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Your Position: Home - Transportation - The best electric scooters for adults in 2024

The best electric scooters for adults in 2024

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An electric scooter for adults seems like the natural progression for those who grew up riding on Razer scooters in the early 2000s or anyone who needs an easier way to get around in cities or suburbia. The number of people renting motorized scooters has been steadily increasing in popularity since at least the late 2010s, but they’ve finally become cost-effective for many more people. The best electric scooters for adults will allow you to get around more easily, and offer a legitimate eco-friendly alternative to electric bikes and other means of public transportation.

How we chose the best electric scooters for adults

Our electric scooters for adults recommendations are based on a mix of hands-on testing and research, with specific emphasis on their speed, range, and weight. This is a mode of transportation, not just a fun electric toy, and we wanted to select models that could be reasonably used for running quick errands in a five- to 10-mile radius.

The right electric scooter for you should be easy to move, last long enough to get to and from multiple places, and keep up with other members of a bicycle lane. We highly recommend researching the specific electric scooter laws in your city or state—these are the regulations in New York City as a reference—so you don’t get caught and fined for doing something you didn’t know was wrong.

The best electric scooters for adults: Reviews & Recommendations

Ready to feel rad, or at the very least feel able to keep your car in the garage or driveway a couple of extra times per week? If you’re ready to move beyond the rental scooters found in dense urban areas and incorporate one of these fast scooters into your regular life, check out our picks. These electric scooters may well become your main mode of transportation for short trips to the laundromat or sandwich shop.

Best overall: NIU KQi3 Pro

Brandt Ranj / Popular Science

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Specs

  • Top speed: 20MPH
  • Range: 31 miles
  • Weight: ‎56 Pounds

Pros

  • Responsive brakes
  • Smooth steering
  • Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • Full speed required to move up hills

If you’ve never ridden an electric scooter before, we can’t recommend NIU’s KQi3 Pro highly enough. This beginner-friendly scooter took roughly 10 minutes to set up, a process that included unboxing, attaching the steering column to the main body and handlebar to the steering column, downloading NIU’s app, pairing our smartphone to the KQi3 Pro, and plugging it in to charge. You’ll only need one tool for assembly, which is included in the box. NIU says it takes six hours to charge this electric scooter’s battery fully, and we waited until it was fully topped up to begin our tests.

We opted to pair our scooter with NIU’s app before our first ride because it offers some genuinely helpful information, such as its current battery status, duration of your last ride, and total mileage. You can also lock the scooter to prevent theft, which is the most important feature. Finally, the KQi3 Pro does get occasional firmware updates, and the app can keep your ride up to date. This is a gadget after all, and any improvements to its efficiency and safety are highly recommended.

We’d never ridden an electric scooter for adults before the KQi3 Pro, and we have to admit the experience was seamless immediately. This scooter’s controls are intuitive: Depress an accelerator switch on the left side to increase your speed, and brake by squeezing either of the levers located above the handlebar. These controls will feel familiar if you’re familiar with riding a bicycle—especially an ebike. It took about a half hour to learn how to properly negotiate our turns, which comes down to our inexperience with this form of transportation, but we felt totally in control of the scooter after that.

The main purpose of scooters for adults is purposeful mobility, and the KQi3 Pro is plenty powerful for trips around town. We rode on smooth and rough asphalt, ran over water hoses and similarly-sized obstacles, and even shallow potholes. At peak speed, we zoomed past pedestrians and bikers, mindful of our surroundings, of course (so if you’re wearing headphones, make them bone conduction). We found it struggled a little going uphill, but that comes down to the weight of the rider and incline of the hill.

NIU says this scooter can run up to 31 miles per charge, but that depends on how much you push the scooter. We found that range estimate accurate on flat terrain, but the battery ran down more quickly if we took routes with several hills. Be mindful of this as you pre-plan a longer route. Altogether, we found NIU’s KQi3 Pro to be an exceptional scooter for adults, especially those new to this form of transportation. Everything from its user-friendly setup and app to the smoothness of our rides stood out.

