It certainly clear that electric scooters are offering alternative travel. People can travel up to five times quicker than walking while being environmentally friendly, fun and more importantly at a very low cost. The added benefit is, unlike a bicycle, you’re not sweaty when you arrive!
More people are now definitely jumping on this band wagon moving, so when buying an electric scooter it's good to know what to look for.
Speed, size, weight, range, reliability and cost are a few of the factors you need to take into consideration when making your decision. In this article we explain everything you need to consider when looking for an electric scooter. Hopefully it will help you decide what best suits you best
We are going to be covering the following.
- Quality of Ride
- Motor power & hill climb ability
- Maximum load
- Size & weight
- How to find an electric scooter for the best price
- How much do electric scooters cost?
- Recommended accessories
- Where to buy an electric scooter? Why Gecko?
Quality of the ride - how comfortable should your ride be?
Do your research. If you’re not sure how to buy an electric scooter then doing your research on the quality is the ideal place to start.
Some e-scooters ride quality is so bad that they can’t be ridden for more than 1 mile on anything less than a perfect surface. These e-scooters look fantastic on a web page, but many people stop using them because they are literally ‘bone shakers’.
What to look for and the factors that affect the ride quality:
We strongly advise that you avoid wheels less than 10 inches diameter. Smaller wheels give a rougher ride.
As a rule, you need large wheels with air in your tyres. If you are going to do a lot of off-road riding you will need fat treaded tyres and suspension.
Solid or air-filled tyres
Tyres come in two varieties: pneumatic (air-filled) and solid rubber (airless).
Air-filled tyres give you a better ride - they have the advantage of shock absorption and a much better handling but they can be prone to punctures and require maintenance.
If you opt for air-filled tyres we definitely recommend you also purchase puncture protection fluid. Apply this before your first ride and you may never need to change your tyres at all. Win, win!
More importantly you will also need to regularly check your air pressure and top it up when it’s low. Having the correct tyre pressure is crucial for your safety, braking effectiveness and grip. Under-inflation will cause wear, halve your battery range, stop you from reaching those top speeds and even make you more susceptible to punctures.
E-scooters with solid tyres require virtually zero maintenance and offer a solution to punctures.
The trade off with a low-maintenance solid tyre is that they aren’t as smooth to ride, so you will feel more bumps and vibrations.
Having suspension on an e-scooter works the same as a car, smoothing out bumps and shocks from the ground. So if you're thinking about going riding off-road or on rough terrain, suspension might be a consideration when looking to buy an electric scooter.
Without it you will get vibration in the handlebars which can be uncomfortable on longer rides – and that's no fun at all.
Worth knowing....An e- scooter with large, air-filled tyres without suspension will give a smoother ride than an e- scooter with solid tyres and suspension.
If you want an off-roader that sails over rougher terrain, strongly consider buying an electric scooter with quality suspension. Suspension can either be attached to the front, rear or both wheels.
Obviously your safety comes first, and brakes are very important when picking an electric scooter.
There are 3 main types of brakes on electric scooters:
1. Electric/regenerative brakes
These are low maintenance but less effective at stopping you quickly. If you are travelling at 15+mph and need to stop quickly these will be the least effective.
2. Disc brakes and drum brakes
Drum brakes are enclosed inside the wheel hub and are generally lower maintenance than other braking types and have consistent performance in wet conditions.
Disc brakes have the most stopping power and are lighter than drum brakes which helps to lighten the overall load for extra speed.
While drum and disc brakes are the best of all they will wear out over time and will eventually need to be serviced, just like a car.
3. Foot brakes
Foot brakes are activated by pushing your foot down on the rear mud guard. Unless you are used to using a kid’s scooter, this takes time to master. They have slightly more stopping power but are not as comfortable to use or effective as drum or disc brakes.
Motor power & hill climb ability
An electric scooter motor has an average ‘rated’ power and peak power output. The higher the motor’s wattage, the more power it can produce bringing improved acceleration and hill climbing ability.
Most ‘budget e-scooters’ start at 250 watts and reach top speeds of 15mph. These models won’t be able to climb hills and will likely struggle to reach their top speed if you weigh more than 80 kilograms.
We recommend that you upgrade to a model that rates with at least 350 Watts and that you consider powering up further from there if you want to tackle hills regularly or if you are above average size.
It’s a little known fact that most electric scooters are not waterproof.
Some of the largest e-scooter manufacturers are Chinese so they build their scooters for the Chinese climate.
As a result, most e-scooters on the market will potentially stop working if you ride them on wet surfaces, through puddles or in the rain. What’s more is hidden in the fine print of many e-scooter's warranties is that getting them wet will invalidate the warranty, so you'll have to pay for the replacement yourself.
If you want to ride when it is wet (a frequent occurrence as we all know in the UK) your best bet is to choose a waterproof scooter.
Not all electric scooters are built to carry the same load and you should factor this into your decision making.
E-scooters designed for Europe tend to have a maximum load of 100kg. A lot of people who weigh over 100kg ride these e-scooters every day. However, you must be warned that this will invalidate your warranty and could be dangerous.
If you’re riding an e-scooter that isn’t suitable for your weight it's highly likely that your performance will be hampered as well as your safety. Riding an e- scooter in this way will mean you are unlikely to reach the top speeds the vehicle claims as well as struggling more with hills.
It is important to note that the manufacturers' quoted ranges for electric scooters are generally best-case examples.
