Electric Scooter Deals

Man Riding Electric ScooterFew things feel as exciting as riding an electric scooter, making you feel as though you’re staring in your own version of Back To The Future. Rather than Marty McFly’s hoverboard, however, these are scooters that have electric batteries, thereby allowing you to move from place to place whilst making very little effort. Deciding upon the right electric scooter to buy can be a big challenge, especially when you consider just how many of them there are on the market. The prices of them aren’t exactly wallet friendly, so it’s understandable that those looking to buy one might want to find themselves a deal.

Their overall popularity means that 2021 is the year of the electric scooter, with countless different companies having them on offer. Of course, just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it is the right thing to buy, with the sensible shopping doing what is right to buy the best version of the electric scooter that they can. That is where this buying guide comes in, helping you to figure out the right way forward on your electric scooter buying journey. Just as with the scooters themselves, we’re aiming to make things as smooth as we possibly can.

Electric Scooter Buying Guide

Two Friends With Scooters

Generally speaking, we’re absolutely spoilt rotten in terms of the technology that is available to us. It is one thing to be able to turn on the lights without even standing up, courtesy of smart speakers, but something else entirely to be able to move from one place to the other without even having to engage our leg muscles. That is what electric scooters allow you to do, however, thanks to the manner in which they do the hard work for us and yet we still get where we want to go.

Electric bikes have shot up in popularity in the last few years of course, but even they require you to move your legs to propel them forwards. Electric scooters, meanwhile, can be used to travel short distances with little-to-no effort, with only the hand being used to tell it you want to move and the scooter doing the rest. Just because they’re such relatively simple things doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty we can ask about them to figure out which one is the best for us, as you’ll discover here.

How They Work

One of the most important questions that you’ll doubtless want an answer to is how, exactly, electric scooters work. In reality, it is actually quite easy to get your head around how the machines operate, thanks to the fact that the battery is linked up to the motor by some wires. When you press the throttle on the scooter, the battery sends power to the motor, which moves the wheels and sends the device moving forwards. After it has begun its forwards journey, you then use the break to slow them down or stop them.

The sheer manoeuvrability of electric scooters is such that they don’t have a reverse function. Instead, you can use the handlebar to turn them around with an incredibly tight turning circle, allowing you to head off in the direction that you’ve just come from. If you wanted to you could even get off it, pick it up and turn it around, with the vast majority of the devices being light enough to allow such a quick change of direction. Whilst there are some small details that allow for variety, that is how most electric scooters operate.

Charging

Electric Scooter ChargingElectric scooters can be charged from your home power sockets, so all you need to do to charge them is remove the protective cover on the charging port, plug in one end of the cable and plug the other end into your power outlet at home. Once you’ve plugged in the scooter, the actual charging process will take a different amount of time depending on the model that you’ve bought. As an example, a 2.6 Ah battery with a 1 Amp plug will take about 2.6 hours to charge to 100%, whereas a 5 Amp plug would take 30 minutes.

The exact charger that you’ll have will depend on the unique scooter, but they might use a USB-style charger, a DC coaxial plug or XLR charger, as an example. Each has its own quirks and some are more common than others, but they’ll work in much the same way as each other. The most important thing is that you get power to the lithium ion battery that allows your electric scooter to run. The charger will warm up during the charging process, but this is entirely normal and nothing to worry about, provided it doesn’t get too hot.

Range

Perhaps one of the most crucial questions when it comes to buying an electric scooter is how far it can go. This question leads to another question, of course, which is how far you’ll need it to go. Once you’ve figured out how far you’ll require your electric scooter to travel, you can then begin to look into the size of the battery available on the electric scooters on the market and make an informed decision about which one you think will be best for you. The bigger the battery, the further it will be able to go on one charge.

