Electric Scooter
Featured Photo by G-FORCE Bike on Unsplash

RIDING AN ELECTRIC kick scooter isn’t the coolest way of getting around. There you are, standing stock-still and upright, gliding around like a penguin on wheels. But reducing our reliance on gas-guzzling cars is cool and important. If bikes or electric bikes aren’t your thing, escooters are another eco-friendly way to travel relatively short distances without burning fossil fuel. They’re easy to fold up, they’re lighter than ebikes (usually), and you don’t need to wait on public transportation. Just hop on and go.

We’ve spent the better part of two years testing nearly 25 electric scooters, and these are our favorites. There are a mind-melting number of companies and escooter models coming out every month. We’re testing ’em as best as we can, so check back regularly if you don’t see a scooter you like. Need a helmet, bell, or phone mount? Our Best Biking Accessories guide has you covered.

Updated December 2022: We’ve added the Evolv Terra and Apollo Air 2022, mentioned the TurboAnt X7 Pro, and removed discontinued models.

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A Note on Speed and Range

Electric scooters will work a bit differently for everyone. That’s because the rider’s weight greatly impacts what the scooter is able to output, and the same goes for the weather and road conditions. For reference, I’m a 6′ 4″ human and I weigh a little more than 220 pounds, which means if you are shorter and weigh less, you’ll get longer range and potentially faster speeds out of some of these scooters.

Best Overall

Niu KQi3 Pro

My initial impressions of the KQi3 Pro weren’t stellar. The first unit’s clasp broke during shipping. After I unboxed my second one, I had to ride it for 500 meters at a purposefully slow pace in a “training mode” of sorts. Don’t baby me! Niu must have sensed my shaking fists because it has since updated the firmware to reduce this distance to 200 meters, which is when you can unlock the full capabilities. You don’t need to use the app, but it’s useful to try at least once to set the level of regenerative braking you want, turn on cruise control, and set a custom speed mode.

Over many rides, I became quite fond of the KQi3 Pro. It offers some of the best range for the money. Despite riding over steep bridges around New York City, I frequently eked around 15 miles out of it, but you can probably expect 18 to 20 miles (unless you’re also a tall giant like me). It goes 20 miles per hour; the 9.5-inch tubeless tires offer a comfy ride; and the disc brakes reliably bring it to a quick stop. You get perks like a bell, lights, and space on the handlebar for attaching a phone mount too. I only wish the handlebars could fold down since they can snag on stair railings. It’s super easy to fold, but you might have trouble carrying this 45-pound scooter for anything more than a few flights of stairs. Time to hit the gym.

My Favorite Electric Scooter

Speedway Mini 4 Pro

If I had to buy one scooter in this guide and money was no object, I’d pick the Speedway Mini 4 Pro (9/10, WIRED Recommends). It has the best blend of range, speed, and weight. It can go up to 28 miles per hour, but you’re better off sticking to the second mode that hovers around 18 to 20 mph. At that pace, I managed to get roughly 15 miles out of this thing going from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the bridge (again, I’m a giant, so you’ll probably get more). Best of all, it weighs just 36 pounds, is easy to fold, and the handlebars fold down too, making it compact and easy to carry at a moment’s whim.

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You get front and rear LEDs, but you’ll need to supply your own bell. There’s a little display by the right handlebar that shows speedometer data, but thankfully, there’s no app to worry about. The only reason this isn’t the top pick in this guide? It’s pricier than the Niu.

Best Budget Scooter

Gotrax G3

At this price, you’re not getting as much power as you would with some of our other picks. The G3 cruises at 15 mph—powered by a 350-watt motor—and while the company claims 18 miles per charge, I hit closer to 10. Throw in a climb like the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City, and you’ll see the battery deplete much faster. An excursion over the bridge and back home saw the escooter running out of juice around the 8-mile mark, and I had to walk several streets home. It doesn’t help that the battery meter isn’t reliable. It’s best for short trips in flat areas.

Still, the 8.5-inch tube tires do a pretty good job of absorbing bumps in the road, and the rear disc brake stops it fairly quickly. It has an LED display that shows speed and battery life, a bell, a front light, a brake light, and there’s cruise control. Like the Speedway, it weighs 36 pounds and folds fast. The G3 also has a few anti-theft mechanisms: When you turn it on, you’ll need to enter a code to unlock the display and use the scooter. There’s also a steel cable attached at the bottom of the stem that you can pull out to lock the G3 to a fixed object. (You can set your own numerical code.) This might give you peace of mind if you have to leave the G3 outside, but it’s not going to do much against a determined thief.

