To find the best electric scooters of 2020, we bought and tested the top 10 models. For over two months, we rode these machines on a variety of street surfaces and gradients to asses the power, ride, braking, and range. Additionally, we looked at battery charge time and portability. After more than 8 weeks of pushing these machines to the limit, we've narrowed down the fleet to just a few models that will appeal to consumers ranging from the daily commuter to the recreational speed demon. At the same time, our research and testing addresses the nitty-gritty details of budgetary and safety concerns so that you can confidently pick the right machine for your needs and desires.
The Best Electric Scooters of 2020
In a League of Its Own
While the Boosted is without a doubt head and shoulders above the competition in power, braking, and range, it lacks in portability and ride. This scooter is quite heavy, and its folded dimensions are the largest we've seen to date. Despite the scooter's ample pneumatic tires, they did relatively little to mitigate the impact of bumps and cracks in the road. Oh yeah. Did we mention that the Rev cost about as much as three other scooters in this review? Yeah, it's one expensive machine. That said, if you want a scooter for prolonged riding and you have some money to burn, then this whip is worth a spin.
Read Full Review: Boosted Rev
Best All Around Electric Scooter
Xiaomi Mi M365
If a stylish, efficient, and affordable scooter is what you're after, then look no further than the Xiaomi Mi M365. This shred machine earned above-average marks in every testing metric, and, thanks to the well-designed pneumatic tires, it has one of the smoothest rides in the class. This machine is fast, too. With a max speed of just under 15 mph, a long-lasting battery life, and manageable carrying weight, the M365 successfully balances fun with practical concerns like portability.
The M365 sports a single lever, dual brake system (electric front, disk rear) that will consistently bring the rider to a stop when the unexpected occurs. However, one tester reported that some adjustment of the cable actuating the rear disk brake might be necessary to produce power on par with other models employing the same brake system. Given that the rear brake is the only significant concern that testers reported amidst many accolades, we think that this model will appeal to the broadest array of users.
Read Full Review: Xiaomi Mi M365
Best Bang for Your Buck
GOTRAX GXL Commuter
If you're on a tight budget but still want a good-looking scooter with above-average performance, then take a look at the GOTRAX GXL Commuter. This model is quite similar to our Editor's Choice Award winner — the Xiaomi Mi M365 — but without the hefty price tag. 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 decrease in price does come with a reduction in overall performance. Namely, this model suffers a reduction in travel range and maximum speed. However, our testers didn't see these cuts as too deep when contrasted with the savings. Additionally, this model has a few safety features that some more expensive models lack, which makes up for some of the value lost in performance.
Read Full Review: GOTRAX GXL Commuter
Best for Portability
Glion Dolly Foldable
When the combination of portability and performance is critical, then the Glion Dolly Foldable is the go-to scooter. This workhorse packs power, range, adjustability, and portability, making it a standout commuter-friendly ride. At 13.2 miles, the Dolly has one of the largest travel radii in the class. Add to these attributes a powerful motor that delivers speed both on flat ground and hills, and you might be wondering why this machine doesn't claim an overall performance award.
Unfortunately, this machine's positive attributes are contrasted with shortcomings in comfort and ease of use. Testers reported that the Dolly's honeycombed rubber tires produce a rough ride, issuing feedback from every heave and depression in the road's surface. Additionally, the Glion is underpowered in the brake department. The scooter's single rear electronic brake noticeably increases stopping distance when compared to dual brake systems. Lastly, the steering column release mechanism lacks a safety latch, thus a visual check is required to ensure that it will remain in the appropriate position.
Read Full Review: Glion Dolly Foldable
Why You Should Trust Us?
Senior Research Analyst Austin Palmer and Senior Review Editor Nick Miley have a combined experience in consumer product analyses and reviews spanning more than 15 years. Austin has extensive experience testing and reviewing personal transportation devices such as hub motor and belt-driven electric skateboards, monowheels, 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 electric scooters are 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. We then ran each through a comprehensive comparative testing regiment that pushed the machines to the limits of their performance, safety, and utility. These analyses include, but are not limited to, battery longevity and recharge, speed, hill climbing capacity, braking, and portability. Our goal here is to simulate the highest demands a consumer could place on these machines and evaluate which could stand-up to such impositions.
Related: How We Tested Electric Scooters
Analysis and Test Results
To analyze the practical strengths and weaknesses of scooters, we devised quantifiable tests that allow us to rate products side by side. An analysis of this sort 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 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 require a considerable outlay of cash. 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 within 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 fit the bill at a fraction of the cost. The moral of the story is that value is, in large part, derived from getting the right tool for the job.
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. To collect comparable range data on the models in our evaluation we first set up a flat test track of known length on surface streets near our lab. We then ran the contending models around the course at their top speed until the batteries 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. Despite the Boosted's extended range, its battery starts to falter at the end of its charge creating a half-mile gap between the effective and maximum ranges.
In contrasting range is charge time. Except for the Razor E300, all the models in this review use Lithium-Ion batteries. These batteries' charging time average ~4.5 hours. However, the Boosted Rev has a notable effective range to charge time ratio. In our tests, this scooter ran for 16.5 effective miles and charged in just three hours!
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 maximum 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 titanic Rev crushes the maximum speed trials at 24 mph. In the realm of mere mortals, 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 T i anRun and XPRIT) cruised up the 3.5% grade with reductions in speed ranging from 3-7 mph. The T i anRun 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. Of course, the Rev flew up this hill like it had a hell hound on its heels.
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. 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 pass over bumps and cracks in the road, we ask ourselves: how aware am I of these features? When on rough surfaces that cause vibration, we ask: 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, etcetera. 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.
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 how 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, and 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, Glion, and Boosted are the exceptions as the prior two only employ a single brake, and the latter uses all three brake types, including redundant motor brakes. 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.
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 quite powerful. Moreover, 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.
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 27.9 feet, the later 16.3 to completely stop! The T i anRun, which employs an electric motor + fender brake system, reduced braking distances to 14.7. The Rev, with its disc + motor + fender brake system reduced that distance to just 14 feet, the shortest in the class.
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 — opposed to carrying it — when folded.
Both the Razor and the Boosted are outliers in this category, weighing in at 42.5 and 47.5 pounds respectively. Additionally, both of these models have bulky dimensions. While the Razor doesn't fold at all, the Boosted's folded dimensions are by far the largest in the class. However, all the other products in this review 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 here reviewed 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.
— Nick Miley and Austin Palmer