Electric scooters have seen a huge resurgence in popularity over the last couple of years with the discovery that they can be a surprisingly convenient and fun way to shave some time off the morning commute. With social distancing in place in many countries worldwide, more people than ever are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to driving or using public transport.
They're a big purchase, and you probably don't know exactly what to look for from a scooter, so we've picked out some of the best on the market, breaking down the features and specs that you need to think about before you buy.
Are electric scooters legal in the UK?
Before you rush out and buy an electric scooter you should know that privately-owned electric scooters cannot currently be used legally on the roads or pavements in the UK. This means you can only use them on private land.
However, the Government has since announced a trial of rental electric scooters in various areas of the UK. Under the new legislation, anybody over the age of 16 with a provisional drivers license will be able to ride the rental scooters on UK roads legally, as insurance and taxes are being fronted by the rental companies.
The trials are currently underway in various areas around the UK, with a nationwide rollout expected to follow if all goes well.
But as we noted before, despite the UK's new stance on rental scooters, it remains the case that private electric scooters are still illegal on UK streets. We imagine it's to do with the insurance and taxation of the electric scooter - it's not like you can head to confused.com and insure it, right?
But we are confident that private electric scooter use will eventually be legalised in the UK, following most other European countries already enjoying the perks of e-scooters.
If you need to travel a longer distance, you might like to read about the best electric bikes.
Best electric scooters 2021
Xiaomi Mi Scooter Pro 2 - Best overall
The Xiaomi Mi Scooter Pro 2 may be very similar to its predecessor, the hugely popular Mi 365, but that doesn't make it any less of a joy to ride - it's fast, practically silent, boasts battery power that just keeps on going and is speed-trackable via a mobile app too.
Like most modern scooters, the Mi Scooter Pro 2 has a folding design that should make this electric scooter easy to carry, although thanks to the huge battery and other upgraded tech - including an updated KERS braking system - it weighs 14.2kg, up from the already 12.5kg of the original.
It sports large 8.5in tyres that allow it to manoeuvre small kerbs and some light offroading, but it's not as smooth or capable as options with larger 10in wheels.
It will take up to 100kg of weight and keeps going up to 45km, a boost of 15km on the original. You won't manage quite this distance if you push it to its top speed of 25km/hour, but you'll still get hours of playtime.
There are some cool additional features on offer, including cruise control, adjustable acceleration, a headlight and brake light, a kinetic energy recovery system and an ABS braking system at the front and mechanical disk brake at the rear that make the Mi Scooter Pro 2 the best electric scooter for most people right now.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Scooter Pro 2 review
Ninebot Max G30 - Best for long distances
The Ninebot Max G30 is a phenomenal electric scooter with impressive acceleration and a 40-mile range, but it’s not for everyone. The Max G30 undoubtedly offers one of the best electric scooter experiences available right now thanks to the large 10in tyres that help reduce shock when riding along, and the three driving modes offer different levels of power to suit your journey, but at 18kg, it’s certainly not portable when compared to other scooters in our chart.
That heft is mainly down to the tyres and the large internal battery that offers an incredible 40-mile range, making it the ideal solution for longer commutes to work. The issue is the weight makes it difficult to take on trains and buses - less than ideal if you’re looking to bridge the gap between your the various modes of transport you currently use.
Read our full Ninebot Max G30 review
Kugoo Kirin S1 – Best budget option
Costing less than many of its rivals, you might assume Kirin S1 isn't much good. But apart from a weirdly dim display that you can't see in sunny conditions, there's not a lot you can criticise the S1 for.
The real-world range of around 15km isn't too great, but as long as your trips are shorter, which most will be, it's not really a problem.
Under 12kg, it's lighter than most rivals and has a nice, quiet motor that pushes you along.
Read our full Kugoo Kirin S1 review
Reid E4 – Best for commuters
The Reid E4 electric scooter is a great option for commuters, offering a slightly more premium experience than what you’ll get from the likes of Xiaomi, although you are paying a little extra for the pleasure.
The E4 doesn’t look like the majority of scooters you’re likely to see on the road, sporting an ergonomic shape, a large display, tilted handlebars and more customisable LEDs than you can shake a stick at. Powered by a 250W motor, the E4 can hit speeds of 15.5mph and offers a range of up to 17.4 miles.
The only real complaint is that, like the Mi M365 and other 8.5in wheeled scooters, it uses solid tyres; while it means you won’t get any punctures when riding, it also means you’ll feel every lump and bump in the road.
Read our full Reid E4 review
Turboant X7 Pro – Good over bumps
Framed as a competitor to the popular Mi Scooter Pro 2, the Turboant X7 Pro is the company's most capable electric scooter to date.