Best Lightweight Scooter

Fluidfreeride Fluid Mosquito

I’m waiting for the day I can just pop a compact hoverboard out of a backpack and glide home, like Marty McFly, but until that day comes, the Fluidfreeride Fluid Mosquito (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the next best thing. It’s the lightest electric scooter in this guide at a mere 29 pounds, and there’s a comfy grab handle built in for easy toting. It’s fast to fold and powerful, with a top speed of 24 mph.

But shaving down the weight on this nimble scooter does have drawbacks. Suspension is just OK—you’ll feel most of those bumps—and the wheels are a bit too narrow. The braking system works fine, but you might encounter some skidding if you make a sudden stop, and the range is lackluster (around 9 miles in my testing going over the Brooklyn Bridge). There’s also no easy way to change speed modes on the fly; you need to set it before you ride. Still, these are flaws I can live with. Since it’s so light, I don’t mind carrying it into the subway system if it’s out of juice.

Best Upgrade

Apollo City (2022)

If you want to avoid range anxiety and have the power to go up most hills, stick with the Apollo City (7/10, WIRED Recommends). This spendy escooter can go up to 27 mph, thanks to its 500-watt motor. Even if you limit its speed in the companion app to follow local laws, it’ll still climb up slopes with ease. You even get turn signals! The front and rear brakes are reliable, and there’s a regenerative brake system to boost your mileage. Speaking of which, I was able to eke out 16 miles at 16 mph. At max speed, I had 26 percent left after a 12-mile trip from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back. (It’s worth also considering the Apollo City Pro for $300 more, as it can go faster and has a longer range.)

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Unfortunately, upgraded scooters tend to get heavy. It’s 57 pounds, so I don’t recommend carrying this up and down multiple flights of stairs. It doesn’t help that the handlebars are long and can’t fold down. I walked into a coffee shop with the Apollo City, and its handlebar knocked over a steel jug at the milk and sugar station (cue me awkwardly cleaning milk off the floor). The front light also doesn’t get very bright, and the hook on the stem doesn’t stay connected to the deck, which is annoying when you need a break from lifting this thing.

Best for Hilly Areas

Apollo Ghost

At 64 pounds, the Apollo Ghost (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is not the scooter for walkups, but it’s tremendous fun. I tested the 2021 model, but the 2022 version has some upgrades. The new dual 1,000-watt motors can vault you to 34 miles per hour (if that’s legal where you live), but I mostly relied on the single motor and cruised at around 20 to 25 mph—there’s a button to switch between the two, and modes to further limit your speed. Why would you want that much speed? Well, two motors can generate more torque, which proved handy going up steep hills.

The dual displays are hard to read on sunny days, but one of them shows ride data, like battery life, speed, and the mode you’re using. The other shows the battery’s voltage level—a full battery is around 58 volts and a nearly dead one is around 44 volts (at least, on the 2021 Ghost). It’s a more accurate battery reading if you can remember those two numbers. Anyone in a hilly city will benefit from the power and extended range of the Ghost. I hit around 20 miles on a single charge (Apollo claims a generous 37). There are front and visibility LEDs built under and around the deck, along with a taillight. As for the brakes, you can get discs or upgrade to hydraulic ones. The former delivered enough stopping power for me, but the latter is more responsive and reliable.

Also Great

Evolv Terra

I really liked my time with the Evolv Terra (7/10, WIRED Recommends). If you’re considering the Apollo Ghost above, consider this first because it’s slightly cheaper, a little lighter at 53 pounds, and easier to carry. It’s just as powerful, with the potential to go as fast as 31 miles per hour when you engage both 600-watt motors (check your local speed laws first!). Otherwise, you can cruise along at 20 mph as I did on the second gear speed setting (there are three in total) with the single motor. Range isn’t dissimilar either; I usually had two bars left after 15 miles on the Terra so it can potentially last more than 20 miles, especially if you’re conservative with its speeds.

The suspension is OK but the solid tires on rougher roads can feel quite bumpy. The fenders also seem pretty useless to me as, after a wet ride post-rain, my back was covered in specks of dirt kicked up from the rear tire. The stem’s angle is also a little too close to my body, and the lack of a thumb throttle meant my wrist hurt after long rides. You can tweak the angle of the throttle and brakes to improve this though. These are relatively minor quibbles considering the price.

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