Electric scooters have been the talk of the town in the last few years. After the pandemic, the way we live and work has changed, and people are looking for a little less stress and a lot more convenience in their lives. We’re seeing this with e-scooters in urban areas where traffic and congestion complicate the business of getting around. E-scooters are designed for short trips, whether it's commuting to work, running quick errands, or just zipping around town.
Add into the mix that electric scooters are environmentally friendly, producing zero emissions and no noise pollution, and it’s win-win-win in many people’s eyes. Plus, with the rise of rental services like Lime, Dott, Voi, and Tier, as well as great brands to choose from when buying your own private e-scooter, it's easier than ever to cruise around the city and get to where you’re going without the stress of sitting in traffic.
It's been great to see so many people embracing this eco-friendly mode of transport and making it a part of their daily lives. However, while rental scooters are convenient, they aren't always the best choice. In this guide, we'll explore the benefits of private e-scooters vs rental e-scooters, including cost-effectiveness, convenience, safety, maintenance, and comfort.
As of May 1st 2023, private e-scooters are still only legal on private land in the UK (read all about the latest electric scooter legislation in the UK here to learn more). They’re legal in all other major European countries and many other parts of the world though, so this blog is for you – and hopefully those riders in the UK soon.
Benefits of private e-scooters vs rental e-scooters: What we’ll cover
- Cost-effectiveness: Saving money with a private e-scooter
- Convenience: The freedom of owning your own e-scooter
- Safety and maintenance: The benefits of buying an e-scooter
- Comfort: A more pleasant commuting experience
Cost-effectiveness: Saving money with a private e-scooter
Electric scooters are getting more and more popular around the world, increasingly recognised as a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around. Who doesn’t like the thought of travelling to work and back without producing any carbon emissions? So, with the rise of rental schemes in many countries, many people probably think renting makes more sense than owning their own scooter. Think again. Owning a private e-scooter can actually save you money in the long run…
One of the biggest benefits of owning a private electric scooter versus renting is its cost-effectiveness. The upfront cost may seem a little steep, but let’s consider the long-term savings of owning your own e-scooter. When you rent a scooter, you're paying for the convenience of using it for a short time, but the fees can add up quickly, especially if you're regularly using a rental to get to where you need to go.
If you’ve decided to forego travelling by car or public transport, the costs of a rental e-scooter will start to add up with daily use. On the other hand, owning an electric scooter means you only pay for it once. So, let's consider the upfront cost of buying an electric scooter…
Are private e-scooters more cost-effective than rental e-scooters?
Depending on the model, brand, and features, you can expect to pay anywhere from £200 to £1,000 (or more) for an electric scooter. Rental schemes typically charge anywhere from £0.10 to £0.50 per minute of use, or around £10 to £20 per hour. Riding a rental scooter for just one hour per week could easily add up to over £500 per year. By comparison, owning an electric scooter could pay for itself in just a few months. And while you do have to factor in maintenance and repairs, most private e-scooters are sold with maintenance plans included nowadays (including the Nought.One which comes with 2 years of cover).
So, how much can you expect to save by owning your own electric scooter versus renting one? Let's say you use a rental e-scooter for one hour every week, or around 52 hours per year. If we assume an average rental cost of £15 per hour, that would come to £780 per year. If you purchased a scooter for £500 and used it for the same amount of time, you could potentially save £280 in just the first year.
Of course, you may not need a private e-scooter if you’re only an occasional rider. But if you’re using an electric scooter for your daily commute and want to save money in the long run, owning a private scooter is worth considering.
Convenience: The freedom of owning your own e-scooter
If you’re looking to bypass the congested city streets and get to work without all the hassle of stop-start crowded public transport, an electric scooter is definitely the most convenient option. You can get to your destination quickly while enjoying a little fresh air and the outdoors – sounds good, right? And when it comes to convenience, owning your own e-scooter beats rental options hands down…
Most, if not all, rental scheme scooters are geofenced to certain areas and the electric scooter just stops working if you travel outside of those areas. There are restricted zones which are no-go areas, which can complicate your commute if you have a specific route to follow or are trying to get to a specific destination that falls outside these areas. There are also rules about where the rental e-scooters can be parked when they’re not in use, and it’s hardly convenient when these specific zones aren’t near where you need to be.
With a private scooter, though, you have the freedom to use it wherever you want without having to worry about restricted zones, geofencing limitations, or designated parking spots. So, while rental scooters are convenient in some ways, owning your own electric scooter definitely has more points in the pros column.
Freedom and flexibility for a quick commute
When you own an e-scooter, you never have to worry about availability – what if there are no scooters available to rent when you need one? With a rental, you might have to spend time searching for one nearby and you risk not finding one at all during peak hours. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in when you’re late for work…
With your own private e-scooter, you can just leave home and hop on your electric scooter because it's right there, waiting for you. And when you take into consideration that some rental e-scooters have speed restrictions as low as 6mph in some areas, a private scooter makes a lot more sense if you want the freedom and flexibility (without the frustration) to get to your destination quickly and easily.