Best splurge: Segway Ninebot SuperScooter GT2P

Specs

  • Top speed: 43.5MPH
  • Range: 55.9 Miles
  • Weight: ‎116 Pounds

Pros

  • Longest range
  • Fastest top speed
  • Cruise control

Cons

  • Price

In terms of raw power, Segway’s Ninebot SuperScooter GT2P is untouchable. It can run at speeds up to 37.3 miles per hour, run for over 50 miles per charge, and is equipped with car-like features, including cruise control and a detailed display. The scooter’s built-in screen can show its battery status, speed, operating mode, and even rate of acceleration. Having all these metrics at a glance can be extremely helpful in moderating your speed and adjusting your route in real-time based on how much juice is left in the tank. You can optimize the GTP2’s power by switching its sport and race modes into eco mode, reducing its energy consumption.

Every component in the GT2P is luxe, from its double-wishbone suspension to keep you from bouncing when going over large bumps to its hydraulic disc brake that ensures you won’t get jerked around if you have to stop more suddenly. Ambient lights on the back will illuminate to let drivers and bikers know you’re there, which is an important safety feature when operating this scooter at night. These features push Segway’s scooter in front of the competition on both a technical and design front, contributing to its $2,499.99 price tag. Given its cost, we can only recommend this scooter for adults to someone interested in making it their primary form of transportation.

Best eco-friendly: Segway Ninebot KickScooter MAX G2

Specs

  • Top speed: 22MPH
  • Range: 43 Miles
  • Weight: ‎53.5 Pounds

Pros

  • Long range
  • Wide footboard
  • Find My support

Cons

  • Price

While it’s still steeper in price than most of our recommendations, Segway’s Ninebot KickScooter MAX G2 can run for up to 43 miles in eco mode. This means you’ll have to charge it less often, which is helpful if you’re trying to moderate your monthly utility bill and carbon footprint. While range is this electric scooter’s biggest asset, it’s complemented by useful design features like integrated turn signals located on both sides of its handlebar, a wider footboard to make riding more comfortable, and a high-decibel horn that’s louder than a dinging bell. That horn can also sound in the event of a theft.

In the event that this scooter does get stolen, you can track and potentially retrieve it more easily by enabling Apple’s Find My feature from within Segway’s iOS app. This feature is contingent on you having an iPhone, but it’s helpful nonetheless. The Ninebot KickScooter MAX G2 doesn’t have all the advanced design features as Segway’s higher-end electric scooters, but it does have a bunch of automatic battery settings that impressed us. The scooter can monitor its battery’s status in real-time to prevent damage from overcurrents, overheating, and overcharging, amongst other potential issues. These features can extend the life of an electric scooter as they’ll save you from having to replace or repair components. That in itself makes this electric scooter for adults the best eco-friendly option.

Best durable: NAVEE V50

Specs

  • Top speed: 20MPH
  • Range: 31 Miles
  • Weight: 37 Pounds

Pros

  • Water-resistant and dust-protected design
  • Large tires
  • AirTag holder

Cons

  • Plain design

If you plan on riding your electric scooter over rough terrain, NAVEE’s V50 should be the one you choose. It’s the only electric scooter for adults we’re recommending with an IP55 rating, which means it’s water-resistant and dust-protected. The scooter will get damaged if fully submerged underwater but can be splashed or rained on without consequence. Similarly, riding the scooter through a patch of dirt or sandy asphalt shouldn’t trouble you. NAVEE outfitted its electric scooter with large, 10-inch wheels designed to avoid damage from smaller potholes.

On the technical side, the NAVEE V50 is on par with our top recommendation, offering the same range and top speed and being outfitted with a display that shows similar data points. One optional tech feature is the ability to open up a small compartment in the scooter’s handlebar, which was designed to fit an Apple AirTag. If you plant the tracker in your scooter, you’ll be able to monitor its location in real time using the Find My app available on the iPhone. We don’t have any substantive complaints about this scooter other than the fact that this scooter’s look is a little basic.

