The lights of an electric scooter are an important feature, and one of the major safety components. They are a fairly simple element that most modern scooters have, but still, there are a few things about them you should be aware of if you wish to be a responsible scooter owner.
Let’s quickly go over the most crucial details about electric scooter lights.
Types and positions of electric scooter lights
In general, these are the most common types of lights in electric scooters:
- main headlights
- brake lights
- LED strips
- turn signals
- reflective stickers
Lights are activated by a button on the dashboard, but often they can be controlled through an app if the scooter has that feature.
The usual positions for the main headlights are:
- top of the stem
- bottom of the stem, right above the wheel
- within the front of the deck
This is the most important type of light in an electric scooter. Technically, it is the only type of light that you must have in order to ride at night, or when it’s not too bright but you’re riding at faster speeds (you need some form of rear lighting for safety and legal reasons, but they don’t really help you with your riding process per se).
The main headlight or headlights are the most common type of electric scooter light. If a scooter has one type of light, it will be the main headlight. Most scooters with headlights will have one, but some models will have two or even four front lights.
Main headlights may be required for your scooter by traffic laws in many countries.
Most of the main light properties, like the angle, the distance, and the power/intensity, only make sense when talking about the main headlights.
Angle of the light
The angle of the light is simply the angle that the light throws the light at compared to the ground. It only makes sense to take about light angles for the main headlight, as that is the most important light and the only one for which the light angle matters.
The angle of the main headlight ranges from being almost flat compared to the ground, to being quite wide and only throwing light closer to the scooter.
Many main headlights can have their angle adjusted. If you choose a narrower angle, the light will be cast at a greater distance, but the light density will be smaller. On the other hand, a wider angle will shine brighter immediately ahead of you, but it will provide a smaller light distance.
Power of the light
The power or the intensity of the light describes how strong the light shines. Again, this is measured only for the main headlights, as all the other types of lights are positional and don’t need to cast light at longer distances.
The scientific term for light power is called the luminous flux, or the perceived power of the light source, or the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source per unit of time.
The power of the light is sometimes expressed in Watts, but it’s also often expressed in Lumens as well. Simply put, Lumens express how well the light converts the power it gets (Watts) to visible light. Watts and Lumens are directly related to each other, and the higher the Wattage, the more Lumens the light will produce. Another metric in the equation is the luminous efficacy, expressed in Lumens per Watts, and the formula is as such:
Watts = Lumens / Lumens per Watt
You can learn more about the relationship between Watts and Lumens here.
In general, the higher the Watts or the Lumens of the light, the stronger it will be.
Distance of the light
The distance of an electric scooter light is simply the distance at which the light illuminates the road ahead of you. It only makes sense to talk about the distance of the main headlight, as the other lights of the scooter don’t really have to illuminate the road ahead of you and don’t even try to cast light at longer distances.
Simply put, the distance of the light is a product of the light angle and the light power. Lights with stronger power will provide longer distances. Also, a narrower light angle will provide longer distances as well.
Brake lights are usually situated:
- on the back of the rear fender
- in the rear of the deck
Brake lights are almost always red, with the occasional orange light appearing in some models. Typically, they get activated whenever you use any of the brake systems, and either blink or shine constantly while using the brakes. In many scooters, they can also be turned on permanently.
Brake lights are fairly common in electric scooters. In many countries, brake lights are required by traffic laws for the scooter to be considered street legal.
While they are not technically necessary for riding at night, it is very strongly recommended that your scooter has them if you plan on doing so, as riding at night without brake lights puts you at serious risk of traffic participants behind you not seeing you.
Turn signals can be found at the:
- front sides of the deck
- rear sides of the deck
Turn signals are not very common yet, although newer models come with them in increasingly larger numbers. They are usually orange, and are turned on by a button.
In general, turn signals on a scooter are not required by traffic laws, but there are a few countries that do require them. It is certainly better for a scooter to have turn signals, but they are not really as important as the main headlights or the rear brake lights.
