Best Electric Scooter of 2021
|Price||$530 List||$500 List||$650 List||$360 List|
$349.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Long range, portable, fast||Folded dolly function, huge travel range, hill climbing power||Fast, front suspension, cruise control||Smooth ride, powerful single brake|
|Cons||Variable performance||Rough ride, single brake||Limited travel radius, bulky/long frame, expensive||Slow, does not fold, limited range|
|Bottom Line||The Tomoloo would have been a top contender in the class were it not for its inconsistent, seemingly glitchy, behavior||This scooter aims to make commutes a cinch by integrating long battery life with a powerful motor in an easy to fold and roll platform||If speed regulation in hilly terrain is a top priority, this model is worth the cost||Despite being a household brand name, the Razor's poor showing in almost every test category left reviewers struggling to find positive things to report|
|Rating Categories||Tomoloo L1||Glion Dolly Foldable||Ninebot KickScooter...||Razor E300|
|Specs||Tomoloo L1||Glion Dolly Foldable||Ninebot KickScooter...||Razor E300|
|Measured Maximum Speed||15.3 mph||13.8 mph||16.1 mph||12.0 mph|
|Measured Effective Range||10.9 miles||13.2 miles||8.5 miles||4.7 miles|
|Measured Charge Time||4 hrs 40 min||4 hrs 25 min||3 hrs 30 min||6 hrs 20 min|
|Brake Type||Front electronic brake and rear disc brake||Front electronic brake||Front electronic brake and rear fender brake||Rear disc brake|
|Tire Type||Pneumatic||Rubber (honeycomb interior)||Solid rubber||Pneumatic|
|Screen||Yes||Battery indicator only||Yes||No|
|Maximum Load||220 lbs||255 lbs||220 lbs||220 lbs|
|Measured Weight||29.3 lbs||28.7 lbs||27.2 lbs||42.5 lbs|
|Battery Type||Lithium||Lithium-ion||Lithium-ion||Sealed lead acid|
|Motor||Rated 250 Watt
Max 500 Watt
|250 Watt||Nominal Power 300W
Max Power 700W
Best Overall Long Range
The Gotrax G4 is a smooth-riding, long range electric scooter for those looking to make their commutes hassle-free. The lithium-ion battery easily held a charge for almost two hours or 22 miles in our tests, and the large, 10-inch pneumatic wheels help you take on cracks and dips in the pavement with confidence. The 350-watt powered motor climbs up hills with a steepness grade of 10% (although, naturally, steeper hills reduce speed). With a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour, this zippy transportation device also comes equipped with reliable brakes.
While the G4 is a great all-around scooter, it is important to note that a powerful motor, long-lasting batteries, and durable wheels don't come light. This scooter weighs about 38 pounds, which can make carrying it long distances rather cumbersome. That being said, the weight is evenly distributed across the scooter and it is easy to fold up, so popping on and off public transportation or in and out of your car is easy. The G4 requires a significant investment, but we are thoroughly impressed that it performs toe to toe with scooters that cost hundreds more. If you are looking for a quality-built device that is versatile and reliable enough to ride to work or let your kids ride around the neighborhood, the G4 is a great option.
Read Full Review: Gotrax G4
Ninebot KickScooter MAX
The Ninebot KickScooter Max provides a great combo of range and power. There's enough energy capacity from the 350-watt motor to make ascending hills no problem, and the single-lever, dual braking system makes steering and braking a breeze. This model proved to be the most powerful in our tests, and it also lasted the longest distance (26 miles) in our range tests. The pneumatic tires are quite burly and are what enable this scooter to have a steady ride. Even the largest feet won't have any problem finding a spot on the wide standing platform, and the steering column features redundant locking that gives the rider confidence to open up the throttle fully.
Even though this machine is a very fun ride, it seems to be made more for commuting than joyriding. With this in mind, it's not a huge shock that it weighs a lot (43.4 lbs.), is longer (44 1/4"), and comes with the highest price tag among all models tested. These features are to your advantage if you plan to use your scooter regularly, but if your plans are simply to cruise the park on your scooter every now and then, this machine might be overkill. For only a marginal difference in performance, we more readily recommend the lower-priced GoTrax 4, while we still recognize the Ninebot KickScooter Max for its exceptional performance. Regardless of how you intend to use your scooter, you can be sure this one is top-quality. For those seeking premium, we think it's deserving of admiration and its price tag.
Read Full Review: Ninebot KickScooter Max
The Best Mid-Range Scooter
Xiaomi Mi M365
For a modern, practical, and reasonably priced scooter that scored above-average marks across all our test metrics, check out the Xiaomi Mi M365. This shred machine offers an ultra-smooth ride on its quality pneumatic tires. There's no great loss of speed with this scooter, either — its maximum speed is nearly 15 miles per hour, a great cruising speed for a scooter. The M365 balances fun and portability with its long battery life and reasonable carrying weight.
