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The best electric scooters, according to experts

Photo: STR/Getty/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

At a time when public transportation has never been less appealing, people are trying to get their hands on anything that can get them from point A to point B. That means bikes, rollerblades, and electric scooters have been impossible to keep in stock. Adding to the demand, New York State officially legalized electric bikes and scooters after a state budget agreement was reached in early April, making getting around on motorized wheels easier than ever.

If you’ve been considering a new mode of transportation, electric scooters are an especially good choice because they’re portable, they’re energy efficient, and they’re just really easy to ride. It also doesn’t hurt that electric scooters have gotten better year over year. “Battery technology has vastly improved over the years, giving riders a quicker charge time and longer range,” says Ben Gibson, managing director of Micro Scooters U.K. “These technological improvements make electric scooters an even more viable method of commuting for more people.”

When you’re scooter shopping, the main factors to consider are weight, distance, and battery. Typically, scooters weigh anywhere between 20 and 90 pounds, can go between 15 and 50 mph, and reach from 15 to 75 miles in distance, all things to keep in mind when you’re comparing models. The experts we spoke to recommended that first-time buyers look for a scooter that is, above all, lightweight, because “getting the scooter in and out of the apartment or office can be tedious,” says Manuel Saez, the CEO and co-founder of Brooklyness, a scooter subscription service.

Many of the experts we spoke to also highlighted the importance of the suspension, which allows your scooter to glide along the road smoothly, even when the conditions are less than ideal. As KC Cohen, the owner of Joulvert Electric Bikes and Scooters in NYC, says, without sufficient suspension, “it will feel like riding a jackhammer.” Gibson warns that the e-scooter market has been flooded with cheaper models, which “are often made with less robust parts and can be prone to product recalls.” Damon Victor of Greenpath Electric Bicycles agrees, saying whatever you do, ”don’t buy a cheap scooter with a cheap suspension. If the suspension breaks while at speed — well, it is not pretty.”

Another thing to keep in mind, says Eric Levenseller, the CEO of Levy Electric, is “the level of post-sales support you’ll be getting.” He adds that first-time purchasers often “think owning an electric scooter will last them as long as a traditional bike with little maintenance required. But electric scooters, while simple in their design, have complex electronics and battery systems that will likely require replacements over time.” Almost every expert we spoke to echoed this sentiment. Before buying, make sure your e-scooter can get proper maintenance and has a good warranty with replaceable parts. With all of that in mind, we asked four electric scooter experts (plus two other pros) about some of their most highly rated electric scooters. Here’s what they recommend.

Best budget electric scooter

Victor says this one is “inexpensive and insanely reliable.” He says that while the Dolly is lightweight enough that you can haul it around the city with relative ease, “it also has a built in ‘dolly’ feature, where you can pull out a handle and roll it on two small dedicated wheels, like carry-on luggage with wheels.” The dolly may not sound particularly thrilling, but it’s the only e-scooter on the list that has this feature. It’s especially useful when your battery runs low because you can avoid lugging an almost 30-pound scooter around by simply using the dolly mechanism and rolling it back to its charge station.

Weight: 28 pounds
Range: 15 miles
Weight limit: 255 pounds
Recharge time: Four to six hours

Best lightweight electric scooter

The Micro Merlin is one of Micro Scooter U.K.’s best-selling electric scooters, says Gibson. “It is lightweight and has four speed settings, making it suitable for every type of journey.” He also notes that the Merlin has “cruise control for effortless riding and an integrated dual suspension for comfort, a three-hour full recharge with regenerative braking, LCD display, and a 15-mile range.” It weighs only 24 pounds — one of the lightest on our list — and can hold a weight of 220 pounds.

Weight: 24 pounds
Range: 15 miles
Weight limit: 220 pounds
Recharge time: Three hours

Editors’ note: Our friends at The Verge tell us that the Merlin is technically made by a company called E-TWOW and sold by other retailers under that name. We’ve included a similar option to the Merlin below.”

Best long-distance electric scooter

“I would recommend this particular model for leisure rides. It has a wide base and tall standing height, both features that make longer distance riding more comfortable,” says Levenseller. This is a heavier scooter, weighing in over 40 pounds, so it’s less ideal for commuting. But if you need to leisurely get somewhere on the weekends, this could be perfect for you. The Ninebot KickScooter Max also stands out with a 40-mile range, though it does have a longer charge time, at six hours. It can reach a top speed of 18.6 mph and handle a 220-pound weight load. Plus, it has an LED dashboard, making it easier to check maintenance issues, power levels, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Weight: 40 pounds
Range: 40 miles
Weight limit: 220 pounds
Recharge time: Six hours

Best electric scooter for even longer distances

“This is the Tesla Roadster of electric scooters,” says John Klinger, the brand manager of MiniMotors USA. Though it’s much heavier, at 95 pounds — almost three times the weight of some of the other recommended models it “comes with a huge battery pack which will give you up to 75 miles of range, top speeds of over 50 mph (please ride responsibly), and great suspension, which is adjustable,” Kinger says. This scooter is perfect for longer distances, with almost triple the range of other models on our list. It also has ultrawide tires that are great if you travel on less than ideal road conditions. “It’s super impressive that you can have a personal transport device with 50 miles of range that will cost you 50 cents to charge up,” says Klinger.

Weight: 95 pounds
Range: 75 miles
Weight limit: 265 pounds
Recharge time: 20 hours

Best commuter electric scooter

“For someone that is using their scooter primarily for short-distance commuting, I don’t think there are many better options than our original Levy model,” says Levenseller. “It’s also the only electric scooter with a removable battery, meaning you don’t need to carry the whole scooter around with you to get a charge on it.” You can store a backup battery in the stem of the scooter, just below the handles. It has a ten-mile range, a three hour charge time, and it weighs around 27 pounds, “which means carrying it with you on the subway, up the stairs, and tucking it away in your office shouldn’t be an issue.”

Weight: 27 pounds
Range: Ten miles
Weight limit: 230 pounds
Recharge time: Three hours

Best electric scooter for carrying more weight

The IMAX S1 has an adjustable power setting via a “control panel on the handlebars,” says Victor. “This allows one to increase the wattage to either go faster or get up a hill. Or, one can choose a lower setting to go further in distance and get better range.” It takes only about three hours to reach full battery, and it has a range of up to 20 miles and can reach a top speed of 20 mph. The IMAX S1 is one of the heavier e-scooters, weighing around 36 pounds. But it has a powerful motor and pneumatic tires for long, comfortable rides. If your main concern is comfort, then the IMAX S1 will do the job over long distances, but it weighs almost 12 pounds more than some of the other models the experts recommended, which could be a major drawback for some people.

Weight: 36 pounds
Range: 20 miles
Weight limit: 528 pounds
Recharge time: Three hours

Best electric scooter for a comfortable ride

“This thing is the Maserati of scooters,” says Victor. “Not because of its powerful motor that can go over 40 miles on a single charge, but rather,
because of its advanced suspension, system which makes it one of the easiest scooters to control and handle on the market.” The suspension, he says, also “makes it one of the most comfortable for long rides.” It reaches a top speed of 15.5 mph and it can reach a 68-mile range if you use the eco-mode setting, though you’ll have to wait seven hours for a full charge. Plus, it only weighs 27 pounds, and it can hold a maximum weight of 264 pounds.

Weight: 27 pounds
Range: 68 miles
Weight limit: 264 pounds
Recharge time: Six hours

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