The 10 Best Electric Scooters
October 06, 2018: Removed discontinued items and expanded range of offerings to include not only models designed for recreational use and commuter transport, but also personal mobility devices and options for various riding modes and situations. Incorporated additional notes on issues of safety and legality.
The Myriad Benefits of Owning an Electric Scooter
If you'd like to see some of the best scooters on the market, check out our comprehensive breakdown above.
You can take an electric scooter along on any train, or bus, or subway.
If you're considering an electric scooter, chances are you might also be considering a manual scooter, or a bike. In light of that, the question becomes, "Why should I buy an electric scooter as opposed to one of those more traditional choices?"
It's a fair question, and there are any number of answers. First, an electric scooter gets you from point A to point B quicker than any manual scooter, and an electric scooter requires a lot less effort than riding a bike. Second, an electric scooter won't leave you dripping in sweat. You can ride that scooter to work, where you can fold it down, and then place it underneath your desk.
You can take an electric scooter along on any train, or bus, or subway. If you own a vehicle, you can even fit an electric scooter in the corner of any trunk. If you live in a walk-up, it's easy to carry an electric scooter up and down a flight of stairs. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, you can basically store an electric scooter wherever you want.
You can use an electric scooter to run errands. You can use it to take a long ride through the park. You can use an electric scooter as an alternative to wasting your money on gas. If you've suffered a leg injury, you can use an electric scooter to avoid putting weight on your foot.
You can use an electric scooter in all of these ways, and most scooters come at a relatively reasonable cost. If you'd like to see some of the best scooters on the market, check out our comprehensive breakdown above.
"I Want to Buy an Electric Scooter, But I'm Afraid I'll Break My Neck!"
In January of 2016, Wired Magazine published a full-length article predicting that the electric scooter might well be the future of inner-city commuting. Amidst population growth, inflation, and environmental concerns, the article argued, an electric scooter appeared to make an increasing bit of sense.
In the end, the entire process boils down to a bit of trial and error.
So why haven't electric scooters become a more significant trend? The most common reason is what might be referred to as a "fear of the new." That is to say, people see these narrow boards weaving in and out of pedestrians and they think, My God, I'd break my neck on that. The reality being that this is anything but the truth.
Electric scooters are a lot less accident-prone than bikes. Electric scooters move at a slower average pace than bikes. An electric scooter's operator stands vertical, which means that there is very little chance that he or she will end up skidding into a slide.
Most electric scooter riders wear safety helmets, and elbow pads. These riders can avert almost any head-on collision by hopping off the scooter, and then picking it up by the handlebars (to keep it from veering out of control).
The primary requirement for learning how to ride an electric scooter is balance, which is easy, given you're holding onto a set of handlebars. In the end, the entire process boils down to a bit of trial and error. A little coordination and some patience is all it takes.
How The Manual Scooter Went Electric
Throughout the early 1900s, the kick scooter was a garage project, much like the go-kart. Both items represented something to be built between a father and his son. The footboard on these early kick scooters was made out of wood, or plastic. This footboard was connected to a pair of roller skates on the bottom, and a metal pole at the top.
The footboard on these early kick scooters was made out of wood, or plastic.
Manufacturers showed little interest in the kick scooter until the early 1970s, when Honda decided to take a chance on a commercial scooter that it named - and then marketed as - the Kick N Go. The Kick N Go was not aerodynamic. Customers would joke that it necessitated "too much kick, without enough go." Despite this, the Kick N Go remained a popular item, and it gave rise to a variety of sleeker two-wheeled scooters that were intentionally designed to allow any rider to coast.
Throughout the 1980s, kick scooters were still considered a novelty product. There were streamlined scooters, along with folding scooters. There were three-wheeled scooters and four-wheeled scooters. There were giant scooters and there were mini scooters. But there was still no innovation that would allow a traditional scooter to compete with a skateboard or a bike. All of that began to change during the early aughts, as a handful of scrappy manufacturers - including GoPed and U-Scoot - assumed the initiative by putting electric scooters on the market.
Today, these electric scooters continue to be increasingly popular, particularly among adult commuters in metropolitan areas. By and large, electric scooters don't compete for market share with traditional kick scooters. Both items serve a slightly different audience, while commanding a vastly different price point.