11 Best Electric Scooters For Commuting (31 Tested)

Author: Evelyn

Mar. 07, 2024

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Tags: Transportation

Test Criteria:

Speed & Acceleration

While commuters aren’t necessarily looking for a racer, having a bit of zip at your disposal is a welcome perk. To account for this, I tested each scooter's pace by measuring their top speed and acceleration.

My tests were conducted on a flat, dry road and used high-precision data loggers to record performance. To guarantee that each scooter could reach its full potential, the performance settings were maxed out, the tires were pumped up to their recommended PSI, and the batteries were fully charged.

Do bear in mind that I’m 6.1 ft and weigh 190 lbs – the results may vary depending on your profile.

Range

This is key for a commuter scooter. You want a model that can get you from A to B (and back again) with minimal fuss, so the assessments that I carried out here were crucial.

While manufacturers list maximum range (i.e. the distance that a scooter can travel under best-case riding conditions – including a 165 lb rider, flat terrain, and riding in the slowest setting), I provided an insight on how each scooter performs under real-world conditions.

While testing the scooters, I made sure to include periods of fast acceleration, cruising, and multiple stops to reflect realistic conditions.

Real-world performance typically equates to 60% of the maximum.

Charge Time

Long commutes can be draining on your battery, so a fast recharge time (within reason) is preferred.

To assess how long this takes, I considered the manufacturer’s specs, alongside my calculations where I divided each battery’s amp hours (Ah) by the amperage (A) of the included charger.

Expert Tip: If you opt for a scooter that has a battery over 15Ah then you may want to purchase a fast charger, which will reduce the charge time significantly.

Comfort

Ensuring comfort on your commute is fundamental to the appeal of a scooter. To assess this, I combined both quantitative and qualitative data.

The former consisted of measurements across each scooter’s frame to determine how the dimensions impact their suitability for different riders. These included measurements of the kickplate angle, handlebar width, deck-to-handlebar height, and deck size.

The qualitative data, meanwhile, involved the assessment of each scooter’s ergonomics, shock absorption, and handling.

Maneuverability

Navigating busy city streets demands a nimble scooter. Here, I tested each model on smooth and pot-holed roads, focusing on how they handled and how power was shifted through the throttle.

The geometry of each scooter – including its rake angle and dimensions – as well as weight distribution, all fall under the spotlight, too, since they play key roles in stability and control.

Weight & Portability

Perhaps one of the most important qualities of a commuter scooter is its ability to be folded. Here, I tested each scooter’s folding mechanisms and weight to assess how easy they were to collapse and whether they could be picked up and carried. I also made sure to review how compact each scooter was by assessing its folded length, width, and height.

I then tested the rigidity of each mechanism to make sure that they didn’t cause any unwanted wobbles (for example, some stem clamps can loosen and cause the steering column to rock back and forth).

Further Information:

How I Test Portability

IP ratings

Based on my independent research of over 140 electric scooters, 78% of models are equipped with water resistance ratings. This figure is up from 74% in 2022, and 40% in 2021. However, it’s important to note that these ratings vary in the level of protection that they provide.

To assess the veracity of each scooter’s wet weather credentials, I reported on their ability to protect against water ingress.

Durability

Chances are that you’ll be riding your scooter every day, so you want to be sure that it can stand up to such rigors. The extensive testing that I conduct on every model allows me to establish a view of their long-term reliability.

I also paid particular attention to indicators of quality that ensure low maintenance, including different types of tires (i.e. solid or self-healing), the rigidity of the scooter as a whole, and the management systems used to govern the batteries.

Further Information:

How I Test Build Quality

Safety

Safety is paramount when it comes to riding an electric scooter in environments with heavy traffic and pedestrians. Your brakes need to be up to scratch.

To test braking performance, I used a measuring tape to record the stopping distance from 15 mph on a dry, smooth road. If electronic or regenerative braking was present, then I set it to the maximum strength. As a rule of thumb, anything under 3.5 meters is considered good.

But safety isn’t all about the brakes; lighting is also important when commuting after dark. I tested this in two ways: first, I compared lumen count of each scooter; second, I rode them at night to assess the brightness of their lights. During my tests, I assessed how much of the path ahead was illuminated, with the shape, direction, and size of the beam all important.

I also considered how visible the rest of the lighting rig was to other road users (i.e. turn signals, taillights, and deck LEDs – where possible).

I've tested a ton of scooters. Not all of them deserve a spot above, but some are still worth a mention. These are a few other good scooters I like:

Gotrax GX2 for $1,499: The GX2 is akin to the Apollo Phantom V3 and Segway P100S in that it's 76 pounds and packs a lot of power and range. This gunmetal scooter looks a bit like a Transformer and can hit a max speed of 35 mph via the dual 800-watt motors, but I usually rode it at 20 mph. It took me to midtown and back to Brooklyn (a total of 18.4 miles) with some juice left over. I hate carrying it up and down the stairs, because the stem is super thick, making it difficult to grasp. When you're waiting at a light, the GX2 also switches to Parking mode after a few seconds, so you constantly have to remember to press the mode button to switch it to the driving gear. It's super annoying, and Gotrax says there's no way to disable it. I am a little concerned about build quality—the motor makes a noise as if something is brushing against it, and this sound disappears if I lightly press the left brake lever while riding. The latch to keep the stem upright comes down too easily, despite a sliding lock mechanism to keep it in place; Gotrax says it might just be that it's installed too tightly. If you see any of these issues, I recommend reaching out to Gotrax and going to a local scooter shop to have them take a look.

