8 best electric scooters that really go the distance

·11 min read
<p>Fast, fun and way more versatile than an electric bike, these scooters are becoming the preferred way to travel</p> (The Independent)

Fast, fun and way more versatile than an electric bike, these scooters are becoming the preferred way to travel

(The Independent)

As many of us continue to look for alternative ways to get from A to B, electric scooters are booming in popularity. Fast, fun and way more versatile than an electric bike, they’re becoming the preferred way to travel for those who want to avoid public transport and arrive at their destination feeling just as fresh as when they left the house.

But not all scooters are created equal, and finding the best electric scooter for your needs requires some careful consideration. Will you need to carry it on public transport, or chuck it in the back of your car for a portion of the journey? Can your scooter make a round trip without exhausting the battery? And are there rules about where you can ride it?

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We’ve tested eight of the best electric scooters on the market, taking into consideration the range, comfort, portability and safety of each. Bear in mind that the ranges stated below are given by the manufacturer and measured under ideal conditions. Things like hills, the weight of the rider, your speed and the weather conditions can all make a big dent in the actual range.

As a rule of thumb you want a scooter with a stated range at least twice that of the distance you intend to ride it on a regular basis. This gives you plenty of breathing room, and ensures you’re unlikely to get stranded halfway to your destination.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best electric scooter 2021

Pure air electric scooter

Best: Overall

Weight: 16.5kg

Range: 18.5 miles

Charging time: 5.5 hours

Power: 350W

Wheels: 10in pneumatic tyres

The best electric scooter for under £400, the pure air strikes an uncompromising balance between value, battery life, comfort and build quality. It looks super smart, sporting a sleek design and quality satin finish in a range of colours.

IP65 water resistance — a grade above other scooters we’ve tested — means you can confidently sail this thing through puddles without damaging any of the sensitive electronics inside, making it a great choice for commuters who want to continue riding during the winter months. The rear wheel drive motor can lose momentum on steeper inclines, but for those who don’t plan on regularly scaling hills at speed, the pure air is everything you need in an electric scooter.

Buy now £299.00, Pureelectric.com

Pure air pro electric scooter

Best: Under £500

Weight: 16.5kg

Range: 22.4 miles

Charging time: 5.5 hours

Power: 350W

Wheels: 10in pneumatic tyres

Like the standard model, the Pure air pro is built to withstand all kinds of dire weather conditions, with IP65 water resistance allowing you to plough straight through puddles rather than around them. Chunky 10in wheels and pneumatic tyres make for one of the most comfortable and least jittery rides of the scooters we’ve tested.

A fully upgraded version of the Pure air electric scooter, the pro introduces a few key improvements over the regular model. The front wheel drive motor is more powerful and races up inclines as if they weren’t there, while regenerative braking extends the battery life and boosts the maximum range to a healthy 22.4 miles. The Pure air pro is an excellent choice of scooter for anyone regularly commuting across hilly terrain.

Buy now £419.00, Pureelectric.com

Unagi model one E500 electric scooter

Best: For commuting

Weight: 12kg

Range: 15.5 miles

Charging time: 5 hours

Power: Dual 250W motors

Wheels: 7.5in solid tyres

The lightest electric scooter we’ve tested, the Unagi model one is a zippy little ride with a stylish magnesium alloy handlebar, integrated display and carbon fibre tubing. At just 12kg, it’s one of the most portable scooters on the market and sports a straightforward, single-click folding action, making it a superb choice for daily commuters looking to carry their ride with them on public transport.

To reduce the weight this much, Unagi has had to sacrifice some power output and restrict the battery size. That means it struggles on steep inclines and has a relatively limited range compared to heavier scooters in our list (around 15.5 miles, less than half of the ultra-long-range max G30 below). Those solid rubber tyres are puncture-proof, durable and well-suited to smooth roads, but will rattle your teeth on rough terrain.

Buy now £799.00, Pureelectric.com

Xiaomi 1S electric scooter

Best: Budget electric scooter

Weight: 12.5kg

Range: 18.5 miles

Charging time: 5.5 hours

Power: 250W

Wheels: 8.5in pneumatic tyres

If you’ve taken a ride on an electric scooter before, chances are it was Xiaomi’s M365. Until 2019, Bird and Lime – two of the largest scooter rental services in cities across Europe – used a modified M365 as the workhorse of their rental fleet, owing to the Chinese scooter’s simple, low-cost construction and near-indestructible build quality. The Xiaomi 1S is built around the blueprint of the M365, and redesigned for sole ownership.

Gone are the hard-wearing rubber wheels, replaced with air-filled tyres for a more comfortable ride. At 12.5kg the Xiaomi 1S is easier to carry in one hand than every other scooter we tested (barring only the super-lightweight Unagi above). While the small motor feels lethargic when approaching its top speed, initial acceleration is delightfully snappy and responsive.

Buy now £379.00, Pureelectric.com

Segway ninebot kickscooter max G30

Best: Range

Weight: 18kg

Range: 40 miles

Charging time: 6 hours

Power: 350W

Wheels: 10in pneumatic tyres

Like the Xiaomi 1S (above), the Max G30 was originally designed as a rental scooter. As such it’s a bit of a beast, designed to go as long as possible on a single charge and engineered to withstand round-the-clock abuse by riders of all shapes and sizes. This premium home model is just as durable but introduces creature comforts such as softer tyres for more comfortable suspension and a bright, full-colour LED display showing speed, ride settings and battery level.

