Best Overall Electric Scooter
Xiaomi Mi M365
: 12.8 miles | Max Speed
: 14.85 mph
Easy to carry
Slower charge time
Brakes require maintenance
If a sleek, efficient, performance oriented scooter is what you're after then look no further than the Xiaomi Mi M365. This shred machine garnered above average marks in every testing category and, thanks to the shock absorbing pneumatic tires, it has the smoothest ride in the fleet. This machine is swift as well. With a max speed of just under 15 mph, and a batter life that will keep it rolling for upwards of an hour, the M365 is known to induce spontaneous smiling and even laughter.
This model sports a single lever, dual brake system (electric front, disk rear) that will reliably bring you to a stop when the unexpected occurs. However, one tester reported that some adjustment of the rear disk brake might be necessary for maximum power on par with other test models with the same brake system. Finally, it should be noted that, while well worth the cost, this model is among the most expensive reviewed.
Read Full Review: Xiaomi Mi M365
Best Bang for Your Buck
GOTRAX GXL Commuter
: 10.9 miles | Max Speed
: 13.83 mph
Powerful dual brake system
Hill climbing power
Steering takes some getting use to
If you're on a bit of a budget but still want a stylish whip with above average performance, then look no further than the GOTRAX GXL Commuter scooter. This model is markedly similar to our Editor's Choice Award winner - the Xiaomi Mi M365 - but without the sticker shock. The GLX Commuter sports a single lever, dual brake system (electronic front, disk rear) and pneumatic tires that keep the stop and goes smooth and responsive. Additionally, the steering column locking mechanism is the easiest in the class to use and has a redundant threaded safety latch.
While the GLX is a great value, the reduction in price does come with some pruning of the overall performance. Namely, this model suffers a reduction in travel range and max speed. However, our testers didn't see these cuts as too deep in light of the savings, and they are further mitigated by the incorporation of safety features that other more expensive models lack.
Read Full Review: GOTRAX GXL Commuter
Top Pick - Portability
Glion Dolly Foldable
: 13.2 miles | Max Speed
: 13.83 mph
Single electric brake
When the combination of portability and prolonged performance are paramount, then the Glion Dolly Foldable hits the mark. This workhorse boasts power, range, and portability, making it a standout commuter friendly ride. With a 13.2 mile range, the Dolly has the greatest travel radius of any of the products in this review. Add to this a powerful motor that climbs the steepest of hills and produces flat ground speeds up to 13.8 mph and you might be wondering why this machine doesn't claim a more comprehensive performance award.
While this machine motors along at a respectable clip and keeps up the pace for longer than any other model, this performance comes at a cost to comfort and ease of use. Our testers reported that the honeycombed rubber tires generated a rattly ride, issuing feedback from every bump and crack in the road surface. Additionally, the Glion is limited by a single rear electronic brake that noticeably increases stopping distance when compared to dual brake models. Finally, the steering column release mechanism lacks a safety latch, requiring a visual check to assure that the mechanism is engaged and that the steering column will remain in the appropriate position.
Read Full Review: Glion Dolly Foldable
We took these scooters to their limits on every conceivable type of terrain
Why You Should Trust Us?
Our veteran in-house tester Austin Palmer and, seasoned review editor Nick Miley have a combined experience in the consumer review business of over 15 years. Austin has extensive experience testing and reviewing personal transportation devices such as electric skateboards, hoverboards and self-balancing scooters, as well as a myriad of other electronic devices over the past several years. Additionally, Nick has spent years in university laboratories posing research questions, designing experiments, refining protocols, and writing about the results.
To find out which 2019 electric scooters are truly the best in class we did an exhaustive investigation of all the top brands and models and customer reviews thereof. We then bought all the models that, based on our research, showed promise to perform at a high level and ran them through a comprehensive comparative testing regiment. At TechGearLab we pay what you, the consumer, pays for each item in our review. We don't ask for, nor do we accept any advertising dollars or free products from manufacturers. As a result, our reviews are unbiased and unaffected by the potential need to please a corporate patron.
Related: How We Tested Electric Scooters
From range to portability, we picked through these scooters with a fine-toothed comb.
Analysis and Test Results
In our interminable effort to analyze products - in this case, electric scooters - and isolate the practical strengths and weakness that consumers will want to resolve prior to purchasing, we devise quantifiable tests that allow us to rate products side by side. Scientific analysis of this sort structures our investigations and prevents us from making vague, anecdotal assertions. Instead, we hone in on specific categories of interest such as scooter portability, battery range, braking and power. The following sections delve into each of the electric scooter test categories and elucidate how we quantify the performance of each product therein.