Navee S65 for $1,099: Navee is a relatively new brand growing its presence in the US, and I had a great time using the S65 (7/10, WIRED Recommends). I was able to regularly complete 16-mile round trips at 20 mph, but that pretty much depleted the battery. It has great acceleration, thanks to its geared hub motor, and it climbs slopes with ease, but this also makes it very loud. The motor's sound disappears if you're in a noisy city like New York City, but it can make you self-conscious on quiet streets. It's 53 pounds, so it's heavier than the Niu despite having a similar range, and its customer service is a little questionable since it's so new. Still, I had fun riding it.

Apollo Ghost for $1,599: At 64 pounds, the Apollo Ghost (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is not the scooter for walkups, but it's tremendous fun. I tested the 2021 model, but the 2022 version has some upgrades. The dual 1,000-watt motors can vault you to 34 miles per hour (if that's legal where you live), but I mostly relied on the single motor and cruised at around 20 to 25 mph—there's a button to switch between the two, and modes to further limit your speed. Anyone in a hilly city will benefit from the power and extended range of the Ghost. I hit around 20 miles on a single charge (Apollo claims a generous 37). There are front and visibility LEDs built under and around the deck, along with a taillight. As for the brakes, you can get wire-controlled discs or upgrade to hydraulic ones. The former delivered enough stopping power for me, but the latter is more responsive and reliable.

Evolv Terra for $1,234: I enjoyed my time with the Evolv Terra (7/10, WIRED Recommends). If you're considering the Apollo Ghost above, consider this first because it's slightly cheaper, a little lighter at 53 pounds, and easier to carry. It's just as powerful, with the potential to go as fast as 31 miles per hour when you engage both 600-watt motors (check your local speed laws first!). Otherwise, you can cruise along at 20 mph as I did on the second gear speed setting (there are three in total) with the single motor. Range isn't dissimilar either; I usually had two bars left after 15 miles on the Terra so it can potentially last more than 20 miles, especially if you're conservative with its speeds. The suspension is OK but the solid tires on rougher roads can feel quite bumpy. The fenders also seemed pretty useless to me as, after a wet ride post-rain, my back was covered in specks of dirt kicked up from the rear tire. The stem's angle was also a little too close to my body, and the lack of a thumb throttle meant my wrist hurt after long rides. You can tweak the angle of the throttle and brakes to improve this though. These are relatively minor quibbles considering the price.

Radio Flyer S533 for $599: Honestly, I'm surprised at how well this scooter did in my tests. The folding mechanism is just a latch and a sleeve you pull down to keep the latch from coming undone while you ride. It's super easy to fold and unfold, and lightweight at 30 pounds. It's not a commuter scooter by any means—my range hovered under 8 miles on a single charge—and despite exceeding its 220-pound load capacity, I averaged around 14 mph of its 16 mph top speed. It's a nice little scooter for going to the post office, to the grocery store, or to Cinnabon when my wife asks for a cinnamon roll. However, its price doesn't match its power and performance; it really should be cheaper. It's also worth noting that the first model the company sent me didn't turn on and the second model had a deflated front tire. Inflating it was a quick affair and I haven't had problems since.

Segway Ninebot F30 for $350: This used to be my top recommendation for most people, but after a longer testing period, I've found that the range has dramatically reduced at a much faster pace compared to other electric scooters I've tried. It used to last around 10 miles or so, but lately, I've only managed around 6. I still think it's a great scooter. It goes 15 mph, is comfy to ride, and you get a good set of essentials, such as reliable lights, brakes, and an intuitively designed bell. It's fairly lightweight, too, at 33 pounds. If your budget can stretch, I'd go for the Ninebot F40 ($797), which can go a bit faster and has better range, but I still prefer the Niu KQi3 Pro at that price.

Apollo Air Pro (2022) for $899: I have not tested the new 2023 model, but the Apollo Air Pro (2022) was a perfectly fine scooter (6/10, WIRED Review), I just don't think it's worth the high price. It goes up to 21 mph, and I was able to ride it for about 13 to 15 miles before it died. You get all the accouterments, like a front light and bell, and there's app connectivity to tweak settings to your liking. However, the app is required to unlock the Air Pro's true speed—otherwise, you're restricted to 12 mph. I'm more miffed at the folding mechanism, which is more work than it should be. It also doesn't accelerate too fast and, despite its 39-pound weight, is uncomfortable to carry due to its thick stem.

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