If you’re only needing the electric scooter for short journeys around your local area, smaller and more cost-effective batteries will be absolute fine for what you need. If, on the other, you’re planning to ride it quite a distance, for commuting to work, say, then you’ll need to look at scooters with larger batteries. This is also true if your journey is short but will ask a lot of the scooter, such as travelling up hill or over rough ground. The less you use the throttle and the slower you travel, the longer the battery will last.

Electric motors have a ‘rated’ power as well as a peak power outage. The higher the wattage of the battery, the more it will be able to produce power and therefore climb hills or provide decent acceleration. The heavier you are as a person, the more powerful you will need your battery to be in order to allow it to carry you at decent speeds or uphills. Most e-scooters will have a typical range of 15 to 20 miles, with 20 to 30 miles being the one up from that. Premium models can even travel as far as 50 miles before needing to be re-charged.

How Fast Can They Travel?

Girl travelling on scooter

The majority of electric scooters have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. That might not sound like a massive speeds, but when you consider that you’re protected only by a helmet, it is a pretty decent speed. Some models can go a little bit faster, reaching as much as 18 mph, with others still able to hit the dizzying heights of 40 mph before topping out. Whilst it might seem cool to be able to go at decent speeds, the reality is that you’re travelling on a device with small wheels, making fast speeds quite dangerous.

The other thing to think about is the fact that electric scooters that go at fast speeds need bigger batteries as well as more powerful motors. This not only means that they’re more expensive but also that they're much heavier, which can problematic for some people. There are several factors that dictate how quickly you’ll be able to travel, with the following being key ones:

  • The terrain that you’re travelling on
  • The weight of the rider
  • The pressure of the tyres
  • The size of the motor

You’ll need to bear all of this in mind when you’re reading the manufacturer’s quoted electric scooter speeds. They will usually be basing their speeds on a light rider, using the scooter on flat terrain and with tyres that are well-pumped. In truth, 15 miles per hour is more than good enough when you consider that the average walking speed is 4 mph and an average commuter on a bike will travel at about 14 mph. The desire to chase a fast speed is understandable, but is not the most sensible think to look for with your electric scooter.

Electric Scooter Comfort

One of the most important factors when it comes to deciding on the right electric scooter for you is the comfort of the ride. This might seem a bit weird when you consider that you’re standing up rather than sitting down, but you’re having to hold onto the handlebar of the scooter and poorly built ones can feel as though they’re shaking your bones when you go over anything other than an entirely flat surface. Those sorts of e-scooters can barely be ridden for more than a mile before they become too uncomfortable.

There are a range of difference factors that can have an affect on the quality of the ride that you experience, with the first one being the size of the wheel. Any wheels that are less than ten inches in diameter will result in a much rougher rider than is comfortable, to say nothing of the fact that they’ll struggle to get over a curb or out of a pothole. The more off-roading that you’re going to do, the fatter the tyre you’ll need. On top of that, you’ll also need decent suspension in order to stop the ride being far too bumpy for comfort.

Suspension works on electric scooters in much the same way as it does on any other form vehicle. It is there to remove shocks and smooth out the bumps where possible. How you’re planning to use your electric scooter will dictate how important the suspension will be to you. It will usually be either on the front wheel, the back wheel or both, with the latter obviously providing the most protection. Suspension is also the best way of avoiding the handlebar vibrating as you ride, which can add an extreme sense of discomfort.

What Type of Tyres Does It Have?

Electric scooters tend to have one of two types of tyre: air-filled or solid rubber. These can sometimes be referred to as either pneumatic or airless, but going with the former moniker makes it easier to understand. There’s no question that having air-filled tyres will give you a more comfortable ride. The air within the tyres will absorb shock, as well as provide you with better handling. The downside of that, however, is that they can get punctured and need to be repaired on a fairly regular basis, which can be frustrating.