Related: Buying Advice for Electric Scooters
When considering an electric scooter purchase, one must first define how the scooter will primarily be used. Generally speaking, the more one demands from these vehicles, the more one will have to fork over at checkout. However, this does not equate to a reduction in value so long as the functionality increases with the price. To put this into context, let's say I want a scooter for commuting; the commute is ~5 miles each way, and the route has a few short, steep hills. When I get to my destination I need to fold the scooter up so I can ride the elevator to my office. Furthermore, I won't be able to charge the battery for the return trip.
The previously described commute requires a scooter like the Xiaomi
or if you don't want to carry the folded scooter, the Glion
. Both of these products are amongst the most expensive in the review. However, we would say that they offer a high value as they check all the boxes described above, whereas a less expensive product would have you walking up the hills or running out of battery. Conversely, if one is looking for a fun toy for the kids to play with in the driveway, the higher-end scooters would be overkill. Accordingly, the value would fall because a more appropriate scooter, such as the XPRIT
or the GOTRAX
would fill the bill at a fraction of the cost. The moral of the story is that value is in large part derived from fitting the right tool to the job.
The Tomoloo cruising at full tilt for a maximum of 10.9 effective miles.
Range, or travel radius, should be the first factor to assess when shopping for an electric scooter as all the other considerations fall by the wayside if your ride runs out of juice and you end up walking. In order to collect comparable range data on the models in our analysis we first set up a flat test track of know length on surface streets near our lab. We then ran the contending models around the course at their top speed until the batteries were drained to the point that they could no longer propel the scooter and rider.
This test highlights some nuanced issues that require the establishment of two subcategories to quantify and accurately explain the range of each model. These are: effective range and maximum range. We define the effective range as the number of miles traversed at or near the scooter's maximum speed. Conversely, we define the maximum range as the distance traversed at any speed. Ideally, one would want the battery to propel scooter and rider at full tilt until the very end of the battery's charge. However, this is not the case with a number of the models tested. Not surprisingly, the Editor's Choice Xiaomi Mi M365 and the Top Pick Glion Dolly Foldable both run at ~13 mph until the battery is essentially dead and propelled our testers 12.8 and 13.2 miles respectively at that speed.
Tip: Although two scooters may have the same factory listed run time, that does not mean they will have the same effective or maximum range. Range depends on how fast the scooter will go and for how long.
The flip side of the range coin is charging time. All the models in this review use Lithium Ion batteries with the exception of the Razor E300. These batteries' charging time average ~5 hours. However, the MEGAWHEELS S5 and the GOTRAX have notable effective range to charge time ratios. In our tests, the prior ran for 10.1 effective miles and charged in just three hours!
The powerful Glion makes daily commutes a breeze.
We'll concede that power is a fairly general term, but it's nonetheless an important performance consideration for any motor-powered vehicle test. As such, we formalized this amorphous concept by breaking it apart into an assessment of a vehicle's max speed and its ability to climb both moderate (3.5%) and steep (10.5%) grades. The speed test - which was conducted on flat ground - is simply an assessment of maximum speed in miles per hour.
Before we dive into the power tests, we should first talk about how these scooters get going. Most of the test models will not take-off from a dead stop without the rider first issuing a kick or pump to start them moving. Once the human loans the machine some momentum the electric motor takes over and pays the human back in kind plus some serious interest as it accelerates and cruises without any additional input.
Okay, with that out of the way, on to the speed tests. Once the vehicle was moving from the initial pump, it was taken up to its maximum flat ground speed - the throttle was fully depressed - and it was timed while it traversed 100 ft. This test was repeated three times for each model. Finally, the average feet per second of the three trials was calculated and converted into miles per hour. The Ninebot Segway ES 2 and the MEGAWHEELS ES are standouts in this category, reaching speeds in excess of 16 mph.
As for hill climbing capability, all the models in our test (with the exception of the Tianrun and XPRIT) cruised up the 3.5% grade with reductions in speed ranging from 3-7 mph. The Tianrun and XPRIT were defiant, moving at a pace akin to a crawl when directed onto this modest incline. When forced to ascend the much steeper (10.5% grade) quarter mile test slope, most scooters showed that they lack the power to make such an ascent. However, the Glion and the GOTRAX both powered through, albeit with significant decreases in speed.
Cracks, bumps, dips: how much you feel the impact in the hands and feet is how we define ride.
An electric scooter's ride is a more subjective metric than the others discussed thus far. However, it is a critical part of our appraisal as it aims to evaluate the feeling of smoothness - or lack thereof - that any person who has operated a vehicle knows. In order to make this assessment as objective as possible, we test on a 1.2 mile surface street loop that has a variety of surface textures. When the scooter wheels passed over bumps and cracks in the road, we asked ourselves: how aware am I of these features? When on rough surfaces that cause vibration, we asked: how do my hands and feet feel? Are they uncomfortable? Do I feel in control? And, is this still fun?