Best budget: Caroma E5B Electric Scooter

Specs

  • Top speed: 15.5MPH
  • Range: 15.5 Miles
  • Weight: 23.1 Pounds

Pros

  • Built-in display
  • Lightweight
  • Price

Cons

  • Lower power and range

If you only need an electric scooter for very casual rides and short runs to close places, Caroma’s E5B is the best value. It costs under $250, which makes it accessible to far more people than all of our other recommendations. Yes, this means the scooter has a lower top speed and shorter range, but you’ll still be able to make shorter trips in far less time than walking. The E5B has a smaller screen that’ll still show your current speed and battery life, and will allow you to switch between a few operating modes that impact its power draw.

This electric scooter has smaller wheels than some of our other recommendations, so you’ll feel smaller bumps in the road more acutely. None of these limitations are deal breakers, but you should be mindful of them. If you’re curious about getting your first electric scooter for adults, the Caroma E5B’s inviting entry-level price will allow you to kick the tires (literally) before deciding whether you’ll need to upgrade to a more advanced model down the line.

What to consider when buying electric scooters for adults

There are many decisions to make when deciding which electric scooter for adults is right for your needs. Below you’ll find the factors we deemed most important during our research and testing:

Range

Most electric scooters can run for around 30 miles, with less powerful models clocking in closer to 20 miles and premium options running between 40 and 50 miles. We recommend using your maps app of choice to check the distance between your home and the places you’d like to go. This will give you a reasonable baseline for your electric scooter range needs. If possible, get a scooter with a slightly higher maximum range than you’d need just to be safe.

Maximum speed

A majority of the scooters we’re recommending can run at up to 20 miles per hour, with the most premium model running nearly double that speed. Keep in mind your maximum riding speed may be limited by local laws.

Weight

An electric scooter’s weight doesn’t seem important until you carry it up or down stairs or across a street or room. You should be able to lift your electric scooter without overexerting yourself.

FAQs

Q: Can an electric scooter last 10 years?

Yes. With proper maintenance, there’s no reason why your electric scooter should last less than 10 years.

Q: How do I maintain my electric scooter?

Cleaning your electric scooter off after every ride, avoiding potholes and rough terrain, and keeping your battery charged regularly can help ensure your electric scooter remains usable for several years.

Q: How far can electric scooters go?

This will vary from model to model, but a typical electric scooter will run for around 30 miles before recharging.

Q: Do I need a driver’s license for an electric scooter?

No. You do not need a driver’s license to operate an electric scooter, but check the local laws in your area to see whether that changes.

Q: How much does an electric scooter cost?

This depends on their technical specifications, but our recommendations cost between $239.99 and $2,499.99.

Final thoughts on the best electric scooters for adults

Using an electric scooter for adults can be liberating if you feel bad starting your gas car for short trips—those just long enough wherein it’d be uncomfortable to walk. Sure, you could convert a bike to an ebike, but the right cheap scooter lets you fold it up (unlike most bikes) once you reach your destination, be it a store, school, or even an office, and store them easily until you leave. This mode of transportation can help cut down on your carbon footprint and may even begin paying for itself (albeit very, very slowly) by reducing the amount of gas you have to put in your car. If you have no current means of transportation, an electric scooter can be a lifeline that makes certain errands, like transporting multiple bags of groceries, possible.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

When it's too far to walk but too short to drive, then maybe one of the best electric scooters is the answer. Electric scooters have exploded in popularity because they're easy to use and zip you around quickly. And, because they're more compact than bikes, they're easier to store in apartments and smaller spaces.

Choosing the best electric scooter for your needs comes down to price and purpose: What are you willing to spend, and what are you using it for? We've tested dozens of scooters, ranging from less than $200 to more than $1,500 to find the best electric scooter for everyone and anyone. As part of our evaluations, we've taken them up and down hills, on subways and trains, through cities and suburbs, to see how well they perform in a variety of conditions.

