electric scooter buying guide

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to commute or you’d like a fun way to cruise around on weekends, an electric scooter is a great choice. The latest electric scooters have advanced features that make them the perfect mode of transportation to work, school, and everywhere in between.

Table of contents

    1. What is an electric scooter? 
    2. Do you need a driver’s license?
    3. Key features of electric scooters
    4. Safety features
    5. Accessories for electric scooter
    6. Brands to look for

What is an electric scooter?

An electric scooter, also known as an escooter, is a scooter that’s powered by electricity. They look just like a kick scooter, with handlebars, a floorboard to stand on, and two wheels, but electric scooters have a motor with a rechargeable battery.

Electric scooters vs kick scooters

electric scooters on best buy

Non-electric scooters are called kick scooters. Kick scooters are manual scooters, so to use one you’ll need to propel the scooter with your feet. With a kick scooter, you can control your speed just by pushing with your feet. An electric scooter propels you forward when you pull a speed controller on the handlebars. The speed controller engages the engine and controls how fast you go.

Differences between electric scooters and kick scooters

Segway Ninebot KickScooter G30P MAX Electric ScooterThere are a few fundamental differences between an electric scooter and a kick scooter. A kick scooter is portable, lightweight, and easy to use. Anyone can pick up a kick scooter and begin using it, and it’s a great form of exercise. Depending on how physically fit you are, you can use a kick scooter for short commutes to and from work or school. Because a kick scooter doesn’t have a battery, you aren’t limited to a certain range or distance.

An electric scooter is also portable and easy to use, but it’s heavier than a kick scooter because the motor and battery add weight. If you want to use your scooter for a daily commute, you’ll be guaranteed a quick and effortless ride. Thanks to the motor, you can go a lot further in a shorter time than if you were using a kick scooter.

Just keep in mind that you’ll only be able to ride a certain distance or for a certain period of time. Once the battery needs to be recharged, your electric scooter transitions into a kick scooter. Due to the weight of an electric scooter, it’s much more difficult to push.

Do you need a driver’s license to ride an electric scooter?

In many provinces, an electric scooter is considered a motorized vehicle. Just like an electric bike, there are provincial laws governing the minimum age you need to be to ride an electric scooter.

You don’t need to have a driver’s license or a learner’s license to ride one, but you must meet the minimum age requirement. The average age varies according to province, but most require you to be 16 years old before you can legally ride an electric scooter. You don’t need to purchase insurance for your scooter, but there are other restrictions and rules.

Most provinces will allow you to ride an electric scooter on the roads or in the bike lane, but you cannot ride on the sidewalk. In many provinces’ your escooter max speed cannot exceed 32 km/hr and you cannot have a motor with an output that exceeds 500 watts.

Are electric scooters waterproof?

Because an electric scooter runs on electricity, most escooter manufacturers will recommend you avoid wet or rainy conditions. Some brands like Segway and Unagi do offer some models that are water-resistant. They have an IP5 rating, so you can ride your scooter in light rain and not have to worry about driving through the occasional puddle.

Key features of electric scooters

integrated handlebar controls electric scooter

When you’re buying an electric scooter, the first decision you’ll need to make is what you’ll be using it for. If you’re using it primarily for commuting, the features you’re looking for will be slightly different than if you’re using it for recreation.

Motor watts and range of an electric scooter

When choosing an electric scooter, the term ‘range’ refers to how far you can travel before the battery needs to be recharged. Depending on the model or brand you choose, you’ll find a wide variety of ranges on electric scooters. In general, the max distance you’ll be able to travel on an electric scooter before recharging is approximately 55 km.

Motor output will influence the range of your electric scooter, and you’ll find escooters with motor output ranging from 300 to 350 watts up to 500 watts. Some electric scooters have dual motors to give you higher speeds, fast acceleration, and power to motor up hills and rugged terrain.

Top speed of electric scooters

Depending on the brand of electric scooter you choose, your top speed will range from 35 km per hour up to 45 km per hour.

Foldable escooters are easy to transport

foldable electric scooter copy

One of the best parts of having an escooter is how portable they are. If you’d like to use it to commute to and from a bus stop or you want to be able to fold it up and take it with you in your car, be sure to look for a foldable electric scooter.