The best-in-class 40 mile range means you can ride it farther than any other scooter in our list, but this comes at the expense of the scooter’s powered-down portability. A low-torque pedestrian mode assists you when walking alongside the scooter, but lugging this thing up a flight of stairs is like moving a piano.

Buy now £649.00, Decathlon.co.uk

Xiaomi mi pro 2 electric scooter

Best: For adults

Weight: 14.2kg

Range: 28 miles

Charging time: 8.5 hours

Power: 300W

Wheels: 8.5in pneumatic tyres

Xiaomi’s premium electric scooter is powered by a significantly punchier motor than its budget-level counterpart, the Xiaomi 1S. While this doesn’t affect the Xiaomi pro 2’s top-speed — electric scooters sold in Europe are typically restricted to 15.5mph — it does greatly improve performance on hills and with heavier riders.

The pro 2 is also a good deal larger than the compact 1S, which makes this scooter less portable but noticeably more stable. We found less of the wobbliness you tend to get on smaller electric scooters, as the longer wheelbase allows for more balance and control even when making tight turns at low speeds. The larger chassis creates more room for battery storage too, giving it an impressive range for its weight.

Buy now £424.99, Scan.co.uk

Bird One electric scooter

Best: For teenagers

Weight: 17.5kg

Range: 25 miles

Charging time: 6 hours

Power: 300W

Wheels: 9in semi-solid tyres

Another electric scooter originally designed for the rental market, the Bird One is a robust and high-performance ride built for reliability and crammed with a unique set of connectivity features. The companion app works much like it does when using rentals, allowing you to find the scooter using GPS tracking, remotely lock or unlock the scooter from your phone, and detect any thieving shenanigans when it’s parked up somewhere out of sight.

The scooter’s semi-solid tyres provide the best of both worlds, resisting punctures while remaining cushioned and comfortable over kerbs and bumps, though its overall weight and inability to be folded leaves it feeling a little cumbersome when not in use. If there’s an easy way to pick this scooter up without smashing your unsuspecting shins to smithereens, we haven’t figured it out.

Buy now £699.00, Pureelectric.com

Furo Systems fuze

Best: For off-road

Weight: 19kg

Range: 25 miles

Charging time: 5.5 hours

Power: 750W

Wheels: 10in pneumatic tyres

Boasting enormous power and spring suspension on both the front and rear wheels, the Fuze is the most versatile electric scooter we’ve tested. Large, air-filled tyres help this tank of a scooter glide effortlessly over cracks and bumps and across all kinds of uneven terrain, while the beefy motor allows the scooter to launch from a stationary position like a startled rabbit.

At 19kg it’s about as heavy as it looks – not ideal for anyone who might have to pick it up off the ground on a regular basis – but the sheer amount of energy it can output makes the ride feel breezier and more responsive than lighter, less powerful scooters.

Buy now £649.00, Furosystems.com

FAQ electric scooters

Are electric scooters legal in the UK?

Yes. Trials of electric scooter rental services are currently taking place in cities across the country.

From 7 June you can hire a rental scooter in Canary Wharf and four London boroughs: Richmond, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea. Next month, Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster and the City of London are expected to join the scheme. Three electric scooter firms, Dott, Lime and Tier, are supplying each borough with up to 150 scooters.

There are still limitations on privately owned electric scooters. These can only be used on private land and with the owner’s consent. If you use a private electric scooter on a public road the police can fine you for riding without insurance or a licence, you can receive penalty points on your licence, and you could have your scooter impounded.

Electric scooter road safety rules

General road safety laws apply when riding an electric scooter. You can be issued a fixed penalty notice for riding on the footpath. You can receive six penalty points and a fine for using a mobile phone while riding an electric scooter. Riding through red lights can result in £100 fine and points on your licence.

And if you’re found to be drunk or high while riding an electric scooter, you can face the same charges as when driving any other motor vehicle: fines, a driving ban and even jail time.

The government has issued the following advice on the use of rental scooters.

  • Though not a legal requirement, riders are advised to wear a helmet and fluorescent clothing while using an electric scooter

  • Traffic signs with bike symbols, such as at cycle lanes and bus lanes, also apply to electric scooters

  • Do not ride on the pavement

  • Do not ride an electric scooter on a motorway

  • Do not tow anything

  • Do not use a mobile phone

  • Do not carry a passenger

  • Do not hang luggage from the handlebars

  • Do not ride while intoxicated

The verdict: Electric scooters

For its fantastic all-round performance and quality finish at an eye-catching price, our choice of the best electric scooter is the Pure Air. Riders who live at the top of a hill or who need to carry extra weight will benefit from a bit more “oomph”, in which case the Pure Air Pro presents the best value for money. And if your main priority is portability and your budget can stretch to it, the stylish and super lightweight Unagi Model One is the electric scooter for you.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on electric scooters and other outdoor tech offers, try the links below:

We’ve also reviewed the best electric bikes for every budget

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