Regardless of the electric scooter you choose, we suggest plenty of practice before you hit the road. If you're looking for something for your child, be sure to check out the best electric scooters for kids, as well as our guide to the best bike helmets. You'll also want to pick up one of the best bike locks to make sure that your scooter doesn't get stolen.

Read on for all of our favorite picks for the best electric scooters.

The quick list

The best electric scooter overall

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Niu Kqi3 Max is an electric scooter that has it all: A powerful motor, great range, stylish looks, and much more. We had a lot of fun riding it around, and were especially impressed at how it handled hills. The Kqi3 Max's front ring headlight cuts a real profile, and the red mechanical disc brakes on the front and rear wheels give it a sports car feel.

To be sure, its actual range is a good deal less than its advertised range of 40 miles, especially when you're cruising up hills, but was plenty long enough to get us around for a week without recharging. You can also use the Niu app to customize the Kqi3 Max's ride, and even lock it. However, at 46 pounds, this is one heavy scooter. If you have to carry this up and down stairs, we recommend the Unagi Model One instead. But if weight is not a concern, this is a pretty awesome electric scooter.

Read our full Niu Kqi3 Max review.

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Best budget scooter

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Hiboy S2

Dual brakes and some fancy lights

Our expert review:

Average Amazon review:

Specifications

Size (unfolded):

45.7 x 6.9 x 47.2 inches

Weight:

29.5 pounds

Motor:

350-watt, front-wheel drive

Wheel size:

8.5-inch, rubber

Max speed:

19 MPH

Range:

17 miles

Max rider weight:

220 pounds

Battery:

270 wH

View at Amazon

Reasons to buy

+

Front, rear, and side lights

+

Regenerative and mechanical brakes

+

Sensible design

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the most powerful for hills

-

Finicky latch mechanism

The Hiboy S2 has several features you don't typically find on a budget electric scooter. These include such things as dual brakes — both regenerative and a mechanical disk — and lights, not just in the front and back, but around the sides of the scooter, too. Not only does it make you more visible, but it's also a really cool effect. 

I also liked the very clean design of the Hiboy S2; there aren't a lot of dangling wires and such. The one caveat is its rear latching mechanism, which was a bit finicky. The S2's 350-Watt motor proved up to the task for most situations, but like most budget scooters, I found it had trouble on hills. Its battery life is good for a scooter in this price range, but expect to charge it every few days if you plan on doing a lot of riding. 

If you can get the Hiboy S2 for $399 or less, it's a great value, as it delivers more than most other scooters at that price. 

Read our full Hiboy S2 electric scooter review.

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Best electric scooter for commuters

Unagi Model One

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Unagi Model One Voyager

The best electric scooter when weight is a premium

Our expert review:

Specifications

Size (folded):

37.8 x 16.5 x 15 inches

Size (unfolded):

43.3 x 37.8 x 16.5 inches

Weight:

26.5 pounds

Motor:

Dual 250-watt

Wheel size:

7.5-inch, rubber

Max speed:

20 mph

Range:

20 miles

Max rider weight:

275 pounds

Battery:

360Wh

Check AmazonView at Unagi

Reasons to buy

+

Sleek design

+

Dual motors good for hills

+

Clear display

+

Explore more:
Transportation

Very light

Reasons to avoid


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The Versatile Sidewall Trailer: A Workhorse of Transportation

-

Rougher ride than other scooters

-

Expensive

Thanks to its dual 250-watt motors, the Unagi Model One Voyager powers up hills with aplomb, zipping along twice as fast as other scooters with just a single motor. Using both motors (you can opt to use just one) causes the battery life to drop significantly lower than the scooter's advertised 20-mile range.

The Unagi also has a great display that's bright enough to easily see even in daylight; we also liked its intuitive controls and loud, electric-sounding horn. It has both head and taillights, the latter of which blinks rapidly when you hit the brakes. 

We were also enamored with the Unagi's sleek design; its carbon-fiber front post changes in geometry from a circle to a triangular shape, making for an intriguing look. 