Price range vs customer budget

Electric scooters are an affordable mode of transportation. They charge via electricity so they don’t require gas, and the motors have enough power to get you to your destination quickly and easily. The price range of electric scooters vary, and you’ll find entry-level models for less than $200. Electric scooters with more powerful motors, longer range, and features like Bluetooth connectivity and optional seats are priced at approximately $1,000 and up.

Charging time and battery life

Depending on your battery type, it can take anywhere from four to 20 hours to charge your electric scooter. The battery life and range will depend on how fast your drive your escooter, the distance travelled, and the terrain you’re riding on.

Weight of escooters

The weight of an escooter depends on the materials the frame is made out of. Some escooters have frames made of steel, while other high-end electric scooters have frames made from carbon, titanium, aluminum, or a mix of those materials.

Rider weight will vary on electric scooters as well. The max weight averages around 100 kg (220 lbs) with most average electric scooters having a weight restriction of 125 kg (275 lb).

Safety features on electric scooters

foot brake escooter

It’s important to practice safety precautions when riding your electric scooter, and there are features built in to ensure every ride you take is as safe as possible.

Brakes on an electric scooter

Electric scooters are available with different types of brakes. You’ll find escooters with cable brakes that are connected to the back tire via long cable. Cable brakes use two small pads on either side of the tire to slow and stop you.

Hydraulic brakes use a series of tubes and cables attached to a set of discs. The discs work to slow you and stop you. Hydraulic disc brakes have the best stopping power on all types of terrain.

Integrated handlebar display and controls

With an integrated display on your handlebars and handlebar controls, you can easily see what speed you’re going and have an estimate of your remaining battery life.

Tires on an electric scooter

You’ll find electric scooters with varying types of tires. Some electric scooters have solid tires while others have pneumatic tires. Solid tires are very hard, heavy, solid all the way through, and cannot go flat. You’ll never have to worry about a flat tire leaving you on the side of the road, but a solid tire doesn’t absorb shock or bumps in the road.

Pneumatic tires are wider, lighter, and are inflated with air. Because they have air inside the tire, they absorb bumps and ridges in the road and that results in a smoother ride.

To further reduce vibration, some models of electric scooters have suspension built into the front fork. With suspension and pneumatic tires, you’re assured of a very smooth ride as you cruise over different types of terrain.

Lights on escooter

go trax electric scooter

Lights are important when riding your electric scooter at night, and you’ll find escooters with front headlights or multiple points of light to offer you visibility in dim conditions.

Electric scooters with Bluetooth

When shopping for an electric scooter, you’ll want to consider whether or not you’d like your scooter to work with a compatible brand app. Some models of escooter connect via Bluetooth to an app that shows your riding speed and remaining battery life.

Having Bluetooth onboard also makes it easy to upgrade your scooter’s firmware when needed. You can add an attachable phone holder to your electric scooter so you can have your escooter’s app open and available in your line of sight when riding.

 Accessories for your electric scooter

plug in electric scooter recharge

You’ll find riding your escooter safe and fun when you add a few accessories. Helmets are a must-have when riding an electric scooter, and there a variety of different helmets to choose from to keep you safe. You can also wear other protective gear including knee pads or elbow pads.

Some models of electric scooters offer an add-on seat so you can sit during long commutes, and there are different types of phone holders you can choose for different brands of electric scooters.

An additional battery and charger is a great add-on for an electric scooter. When one battery runs dry you can swap out your other battery and keep cruising. You may also wish to add on extra tail lights or a front light to increase your visibility at night.

Brands to look for when choosing an electric scooter

There are several big brands that are dominating the escooter market. Segway offers several different models of electric scooters as well as an add-on that converts your electric scooter into a go-cart. Gotrax is another big escooter brand that offers fast, foldable electric scooters in a variety of colours and styles.

Take the next step

escooters at Best Buy

Charge it up and take a ride. Whether just for fun or as a practical form of transportation, escooters are quickly becoming a mainstay alternative to cars and bicycles. Shop for an electric scooter on Best Buy.

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Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag