The 10 Best Electric Scooters For Commuting
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in October of 2018. Versatility and ease of use make electric scooters one of the most popular modes of personal transport, while their portability and convenience make them especially useful for commuting. But like any form of powered propulsion, they come with certain risks, so be sure to gear up properly and take appropriate safety precautions whenever you hit the streets on one of these handy people movers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 07, 2020:
In the world of electric transportation scooters are what's generally known as a last-mile vehicle. This refers to the fact that most often these devices fit into a commute as a bridge between other methods of transportation, such as between your parked car and a train station, or a bus stop and your workplace. They're generally light enough to carry on public transport, they can usually fit in the back of a personal vehicle, and they often stow easily in your office or cubicle once at a work. Not to mention, they're also a fun recreational device in their own right. If your commute is on the shorter side and you could charge at your workplace it is feasible that a scooter could handle your commute entirely, but they are generally thought of as short-distance solutions since their small form factors can't carry the large batteries found on things like e-bikes or electric mopeds.
A vast majority of electric scooters have an estimated maximum range of between 10 and 20 miles, and of course this can vary widely depending on your weight, the presence of hills, and your usage of acceleration and speed. The shining exception to this is the recently released Segway Ninebot MAX, which offers an amazing maximum range of 40 miles. This is easily more than double the maximum range of most other options. This takes it into a realm much more akin to an e-bike, as it could easily be your sole commuting vehicle. Of course your real maximum mileage may very, but even if you can really only get 30 miles of range out of it reliably that means you would still be getting much more mileage than a selection with a claimed maximum of 15 miles, which might deliver 10 or even less in the same situation. The only major downside to this excellent choice is its weight of 40 pounds, which is also much more than other models. This means that, while it's probably the best scooter if you're wanting something that holds its own as an all-around vehicle, if you actually are looking for something to ride to the bus station it may not be the best option.
If you require a model that won't be as cumbersome to carry on the train and will be easy to take up your apartments stairs you're better off with something like the Hiboy S2, Gotrax XR Ultra, or Segway Ninebot ES4. These selections represent the more standard design of electric scooters, a lightweight vehicle that may not be fast but is much better than walking. All three of these models are relatively similar in terms of top speed and range, but differ in areas such as braking scheme, wheel type, and so on. These models also cover a wide range of price points, so after deciding on your budget and considering which features you want it's hard to go wrong with any of them.
We've also included a few items on our list that sit somewhere between an e-bike and an electric scooter, namely the Razor EcoSmart Metro, Swagtron EB5 Pro, and Jetson Bolt. The main benefit of these vehicles is that they offer a seated riding position that many users may find more comfortable and stable than standing, however their compact designs and twist-and-go operation mean that they still provide a very scooter-like experience, and are appropriate for many of the same circumstances.
Regardless of which model you choose, be sure to observe your local laws concerning electric scooters, and maintain the utmost safety at all times while riding by being aware and wearing a good helmet. If after reading this list you find that you require something even more portable, you may want to check out our article on electric skateboards.
October 25, 2018:
Included self-balancing options and a hybrid cycle to cover various commuter types, terrains, and distances.
October 24, 2018:
Incorporated safety advisory to address issues with nascent technology and improper use leading to elevated risks of accident or injury, especially among inexperienced users.
A Better Way To Commute
This is where commuting on an electric scooter can save the day.
If you live within a reasonable distance to your place of work, but one that’s still a little too far to walk, then you probably drive there every day. That can take its toll on your wallet in gas and depreciation costs, while also doing harm to the environment. What’s worse, those minutes spent in early morning traffic are all but guaranteed to start your day off on the wrong foot. This is where commuting on an electric scooter can save the day.
You might immediately think that if you wanted to get to work that way, you’d ride a bike. Well, that’s not a terrible idea, but bike riding poses a particular hazard to commuters that an electric scooter does not, and that’s sweat. Even a small incline can have you break into a lather, and if your office isn’t one of those forward-thinking places that offers in-house showers for their employees, then you’d have to go through your day smelling, at least, less than fresh.
By hopping on a scooter to get to work, you take your car off the road for hours every week, which should add up to entire days by the end of the year. Think about that: entire days spent not stuck in a rolling metal coffin listening to an NPR pledge drive.
And since these scooters are electrically driven, they can get up to a pretty nice speed, one that might even outpace cars that are stuck in traffic since you get to use the bike lane and bypass any and all gridlock. Many have ranges that are within the national average for distance to a workplace, and even if you don’t have enough juice to get home without recharging, odds are you can simply plug it in when you get to work.
What To Look For In A Scooter
A narrow definition of a scooter would include a small pair of wheels to the front and back of a thin platform on which the rider stands, with a post sticking out of the front of the platform and supporting handlebars at about waist height that control the direction of the front wheel. A wider definition would include anything that scoots. You’ll find that the models on our list occupy a large space in the middle of that range, so there are a lot of things to consider when looking for your perfect mode of transportation.
Not all hairy situations on the road are resolved by slowing down or stopping; sometimes you have to be aggressive to stay safe.
One of the most obvious differences among scooters is how the rider rides. Specifically, you’ll want to ask yourself whether you want to stand or sit on your way to work, as some of these scooters are built with that traditional standing platform mentioned above, while others are closer to bicycles in design, offering riders a comfortable seat. This is entirely a matter of personal preference, but if you know you have knee or back issues that standing might aggravate, a seated model would be a smart choice.
There are also a few models out there that are built and operate on much the same principles as hoverboards, responding to the angle at which you lean to move in a certain direction. These can be very enjoyable to use one you get the hang of them, but they might not have the ability to tackle hills the way another model could, so keep your terrain in mind.
Distance per charge is likely the next most important factor to consider on a scooter, as it will determine whether or not you can make it to work to begin with. Most scooters can get between 10 and 20 miles per charge, with a few models reaching a bit farther. Top speed will have an impact on range, as models that move a little slower might conserve that energy for distance. You’ll see options ranging from as slow as four mph all the way up to 20. Speed isn’t only relative to distance, though. It also has a bearing on safety.
If you know that you’re going to be sharing the road with a lot of bad drivers, you’re going to want a scooter that can throttle up as needed. Not all hairy situations on the road are resolved by slowing down or stopping; sometimes you have to be aggressive to stay safe. If the difference between life and death is your scooter’s ability to gain a couple miles per hour in a flash, it better be able to do so. That’s why I would recommend a scooter that goes a little faster than you intend to ride, so you can hover a little bit below its top speed to maximize you escapability.
Staying Safe On The Road
Safety features are going to come into play in your decision making process here, as well. Some scooters offer lights, horns, mirrors, and other important implements that can increase your visibility and give you a more comprehensive picture of the road around you. But whatever degree of safety measures your chosen scooter employs, there are some additional things you can get your hands on to be even safer.
In fact, it’s mandated in several states in the US and elsewhere around the world.
The no-brainer if you don’t want to end up damaging your brain is a helmet. Yes, it’s going to ruin your hair, and yes, you might look silly wearing it, but it’s non-negotiable. In fact, it’s mandated in several states in the US and elsewhere around the world. So, don’t forget it.
Being seen on the road is vital, and in the winter months when the sun goes down early, you’ll want to make sure drivers on the road can spot you without having to try. Purchasing additional lights can help with this, but so can investing in a reflective vest or jacket that you can wear along your route home.
The last thing we hope you’ll employ on the road isn’t something you can buy, but it’s something that many drivers fail to do — despite the incredible ease with which they could. That’s signaling. Basic hand signals for right and left turns, as well as for stopping, are pretty much universal, and that level of communication can be the thin line between a safe trip home and a trip to the hospital.