LED strips are commonly found in the:
- bottom of the deck
- sides of the deck
- alongside the stem
LED strips do a good job of letting other traffic participants know of your position and greatly increase your visibility at night, but they are also a very fun and decorative element for many scooterists. They can either shine in one particular color or change colors in various rhythms and patterns.
They are not that commonly found in electric scooters, but they are not that rare neither. Probably around 30-40% of electric scooters have some form of LED strips. Many scooterists choose to add LED strips to their scoters additionally.
Reflective stickers are usually positioned at:
- sides of the deck
- rims of wheels
They will mostly come in yellow or orange, and sometimes in white.
Reflective stickers on electric scooters are somewhat of a new phenomenon, as very few older models had them. Some countries require reflective stickers for the scooter to be deemed street legal, and they are not really difficult to add to any scooter, so brands and manufacturers simply started to add them.
The effect of reflective stickers on safety at night is not really great, but it’s much better for a scooter to have them than not, as they are a very simple component (you can even add them yourself) and there are no downsides to them.
Why do most electric scooters have poor lighting?
While most electric scooters today come with some form of lighting, very few scooters come with strong lights that are truly strong and won’t need you to replace them if you wish to ride at night.
There are three main reasons for this:
- electric scooters are not meant to be used at night a lot
- electric scooter lights drain the battery quickly
- strong lights in electric scooters are not really expected
Riding your electric scooter at night
Electric scooters aren’t really meant to be used at night. Most scooter brands clearly warn against riding their scooters at night, even the brands whose scooters actually have strong lights.
If you still plan on riding your scooter at night, follow the following guidelines:
- follow basic safety procedures as usual
- be aware of your local laws for night rides
- always wear your helmet and protective gear
- check your scooter’s battery and electronics before going for a ride
- always have your lights on
- wear reflective clothing
- slow down
- stay in well-lit areas
- stay vigilant
- be extra alert during dusk and dawn
- always have a charged cell phone with you
Electric scooter lights and the battery
Lights drain the battery really quickly, and strong lights drain the battery even quicker.
Most budget scooters today already have mediocre ranges, and adding strong lights to them would make their ranges so small that they might become practically useless. In some cheaper scooters, the range is almost half of the normal range if riding with the lights turned on! In fact, riding with your lights off is one of the best scooter battery tips, and the one over which you have the most control.
Expectations for electric scooter lights
The current status quo in the scooter world is that lights for scooters are actually an upgrade.
Scooters that cost thousands of dollars may come with strong lights (although not necessarily), but the current state of affairs implicitly states that scooterists who want strong lights can easily get them as aftermarket upgrades for a few dozen dollars.
Traffic laws for electric scooter lights and night rides
Traffic laws for electric scooter lights and riding at night differ from country to country, and even from state to state or from city to city. In general, electric scooters need to have both a main headlight and rear brake lights to be considered street legal, and in some countries, even reflective stickers are required as well. In some countries, riding your electric scooter at night is prohibited altogether, although those countries are rare.
If you’re not sure, you can probably assume that riding your scooter at night is only legal if your scooter has a main headlight and rear brake lights. Consult your local authorities and our electric scooter legal guide to find out about your particular location.
Defects of electric scooter lights
Defects in electric scooter lights are common, especially in budget scooters. Usually, the light will simply die, and defects where lights get progressively weaker over time are much rarer.
If a light in your scooter breaks down, I suggest simply buying another light or set of lights instead of trying to fix the light. The process will be quicker, much simpler, and probably even cheaper in most cases. The only exception here may be if the warranty of your scooter is still valid, but even then you may have to send your scooter to a repair shop, and the shipping in both distances, as well as the mere fact that someone tinkers with the scooter and risks creating a bigger defect just to fix a relatively small one, is not worth the risk.
Case in point: the main headlight for my friend’s Xiami M365 Pro broke down, and he decided to take it to a repair shop. They charged him more than what an extra set of stronger lights would cost initially, and the acceleration of his scooter was never the same after the fix. Really not worth the risk.