All of this comes at a price: The Model One Voyager costs $1,490 — and it's backordered until March 2024. However, Unagi's scooter rental program lets you rent the Voyager for $69/month, or the Unagi Model One Classic for $39/month with an annual subscription. 

Read our full Unagi Model One Voyager review.

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Best scooter for long distances

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Segway Ninebot Kickscooter Max G2 is an excellent upgrade to the original, featuring a longer range, more powerful motor, and some excellent new safety and security features.

For starters, the Max G2 has turn signals built into the handlebars that we found to be plenty bright — at least to oncoming traffic (my body tended to block the signals from those behind me). You can also set an unlock code to help deter thieves, and Apple Find My is built in, should the scooter ever go missing. You should still get one of the best bike locks to be safe. 

The G2's 1000-Watt motor was more than powerful enough to get me up steep hills, and a capacious battery was able to deliver about 22 miles of range. That's shorter than Segway's advertised 43 miles, but still longer than most other scooters. And, thanks to dual suspension and thick 9 x 2.5-inch inflatable tires, I was able to ride around in comfort, too. 

The one tradeoff: This scooter weighs a heavy 53.5 pounds, so it's not something you'll want to carry around.

Read our full Segway Ninebot Kickscooter Max G2 review.

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The fastest scooter

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Apollo City 2023

This fun and fast electric scooter has turn signals

Our expert review:

Specifications

Weight:

57 pounds

Wheel size:

10-inch, inflatable

Max Speed:

32 mph

Range:

43 miles

Max Rider Weight:

265 pounds

Motor:

500W, rear-wheel drive

Battery:

48V 20Ah

View at Apollo Scooters

Reasons to buy

+

Very powerful

+

Great range

+

Fast top speed

+

Turn signals on handlebars and chassis

Reasons to avoid

-

Headlight could be brighter

-

Turn signal buttons should be on the left handlebar

The Apollo City has something most other electric scooters lack: Turn signals. It's a lot easier to let other drivers know you want to go left or right if you can switch on a light, rather than holding your arm out — even better, they're on both the deck of the scooter as well as the ends of each handlebar, so it's even easier for cars to spot you.

Yet, the Apollo City is also a great scooter on its own; its 500-Watt motor let us roar up and down even the steepest of hills with ease, and its top speed of 32 miles per hour let us keep pace with most local traffic. We also liked its full suspension and puncture-proof tires. 

Apollo's app even lets you customize the scooter's performance, and has a remote-locking function, which engages the scooter's brakes, so that others can't ride it.

Still, at 57 pounds, this is a pretty heavy electric scooter — it's not our first choice if you have to carry it up a flight of stairs — and its latching mechanism is more finicky than you'll find on many other electric scooters. But, otherwise, this is a fun and fast electric scooter with a good safety feature built in.

Read our full Apollo City 2023 review.

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Best electric scooter for kids

Razor E100

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Razor E100 is the best electric scooter for parents who want to get a scooter for their kids to safely ride around town. It comes in a variety of colors and features twist-grip acceleration controls, as well as a hand-operated front brake. The E100 tops out at 10 mph but offers enough torque for heading uphill or over steep bumps. And with 40 minutes of drive time, that's plenty to get to school and back with a pit stop in between. 

The Razor E100 is available in a variety of colors and styles, so you should be able to find a model that best fits your child's personality. Just remember to get them a helmet. One caveat of the E100 is that it uses a chain-drive motor, which can be noisier than hub motors, and could require some maintenance over time. Also, the E100 lacks a bell or reflectors of any kind, so you'll want to purchase some at a bike shop to help make your child more visible on the road.

For more options, be sure to check out the best electric scooters for kids.

Read our full Razor E100 electric scooter review.