Safety and maintenance: The benefits of buying an e-scooter
Safety should be your top priority when riding an electric scooter and considering the benefits of private e-scooters vs rental e-scooters. While rental e-scooters may seem like a convenient and cost-effective solution for short trips, buying your own e-scooter is definitely the safer choice. When you own your electric scooter, you know you’re the only one using it. You know how it rides, how it’s been used, and how well it’s maintained. You’re comfortable with it and there are no surprises.
Don’t take for granted how important this can be when you’re riding in areas with heavy traffic or navigating through crowded streets, especially in dim light or dangerous weather conditions. One of the biggest safety benefits of buying your own scooter is its familiarity, which gives you greater control. Rental e-scooters will vary in speed and braking, so you’ll never really know how it will respond in an emergency situation.
Your own electric scooter is easier to handle in different conditions, and you're better equipped to react quickly in a dangerous situation. You can also customise your e-scooter to your needs and preferences. When you rent an e-scooter, you have no say over the responsiveness of the brakes, a wobbly stem, or weak headlights.
Maintenance keeps you safe
Owning an electric scooter also means you don't have to deal with the hassle of finding a rental scooter that's in good condition. Rental e-scooters have a lot of wear and tear from so much use and aren’t always maintained properly. This can increase the risk of accidents and malfunctions, which is the last thing you want when you’re just trying to get to work on time.
When you own your own electric scooter, you can ensure that it's always in good working condition, and you don't have to worry about finding a rental that's in decent nick. Owning a private e-scooter gives you peace of mind that the battery is fully charged and isn’t going to run out on you mid-trip. You know that the brakes are in tip-top shape and you’re not likely to break down in a bad area where you feel unsafe.
Comfort: A more pleasant commuting experience
Comfort probably isn’t the first thing you think about when riding an electric scooter, but truth be told, there’s a lot to be said about the design of an e-scooter. And one of the main benefits of private e-scooters vs rental e-scooters is that owning your scooter provides an added level of comfort. When you rent an electric scooter, you're limited to the options provided by the rental service…
Rental scheme e-scooters are stock-standard models – you won’t find any special features that improve your ride. They’re typically lower-spec models with basic, no-frills features, designed for short distances. You can expect a low-power motor and probably some difficulty travelling up inclines. When you own your scooter, you can choose a brand and model with specs tailored to your needs and preferences.
When you buy an electric scooter, you have a whole range of features to choose from to improve your riding experience. Here are just a few of the choices available to you for a smoother ride when buying your own e-scooter:
- A bigger battery for longer-range travel
- A high-wattage motor to climb steep hills
- Dual motors that deliver higher speeds
- Disc brakes for the best stopping power
- Larger wheels for better ground clearance
- Larger tyres to ride off-road
- Suspension on the front or back, or even both wheels to smooth out bumps in the road
- Air-filled tyres for better handling and shock absorption
- Portability features, i.e. folding the scooter into a more compact size
- A higher load capacity if you’re on the end of the 100–120kg range.
Are private e-scooters more comfortable than rental e-scooters?
The smaller your wheels, the more jarring the ride. Air-filled tyres are much more durable and puncture-resistant. And when you own your own private scooter, you can inflate the pneumatic tyres to your preference for maximum comfort, and adjust the air for better traction when the roads are wet or icy. You can also adjust the suspension to help absorb the shock on bumpy roads.
You might buy an electric scooter with larger wheels that can handle rough terrain or a wider deck that’s more comfortable for longer rides. The features you choose can help reduce fatigue and discomfort during longer rides and make for a much more enjoyable commuting experience. It can mean the difference between arriving at your destination refreshed and ready for the day ahead, or frazzled and fatigued from feeling every bump in the road.
Owning your own e-scooter provides a level of comfort that just can't be matched, especially when you consider that you’re not restricted to certain areas or routes. You can take the most direct and convenient route to your destination, avoiding long detours or delays. So why settle for an uncomfortable ride when you can own your own scooter and enjoy a more pleasant commute?
Is it better to rent or own an electric scooter?
So, what are the benefits of private e-scooters vs rental e-scooters? While rental e-scooters may seem convenient, owning your own electric scooter provides loads of benefits that tip the scale in favour of buying as a good investment. The upfront cost of purchasing an e-scooter may seem daunting, but it can actually save you money in the long run compared to rental fees. Owning an electric scooter also means you can use it whenever and wherever you want, without having to worry about availability, restricted zones, safety, or an uncomfortable ride.
Owning an e-scooter is a no-brainer if you plan to use it often and want a reliable (not to mention eco-friendly) mode of transport. So, if you're considering buying a private e-scooter for yourself, do your research and choose the right e-scooter that fits your needs. Then, you can look forward to long, comfortable rides in the fresh air, enjoying the outdoors, and never worrying about where your next ride is coming from. Enjoy the ride!