Electric Scooter Buyer’s Guide


Electric scooters are somewhat like bicycles as they share many parts and much the same construction. Given the purpose of these kinds of cycles, they are likely to require much servicing and adjusting over their lifespan when put to frequent use. This is why it’s always best to buy a model from maker with a good reputation for build quality and after-sales service.

Budget brands are more likely to have no parts available when you need them for repairs, and a scooter waiting in some garage for parts long in the coming isn’t going to be of much use.

Parts of the electric scooters

Brakes. The brakes tends to get passed over when purchasing a scooter. Heavier electric scooters can get a bit loaded with their bigger battery packs, and need a good system of brakes to slow down and stop.

  • Band-type brakes can sometimes lock up the rims, and this can wear a tire down faster as well as lead to accidental injuries. Band-type front brakes can be especially risky as when they lock up and jerk the scooter to a frontal stop, the rider might find himself suddenly flipping over the handlebars.
  • Disc or V-type brakes at both the front and back usually perform best, as a scooter with only a single brake cannot slow as quickly as model with dual braking system.
  • Having a dual system offers better control as well, such as when you’re on dry, smooth roads you can apply both together to stop smoothly. On wet or loose paths you would mainly apply the rear to prevent the possibility of dangerous front lock-ups.

Frame Construction. A study steel frame-and-fork design is what to look for in an electric scooter. Models with frame segments made from mostly metal sheeting are more prone to bends and breakage in the course of normal operation. Frame and forks with all-tubular steel construction and parts built with thicker steel plates are tougher and more reliable in the long run.

Chains or Belts. Chains running on sprockets tend to run longer and snap or loosen less often than belts, but of course chain-drive motors tend to be noisier in operation. The advantage of noisy chains is that other riders and pedestrians can better hear you coming down the lane from farther away. Tip: Belt-driven systems are much quieter, but their more fragile belts will need more frequent replacement in heavy use. But if quiet is your thing then there’s little choice.

Chrome. Not all chrome-plated parts will keep from rusting for a long time. A lower-quality chromed frame will begin rusting in parts once it has been used in rainy weather, or been stored outside for months in freezing cold conditions. Reputable name brands will have models with good chrome-plating in their frames, while the smaller makes would sometimes specify inferior materials in their lower model ranges.

Manufacturers can profit a bit more by substituting chrome with lesser metal alloys in their plated parts, but those will naturally start flaking earlier after some use in less than ideal conditions. Good chrome will not rust for extended periods of time after exposure to the elements, so buying a frame with real chrome parts from a reputable brand will usually result in a sturdier and longer-lasting electric scooter.

Plastics. Models with some plastic cover and style pieces are usually okay so long as the underlying metal frame is sound. But models which feature a lot of plastic bodywork are expectedly more prone to their large expanses of plastic warping or cracking sooner. Street-legal electric scooters with large frames and plastic modules hung on them tend to last a bit as their adult riders are more likely to be careful and to avoid damaging moves. Children’s scooters tend to see more abuse and rougher handling. Tip: For those buying for their kids, it’s probably better to get a model which comes with exposed yet visibly sturdy metal construction.

Motor and Battery Performance.


The performance of most electric scooters depends a lot on the output power of their electric motors as well as their weight, in terms of their power-to-weight ratio. A smaller, lighter scooter will go faster with the same motor output than one with a larger and heavier body and batteries.

  • The majority of consumer electric scooters come with motors which average power ratings of 350 Watts. These usually accelerate slowly, have middling top speeds, and only roll along well enough on level pavement.
  • To go faster and with better acceleration on sloping roads, a model with a motor outputting 500W or more would usually be required.
  • Electric scooters with motors outputting 750 Watts or higher are necessary for areas with lots of hilly pavement, or for cruising fast on major roads.

The operating range of most electric scooters will depend much on the quality and conditioning of the battery’s cells. New packs can usually provide a run of almost an hour on a single full charge, although a bit less along hillier routes. Most popular models with middling motors and regular-sized packs of around 10Ah in capacity can range at least ten miles on smooth and level paved roads.

Buyer’s Thoughts


Some brands go the extent of designing their own frames and sourcing their own parts while integrating and testing the whole. Others basically just put their logo on regular models designed and built by the same groups of OEM factories. The latter types of models will sport mostly identical group designs and controls at various prices, and many will physically vary mainly in their paintwork styling and perhaps optional features.

But more importantly, seemingly identical OEM models can differ a bit in the quality of their construction and the parts used, as well as in the warranties and after-sales service offered, so it’s best to be wary when looking at one of these semi-generic scooters. In most cases, firms which create their own scooter designs and have total control over their manufacturing and quality testing are usually the bigger and better-established brands with the more reliable and rugged models.

A few more things: After you’ve chosen your ride, remember to look up the safety guidelines and rules of the road for bikes and motorcycles in your area. And don’t forget to buy - and always wear - a protective helmet and maybe some gloves. You’ll be needing these things to enjoy your smooth new ride safely. Along with perhaps an extra fast charger if you’ll be re-charging at your destinations between the legs of a series of trips.

About the author


Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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