Upgrades, customizations, and after-market lights for electric scooters
Getting a set of stronger lights is one of the most common upgrades for electric scooters.
Usually, owners buy either a strong main headlight, or a set of a headlight and brake lights. If you buy brake lights, you will probably have to have them turned on the whole time, as connecting them to the brake systems of your scooter and having them flash when braking would be very difficult.
Also, a lot of owners choose to get LED strips as customization as well.
Typically, even stronger lights are not really expensive, and are relatively easy to install.
When buying extra lights for your scooter, pay attention to the light power expressed in either Lumens or Watts, but also its connectivity and charging type (usually USB these days) and its water resistance standard.
Best aftermarket lights for electric scooters
There is a wide array of choices when it comes to upgrades and aftermarket lights for electric scooters, but only a few choices stand out.
The best choice that I usually recommend is the Cincred bike light set, with a main headlight of 400 Lumens and a small red rear brake light. The USB-rechargeable light can shine for more than 8 hours, and it will be pretty strong for most scooterists, while only costing less than $20.
In case you want a truly strong set of lights, then go with the NightRider Lumina 1100. This is another USB-rechargeable set of lights, with 1100 Lumens of intensity, which is almost 3 times stronger than the Cincred budget light.
If you only want a headlight without the rear brake lights, then the NightRider Lumina 850 front light is another excellent choice.
If you only need a rear brake light, then you don’t really need to go overboard as even budget lights are usually well-visible at night, and the BV set of rear bike lights will do just fine, but you can also check out the Cygolite Hypershot 350 Lumens tail light if you want to make sure you are staying as safe as possible.
In case you wish to add an LED strip to your scooter, I really don’t see a need to spend more money than needed, and pretty much any plain old LED strip will do just fine. The Aijiaer LED strip is dirt-cheap and will get the job done, plus you have the option to choose your color.
Finally, if you really want to make sure your visibility at night is at the maximum possible level, consider the Gotoone reflective stickers for just a few dollars, or the ECEEN turn signal vest as additional lighting and safety equipment.
Can I add bike lights to my electric scooter?
Bike lights are often installed on electric scooters that either have no lighting of their own, or have very weak lights. In fact, this is a very common scenario, as there are only a handful of light sets that are made especially for electric scooters, while bike lights almost always fit scooters as well while being much more common.
Typically, scooter owners buy a set of a main headlight plus a rear light.
Electric scooters with best lights
Before we go on to the best-lighted electric scooters, I would recommend simply buying the scooter you want first and then getting stronger lights as an upgrade later. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy a scooter based on its built-in lights, especially knowing that most scooters, even many great scooters, don’t exactly have strong lights.
That said, these are some of the scooters that are of good quality in general and also have decent built-in lights:
- best high-end option: Kaabo Wolf Warrior – very strong headlights (2 main + 2 deck), brake lights, LED strip (read review or buy)
- best mid-price option: EMove Cruiser – strong headlights with 2 deck lights, 3 rear lights, turn signals (read review or buy)
- best semi-budget option: Ninebot Max – decent headlights, rear brake lights, pedestrian mode (read review or buy)
- best budget option: Glion Dolly – as good lighting as budget scooters get, ok headlight + rear light (read review or buy)
Electric scooters with best lights for kids
The main problem here is that most of the good scooters for kids have no lights at all, and the scooters for kids with lights are really not good scooters in general. The scooters above come from Razor, which is the best brand for scooters for kids, and they are the only two models that have lighting, but keep in mind that the lights are just LED strips on the decks of the scooters, and also the scooter models are mean for smaller and younger kids ages 8-11.
My best recommendation would be to get a Razor scooter for the child depending on the age, and then buy aftermarket lights additionally. Choose some of the following Razor scooters based on the age:
- Razor E100 for ages 8+ (full review here, or buy it here)
- Razor E200 for ages 13+ (full review here, or buy it here)
- Razor E300 for older teenagers (full review here, or buy it here)