scooters, and some are more relaxed than others. Knowing your responsibilities will keep you - and others safe on the road while ensuring you avoid legal trouble.
For example, 17 states completely ban riding scooters on sidewalks, while some states have stricter speed limits than others. For example, California, NYC, and many other states have a maximum speed limit of 15 miles per hour, while Missouri and Florida's scooter speed limit is 30 miles per hour.
Unsure of what the laws in your state are? The comprehensive guide to e-scooter laws has all the information you need.
Folding Mechanism: Choose convenience
If portability is high on your priority list, look for a scooter with a reliable folding mechanism that allows quick and easy folding without compromising stability. With a compact and convenient folding mechanism, you can take your scooter anywhere.
Some folding mechanisms require manual work, while others might take a while to fold correctly. The Unagi collection features seamless one-click folding functions, saving riders time and effort.
Storage Options: Carrying your essentials
Some scooters come with additional storage compartments or attachment options, allowing you to carry personal belongings or customize your scooter according to your needs. From phone holders to handlebar bags, these add-ons can make your rides more convenient and enjoyable.
Power scooters such as the Nanrobot can handle more weight, but commuter and city scooters also pack in a lot of features, as you'll need to factor in your bag and other items.
Accessories and Customization: Making it your own
For many riders, personalization is essential as it lets them showcase their personality and style. Luckily, many e-scooters come in various colors and have further customization options.
From colorful lights to stylish decals, there are many ways to add your unique touch and make your scooter stand out from the crowd and ride in style.
The price: Safety over cost
Now, let's talk about everyone's favorite topic: budget. Nobody wants to spend a fortune on an e-scooter, but the cheapest model isn't always the best option. Think about your budget and look at which safety features the scooter offers.
Remember, you don't have to settle for a cheap model; Unagi's all-access subscription lets you get a premium, high-performance scooter for a low monthly price.
Support: Is there a warranty?
Consider the scooter's maintenance requirements and available support, including a warranty and customer service. Nanrobot and Unagi offer customers a two-year warranty, while you get a 12-month warranty with the Qiewa Q-Power scooter.
It's also important to check customer reviews and look at how much maintenance the scooter needs.
Safety tips for e-scooter riders
There's no escaping that e-scooters have experienced some bad press in recent years, but concerns around their safety are less about the scooters themselves and more about the riders. If you want to reap the rewards of e-scooter ownership, you have to be responsible on the roads.
An example of negative press is the articles that discuss e-scooter accidents. However, The Telegraph newspaper recently published a study showing that most scooter crashes at night occur due to drunk riders.
Further, the study also highlighted that most head and neck injuries occur when riders don't wear helmets.
Are there risks associated with e-scooters? Of course. But just as you'd use a seatbelt in the car and wear a helmet while cycling, approaching each ride with a safety-first mindset will protect you and other road users.
Here are some top safety tips.
Know your laws
We already covered this, but once again, know your state's laws. Stay updated with new developments so you don't get caught out, and remember to check local laws if you're using the scooter in another state.
Use safety gear
Protective gear is a must for every e-scooter rider - even if your state doesn't make wearing helmets a legal requirement. A shocking study in the UK recently showed that 50% of cyclists wear helmets, but only 4% of e-scooter use them (Imperial College).
Helmets prevent serious head injuries, and they can also save your life. Yes, those old helmets you used to wear on your bike weren't the epitome of cool, but times have changed.
Today, there are some great helmets that offer excellent protection and keep you looking stylish for cruising. Elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards can also prevent fractures and other painful injuries.
Check your scooter regularly
It only takes a few minutes to check your scooter, and making it part of your riding habit can prevent accidents. If you have air-filled tires, look for any punctures, and look at the tread of solid tires before setting off.
You should also try your brakes and lights to see if they function properly and perform regular maintenance per your manufacturer's recommendations.
Don't be 'one of those people.'
E-scooters are amazing to ride because you can feel the wind on your face and have absolute freedom. However, don't be the person who doesn't respect other road users. Be considerate of vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, and know your responsibilities.
Before using busy roads, take some time to master various riding techniques and build your confidence.
Know your hazards
Scooter riders have to be aware of hazards and other road users. Be cautious when crossing intersections, as drivers may not always anticipate the speed of an e-scooter.
You should also watch out for opening car doors and avoid blind spots, as a slight lapse in attention could cause an injury. Riding on uneven surfaces or wet conditions can affect your stability, so only use your scooter if you know you can stay safe.
Ride at a safe speed
The speed limits aren't a goal but a warning. Maintain a safe and controlled speed while riding your e-scooter, and make sure you feel comfortable and in control.
Excessive speed increases the risk of accidents and reduces your ability to react to unexpected situations, so adjust your speed according to the environment and always ride at a pace that allows you to maintain control.
Maintain control and balance
Maintaining control and balance on your e-scooter is crucial for safety. An emergency room study suggests that 79.1% of all e-scooter injuries result from falls—which means they're avoidable.
Practice riding in a controlled environment to enhance your balance and control skills, and always keep your feet firmly planted on the deck, distributing your weight evenly and avoiding sudden movements or swerving.
Over time, you'll gain more confidence and can then experiment with riding on busy roads.
As an e-scooter rider, it's your responsibility to ride safely and responsibly. As we already covered, most e-scooter accidents occur due to drunk riding, but you should also avoid using an e-scooter if you're on medication that can make you feel drowsy.
Taking some responsibility for your actions prevents accidents and avoids legal trouble.
The bottom line
Congratulations, you've made it to the end of our electric scooter buying guide and can now use the information to choose an e-scooter that delivers everything you could wish for.
Remember to prioritize safety features, purpose, and build quality when buying an electric scooter, and consider which model offers the most value for money.
Whether you're planning to commute with the Unagi Model One Voyager, head off the road with a Nanrobot, or take it slow with the Ninebot ES1L, take some time to get to know your scooter and keep your state's laws in mind.
With the right electric scooter, you'll enjoy a convenient, eco-friendly, and thrilling riding experience—so what are you waiting for?
Are electric scooters suitable for long-distance commuting?
Electric scooters with higher range capabilities can be suitable for long-distance commuting. Consider scooters with larger batteries for extended travel, and remember to check whether the scooter's road is legal in your state.
Can electric scooters be ridden in the rain?
While some electric scooters have water-resistant features, it's generally advisable to avoid riding them in heavy rain or deep puddles to prevent damage to the electrical components.
Are there any legal requirements for riding electric scooters?
Legal requirements for electric scooters vary by jurisdiction. Check your local laws regarding age restrictions, speed limits, helmet usage, and where scooters are allowed.
How long does it take to charge an electric scooter?
The charging time depends on the battery capacity and charger specifications. Typically, it takes a few hours to fully charge an electric scooter.
Can I use an electric scooter for off-road adventures?
You can buy electric scooters designed for off-road use, featuring robust suspensions and rugged tires. However, ensuring the scooter is suitable for the terrain you plan to ride on is essential.
Do cheaper scooters offer the same ride quality as other scooters?
Cheap scooters usually lack many features, and they're really for ultra-short journeys or beginners. Most people move onto a better model once they get used to the scooter.