Best electric scooters: e-scooters for two-wheeled fun tried and tested

·10-min read
 (BirdOne)
(BirdOne)

Thanks to the growing number of cities trialling e-scooter hire schemes, and the suggestion that government-imposed restrictions relating to the use of privately owned e-scooters will soon be eased, it’s no surprise that sales of these battery-powered vehicles are rocketing. Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect e-scooter.

Are scooters legal in the UK?

Yes and no. Legally, you can buy a scooter and ride it (without a licence), but only on private land. However, a number of e-scooter share schemes, which are similar to the Santander bike share scheme (AKA Boris bikes) are being trialled in the UK.

E-scooter schemes are currently being trialled in London, Norwich, Poole and Bristol, and several additional destinations, including the Isle of Wight, are launching trial e-scooter share schemes. The government has ruled that riders who use e-scooters which are part of these schemes must have a car, moped or motorcycle licence. Helmets are encouraged, but not mandatory.

Although it’s illegal to use privately owned scooters beyond private land, how strictly this is enforced is another matter entirely. Sales of electric scooters are rocketing and they’re becoming commonplace in public areas, especially in cities. This is perhaps because of the growing popularity of e-scooter schemes - many people believe that the laws relating to the use of privately owned scooters will soon be loosened, and the government has suggested that the use of privately owned electric scooters outside of public property could eventually become legal.

What’s the top speed for electric scooters?

The majority of e-scooters have top speeds of around 15mph. Certain models have maximum speeds of 24mph, although whether e-scooters should be ridden at these speeds, on private land or on public roads, is a point of contention. E-scooters hired as part of sharing schemes can’t have maximum speeds of over 15.5mph.

How much do electric scooters cost?

Prices vary hugely, but expect to pay between £400 and £1,000 for adult e-scooters.

What features should I look out for when buying an e-scooter?

Before purchasing an electric scooter, think about your priorities. If you’re using it on smooth surfaces, consider looking for tyres with extra grip.

If you’re planning to take it off road, consider bigger wheels and extra suspension at the front and rear.

Riders who are keen cyclists should pay extra attention to the controls. The majority of scooters have throttles which allow the speed to be controlled with the tweak of a circular, lever-style throttle attached to the handlebars. Cyclists are likely to prefer throttles which allow the speed to be adjusted using controls attached to the tips of the handlebars, whether it’s a lever similar to the brakes on a bike, or a motorcycle-style throttle which simply requires a rotation of the handlebars.

A final reminder: always wear a helmet. They’re often a condition of riding hired e-scooters and if - or should that be when – privately owned e-scooters become legal for use beyond private property, helmets will almost certainly become a legal requirement.

ES Best reviews are independent advice you can trust. We may earn revenue if you buy the products through the links, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2

Charge time: 8.5 hours

Range: 28 miles

Weight: 14.2kg

Top speed: 15.5mph

Yes, you’ll need a snooze-inducing 8.5 hours for a full charge of this scooter, but all is forgiven – this is a lean, mean electric machine which definitely justifies the clock-watching charge time. To start with, it’s got a range of 28 miles, along with powerful, regenerative brakes (this means energy created by the braking process feeds back into the battery) and an ultra-bright LED display which clearly shows speed, battery, distance and ride mode. With the latter, there are three pre-set speed modes: pedestrian, standard and sports. Its smart phone connectivity will appeal to gadget geeks but beware, the Mi Home app feels somewhat clumsy, and over-reliance on this feature could land you in trouble if your smart phone runs out of juice.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi

£599 | Pure Electric

Govecs Elmoto Kick

Charge time: 2 hours

Range: up to 12 miles

Weight: 15kg

Top speed: 12.5mph

This foldable, 500w scooter offers a fun, easy ride with the added advantage of a super-quick charging time – just two hours – and a rugged build which feels incredibly stable. The powerful hydraulic brakes are some of the best you’ll find on a scooter, and other perks include the extra-high handlebar and the cruise control feature, which fixes the speed at 12mph. With its somewhat measly maximum range of 12 miles this is clearly a scooter designed with commuters in mind, and it serves that purpose well. Although a slightly larger, less cramped digital display would make keeping track of speed and battery life slightly easier.

Govecs
Govecs

£899 | Urbane Bikes

Kiq II Pro

Charge time: 3 hours

Range: up to 12 miles

Weight: 15kg

Top speed: 20mph

Another scooter designed for commuters, the Kiq II Pro has an easy-on-the-eye price tag (under £500) and extra-large tyres for a smoother, softer ride, even on wet or slippery surfaces. Although, minimal suspension means this is a scooter which will struggle with tougher terrain. The Kiq II Pro gets a gold star for the presence of a bright red throttle lever – all too often, speed controls blend in with the rest of the handlebars, but Kiq’s stands out, making speed adjustments significantly easier. Our only gripes? When pulling away, the scooter feels slightly sluggish compared to nippier models, and the narrow foot base might be an issue for those with larger feet.