Like speed, most are based on a light person (70kg) riding on smooth, flat, straight road, with a new battery.
Be aware that cheaper e-scooters have cheaper batteries and the amount of charge they can hold diminishes with every charge.
Most e-scooters have a range of 15 to 20 miles. 20 to 30 miles is also fairly common and some more premium (expensive) models can have ranges of up to 40 or even 50 miles.
A longer range requires a bigger battery, this is also worth considering too as it will make the e-scooter heavier and will also increase the price tag.
In our experience, an e-scooter with a range of 25-30km is perfect for most daily riders, this will allow you to travel an average distance of 15 miles before needing to recharge.
The majority of electric scooters have top speeds of 15mph and for many this is more than enough to feel the buzz and put a smile on your face - believe us, 15mph on a scooter feels an awful lot faster than 15mph in a car!
There are other models that go up to around 18mph, but if you really want to feel the wind in your cheeks there are a few models that top out at a hair-raising 40mph.
However, going that fast on a machine with relatively small wheels can be extremely dangerous. It would be very easy to come off or lose control over uneven ground at those speeds.
It’s also important to bear in mind that the fastest electric scooters require bigger batteries and more powerful motors which are generally a lot more expensive.
E-scooter speed is determined by several factors including motor power, rider weight, your tyre pressures and the terrain you ride on.
Manufacturer’s quoted electric scooter speeds are generally based on a 70kg person using a flat, smooth surface with correctly inflated tyres. People tend to get a little hung up on electric scooter top speeds, but our advice is not to chase maximum speed. A speed of about 15mph is ideal. For context, average walking speed is 4mph, average car travel speed in London is 7mph and average cycling speed for commuters is 14mph.
Warning: always wear a helmet when riding your scooter at any speed. E-scooters are safe to ride, but accidents can still happen.
Electric scooters are still a relatively new product category. Our advice is to stick to the large manufacturers. We have heard of some electric scooter manufacturers who have had up to 30% with faults (obviously we would not stock these products)!.
Two main factors need to be considered in this area:
If you need to use your warranty, where will you need to send your e-scooter? We have heard horror stories of people having a minor fault and needing to send their e-scooter back to China to be fixed. This takes months and can cost a lot of money. We suggest you only purchase a UK-spec scooter, covered by a UK warranty. All the scooters supplied by Gecko Electric Scooters are UK-specified and are covered by a UK warranty....which is good to know.
Fakes and cheap Chinese imports
There are a lot of cheap e-scooters being imported from China. These often look the part, but cut quality (cheap wheel bearings, battery problems, etc) and are usually unsafe.
The fakes are hard to spot when purchasing online, but the quality received tends to be terrible. You should only buy from trusted UK suppliers using UK stock.
Size & weight
A folded down scooter should be small enough to store easily, but not all e-scooters fold so it’s worth checking before you buy, especially if you have limited storage space at home.
It is also important to consider how far you might have to carry your e-scooter at the beginning or end of your journey, meaning you need to take the e-scooter weight into consideration as well.
Tip: some scooters have folding handlebars which make them even smaller and extra compact.
How to find an electric scooter for the best price
In addition to the advertised retail price of your chosen e-scooter, there are a number of cost factors to consider:
Finance options may make your e-scooter of choice more affordable by spreading the payments across a period of time.
We different finance options on our e-scooters: you can either split payment over three equal installments interest-free or you can split payments equally over 3, 6, 12 or 24 months interest-free for the first 6 months.
A few companies are currently quoting very low prices for e-scooters, but they are not being transparent with the total costs.
There have been cases where the seemingly cheap e-scooter has become stuck in UK customs and the customer has had to pay around 30% of purchase cost (in VAT and import Tax) before receiving their product.
Some reputable retailers offer free delivery, but this is not always the case and postage can be very expensive. Postage is not always listed on product pages, be sure to check carefully!
How much do electric scooters cost?
Most adult e-scooters tend to fall into one of three categories: budget e-scooters, premium e-scooters and high-performance e-scooters. These types of scooters range from around £300 all the way up to £1,500.
There will always be variation between models but in our experience, quality improves with price. In terms of performance, we believe you really do get what you pay for.
This category is most popular with first-time riders, mainly because budget e-scooters usually fall within the £300 - £500 price bracket. They are great for travelling shorter distances, have a reasonable range and suitable build quality.
However, these e-scooters tend to have low-powered motors compared to the higher- end models, usually rating at around 250W, which will make them feel slower - particularly in areas with steeper hills where you might have to even get off and walk your e-scooter up the hill.
Tip: most e-scooters under £250 are not recommended for anything other than light recreational use. At this price point expect under-powered motors, low- capacity batteries, weaker brakes and cheaper build quality.
These fall between £550 and £900 and typically add suspension, larger motors, bigger batteries and better brakes to their portfolio of features.
Consequently, your ride will be more comfortable, safer and the battery will last longer so you won't get stuck.
These tend to start at £1,000+ and are the highest performing in every category except portability. They sometimes excel in terms of ride quality, braking distance, hill climbing ability, power, speed and acceleration.
With huge, sometimes dual motors you can reach hair-raising speeds of up to 40mph. They carry high quality suspension and hydraulically- activated disc-brakes for improved stopping at fast speeds.
These also tend to be the only e-scooters capable of riding off-road due to their larger tyres. If you’re looking for an e-scooter that seriously delivers on off-road fun factor, then without a doubt this the class you should be looking at.