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Best scooter for carrying stuff

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. Glion Balto

The best electric scooter with a basket

Our expert review:

Specifications

Size (folded):

37 x 12 x 8 inches

Size (unfolded):

48 x 45 x 24 inches

Weight:

38 pounds

Wheel size:

12-inch pneumatic

Motor:

500W (Peak 750W) geared brushless hub motor

Battery:

36V 10.5Ah

Max Speed:

17 MPH

Range:

20 miles

Max Rider Weight:

255 pounds

Check AmazonView at Glion

Reasons to buy

+

Has lights and turn signals

+

Side-view mirror

+

Makes it easy to carry items

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the most powerful

The Glion Balto is the best electric scooter for those who want something they can use to pick up groceries or carry things to and from the store. And, it can fold up on itself, making it much easier to store.

We also really like that the Balto comes with a side-view mirror, lights, and turn signals, which made us feel safer in traffic. And, the Balto's battery is removable, so you don't have to park the scooter near an outlet. As a bonus, you can also use the battery to charge your phone — but you'll need to buy an adapter first. 

If you're looking for another scooter with a basket, you should also check out the Razor EcoSmart Cargo; it has a bit more zip than the Balto and its basket can be swapped out for an extra seat, but it can't fold up, and its chain drive is a bit noisy. 

Read our full Glion Balto review.

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Scooter specs compared

Here's a quick glance at the raw numbers for each of the electric scooters on this page; as a reminder, the max range figures are an estimate, based on ideal riding conditions. Based on our experience, you'll get about 60-70% of that figure. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally

Row 0 - Cell 0

MotorMax rangeSpeedNIU Kqi3 Max450W40 miles23.6 MPHHiboy S2350W17 miles19 MPHUnagi Model One Voyagerdual 250W20 miles20 MPHSegway Ninebot Kickscooter Max G21,000W43 miles23 MPHApollo City 2023500W43 miles32 MPHRazor E100100W10 miles10 MPHGlion Balto500W20 miles17 MPH

How to choose the best electric scooter for you

How are you going to use the scooter?
How you plan to use your scooter will go a long way to determining the best electric scooter for your needs. If you're using it as a "last-mile" vehicle — getting you from your home to the bus or train, and then from the bus or train to your office — you'll want to prioritize an electric scooter that's small and light. Look for a scooter that weighs between 20 and 30 pounds.

You'll also want an electric scooter that folds quickly and easily. There's nothing worse than having to fumble with a latch when you're rushing to catch a train — and your fellow passengers will appreciate it, too.

Are you riding on hilly terrain?
Where you plan to ride your scooter should also help determine your purchase. If you live in a flatter area, a scooter with a 300W to 350W motor should give you all the power you need. If, however, you live in, say, San Francisco, you'll want a scooter with a stronger motor to get you around. Larger individuals should also consider electric scooters with more powerful motors. 

Price: For many, the price of an electric scooter will be the starting point for any buying decision. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect at each price tier.

  • $100 to $300: These scooters tend to be of the budget variety and come with smaller motors, low-capacity batteries and simple braking mechanisms, though they don't require maintenance and are great for getting the feel of the electric scooter. This is where you'll also find most electric scooters for kids.
  • $300 to $600: These scooters can be considered as either midrange or entry-level commuters, and they tend to include bigger wheels, slightly longer ranges, fast-charging batteries and the ability to scale hills.
  • $600 and up: These scooters are in the premium range. You can expect a longer, more comfortable ride, along with larger tires, faster speeds, disc brakes and better suspension.

Battery life/range: After price, this will be the next deciding factor for many. It's a bit difficult to provide an accurate estimate of battery life and range, because it's dependent on a variety of factors, including the rider's weight, the temperature, and the terrain — if you're riding on flat surfaces, you'll be able to go much farther than if you're riding up and down hills. Battery life is typically measured in Amp Hours (aH); the higher the number, the longer you'll be able to ride.

Speed: Most electric scooters will top out at around 15 to 18 miles per hour on a flat road. That's plenty fast for most uses, but there are scooters that will zip along at speeds in excess of 25 MPH. 

Motors: The majority of electric scooters will have a single hub-mounted motor (meaning the motor is built into the wheel itself), and will typically have a power rating of 250 to 350 Watts. If you live in a particularly hilly area (or want to go fast) you'll want a motor with higher wattage.