Kiq
Kiq

£499 | Urbane Bikes

Micro Explorer Electric Scooter

Charge time: 3.5 hours

Range: up to 18 miles

Weight: 13.5kg

Top speed: 15mph

Don’t underestimate this slimline scooter, which is one of the lightest electric models on the market, and comes with a host of brilliant features - but still fits into the smallest of spaces. The highlight of its collapsible design is the foldable handlebars, a simple but often-overlooked feature which makes a huge difference when it comes to stashability. With a range of 18mph, it’s a commute-friendly scooter which has a high fun factor, too. Robust suspension and powerful brakes means the Micro Explorer can cope with a wide range of terrains without sacrificing stability, and the motorbike-style throttle makes speed control infinitely easier.

Micro Explorer
Micro Explorer

£599.95 | Micro Scooters

Pure Air Electric Scooter

Charge time: 5.5 hours

Range: 18.5 miles

Weight: 16.5kg

Top speed: 15.5mph

One of the best scooters you’ll find for under £400, the Pure Air is a reliable workhorse which won’t let you down. You’ll need to keep an eye on the battery life – an 18.5 mile range is certainly impressive, but it will take a whopping 5.5 hours for a fully drained battery to reach full charge. But it’s worth it – this scooter feels wonderfully smooth and surprisingly responsive, and the extra-grippy deck can carry a weight of up to 120kg. There’s admittedly room for a few aesthetic improvements, namely the foam handlebars, which look and feel somewhat cheap, and the slightly clunky way in which the headset attaches to the main body. Thankfully, no expense has been spared on the oversized tyres - they’re filled with an anti-puncture fluid which reduces the risk of a stray shard of glass cutting short your scooter session.

Pure Air
Pure Air

£399 | Pure Electric

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 1S

Charge time: 5.5 hours

Range: 18.5 miles

Weight: 12.5kg

Top speed: 15.5mph

The younger sister of the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2, the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 1S is a brilliant entry-level scooter. Powerful lights on the front and rear ensure you’ll stand out, and six reflectors on the sides ensure 360-degree visibility. It’s perfectly suited to commuting and short jaunts to the shops where its low weight (just 12.kg) allows it to be easily carried with one hand. An energy recovery system means the process of braking helps the battery last longer, although the 1S’s battery is already pretty impressive, offering a maximum range of 18.5 miles.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi

£449 | Pure Electric

Furo Systems Fuze

Charge time: 5.5 hours

Range: 34 miles

Weight: 19kg

Top speed: 24 mph

Think of this as the super car of e-scooters. It boasts a sturdy-but-sleek ride with a top speed of 24mph and a brilliant battery life where a 5.5-hour charge will give it enough juice to gobble up 34 miles. It feels equally at home on cobbles, concrete or rougher terrain, and although it’s not the lightest of scooters - the Fuze weighs in at 19kg – this gives it a reassuring stability. Unlike most scooters, it doesn’t need a kick start. The accelerator takes the form of a bicycle-style trigger rather than a throttle, meaning you don’t need to release your grip on the handlebars to crank up the speed. But for riders fearful of vehicle theft, the pièce de resistance will be the wireless key set, which incorporates an anti-theft alarm that can be activated at a distance.

Fuze
Fuze

£649 | Furo Systems

Bird One Electric Scooter

Charge time: 6 hours

Range: 25 miles

Weight: 17.5kg

Top speed: 18mph

This is a beautiful, hi-tech e-scooter without any fear that form has been given precedent over functionality. Given Bird’s expertise, this is hardly surprising. Their models have been the e-scooters of choice for share schemes in 130 cities across five continents. In other words? Not only has Bird had plenty of time to iron out any glitches, but the brand’s placed a huge focus on durability. The Bird One is a nippy, rugged scooter which pulls away hard. Powerful brakes and a wide, stable base provide unbeatable stability, even at speeds of 18mph. Its compatibility with the Bird’s app will offer peace of mind for the security conscious as you can use your phone to switch the scooter on, to remotely lock and unlock it (so it can be used by friends), and receive notifications if it’s been tampered with.

BirdOne
BirdOne

£999 | Pure Electric

Wired XL Scooter with Seat

Charge time: 8 hours

Range: 6.5 miles

Weight: 14kg

Top speed: 10mph

Why should adults have all the fun? This wallet-friendly e-scooter is designed especially for younger riders with its lightweight design and a maximum speed of 6.5mph. Its chain-driven mechanism means it’s noisier than the other e-scooters we’ve featured here, but not excessively so, and it’s more than capable of withstanding its fair share of rough and tumble. The wide foot plate allows riders to shift their weight without risk of slipping off, and the curved, riser-style handlebars are perfectly suited to smaller hands. The presence of a seat will be a godsend for parents – when tired arms or legs start to ache, riders can simply steer the scooter from a sitting position. A brief word of warning – this scooter requires more assembly than the box suggests, but it’s still a relatively simple process.

Wired XL
Wired XL

£185 | Halfords

Verdict

It’s hard to go wrong with Xiaomi, a brilliant brand known for its top quality scooters, and the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 ticks all the boxes by offering a fantastic, versatile scooter for under £600. Yes, the battery’s charge time could be a little shorter, but this is definitely a scooter worth waiting for.

The Bird One comes top in the style stakes but offers great performance, reliability and usability too, and its flawless smart phone connectivity serves only to enhance its usability.

Equally worthy of a mention is Furo Systems’ The Fuze, a powerful scooter which lets riders tackle tougher terrain at higher speeds without sacrificing comfort. That said, it’s equally at home on urban commutes, and bonus points are awarded for its lightning quick charge time.

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