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E-Scooter: How to buy the right electric scooter for you

E-scooters have long populated our streets in large numbers. Most of them are e-scooters that are available for hire. If you want to buy one for yourself, then there are plenty of things to consider. We would like to recommend a few great models to you and explain everything you need to bear in mind before making a purchase decision!

  Selected e-scooters in the US
Product Ninebot KickScooter ES1L Ninebot KickScooter MAX G30LP GoTrax GXL V2 Ninebot KickScooter Air T15
Image Ninebot KickScooter MAX G30LP Go Trax GXL V2 Ninebot KickScooter Air T15
MSRP $299.99 $989.99 $349 $819.99
Weight 24.9 lbs 38.6 lbs 26.45 lbs 23.2 lbs
Load capacity 220 lbs (100 kg) 220.5 lbs (100 kg) 220 lbs (100 kg) 220.5 lbs (100 kg)
Dimensions (unfolded / folded)
  • 40.2″ × 16.3″ × 44.5″
  • 44.5″ × 16.3″ × 12.6″
  • 43.7″ x 18.6″ x 45.1″
  • 43.7″ x 18.6″ x 21.0″
  • 36.9″ x 15.7″ x 40″
  • 40.3″ x 8″ x 8.8″
Motor 250 watts 350 watts 250 watts 300 watts
Brake type
  • Front electronic brake
  • Rear disc brake
  • Front disc brake
  • Rear electronic brake
  • Front electronic brake
  • Rear disc brake
Charging time 6 hours 6.5 hours 5 hours 4 hours
Max. Range 12.4 miles 24.9 miles 12 miles 9.3 miles
Speed 12.4 mph 18.6 mph 15.5 mph 12.4 mph
Tires 8-inch pneumatic tires 10-inch pneumatic tires 8.5-inch pneumatic tires 6-inch front | 7.5-inch rear
Display Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smartphone holder
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Buying an e-scooter is easy. It is less easy to see whether such a vehicle is technically up to scratch and whether you are allowed to use it on the road at all. In order for you to obtain the full picture, we will guide you step-by-step and clarify everything you need to know before buying an e-scooter.

We have not reviewed any of the e-scooters that were listed in the table ourselves. We have looked through reviews and user reports from colleagues and selected a few models on this basis, all of which are highly recommended and can be used on local roads. Feel free to let us know in the comments whether we should venture to write our own e-scooter reviews in the future.

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Features to look out for when buying an e-scooter

Who is allowed to drive an e-scooter?

In principle, any person over the age of 16 is allowed to ride an e-scooter in the United States. Do bear in mind that regulations differ from one state to another. In the US, North Carolina requires a DMV registration, nine states require a driver’s license, and some require riders to wear a helmet, so always check with the local authorities.

Mann fährt den E-Scooter auf einer Brücke
Make sure to ride e-scooters like the Ninebot MAX G30D II while wearing a helmet. / © Ninebot

Please remember that you may only ride the e-scooter alone. There is no obligation to wear a helmet, but in the interest of your own safety, you should definitely wear one anyway. Young people should also wear knee and elbow pads.

Where are you allowed to ride the e-scooter?

When buying an e-scooter, it is very important to check whether the smart scooter has a road permit in your country. This applies if you want to ride around on public roads. As long as you are only making your rounds on private property, such approval is not necessary.

What does “street legal” mean?

As already mentioned, you need an e-scooter with road approval so that you can ride alongside traffic on public roads. We will now break down what this means. First of all, the vehicles must first meet a few requirements so that they fall under the H.R. 727 amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Act in the US. These are the general requirements:

  • Maximum power of 750 watts.
  • Maximum speed of 20-mph.

Local State and City governments may impose other regulations, so be sure to check with your local authorities. Some cities announced bans on electric scooters, especially ones from sharing services.

Confusingly, it may be legal to ride electric scooters in some metro areas, but not in certain regions, like in Los Angeles, where there is a 15-mph speed limit, but e-scooters were temporarily banned in some cities within the region.

Lenker des Ninebot KickScooter MAX G30D II
You will always find a display on the handlebars / © Ninebot

Important technical features

Before you fork out a few hundred dollars, there are several technical specifications that you should have on your radar. These include:

  • Weight: As a rule, e-scooters weigh anywhere between 25 and 40 lbs. However, there are also more massive, heavier models as well as lightweight alternatives that tip the scales at only 23 lbs. Take the weight into account, especially if you have to heave the scooter onto the train every day on the way to work, for instance. Speaking of the train: In that case, it would also be practical if it were a foldable scooter.
  • Payload: The author of this article will definitely not review an e-scooter anytime soon, because I clearly exceed the payload of such a scooter. In most cases, this load stands at 220 pounds (100 kg), but there are also devices that allow you to climb on with a rather hefty 260 lbs. Very important: Do not forget that the total weight is decisive. It won’t help you if you weigh 200 lbs but have 30 lbs of groceries in your backpack.
  • Battery/range: Another very important criterion in the purchase decision is the battery and range. You will always be given a maximum range on the specifications sheet. In reality, however, you will not achieve such levels based on experience. The weight of the payload, possible slopes, and the ride speed will definitely affect overall battery life so that it can often be significantly below the stated range. Do take this into account beforehand, and it’s best if you do some test drives. There are also models with a removable battery. This makes life easier for you when repairs are required, and you can also take it into your home for charging without any complications.
  • Power: E-scooters of up to 750 watts are permitted in the US. The more power the scooter has, the easier it is to cope with heavier people and slopes.
  • Speed: 20 mph is the maximum permitted speed limit on the road in the US, which is considerably faster than the general rules in Europe (20 km/h). Some e-scooters models can also go faster, but those may need to be registered with the DMV.
  • Tires: Pneumatic tires make the ride smoother and absorb shocks, but they are also generally more sensitive if you drive over a nail or other sharp objects. Solid tires, on the other hand, are much rougher, but not as vulnerable to punctures. You will find this variant on most rental scooters in larger cities. Also, do pay attention to the size of the wheels: The larger the wheels are, the easier you can overcome obstacles such as curbs.
  • Brakes: Of course, the brakes are also an important component of your e-scooter. You have the choice between several technologies such as disc or drum brakes, or also electrically functioning brakes.
  • Lighting: Lights are mandatory anyway, but you could make sure that the system is connected to the battery and does not work independently. This way you don’t run the risk of losing your lights at any time. Turn signals are not mandatory, but they significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

What else can you pay attention to? Yes, there are other points that can be included in your purchase decision and you should pay attention to. One of them is, of course, the price. For the models suggested here, the price ranges between $300 and $1000. Please also remember to look into theft protection. There are also software-based PIN solutions.

All the e-scooters shown here have their own display. A companion app can make your life easier. In addition, some models offer you a holder for your smartphone. Since we are already talking about the handlebars: Please also make sure that it is height-adjustable. This would come in extremely handy, especially for tall or short people who will thank me later on!

And that’s it! If you were to take into account all the provided tips, you should be able to buy the right e-scooter. Now, you just have to do me a favor and assure us that you will follow the traffic rules and drive carefully. After all, we want you to read our next articles in good health! Do you already own an e-scooter or are you just starting to look for one? Do you already have experience with rental models? Write to us in the comments!

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