The humble scooter, once the domain of little kids, has become a commuter powerhouse. If you live in a city it’s your way to avoid car gridlock and maniac bike messengers. Lighter and more nimble than a bicycle, and a fraction of the cost and aggravation of a car, the scooter has gone from toy to valid point A-to-B travel device.
But don’t let us be total killjoys about it, scooters are still really fun, and great for parks, side streets, or just general outdoor fun. The pure sweat-equity manual scooters are still very much a thing, but we’re sticking with the electric variety here to give you a more plausible commuter option and a little more zoom for your weekend fun.
These run the gamut in price, power, and features, so there’s a pretty good chance the one for you is on this list. They’ve come a long way since Marty McFly destroyed one and invented the skateboard in the process.
1. Segway Ninebot ES4
Some people still associate Segway with those standup human movers which were supposed to revolutionize city commuting and ended up being the ultimate tourist traps for guided tours. That’s a shame because in the meantime Segway has come to dominate the scooter market with great rides like the Ninebot ES4. This has everything a commuter could possibly want and is an awesomely fun ride at the same time. The dual lithium-ion batteries combine for 800 watts of power, which means you have a huge 28-mile range and can run the speedometer up to 19 mph. Maybe that doesn’t sound fast, but when you stand on the ES4 and gun it, it’s a rip. The ES4 also has anti-lock disc brakes, front and rear shock absorbers, a front tire sized perfectly for getting over curbs, an LED display, and customizable front and rear lights for safety. It’s also foldable for easy storage. Segway also offers a phone holder and a seat as buy-separately peripherals. This is the gold standard.
2. GoTrax GXL V2 Commuter Scooter
It was a seriously hard call between the Segway Ninebot ES4 and the GoTrax GXL V2. The GXL brings nearly as much to the table as the Segway and is less than a third of the price. We went with the Segway because it outstrips the GXL in range and speed and intangibles, but the GXL still gets a hearty recommendation. The nine to 12-mile range is enough for any commute you’d brave on a scooter, and the short charge time (three to four hours) lets you recharge at the office and ride home without worrying about running out of juice. The 15.5 mph max speed beats pretty much every other scooter in this price range, and the electric/disc hybrid brake brings you to a reliable stop without tossing you over the handlebars. A bright headlight and rear reflector are great safety features, and it’s foldable for storage. As runners-up go, this is the tiniest step down possible.
3. Macwheel Electric Scooter MX1
Macwheel doesn’t have the brand recognition of Segway or Razor, but if the MX1 is any indication, they can definitely hang with the big boys. A big 350-watt motor gives you 18.6 miles of range and a top speed of 15.6 mph, and the four-hour full-recharge time will have you back on the road quickly. The best part of the Macwheel MX1 is the non-pneumatic tires, which never need inflating and thus do not go flat. No getting stranded after hitting a nail, and no burst tires from hitting a curb or a big pothole. At 8.5 inches, they’re able to get over most curbs, and being non-pneumatic also means they’re great shock absorbers. Add in the double braking system, with an anti-lock brake in the front and a disc brake in the back, and the Macwheel MX1 is a smooth and abundantly safe ride.
4. Razor RX200 Electric Off-Road Scooter
Scooters aren’t all nicely-dressed dudes wearing backpacks and zooming along sidewalks. The Razor RX200 is a straight-up dirt dawg, ready and raring to hit the trails. It has a chain-driven motor ready for high-torque trail use and can hit up to 12 mph while blasting off-road. Hand-operated rear-disk brakes give you great stopping power and, if you get the hang of it, you can even drift the sucker. The wheels are heavy-duty alloy, inflatable to 60 PSI to give you grip both on and off the road. At 46.4 pounds, the RX200 is a bruiser and not one you’ll want to lug up and down stairs, and it has a recommended weight limit of 154 pounds. This isn’t your city ride, but for sheer fun the Razor RX200 is top-notch.
5. Razor EcoSmart Metro Electric Sitdown Scooter
HAVE A SEAT
It’s fine to admit that the idea of standing for your whole ride isn’t appealing to you. It’s also totally fine that while zipping around footloose and fancy-free with just a backpack or even less sounds fun, you’re looking for something that’s more practical. Enter the Razor EcoSmart Metro, with a seat, spacious footboard, and sizable basket that makes runs to the store suddenly scooter-friendly. Fully charged, the EcoSmart Metro runs for 40 minutes, and they’ll be 40 comfortable minutes thanks to the large padded seat and wide bamboo footboard. The basket includes a luggage rack for your briefcase or backpack, and is removable. Three 12-volt batteries power the chain-driven motor and can reach a very brisk 18 mph. Two drawbacks — the EcoSmart Metro tips the scales at a whopping 67 pounds, and it’s also not recommended for use in rain or extreme wet conditions. But the more-relaxed approach to scooting has its appeal.
6. Segway Ninebot Kickscooter Max
Best way to sum up the Segway Ninebot Kickscooter Max? Probably a tie between “vulgar display of power” and “just about the most fun thing of all time.” A ridiculous 40-mile range and 20-percent climbing angle, four riding modes including power assist for pushing the scooter by hand, IPX7 water resistance on its electric core parts and IPX5 for the rest of the body, and 10-inch tubeless tires rear and front all add up to an astoundingly luxe and powerful machine. It’s also Bluetooth-connective for using the Segway-Ninebot app, which can lock and unlock the scooter, give you riding stats, and even cruise control. It also folds down for easy storage, although at 41 pounds it’s a beast to lug around. Is there a better scooter around? Possibly not, but as the only one on the list with a price tag of over a grand, we couldn’t make it the top recommendation.