It's relatively powerful on flat surfaces and can handle uphill rides too, thanks to the 350W motor (with a maximum 700W output), and the upgraded 10in inflatable wheels offer a superior riding experience compared to 8.5in scooters whether it be going up kerbs or riding over bumps in the road. It's also capable of holding the heavier rider, with a maximum weight of 125kg.
Another plus is that the battery is removable and has its own charging port, so it can be charged separately from the scooter, and you can buy additional batteries too. You could chuck one in your backpack to extend range, or leave one at work and one at home to make sure your scooter is always fully charged and ready to ride.
Like the Xiaomi, there's built-in lights and reflectors, plus cruise control which is activated by maintaining the same speed for 6 seconds, although the X7 Pro doesn't offer a connected app with extended functionality.
Bear in mind that you can only buy it directly from Turboant. There are warehouses in California and Germany where US and UK orders respectively are shipped from, but it's also where it'll need to go for a repair or replacement under warranty.
Read our full Turboant X7 Pro review
Alfawise M1 - Top speed of 25kmph
The Alfawise M1 is a Xiaomi Mi Scooter 2 Pro copycat with an integrated speedo, a dual-braking system and more durable tyres. It's buckets of fun, with a top speed of 25kmph and able to go up to 30kmph - not that you can easily keep track of this, since there's no companion app.
Unfortunately, issues with our review sample meant we had to replace the front tyre, and found that Alfawise does not supply spare parts.
The M1 is also cheaper than its Xiaomi lookalike. Since we reviewed the Alfawise M1 the company has made some improvements to its design that enhance comfort, durability and monitoring of stats, and it has increased the motor power from 250W to 350W.
Build quality lets down the M1, however, and we found it difficult to view the speedo in direct sunlight. We also found the automatic acceleration disconcerting, though once you get the hang of the throttle the cruise control feature is useful. Braking can be dramatic, too, so try to avoid doing so too sharply.
Read our full Alfawise M1 review
Inokim Light – Folds for transport or storage
Inokim builds top-quality electric scooters for adults, and the Light is a serious model that you can use every day.
It isn't as light as the Mini and, at 13.7kg, you may not consider it light at all. But it is built like a tank and has a 250W motor in the rear hub which propels you along at a speedy 21mPh.
The brake is just as strong, and front and rear LEDs flash to warn others of your presence.
The scooter folds in half for transport or storage and the handlebars can be folded too. On the right side is an LCD display which shows your speed and total distance covered. Using the buttons you can choose between three power levels, but you can treat it like a normal kick scooter as well: you won't have to carry it when the battery runs flat.
Talking of batteries, the Light has a range of 24 miles, so you could easily use it to commute to work.
As well as the black model we tested, you can also opt for white, blue, orange or green.
Niubility N1 - A lightweight, budget-friendly scooter
Niubility may not be an established brand like others in our chart, but the N1 is an interesting electric scooter - aside from the raised rear that lets you rest your foot at an angle without fear of stepping on the rear wheel.
It sports a 250W motor with top speeds of 15mph, and while the 15-mile range isn't quite as long as others in our chart, it also means that it's lighter than much of the competition at around 12kg. This makes it easier to fold up and carry onto public transport or throw into the boot of a car - much more so than the likes of G30 Max at 18kg.
It's also one of the cheaper scooters available right now, although that budget focus is reflected in the available features. There's no companion app, meaning you can't do things like change the speedometer from km/h to mph or enable a remote lock, but these are relatively minor complaints.
There is a question around overall build quality though, as the rear brake light fell off within days of receiving our sample. It may be a one-off issue, but it's certainly worth bearing in mind.
Read our full Niubility N1 review
How can I secure an electric scooter?
With a design wildly different to that of a standard bike, some electric scooter owners have been caught out when it comes to securing the electric scooter outdoors.
Standard D-lock bike locks can, depending on the angle and width of the handlebars, allow a potential thief to lift and shimmy your scooter free, and although cable locks are a flexible alternative that can stop that from happening, cable locks can be cut.
One alternative we'd recommend is Master Lock's Street Cuff. As the name suggests, the lock resembles handcuffs, and Master Lock claims that, unlike cable locks, the Street Cuff is "virtually impossible to sever". The chain is 36cm long, allowing you to securely fasten it to the stem of your scooter and a nearby fence stake or sign pole, and comes with multiple sets of keys in case you misplace them. It is admittedly a heavy lock, but security comes at a cost.
It's not the cheapest scooter lock on the market at £82 from retailers like Amazon, but if you're serious about keeping your scooter safe when stored outdoors, it's worth the money.