A Beginner’s Guide to Buying an Electric Scooter
Our beginner’s guide to buying an electric scooter takes you through everything you need to consider before making a purchase. This guide intends to cover everything you need to know from budget to safety considerations when buying a new electric scooter.
Advice on Buying an Electric Scooter
Buying an electric scooter can be a harder decision than you think, especially now their popularity is on the rise and there are more and more makes, models and manufacturers on the market. There are lots of things you need to consider including things like budget, speed, weight, range and even reliability.
Electric Scooter Costs & Prices
An electric scooter can cost anything from £100 (generally for a kids sized scooter) to upwards of £2000 so its important that you make the right decision, because if you make the wrong decision it could end up proving quite costly. There are many electric scooter reviews out there and some have undergone some rigorous tests but someone else’s opinion might not be quite the same as your own, so it’s important to do the research and not rush into a decision. We recommend that you buy your electric scooter from a reputable UK retailer. Some retailers can offer finance, but if you are looking to import your own scooter from China then there is a risk it can get stopped at UK customs, in which case you might find yourself stuck with import duty to pay at around 30% of purchase cost (in VAT and import Tax) before your delivery will be released. Equally, some UK retailers might charge for delivery and others might not, so its always important to check their delivery charges.
Quality of Electric Scooters
When buying an electric scooter, one of the most important things to consider is the quality of the ride. By ride quality, we mean how smooth the actual ride feels. The ride quality of some e-scooters is so bad that it’s difficult to ride them for long periods of time. The main things that can have an impact on ride quality and therefore need to be considered when buying an electric scooter are:
Wheels: The smaller the wheels on an electric scooter the more rough the ride can be. Not only that, smaller wheels can be susceptible to getting stuck in obstacles like potholes.
Tyres: Obviously, air-filled tyres on electric scooters can improve the feel of the ride and considerably improve the ride quality. However, e-scooter tyres are fiddly, difficult to remove and difficult to fix if you get a puncture, so opting for puncture protection is well worth the money. Solid tyres obviously give a better ride quality than solid plastic wheels found on cheaper scooters, but are still a lot less smooth compared to air filled options.
Suspension: Suspension can obviously help ride quality, but suspension is generally found on more expensive electric scooters and is only really worth the money if you are using the scooter on different terrains, especially off-road. Sometimes just opting for air-filled tyres is enough for most riders.
Speed: Many things can have an affect on the speed of electric scooters. Things such as rider weight, motor power and wheel type can impact the speed. Speeds of electric scooters are usually based on a person weighing 70kg and riding on a flat, smooth surface. Obviously, electric scooters all vary in speed, but we recommend a speed of about 15mph is normally sufficient. After all, a bike speed for a commuter is generally about 14mph, so 15mph is fine. It goes without saying that the gradient of a road and weight of a rider will impact speed.
Range: As discussed earlier, range is often based on somebody weighing 70kg and the quoted range stated by most manufacturers is based on a best-case example and on a flat, smooth road. Cheaper scooters can often have low quality batteries and the amount of charge they hold can reduce over time.
Electric Scooter Safety Considerations
Brakes: Some electric scooter speeds are capable of exceeding well over 30mph, so brakes and other safety aspects should always be considered carefully. There are various options available when it comes to brakes; There are electric brakes which can be easier to maintain but they can have less effective stopping power. Disc brakes and drum brakes are another option, but just like cars they need to be serviced. Foot brakes are generally found on cheaper entry-level kids scooters and require you to stand on the mud guard at the rear of the scooter.
Quality: Whilst most electric scooters are manufactured in China, this doesn’t mean that they are poor quality. China has some of the best manufacturing capabilities in the world and can produce goods such as electric scooters much more cheaply than other countries. Whilst there are some cheaper scooters on the market, its always best to do the research and find some of the more reputable brands such as Xiaomi and Unagi. The Xiaomi M365 is currently the world’s top selling electric scooter.
Warranty: As we are in the UK, we recommend that you buy an electric scooter from a reputable UK retailer that can cover the product with a UK warranty. It is possible to buy e-scooters directly from China but if you have a problem with the product then its unlikely to be covered under a warranty. Even if it is, its a lengthy process returning the goods to China to be repaired.
Size: Both kids and adult electric scooters are available on the market, so if your an adult you don’t want to be riding a kids sized scooter and visa-versa. You need to get the right sized scooter and you may want to opt for a foldable scooter if you need to store it away. When looking at the size you need to consider things like the deck size, bar width and height and the fold-down size. Folding scooters can weigh a bit more, but on average most scooters weigh around 15kg.
Load: Similarly to size, its important to consider the maximum load specifications. Not all electric scooters are built to carry the same load and the load you require will depend on your weight. electric scooters designed for Europe tend to have a maximum load of 100kg.
Visibility: Most scooters have reflectors but some electric scooters also have build in LED lights. Opting for lights might depend on the time of day you are likely to be riding your scooter most often. If you don’t buy a scooter with lights then you can always add them later. Even most bicycle lights will fit on an electric scooter. Other accessories you might also want to consider are helmets, locks, phone holders etc.