If you’re in the market for your first electric scooter, you may be wondering which electric scooter to buy, how to choose the right eScooter for you, and what you need to look for when buying an electric scooter. Ultimately, the best e-scooter is the one that meets your needs. But if you’re not sure exactly what you need, this beginner’s guide to buying an eScooter lays out everything you need to know.
If you’ve done some research already, you’ll know that there are a lot of options to choose from. So, let’s narrow it down. These are the most important factors to consider when buying an electric scooter:
- Price: how much do electric scooters cost?
- Range: the distance that an eScooter can travel on a single charge
- Motor power: how many watts is good for an eScooter?
- Top speed: how fast do electric scooters go?
- Rider weight: do eScooters have a weight limit?
- Weight: what to consider when buying an electric scooter
- Quality of ride: what to look for in an eScooter
- Warranty: which brand of eScooter is best?
Price: how much do electric scooters cost?
The price of an electric scooter ranges anywhere from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand, depending on what you’re looking for when it comes to features, quality, and performance. Most eScooters fall into one of three categories: budget eScooters, premium eScooters, or performance eScooters. And the price in each category varies according to the specs when it comes to the battery size, motor power, and other features.
Budget electric scooters
You can expect to pay around £300 to £500 for a lower spec model with basic, no-frills features. These eScooters are typically good ‘beginner scooters’ for first-time riders and light, recreational use (i.e. short distances). With a low-power motor and shorter battery life, a budget eScooter is not the first choice for your daily commute, especially if you have to travel up hills. This is where you’ll feel the impact of a low-power motor and may even end up walking with your scooter by your side.
In the premium category, you can find great electric scooters with a bigger battery for more range and more powerful motors – without breaking the bank. These mid-range models cost between £550 to £900 and you can expect better brakes, suspension for a more comfortable ride, and a longer-lasting battery for longer distances. These are generally the scooters you’ll find populating local rental schemes and they’re perfect for your daily commute while still being light enough to fold and carry with you.
These higher-end models will set you back upwards of £1,000, but with the price tag, these models pack a punch when it comes to ride quality, hill climbing ability, range, braking, power, speed, and acceleration. Many high-performance electric scooters have dual motors that deliver higher speeds (around 40mph) and extended battery life for longer range travel (around 80km), as well as disc brakes for stopping at fast speeds. They also tend to be the only eScooters built for riding off-road, thanks to their larger tyres. The only downside is in their portability, as the high-end models tend to be the heaviest at around 30kg.
The price point of different eScooter brands and models varies, but as with all things in life, you get the quality and performance that you pay for. Are cheap electric scooters worth buying? Always check the warranty and maintenance fine print so you don’t end up spending more in the long run on servicing than what you paid for the scooter.
Range: the distance that an eScooter can travel on a single charge
Electric scooter brands generally advertise a certain range, which is the distance that the eScooter can travel before it runs out of battery power and needs to recharge. Often, brands conduct the tests to calculate this distance while the scooter is in ‘eco’ mode, which in reality, few people use. Other brands calculate this based on the distance travelled over completely smooth, flat ground. Therefore these calculations are often a best-case scenario. An industry survey in 2018 revealed that some manufacturers overestimate their range claims by around 30%.
All range tests on the Nought.One have been done in real world conditions, at normal speeds, so our ranges are as accurate and realistic as possible. But if in doubt with other scooters, it’s best to select a scooter with a higher range than you will most likely need.
The average electric scooter can cover 20 to 40 miles, while some long-range eScooters can cover 50 to 100 miles. To choose the best eScooter for you, assess the routes you plan on regularly riding, such as your daily commute to work. How far do you travel on a typical day and how many steep hills are part of that journey? The further you plan on riding, the higher the range you will need.
There are a number of factors that influence the electric scooter’s range, from the weight of the rider to the conditions of the road, the terrain (if there are a lot of hills), and the power of the motor. The heavier the rider, the more energy the motor requires to accelerate, which will impact your range. The same goes for speed – the more you push your eScooter to its limits, the less range you will have on a single charge.
Your range is also tied to your battery’s capacity. A longer range requires a bigger battery, which impacts the weight of the scooter as well as its price point. This is one of the reasons why we designed the Nought.One to come with a spare, removable battery, so that you get double the battery capacity, without adding weight to the scooter. Also bear in mind that some manufacturer tests use a brand-new battery, taking for granted that the battery will always be fully charged.
How long do electric scooter batteries last?
Remember, all batteries degrade over time and start to hold less power. Generally, with proper maintenance and servicing, an electric scooter battery will last around 300 to 500 charge cycles.
Motor power: how many watts is good for an eScooter?
All electric scooters have a motor rating measured in watts – the higher the watts, the more powerful the motor. You may have found yourself asking, is 350 watts enough for an eScooter? Let’s take a look…
The average budget eScooter has a power rating of around 250 watts and a top speed of 15mph, but some high-performance electric scooters can reach 5,000 watts (most likely with dual motors). The motor power directly impacts the scooter’s ability to accelerate and climb steep hills, so while 250W may be perfectly fine for journeys where you won’t encounter any hills, you’ll need a more powerful motor if your daily commute involves tackling the occasional incline.
On a 250W motor, you might also struggle to reach top speed if you weigh more than the ‘manufacturer tested’ average of around 70kg. The average mid-range eScooter has a 350W to 500W motor, which you’ll need if you live in a hilly area. The more powerful your motor, the easier you’ll find it to climb hills at pace. In this scenario, 350W is the minimum you’ll need, especially if you’re above the average rider weight. For this reason, we’ve designed the Nought.One with a 500W motor to make sure any incline will be a breeze.
Top speed: how fast do electric scooters go?
The maximum speed for most eScooters is around 15mph (about 25kmh), although you will find models that get up to 50mph. In the UK, eScooter riders are expected to keep to a speed limit of 15.5mph. 15mph is more than fast enough for getting around though, especially if you’re travelling in an urban environment with other motorists and pedestrians – and considering that the average car’s speed in central London is around 7mph!
The thing to remember with speed is that the faster you go, the more likely you are to get into an accident, and you’re a lot less protected than in a car. It’s easier to lose control and fall off your eScooter at high speeds, especially if you hit a bump in the road or have to swerve to avoid something. That’s why it’s best to wear a helmet when riding.
It is possible to get an electric scooter with a higher top speed, but these scooters require larger batteries and more powerful motors to reach those speeds, which are more expensive and unnecessary given that the speed limit is 15.5mph and the government is in talks to drop this down to 12.5mph.
Rider weight: do eScooters have a weight limit?
The ‘maximum load’ for most electric scooters is between 100kg and 120kg. This is the maximum adult rider weight that the eScooter can support. The rider’s weight affects the scooter’s range, as well as its ability to accelerate, reach top speed, and brake. For safety reasons, you should never exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer.
You can find eScooters that can take up to 160kg, but these will most likely be in the more expensive price range due to the motor power and battery size required for a higher load capacity. When shopping around, always focus on scooters that have a load capacity that's at least 15kg (30lbs) above your weight as you may sometimes travel with a backpack or bag that will add to the scooter’s load. And if you’re on the higher end of the 100–120kg range, it’s best to consider eScooters with at least a 500W motor.
Weight: what to consider when buying an electric scooter
It’s not just your weight that you need to consider when buying an eScooter. Some scooters weigh significantly more than others, so you need to think about how portable you need it to be – some eScooters fold away for easy carrying, while others might be heavier than you can comfortably manage on your own. Are you going to need to carry your scooter at any point in your journey?
The fastest electric scooters with the longest ranges generally weigh more because of the size of the battery and motor. The average mid-range eScooter weighs around 12–13kg. If you plan on carrying the scooter around with you on your daily commute, look out for helpful portability features like the ability to fold the scooter into a more compact size and a built-in handle or shoulder strap. Not all scooters fold, so if you need one that’s easy and convenient to store, check before you make any commitments.
Here are some questions to ask when it comes to the scooter’s weight and your daily commute:
- Will you need to walk up any stairs?
- Will you need to store your scooter inside and is there space for it?
- Are you able to lift the scooter onto a bus, or a train, or into someone’s car boot by yourself?
We designed the Nought.One to easily fold in half and roll on its’ handlebars, so that you can easily carry it at any point in your journey if needed. This also makes it incredibly easy to carry inside and then store upright, taking up very little floor space.
Quality of ride: what to look for in an eScooter
Buying an electric scooter can be overwhelming as there are a lot of options on the market. Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to the quality of your ride if you don’t want to feel every pebble or dent in the road…
Most premium and performance eScooters have larger wheels because they provide a smoother, more comfortable ride with better ground clearance. Small wheels don’t do as well on rough terrain and tend to be more jarring for the rider. For this reason, aim for wheels that are around 10 inches in diameter.
eScooters tyres can be either pneumatic (air-filled) or solid (airless). A budget scooter will typically come with solid tyres, while mid-range and performance models are typically air-filled, which provide a smoother ride thanks to their shock absorption and better handling.
Air-filled tyres come in two further options: air-filled tubed tyres, which have an inner tube similar to some bike tyres, and air-filled tubeless tyres, which have no inner tube like a car tyre. The latter is considered better as the inner tube can be a weak point on the tyres and requires the pressure to be regularly checked and kept high.
The Nought.One is one of only a few eScooters to use air-filled tubeless tyres, which are much more durable and puncture-resistant. Currently, only a few high-end scooters feature these tyres and there are clear advantages: without an inner tube, they don’t need to be checked as regularly and are therefore much lower maintenance. They can also run at either a lower pressure for more comfort, or a higher pressure for better performance, giving your ride more flexibility.
Much the same as a car, an electric scooter with suspension will help smooth out any bumps in the road, which might be something you’d want if you’re expecting a lot of rough terrain or plan on off-roading fairly frequently. It’s also something you’d want if you plan on using your eScooter for long journeys where a more comfortable ride is critical. Electric scooters can have suspension on the front or back, or even both wheels. If you have pneumatic tyres, you could get away with no suspension though because the air-filled tyres do the same thing.
When you’re looking for the best eScooter to buy, a good quality braking system is essential to ensure your safety while riding. Electronic brakes are the weakest and least effective of all your options, and will struggle to stop quickly if you’re travelling at 15mph. Foot brakes take time to get right and, although they have better stopping power, are not as effective as mechanical brakes like drum or disc brakes, which are the gold standard. Disc brakes have the best stopping power and are easy to use, activated by a lever on the eScooter’s handlebars. They’re reliable, but they will wear out over time, so they do require maintenance and servicing.
Warranty: which brand of eScooter is best?
When you’re shopping around for an electric scooter, make sure you compare the warranties and maintenance or service plans of the models you’re considering. Even a high-performance scooter will need some maintenance to stay in top form. Warranties vary from brand to brand and could be anywhere from 12 to 24 months (24 months is rare, but ideal- that’s why we’ve included it with all of our Nought e-scooters). Also bear in mind that an eScooter purchased abroad might not come with any warranty at all, which is not recommended.
When you’ve narrowed down the choices of the best eScooter for you and your needs, compare their customer support and service offerings. Do they have a local service centre? If something goes wrong with your eScooter, how quick and easy will it be to have it repaired? Are component parts available locally or would they have to be ordered from abroad? All of these things impact the time you might be without transport while your electric scooter is out of action.
We know how important this is so along with your 2-year warranty, your Nought scooter comes with a dedicated UK-based workshop to cover all ongoing maintenance and repairs, and in-warehouse parts.
Not many brands provide this kind of post-purchase support or servicing though, so it’s always advisable to go with the model that in the best case is reliable, but in the worst case, is easily and locally repaired. It’s not ideal to have to return your scooter to the manufacturer (which might be in a different country) when replacement parts aren’t easy to come by. For peace of mind, invest in a UK brand with a generous warranty.
How to choose the right eScooter
Deciding what’s the best eScooter to buy or what brand of eScooter is best is no easy feat, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Hopefully these pointers give you some idea as to what to look for in an electric scooter and the features that are important for your needs. Good luck!