Electric Scooters: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying
Need to Knows Before Buying an Electric Scooter
From pricing to construction, here are all the things you should consider before buying an electric scooter.
Electric vehicles of all kinds are becoming increasingly popular as a novelty or hobby item and a daily transportation method in metropolitan environments. Electric scooters are specifically beneficial in a number of different ways.
- They’re compact, easy-to-store vehicles that do not require a spacious or expensive parking space.
- They’re environmentally friendly, with no emissions, and ever-improving batteries with longer ranges and more efficient charging with every new model.
- They allow you to save time on your commute by avoiding large traffic hold-ups.
- They are considerably less expensive to buy and maintain than larger vehicles like motorbikes or cars.
- They’re a great way to improve your balance and endurance while making commuting more fun.
If you are looking to buy an electric scooter for the first time, here’s what you need to know to properly consider your options and find the right machine for you.
What You Need to Know Before Buying an Electric Scooter
There are several factors you should consider before buying an electric scooter, but some of the main priorities you should have are price, range, weight and carrying capacity, motor power, tires, and additional features.
Electric scooters range in price widely depending on the intended purpose of the scooter.
- Budget scooters tend to cost $300 or less. These machines have no frills and minimal specs, meaning that they are fine for light recreational use but shouldn’t be used for daily transportation or more active recreation.
- Commuter scooters range from $300 to roughly $1200, with the mid-range machines averaging around $600-$900. These scooters are more durable, feature capable motors and braking systems, and have better suspension systems that can handle most roads and metropolitan surfaces.
- High-performance scooters range up from $1200 to more than $2500. These scooters have top-of-the-line technology and capabilities; they’re able to reach the highest speeds and longest ranges and are the most durable machines. These scooters are for dedicated sport and long-distance use.
The range of your scooter is important as it will let you know how long you can ride your machine on one charge, which is good to know if you have a standard daily commute you need to make or if you intend to use your machine for long-range rides for recreation.
To calculate your ideal range, figure out how long your commute or intended journey is in miles and kilometers, then add a small cushion to find the safe range. Compare this range across models and look for a machine that meets your needs.
You may also want to consider purchasing extra chargers to keep in multiple destinations (such as at home, at work, or in your daily carrying bag).
Weight and Carrying Capacity
An important aspect of your scooter choice will be its carrying capacity. As a matter of safety, you’ll want something that can easily hold your weight plus the weight of any luggage you choose to carry. Most commercial scooters can carry a load of up to 270 lbs, so if you are a heavier person or carry heavier luggage, consider looking specifically for a scooter with a higher carrying capacity.
You’ll also want to consider the weight of the machine itself. A lighter scooter, at the expense of some power, will be easier to store and transport when you’re not riding it - such as when you’re traveling via public transport - so it’s a good option for daily commuting. Heavier scooters, though more powerful and great for sport and recreation, will be harder to transport and store. Consider this comparison: the average vacuum cleaner weighs roughly 12-18 lbs, while a standard mid-range-capable scooter will weigh around 25 lbs, and a performance scooter will often weigh 30 lbs or more.
Take into account what kind of commute you have and how you’ll be transporting your scooter, as well as what physical limitations you may have to moving the scooter around, when deciding how heavy of a scooter you’re willing to use.
The motor power of your scooter will help determine the speeds it can reach and the loads it can carry safely, as well as the degree of inclines it can handle, and what kind of acceleration and power consumption you can expect.
- 250 watts is the lowest power range for adult electric scooters and will be able to handle flat ground and very mild inclines with light carrying loads.
- 500 watts is the standard power range for a mid-range scooter and will be able to handle normal city and suburban riding with an average carrying load.
- 1200 watts or more are power ranges generally reserved for performance scooters designed for rougher terrain and steep inclines, or for carrying heavy loads.
There are two categories of tires used on electric scooters: solid and pneumatic.
Pneumatic tires are close in construction to bike or car tires in that they have a hard rubber shell and soft, air-filled rubber inner tube (though some pneumatic tires are tubeless, meaning the tire is a sealed rubber with open interior space for air). These tires offer a more comfortable, smooth, and well-controlled ride, but do sometimes experience flats, blowouts, and punctures just like you would have with a bike or car, albeit on a smaller scale. Pneumatic tires will have to be replaced every so often to prevent or treat these issues.
Solid tires are, as the name implies, a solid wheel of rubber or other material with no air inside and no inner tube. These wheels are immune to issues like punctures and blowouts, and are considerably more durable than pneumatic tires, meaning that they only need to be replaced when the treads wear out or if they develop cracks.
That being said, solid tires do not have the same give that pneumatic tires do, meaning that the ride will be significantly harsher, especially with poor suspension. Additionally, solid tires tend to have shallower treads, meaning that their grip on the road is less intense, which can make riding in wet or slippery conditions dangerous.
If you prefer low maintenance and have a machine with decent suspension, or if you plan to use your scooter as a daily commuter vehicle in a simple urban or suburban setting, you might opt for solid tires. If you prefer a smoother ride, live in an environment prone to wet conditions, or want to use your scooter for off-road riding, consider pneumatic tires.
There are a few other factors that should be considered when buying an electric scooter.
- The Ingress Protection or IP rating of an electric scooter tells you how well protected it is against dust and water. For daily commuting or rough sport riding, look for an IP rating of at least IPx4.
- The braking system of your scooter is important if you plan to ride in either highly populated areas or do more intense recreational riding. Most scooters have a mechanical braking system, meaning one operated physically, while some have electronic braking systems that are motor controlled. Mechanical braking systems require maintenance but can stop faster than electrical systems.
- Some scooters come with lighting systems, usually with white lights in the front and red lights by the back wheel. If you plan to ride after dark, look for a scooter with bright lights and consider purchasing additional lights for the back of your helmet or bag for better visibility to cars and other vehicles.
- Some scooters are equipped with sound systems. These are luxury features but can be fun for recreational riding machines.
Find Your Ride With Alien Rides
Looking to get into the world of electric scooters? Alien Rides has a wide range of options for every rider, from casual hobbyists to daily commuters to sporting enthusiasts and more. We carry some of the best brands in the industry and pride ourselves on quality EVs, meaning no matter what you pick, you can trust that Alien Rides machines will offer safe, reliable rides. You can check out our lineup of electric scooters to find the one that’s right for you.