Air-filled tyres require more maintenance, such as regularly checking your tyre’s air-pressure and topping it up when needs be. If they end up being under-inflated then this can have an affect on your battery as well as your speed. For some, opting for solid rubber tyres will be a more sensible way to go for the simple reason that they require next to no maintenance. The likes of glass, nails and thorns will make little difference to these tyre types, but the ride won’t be as smooth and you’ll feel far more of the bumps along the way.

Brakes

It might seem odd to discuss the type of brakes on your electric scooter when it comes to ride comfort, but actually these can make a big difference. Aside from anything else, the ability of the brakes to actually slow you down can be crucial to your enjoyment of your electric scooter. There are three types of brake that you’ll get on an electric scooter, with the most basic being foot brakes. These work by pressing your foot down on the rear mud guard, which in turn will go onto the wheel and literally stop it from moving.

As you might imagine, foot brakes are not the most comfortable for several reasons, so it is worth considering an e-scooter with disc brakes or drum brakes. Drum brakes are located inside the wheel hub and require less maintenance than other types of brake. They will often be the best-performing in wet weather, which is something to think about depending on where you live. Disk brakes, meanwhile, have the best stopping power and are quite light, allow for better speed. Both these brake times will wear over time.

Last but by no means least are electric or regenerative brakes. As the name suggests, they allow for the re-generation of your battery when you use them, which can be a real bonus. Whilst they are probably the least maintenance-heavy of the braking systems, they are also the least useful. If you’re travelling at a high speed and need to stop quickly, electric brakes are not going to be much use in allowing you to do so. This is a matter of comfort over usefulness, so that is a question that only you will know how to answer.

Is It Waterproof?

Electric scooters in the rain

The vast majority of electric scooters on the market are not waterproof. To make matters worse, many manufacturers will put it in the small print that getting them wet will invalidate their warranty. This means that if you ride them in the rain or go through a particularly big puddle, you could damage your e-scooter and the people that made it will be unwilling to fix it under the warranty, meaning that you’ll have to pay for fixes out of your own pocket. This can end up costing as much as a brand new scooter.

Given the fact that most electric scooters are made in China and aimed at a Chinese market that enjoys a Chinese climate, you can end up paying a lot of money for a scooter that you can’t use in the United Kingdom without potentially damaging it. As a result, one of the most important questions that you might end up asking about your electric scooter is whether or not it is waterproof. You might end up paying a little bit more for a waterproof e-scooter, but not doing so can quickly prove to be a false economy.

Weight Limit

Not all electric scooters are made equal and this is never more clear than when considering how much weight they can handle. If you’re buying an e-scooter that is aimed at the European market then the chances are that it will have a maximum load amount of around 16 stone. That doesn’t mean that people over 16 stone don’t ride on them, but it does mean that those that do are probably invalidating their warranty. How heavy you are personally will dictate how important the weight limit of your scooter will be.

If you’re heavier than the maximum weight load of the electric scooter that you’re riding, it’s not just the warranty that could end up being problematic. You will also find that the scooters aren’t as able to climb hills or travel at fast speeds as you were probably hoping, as well as the fact that they will be less safe to ride. There are e-scooters out there that have been designed with heavier body types in mind, so they’re worth searching out if you think you’re going to be asking your electric scooter to carry excess weight.

What the Law Says

At the time of writing, electric scooters can only be ridden legally on private land. The only scooters that be ridden legally are those that are part of the government trials on e-scooters, so those that own their own will be breaking the law if they take them out on pavements or cycle-lanes. The whole point of the government scheme, of course, is to figure out whether allowing scooters to be ridden in public is a sensible way forward. With this in mind, it is worth checking what the law says at the time that you’re considering buying an e-scooter.

Because there is currently no specific law for electric scooters, they come under the bracket of ‘powered transporters’. This means that they face the same laws and regulations as other motor vehicles, resulting in the need for licences, MOTs and tax, to name but a few things. They lack number plates, rear lights and the ability to signal, making them illegal. You also need to have a category Q entitlement on your driving licence to legally drive them, which is obviously something worth considering.