The M365 sports a single lever, dual brake system (electric in the front, disk in the rear) that will consistently bring the rider to a stop should the unexpected occur. However, one tester reported that some adjustments to the cable actuating the rear disk brake might be necessary to achieve power on par with other models that use the same brake system. It's also slower than some others to recharge; however, considering the plethora of positives, we think that this machine will appeal to a great number of users, especially those without long-distance commutes and travel in mind.
Read Full Review: Xiaomi Mi M365
Best Bang for Your Buck
The Hiboy Max provides its owner with a lot of value. The machine is at the top of the class in both power and range. The scooter is fast, too, with a top speed just short of 20 miles per hour. Given the power, it's appreciated that the vehicle has a pretty decent brake system as well. Rounding out this desirable package is a competitive price point. As such, it should be no surprise that we favored this vehicle above many others in the group.
While the Hiboy Max has much to offer, it isn't without shortcomings. For example, solid rubber tires (instead of pneumatic tires) do little to reduce feedback coming from bumps and cracks in the road surface. We are also a little concerned about durability as we noticed an unusual amount of wear on the rear tire following our brakes tests. Finally, the hinge-lock securing the steering column/carrying handle lacks redundancy, meaning that one needs to take extra care that the latch is properly secured. Despite these issues, we think that this scooter is a great deal and worth checking out whether you're on a budget or not.
Read Full Review: Hiboy Max
Glion Dolly Foldable
When the combination of portability and performance is critical, the Glion Dolly Foldable is the go-to scooter. This workhorse boasts power, range, adjustability, and portability, making it a standout commuter-friendly ride. At 13.2 miles, the Glion has a respectable travel range. 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 a higher ranking.
Unfortunately, this machine's positive attributes are contrasted with shortcomings in comfort and ease of use. Testers reported that the Glion's honeycombed rubber tires transferred feedback from every heave and depression in the road's surface to the rider's feet and hands. Additionally, the Glion's single brake is a bit underpowered, showing a noticeably longer stopping distance than dual brake models. Lastly, the steering column release mechanism lacks a locking latch; thus, a visual check is required to ensure that it is 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 more than 15 years of combined experience in consumer product analyses and reviews. 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 myriad other electronic devices. 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. Based on this research, we then bought all the models that showed promise to perform at a high level. We ran each through a battery of comparative testing that pushed the machines to the limits of their performance, utility, and handling. These analyses include (but are not limited to) speed, hill-climbing ability, braking, battery longevity and recharge speed, 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 to allow us to rate each product 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 making an electric scooter purchase, you first need to consider how the scooter will primarily be used. Generally speaking, the more you ask from these vehicles, the more you 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 you want a commuter scooter, and your particular commute is 5 miles each way, and the route has a few short, steep hills. When you get to your destination, you need to fold the scooter up to ride the elevator to your office. And let's suppose it's not possible to recharge the battery for the return trip.
This kind of commute demands a scooter like the Ninebot Max or Gotrax G4, with the Gotrax being the better value for most riders. Both of these products, though, require a considerable outlay of cash. However, we would say that they offer a high value because they can meet all of the requirements above, whereas a less expensive product would leave 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 high-end scooters would be overkill. For the best intersection of performance and price, the Hiboy Max fits in well. It can handle shorter commutes as well as youthful romps, and its price tag is less daunting than the premium models. You will sacrifice some power, range, and smoothness of ride at this lower price point, but it's one of the quickest machines we tested while also needing less time on the charger to re-up the battery.
Range, or travel radius, should be the first factor to consider when shopping for an electric scooter because 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, 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 requiring the establishment of two subcategories to quantify and accurately explain each model's range. 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 longest distance you can travel at any speed. Ideally, one would want the battery to propel the 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 Xiaomi Mi M365 and the Glion Dolly Foldable both ran at ~13 mph for 12.8 and 13.2 miles, respectively, until the battery died. The Gotrax G4 happily strutted along for about 22 miles and the Ninebot Max fell off just a bit on the last mile of its unprecedented 26-mile marathon.
Complementing the range analysis is the charge time. All the models in this review, except for the Razor E300, use lithium-ion batteries. The average charging time for these batteries is about 4.7 hours. While charge times vary a great deal, one way to look at a model's performance is as a ratio of charge time to range. Using this as a yardstick, the Ninebot Max is a standout with a recharge time of 6 hours and a range of ~26 miles. That's just 14 minutes and 30 seconds of charge time per mile traveled!
We concede that power is a fairly general term, but it's nonetheless an important performance consideration for any motor-powered vehicle test. We break this metric 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 mention how these scooters get going. Most of the test models will not take off from a dead stop without the rider first kicking once to get them moving. Once the machine gets some human-powered momentum, the electric motor takes over. It 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, we took it up to its maximum flat ground speed — the speed with the throttle fully depressed — and timed it while it traversed a 100-foot stretch. This test was repeated three times for each model. Finally, we calculated the average feet per second of the three trials and converted them into miles per hour. The Ninebot ES2 (16.1 mph), Ninebot Max (16.7 mph), Razor E Prime III (18.4 mph), and Hiboy Max (19.3 mph) are standouts in this category for their top speeds, but our true winner is the Gotrax G4. The G4 hits a whopping 20 miles per hour with an average high speed of 19.8 miles per hour.
