The 3 Best Electric Scooters in 2022, Road Tested
By Nick Guy
An electric scooter is easy to operate, compactly sized to stash in tight quarters and a lot of fun to zip around on, whether you’re commuting to work or just breezing through town. While many cities offer rentals that you can pick up and drop off at your convenience, if you live somewhere without those services—or just want the security of knowing your scooter is ready to roll whenever you are—Segway's Ninebot KickScooter F40 is an excellent choice. (And be sure to read about the insurance options available to you once you start scooting.)
From an initial list of more than two dozen scooters, all of which met basic safety standards, we eliminated those with advertised ranges of lower than 15 miles per charge or that weighed more than 42 pounds. Keeping in mind that choosing a scooter is a matter of balancing those inextricably linked factors—the bigger (i.e., heavier) the battery, the farther the scooter can scoot—we chose four promising models to road-test over varied terrain. Here are our favorites, and if you’d like to read more specifics about how we vetted and tested these electric scooters, scroll down for more detail.
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No other scooter matches this model's combination of impressive range and relatively low weight. It handles hills with ease and without slowing down, making it a joy to ride.
Segway's Ninebot KickScooter F40 is the perfect middle ground of more-than-decent range and manageable weight, making it our top choice for, well, nearly anyone. Segway—yes, that Segway—is perhaps the most well-known scooter maker and offers a range of models. But none is as complete a package as the F40.
We rode the F40 for nearly 14 miles through Brooklyn's Prospect Park before the battery ran dry. That's about 55% of the scooter's advertised 24.9-mile range. Though that figure might sound low, it's actually not bad, comparatively: In our experience, with most scooters you should expect to get about 60% of the claimed range in real-world use. Your mileage may vary, of course. If, say, you’re traversing terrain that isn't as hilly or you weigh less than our rider, that could increase your range.
Even on the park's steepest inclines, the F40 never struggled. That was true for all four scooters we tested, but it's a drawback that's common among cheaper, less powerful models. (Segway says the F40 can handle incline grades of up to 20%.) And unlike with some scooters we’ve ridden in the past, the F40's speed didn't drop as the charge level did.
All our test models are foldable for easy carrying, but at less than 35 pounds, the F40 won out for portability. The difference between 35 and 40 pounds may not sound like a lot—until you need to haul your scooter onto a train or up the stairs to your home or office. Scooters we researched that weighed less also offered significantly less promised range—for instance, you might shave off 5 pounds, but also sacrifice 17 miles.
Riding the F40, or any scooter, is easier than you may think. Step onto the deck, kick off with one foot to get the wheels rolling, then engage the throttle. A press of the thumb controls your speed, and the best models, including our picks, have a cruise control mode. Beyond that, it's much like steering a bicycle.
If you don't need to travel as far, consider the KickScooter F25 or F30, which share the F40's general design. They have shorter advertised ranges, of 12.4 and 18.6 miles, respectively, but they also cost less and weigh less by 1.5 to 2.5 pounds.
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If you have a long commute or just want to avoid range anxiety, this is the scooter to choose.
Segway's Ninebot KickScooter Max is the right scooter for long rides or for people who might have extended stretches without access to power for battery charging. It lasted for 33 miles in our riding test, more than double the range of any of the other three scooters. You pay for that in terms of weight, though—it's almost 6.5 pounds heavier than our top pick.
And since that makes for a scooter we’d be more likely to leave at the bike rack than carry up the stairs, we counted it a drawback that there's no convenient way to attach a lock to the Max—or most scooters, for that matter. The F40's forking frame, on the other hand, allows for easy placement of locks, including sturdy U-locks, so you can protect your investment.The Ninebot KickScooter Max G30LP is a more affordable version of this scooter. It weighs about 2 pounds less (though that's still more than 4 pounds heavier than our top-pick F40) and should get you 15 to 20 miles per charge.
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NIU's scooter is a fantastic value if you’re willing to deal with its 40-pound weight.
NIU's KQi2 Pro is the least expensive scooter we tested, and it delivered an impressive range—it had the best dollar-to-mile ratio of any scooter we tested—and a smooth ride. Its 15.5-mile performance actually exceeded the F40's 13.8 miles, yet the NIU scooter costs nearly $200 less at its full retail price. The KQi2's major downside is its weight: It's almost as heavy as the KickScooter Max, with none of the commensurate increase in range that model gets.
The KQi2 Pro is the only scooter we tested with tubeless tires, which are more like car tires than traditional bike tires, which have a tube of air inside. According to Bikeradar.com, tubeless tires are less likely to go flat, especially at lower pressures.
NIU has a few similar models that you may want to consider. The KQi3 Sport has the same promised range as the KQi2 Pro but with a wider deck, handlebars and tires for what the company advertises as a smoother, stabler ride. The KQi3 Pro promises a range of 31 miles. The downsides: Both weigh 4 pounds more than our top pick and cost more, as well.
Gotrax's G4 Electric Scooter came in fourth in our tests. It missed the cut when compared with our overall pick because while it has virtually the same range (both promise 25 miles, and the Gotrax logged 12.9 in our test), it's more than 2 pounds heavier. Up against the NIU Qi2 Pro, our choice for a lower-priced scooter, the Gotrax's 3-pound weight advantage was canceled out by its shorter real-life range (in our tests, it conked out 2.5 miles before the NIU did). Plus, it costs a bit more. The company's G3 and XR Elite are both less expensive and lighter, but have shorter ranges, while the GMAX and GMAX Ultra both weigh more than 46 pounds.
Unagi's Model One E350 Single Motor and E500 Dual Motor are both exceptionally light at about 26 pounds, but they’re very expensive for their relatively short advertised range of 15.5 miles, and they lack a hand brake, a mechanical backup to a scooter's electronic brakes that we consider crucial for safety. The Unagi models supplement the electronic brakes with a foot brake that's not as intuitive to use as one operated by hand.
Bird's BirdFlex weighs almost 50 pounds and yet promises only a 15-mile range.
Kugoo's scooters are all very heavy, with the 37-mile Kirin G3 weighing 55 pounds.
Hiboy makes a number of popular scooters that we were hoping to test but we weren't able to make contact with the company until after our testing was complete. We’ll consider their scooters for future updates to this guide.
I’ve been researching and testing electric scooters since 2019, when I began covering them for a national reviews website. I’ve ridden hundreds of miles since then on close to a dozen scooters. In that time I’ve seen truly impressive models and really disappointing ones. That, combined with my decade-plus of gadget reviews experience, has taught me what to look for.
Choosing the right scooter is a balancing act. Safety is nonnegotiable, but from there you have to take into account range, weight and price, based on your needs. Here's what we looked for in deciding which models to test.
We rode each scooter on a stoplight-filled journey from a Brooklyn apartment to hilly Prospect Park, riding its 3.6-mile outer loop until the scooter's battery was drained. (Some of the scooters offered several riding modes with different speed limits, including a slower "eco" mode and a faster "sport" mode. We chose the "standard" mode or the equivalent of it for each.) These rides provided comparative stats and helped us understand how the scooters perform on inclines, which can be difficult for weaker motors. We also evaluated more subjective factors like the overall design, how much we liked the controls and the quality of the companion smartphone app when there was one.