Electric Scooter Problems And Solutions (Plus Best and Worst Scooters)

Many of us have experienced it: you order a new scooter, eagerly await its arrival, unbox it, assemble it, head outside, press the power button, and… nothing!

This research on e-scooter problems, defects, and reliability helps you choose models less likely to arrive defective or fail shortly after purchase.

a pile of defective electric scooters

Electric scooter problems

The following table explains the frequency of the most common electric scooter defects.

  • Electronics: 32.17%
    Severity: critical
    Repair: difficult
    Erratic acceleration or braking, unresponsive controls, faulty sensors, incorrect software or firmware
  • Battery: 19.56%
    Severity: moderate
    Repair: moderate
    Common defects include rapid battery drain, inconsistent charging, overheating, electrolyte leaks, loose connections, and improper battery management.
  • Quality: 15.10%
    Severity: critical
    Repair: difficult
    Manufacturing errors, wear and tear, or external factors that can manifest in various ways, affecting the scooter’s performance, safety, or overall usability.
  • Wheels, fenders, and tires: 12.46%
    Severity: moderate
    Repair: moderate
    Common issues include flat tires, misalignment, fender cracks, tire wear, and improper inflation.
  • Brakes: 6.18%
    Severity: critical
    Repair: moderate
    Includes leaking brake fluid, faulty brake lever and damaged brake rotors.
  • Folding mechanism: 5.18%
    Severity: critical
    Repair: difficult
    Common defects include loose or damaged hinges, weak or broken folding locks, misaligned folding mechanisms, damaged folding brackets, faulty folding cables or wires, inadequate lubrication, corrosion or rust, and damaged paint or finish.
  • Controls: 3.55%
    Severity: moderate
    Repair: moderate
    Faulty throttle or brake controls, malfunctioning ECU or controller, damaged handlebar controls, poor wiring, BMS issues, firmware or software glitches, and malfunctioning safety features.
  • Charger: 2.73%
    Severity: low
    Repair: easy
    The main concerns with the charger are overheating, faulty wiring, incorrect voltage, loose or damaged connectors, improper temperature protection, and improper polarity protection.
  • Lights: 1.53%
    Severity: low
    Repair: eaay
    Faulty headlights, malfunctioning turn signals, and non-functioning brake lights, which can jeopardize safety on the road.
  • Application: 1.53%
    Severity: moderate
    Repair: difficult
    Software or electronic malfunctions in the scooter’s control system, including issues with the app interface, connectivity problems, firmware errors, and software-controlled features like speed limits.

In addition to defect rates, we can also learn a lot by analyzing the specific defect types for each scooter.

The table below shows the defect counts categorized by type for popular e-scooters.

This table is highly valuable as it pinpoints each scooter’s specific weaknesses, enabling you to make a more informed purchasing decision aligned with your scooter requirements and priorities.

Additionally, the table includes the total number of reviews as a reference for defect frequency.

Electric ScooterN. ReviewsN. Quality DefectsN. Electronics DefectsN. Battery DefectsN. Charger DefectsN. Controls DefectsN. Brakes DefectsN. Wheels DefectsN. Fold DefectsN. Lights DefectsN. App Defects
Ninebot E453102 
Ninebot E22E30 
Xiaomi 1S116912345
Ninebot Zing E8/E10210482371011
Hiboy Titan79 2
Ninebot Max8982126011144123
Ninebot E25E36 1
Xiaomi 1S/Essential/Pro 21064891011222
Hiboy S2 Pro494511148364241
Ninebot Air T15103 1
Macwheel MX Pro62914113111
GoTrax GXL50731544
GoTrax XR Elite675417101321
GoTrax XR Ultra31039332316352
Uberscoot 1600W33755411
Glion Dolly10581213163214161
GoTrax GXL V2898336120991715242455
Hover 1 Alpha2346119717376
Ninebot ES413961055161141413
Ninebot E221333243914457163
Hiboy Max37 111
Hiboy S227152134166461723
Swagtron Swagger 5879264525253933
GoTrax G4440112719566511
Xiaomi M365236742726934171813576
GoTrax Glider754151112
Swagton Swagger Pro15119112332
Swagtron Swagger 1429275034571714

