Electric Scooter Buyer’s Guide (what you need to know)

Are you in the market for a new e-scooter but don’t know where to start? This electric scooter buyer’s guide is designed to help newbies figure out all of the important factors they need to consider before making their purchase. We’ll go over things like motor type, battery capacity, power output, and braking so that you can make an informed decision about which electric scooter is right for you. Happy shopping!

e-scooter buying guide

E-Scooter law

Because electric scooter law varies so much between countries, it would be difficult to cover everything in this article. All I can suggest is to check the law with a reputable source in your country. Most EU countries have a fairly liberal attitude to electric scooters, but countries like the UK and Ireland are lagging way behind with archaic laws that prohibit the use of e-scooters in public spaces.

Motor Type

When it comes to electric scooters, there are two main types of motors: brushless and brushed. Brushless motors are more expensive but offer better performance and longer life. Brushed motors are less expensive but require more maintenance – most motors fitted in modern e-scooters are brushless.

Front/Rear Drive Motor or Both?

Most electric scooters will have motors in either the front or rear wheel. Some high-performance e-scooters will have motors on both wheels (2 wheel drive). There’s also a fourth kind of drive system, where the motor is mounted outside of the wheel and drives the wheel via a short drive chain – these systems can sometimes be found on higher-performance e-scooters.

e-scooter rear motor

What are the benefits of front motor vs rear motor on an electric scooter?

Front motor pros: The main benefit of a front motor is that it generally provides better traction and can handle slippery surfaces better. They’re lighter in weight and less prone to oversteer – Which is especially helpful for beginners.

Front motor cons: Front motors can spin in wet conditions as a lot of the rider’s weight is concentrated at the middle to rear of the scooter. They can also be prone to understeer and be difficult to turn at higher speeds.

Rear motor pros: Rear motors tend to be more powerful than front motors, making them better for accelerating and climbing hills. They also make the scooter more nimble, which can be helpful for experienced riders who want to do tricks or take tight turns.

Rear motor cons: Rear motors can make the scooter prone to oversteer, especially in wet or icy conditions.

Battery Capacity

The battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and determines how far the scooter can travel on a single charge. The Wh figure is determined by multiplying the voltage (V) by amp-hours (Ah). For example, a 36v 10.4Ah battery will have a total energy capacity of 374Wh.

Most electric scooters have a battery capacity of between 300-500 Wh, which is enough to travel about 15-25 miles per charge. But, if you plan on using your scooter for long-distance travel, you’ll want to look for a model with a higher capacity.

electric scooter battery guide

Battery range will be greatly affected by rider weight, hills, tyre pressures, road surface, and temperature. In colder weather (below 10° C) battery operating capacity can be reduced by 20%.

What are the benefits of a high-capacity battery?

A high-capacity battery will allow you to travel further on a single charge, which is ideal if you need to commute long distances or want to take your scooter on extended trips.

Charging an e-scooter battery correctly

Lithium-Ion batteries should be charged at a comfortable room temperature of around 18-22°C – If you store your e-scooter in an unheated garage in the winter, you should charge it indoors, in the warm.

e-scooter battery

You should never leave your e-scooter with a depleted battery for more than a few days – it’s always wise to charge it to at least 60% if you’re not planning on riding it for a few months. Conversely, don’t fully charge your scooter and not ride it for days. At the very least, you should ride it around the block. Following these steps will help with the longevity of your battery.

Power Output

The power output of an electric scooter is measured in watts (W) and determines how fast the scooter can go. Most electric scooters have a power output of 250-1000 W, which is enough to reach speeds of 15-30 mph. Motor power is acheived by multiplying voltage and current (amps). So, an e-scooter with a 48v battery and 20 A controller will have a peak power of 960 watts.

carrying a folded e-scooter

What are the benefits of a high-power output scooter?

A high-power output scooter will allow you to go faster, which can be advantageous if you need to commute quickly or want to take your scooter on the open road.

Braking

Most electric scooters have two types of brakes: regenerative and friction. Regenerative brakes work off the motor and are more efficient – they take the kinetic energy when decelerating and turn it into stored energy for the battery. Friction brakes are usually either mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic brakes will provide much better braking. Most e-scooters fitted with regenerative brakes also have a mechanical disc brake as a backup.

carrying an e-scooter

Conclusion

We hope this buyer’s guide has been helpful in your search for the perfect electric scooter. Be sure to consider all of the factors we’ve discussed before making your final decision. If you’re looking for a budget e-scooter, check out my article featuring a selection of the best electric scooters under £300. There’s also a really good article on our sister publication ebikechoices.com highlighting the best electric scooters for commuting. An e-scooter can also be a great way for teenagers to get around, giving them more independence and freedom. For more info, read my article featuring the best electric scooters for kids.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or want to share any tips for new electric scooter buyers? Please use the comments section below!

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