Tires/suspension: There's nothing worse than a jarring ride as you bump over potholes and cracks in the road. To mitigate this, most electric scooters are now outfitted with air-filled (pneumatic) tires, which help cushion things. Others will have front or rear suspension (or both), which makes for an even more comfortable ride. Bigger tires also mean a more stable ride, too.

Lights: If you plan on riding your electric scooter in the early morning, at dusk, or among city traffic, it's worth getting a model with lights so you can see and be seen. Look for electric scooters with headlights and taillights — the better ones will have taillights that flash when you apply the brakes. Unfortunately, turn signals are rare, so you'll have to look out when changing lanes.

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Electric scooters: Frequently asked questions

What's a good speed for an electric scooter?

The vast majority of electric scooters are designed to travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour. More expensive models can reach speeds of up to 20 MPH. Others can go even faster — we've seen (and rode) models that exceed 30 MPH — but here, you're getting into a gray area when it comes to state motor vehicle laws and regulations. 

What is the best wattage for an electric scooter?

A typical electric scooter will have a 250-350 Watt motor, which should be more than enough power for most city riding on level terrain. As you go up in price, you'll find scooters with 500 Watt and higher motors, which are helpful if you need to get up steeper hills. At the top end, you'll find 800 to 1,000-Watt motors, which not only make getting up hills a cinch, but can also scoot you at much faster speeds. 

What are the safety features for electric scooters?

Most, if not all electric scooters will have some sort of reflective surface so that you'll be more visible when a car's lights shine on you. As you go up in price, electric scooters will have headlights and tail lights — some tail lights will even blink when you apply the brakes. 

Speaking of brakes, almost all scooters have some sort of handbrake; some will have a secondary brake that can be activated by pressing down on a scooter's rear fender. 

Almost all electric scooters will also come with a bell or horn so you can warn others that you're approaching — but this doesn't mean you should ride recklessly. And, it's important to always wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter.

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How we test

There are dozens of varieties of electric scooters on the market, but only a few are worth bringing home to ride. 

To test electric scooters, we ride them around a New Jersey suburb and, if the scooter is light and small enough, we take it on a train and into New York City. As increasing numbers of people are bringing scooters on public transportation, we like to see how easy it is to lug a scooter up stairs, and to see how well it can be stowed under a seat. 

Once in New York, we ride the scooter some more to see how well it handles potholes and other road obstacles. We also take each scooter up a street with a 6-percent grade, to see how well its motor performs under strain. More powerful scooters will be able to maintain a somewhat consistent speed, while lesser models will slow to a crawl.

In addition, we evaluate each scooter to see if it can reach its advertised top speed, and how close its range comes to the company's estimates. Spoiler alert: Most electric scooters will get around 60% of their advertised range. 

As part of the testing process, we also evaluate a scooter's brakes, lighting, and design, as well as its price. 

For entry-level and commuter scooters, we primarily consider things such as portability — how easy it is to fold up to bring on the bus or other types of public transportation, or how light it is to cart up a long stretch of stairs — along with range and top speed.

Commuter scooters don't need to be the fastest things around, but it helps if they can manage at least 15 MPH for a sustained time so that you're not holding up anyone in the bike lane. We also looked at braking mechanisms, including hydraulic disc brakes, which are the best for stopping quickly and safely at top speeds, and mechanical disc brakes, which are considered the second best for their reliability. Extra features like headlights, reflectors and available speedometer also factored into our commuter picks.

For the performance-based, higher-end rides, we consider range, speed and braking mechanisms, but we also looked at suspension. If you're paying upward of $1,000 for an electric scooter, it should be comfortable to ride and able to scale curbs, hills and bumpy roads. 

For our picks for kids, electric scooters in this category don't offer the same bells and whistles as commuter models. For instance, many of the child and preteen picks don't fold up for portability, so we considered overall weight and size for kids with longer rides to school. We also stuck with scooters that topped out at 15 mph for utmost safety. And like our commuter and high-performance picks, we pored over reviews from parents where accessible. 

For more information, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.

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