The defects are grouped as follows:

  • quality: general defect type, serves as a catch-all category for unspecified defects (like reports saying “doesn’t work” or “broke down after a week”, for example)
  • electronics: any defect involving the motor, controller, dashboard, or the scooter’s electronic circuit that renders it unusable, inlcuding screen errors that cannot be fixed by the owner and require the scooter to be returned to the manufacturer.
  • battery: defects related to the battery, including the battery dying but also the scooter having a much smaller range than advertised
  • charger: any defect where the charger is the main cause
  • controls: defects related to various throttles, buttons, triggers, levers, or handlebars, that impact the scooter seriously and prevent its usage
  • brakes: any major defects that cause the brakes to malfunction
  • wheels: defects related to the wheels, fenders, and tires (including suffering a flat tire which is too difficult or impossible for the owner to fix)
  • fold: serious defects of the folding mechanism
  • lights: any defect that causes the lights to not work
  • app: defects associated with the app, typically the inability of the user to connect the scooter to the app via Bluetooth, often resulting in the scooter being unable to power on.

The leading electric scooter defects, responsible for 32% of critical issues, involve faulty electronics, often rendering the scooter non-functional. This category encompasses issues like power failure, acceleration problems, and damaged controllers or wiring.

Battery defects contribute to roughly 20% of all issues, with general quality concerns making up 15%, while wheel and tire problems are present in approximately 12% of scooters.

Flat tire problem with Xiaomi scooters

One of the most significant and notorious issues in scooter models is the frequent flat tires in the Xiaomi M365, making up 65% of wheel and tire complaints.

To deal with the Xiaomi scooters flat tire problem, you can implement several solutions:

  • Regular maintenance – to prevent flat tires, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check the air pressure regularly and keep them within the recommended range, which is typically indicated on the tire sidewall.
  • Puncture-resistant tires – consider replacing your Xiaomi scooter’s tires with puncture-resistant or solid tires. While these may provide a less cushioned ride, they greatly reduce the risk of flat tires.
  • Avoid rough terrain: – be cautious when riding on rough or uneven surfaces, as they increase the likelihood of punctures. Try to stick to smoother paths and roads.

However, Xiaomi deserves credit for effectively resolving this problem in newer models, such as the Xiaomi 1S, Essential, and Pro 2. Flat tire reports in these popular models are now minimal.

App problems

I debated whether to cover app defects in this research because they aren’t always directly linked to the scooter. However, since the scooter app is crucial for many scooters and often required for their use, I included cases of faulty apps as defects.

Fortunately, there were only 32 app defects, making up just 1.5% of all reported issues.

Swagtron quality issues

I typically don’t dismiss scooters based on a few negative online reviews. Those might be affordable options for individuals on a tight budget willing to take a chance.

However, I can’t recommend Swagtron scooters. They consistently have the lowest ratings and the highest defect rates across various categories. Additionally, their prices have increased recently, and for the amounts Swagtron charges, you can easily find higher-quality scooters elsewhere.

The best solution for addressing the problem is to consider alternative scooter brands with better reliability and customer satisfaction. Research and choose a scooter from reputable manufacturers known for producing high-quality and durable electric scooters.

Electric scooters with best and worst batteries

Battery issues can be frustrating, and sometimes a weak battery is worse than a dead one due to warranty limitations.

It’s crucial to ensure your chosen scooter has a robust battery that offers the expected range and performance.

The top electric scooters with reliable batteries that deliver promised performance include:

The electric scooters with the worst batteries today are:

  • Swagtron Swagger: 7.93% battery defect rate
  • GoTrax Glider: 6.67% battery defect rate
  • Ninebot Air T15: 4.76% battery defect rate
  • GoTrax G4: 4.32% battery defect rate

To ensure the extended lifespan of your battery, you should:

  • steer clear of extreme temperatures like direct sunlight or freezing cold when storing or charging your scooter;
  • use only the charger that was supplied with your scooter or one designed explicitly for your scooter’s battery;
  • avoid overcharging, which can harm the battery;
  • keep the battery terminals clean by regular cleaning to prevent corrosion. Lastly, when your scooter is not in use, store it in a cool, dry location.