One way to contextualize the questions posed above is to create a spectrum for comparison that has a skateboard (small, hard rubber wheels) on one end and a beach cruiser bike (large pneumatic or air-filled tires) on the other. As the reader may already know, skateboards give a ton of feedback passing over cracks, etc. In comparison, the give of pneumatic tires on a bike absorb vibration quite well.
The products in this review that enjoy the highest marks in the ride metric - such as the Xiaomi and the GOTRAX - have pneumatic tires. Accordingly, they have minimal vibration coming through the handlebars and the deck (standing platform). On the other hand, those models with hard tires such as the Glion and the XPRIT offer relatively rough rides. Even the Ninebot Segway ES, which has a front and rear suspension system, does not produce a ride equivalent to the models with pneumatic tires.
Ride isn't just a luxury. A rough riding product can be a safety concern as roughness at its extreme translates to a loss of stability and, ultimately, control. On the other hand, a smooth ride provides a predictable platform, thus allowing the operator to focus on other concerns such as cars, pedestrians, and potholes that have the potential to give some serious feedback.
The GOTRAX GLX Commuter uses a single hand brake to actuate the front electronic and rear disk brakes.
Up to this point, we have concerned ourselves with what makes each test model go: how fast, how far, how smooth. To be sure, these are important features to consider. However, we think that stopping is pretty important, too. Before going into all the ways in which we assess braking, let's first look at the three different types of brakes that are employed on the scooters in our review. These are electronic, disk and fender. The first is a battery dependent magnetic device, the latter two are friction devices. In most cases, the brakes discussed above will be paired either as disk + motor or fender + motor. The Razor and the Glion are the exception here as they only employ a single brake. Okay, with this basic brake knowledge we can move on to testing.
The way we see it, there are two scenarios in which brake performance is critical. The first is flat ground braking where something unexpected occurs and you need to bring the scooter to a rapid halt. An example of this would be: you're cruising down the street and a car pulls out in front of you. The other is when you're heading down a hill. While zipping around at high speeds can be a hoot, hills are a place where things can quickly get out of hand. We want to be able to rein it in. This sounds like we have the makings of a test!
We dubbed our hill test the confidence on descent test. We conducted these tests on three different grades (5, 10 and 15%). All the models performed well on the shallower two grades, so we'll move on to discuss the steepest of the three. All models here reviewed allowed the testers to hold their speed to a comfortable level as well as come to a complete stop on a 15% grade. However, we found that if we carried speed going into the hill that this outcome was a bit harder to achieve; requiring additional brake pressure and prolonged slowdown distances.
Braking on descent: it's pretty important. We tested each scooter's brake system on slope.
Models with fender brakes proved a bit more difficult to use on the steeps due to the required change in body position and weight distribution. Models with disk + motor brake systems, like the Xiaomi Mi
and the GOTRAX
, were the most effective on descents as the system is powerful, but also the convenience of the hand lever allowed the test rider to maintain a balanced, comfortable position that was otherwise disrupted when using a fender brake. Surprisingly, the Glion
, which sports a single electronic motor brake, performed rather well in these tests, illustrating the efficiency of these brakes.
Moving on. The flat ground stop tests uncovered some unanticipated disparities in the braking systems when contrasted with the descent tests. First, we were surprised by the distances required to bring a scooter going ~12 mph to a complete stop using the motor + disk brake system. Second, we were surprised and impressed by the power produced by the fender brake. On average the prior took 29 feet, the later 21 to completely stop! The Ninebot and the Tianrun, which employ an electric motor + fender brake system, reduced braking distances to 16.3 and 14.7 feet respectively; the shortest in our tests.
Flat ground braking is an important part of our analysis, especially for those commuting in urban areas.
Portability is a critical feature for those who intend to use a scooter as a transportation device in an urban setting. Why? Well, the machine must be able to fold for stowage in an apartment, at an office, on a train or in the trunk of a car. Additionally, the machine must be light enough to carry up stairs or through turnstiles. With a critical eye on design features supporting these needs we looked at the folded dimensions (compactness), the carrying handle and the ability to roll the machine - oppose to carrying it - when folded.
The Glion scooter is a breeze for non-riding transport and stowage.
The Razor is an outlier in this category as it doesn't collapse and it weighs 13 pounds more than its nearest competitor. However, all the other products in this review at the least attempt to address the portability issue. As the name implies, the Glion Dolly Foldable effectively resolves the portability problems that the Razor ignores. The Glion is light, compact and it can be rolled when folded - like a dolly - to make walking with it a cinch. None of the other models can claim to have a dolly function, although one can roll them on their rear wheels if needed. Of those models trailing the Glion, the Xiaomi is a near second.
There are dozens of electric scooters on the market today, and each year the number grows. Here at TechGearLab we know how difficult it can be to pick one out of the many and feel confident about the decision. Above we have outlined what we think are the most important factors to consider and which models best satisfy each. It is our hope that this thorough review will aid you in your decision to purchase one of these fun and practical machines.
On the podium: our three award winners