As for hill climbing capability, most of the models in our test suite cruised up the 3.5% grade with mild reductions in speed ranging from 3-7 mph. When forced to ascend the much steeper (10.5% grade) quarter-mile test slope, most scooters displayed their lack of power and failed to complete the ascent. However, the Glion powered through, albeit with significant decreases in speed. Conversely, the Ninebot MAX flew up this hill like it had a hellhound chasing its rear wheel. No other model matched this scooter's uphill power and speed. The Gotrax G4 also performed well in this category. It only lost a few miles per hour on the 3.5% grade and crawled up the 10.5% grade at a slow 5-6 miles per hour.
An electric scooter's ride is a more subjective metric than the others discussed thus far. However, it is a critical aspect of our appraisal because it evaluates the smoothness — or lack thereof — that any person who has operated a vehicle knows. To make this assessment as objective as possible, we test each model on the same 1.2-mile surface street loop with a variety of surface textures. When the scooter wheels pass over bumps and cracks in the road, we asked ourselves: how aware are we of these features? When on rough surfaces that cause vibration, we asked: how do our hands and feet feel? Is there any discomfort? Do we feel in control? And most importantly, 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. In comparison, pneumatic tires on a bike provide some give and, thus, absorb vibration quite well.
The products in this review that enjoy the highest marks in the ride metric — such as the Gotrax G4, Ninebot MAX, and Xiaomi — have pneumatic tires. Accordingly, they transfer minimal vibration through the handlebars and the deck (standing platform). On the other hand, the models with hard tires, such as the Glion, offer a relatively rough ride. Even the Ninebot Segway ES, which has a front and rear suspension system, does not achieve equivalent ride quality to the models with pneumatic tires.
The ride isn't just a luxury. A rough riding product can be a safety concern because roughness at its extreme translates to a loss of stability and, ultimately, control. On the other hand, a smooth ride provides a predictable platform that allows the operator to focus on other concerns such as cars, pedestrians, and potholes that have the potential to give more serious feedback.
Up to this point, we have concerned ourselves with the movement of the scooters: how fast, how far, how smooth. To be sure, these are important features to consider. However, we also think that stopping is pretty important. Before going into how we assess braking, let's first look at the different types of brakes employed by the scooters in our review. These are electronic, disk, fender, and drum. The first is a battery-dependent magnetic device, while the latter three are friction devices.
In most cases, the brakes discussed above will be paired either as disk + motor or fender + motor. In the case of the Ninebot MAX, it's drum + motor. The Razor and Glion are the exceptions, as they only employ a single brake.
Our top performers in this category are the Ninebot KickScooter, Gotrax G4, and the Ninebot KickScooter MAX.
The way we see it, there are two scenarios in which brake performance is critical. The first is flat-ground braking when something unexpected occurs, and you need to bring the scooter to a rapid halt. An example of this would be when you're cruising down the street, and a car unexpectedly pulls out in front of you. The other is when you're heading down a hill. Although zipping around at high speeds can be a hoot, hills are a place where things can quickly get out of hand, so you need to be able to rein it in quickly.
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. Each model we tested allowed us to hold their speed to a comfortable level or come to a complete stop on a 15% grade. However, we discovered that if we carried speed into the hill, this outcome became a bit harder to achieve, requiring additional brake pressure and resulting in prolonged slowdown distances.
Models with fender brakes proved a bit more difficult to use on the steeps due to the required change in foot position and weight distribution. Models with dual brake systems activated by a single hand lever proved most effective on descents because 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.
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 motor + disk systems took 27.9 feet, while the fender brakes took 16.3 to completely stop. The Ninebot MAX reduced that distance to just 14 feet, the shortest in the class.
Portability is a critical feature for anyone who wants to use a scooter as a transportation device in an urban setting. Why? Well, the machine must be able to fold to stow in an apartment, office, on a train, or in the trunk of a car. Additionally, the machine must be light enough to carry up a flight of 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.
The Ninebot MAX is an outlier in this category as it weighs 43.4 pounds and has bulky dimensions relative to others in the class. However, all of the products in this review except the Razor attempt to address the portability issue. As the name implies, the Glion Dolly Foldable effectively resolves the portability problem. 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 we tested 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. We know how difficult it can be to pick one out of the many and still feel confident about the decision. Above, we have outlined what we think are the most important factors to consider and which models perform best in each area. We hope that this thorough review will aid you in your choice to purchase one of these fun and practical machines.
— Nick Miley and Austin Palmer
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