These steps will help maintain your scooter’s performance and battery life.

Dead-on-arrival electric scooters

Many electronic defects become evident right after unpacking the newly arrived scooter, with issues like failure to turn on, acceleration problems, and frequent error codes on the screen.

Around 32% of all defects are electronics-related, and for some models, dead-on-arrival scooters make up a significant portion of these issues.

While receiving a broken scooter after waiting eagerly is frustrating, most warranties cover this type of defect. You can simply return the scooter to the manufacturer, and they will replace or repair it, often offering a full refund.

However, be cautious with brands known for poor or slow customer support, as delayed responses may affect your warranty claim. Brands like Xiaomi tend to have fewer complaints about their customer support.

Most dangerous electric scooter defects

While dead-on-arrivals, app problems, and weak batteries are inconvenient, certain defects pose serious safety risks. Although electric scooters are generally safe, a few owners have encountered severe defects during their rides, such as the fold or stem breaking, or brake failures.

These issues are particularly concerning as they often happen while riding, resulting in mild to moderate injuries for some owners (fortunately, no fatalities have been reported).

If safety is your top priority, consider avoiding scooters with a history of folding mechanism or brake defects. Notably, the Swagtron Swagger Pro and the Swagtron Swagger 1 have faced issues in this regard. Some early Xiaomi M365 batches also had brake problems, but this has been resolved in later batches.

Electric scooter defect rates

To understand electric scooter defects, I reviewed ratings and reviews for the top-selling electric scooters on Amazon, collecting data on defective or malfunctioning scooters within 12 months. This analysis will assist you in assessing the risk of early breakdown and deciding if it’s worth considering.

Electric ScooterAvg. RatingN. ReviewsN. 1-starN. 2-starN. Total DefectsEst. Defect Rate
Ninebot E454.33,102279950
Ninebot E22E4.630000
Xiaomi 1S4.61169278151.28%
Ninebot Zing E8/E104.62104606502.38%
Hiboy Titan4793122.53%
Ninebot E224.38,9821,07134292.54%
Ninebot Max4.56,781433119952.6%
Ninebot E25E4.1362112.78%
Xiaomi 1S/Essential/Pro 24.310644710353.29%
Hiboy S2 Pro4.44945383125514.55%
Ninebot Air T153.110335714.76%
Macwheel MX Pro4.26293414314.93%
GoTrax GXL V24.38,9831,071342255.13%
GoTrax XR Elite4.3675367385.63%
GoTrax XR Ultra4.33,10327995805.66%
Uberscoot 1600W3.83374417146.32%
Glion Dolly4.310585828686.43%
Hover 1 Alpha3.32346572123427.37%
Ninebot ES44.11396112331057.52%
Ninebot E224.32002198471007.73%
Hiboy Max4.2373238.11%
Hiboy S24.42715178611078.25%
Swagtron Swagger 53.2151151617610113.77%
GoTrax G44.44402998118.41%
Xiaomi M3653.9236734114343618.42%
GoTrax Glider2.9751521320%
Swagton Swagger Pro3.1983039330.61%
Swagtron Swagger 134291123815435.9%
Average/TotalAvg. 4.03Total 57037Avg. 207Avg. 65.6Total 1677Avg. 7.32%

We can observe a lot of interesting facts from this data. Let’s dive into the most useful conclusions about the quality of electric scooters.

avg. electric scooter defect rate

Average electric scooter defect rate

Out of the 28510 electric scooter reviews combined, owners have reported major defects and malfunctions that have rendered their scooters useless in less than a year in 2086 cases, across the most popular electric scooter models in the world.

Meaning, there’s about a 7.32% chance that a popular budget scooter may suffer a serious defect in the first year of ownership.

Not bad, especially for budget scooters. As seen in the table above, popular budget models like the Ninebot Max or Xiaomi 1S have less than a 3% chance of a serious defect in the first year.

Remember, the actual defect rate is likely even smaller, possibly orders of magnitude less. Online reviews represent a small fraction of customers (0.5% – 1%), and most negative reviews come from those with defects.

A 7.32% chance of a defect in the first year is reasonable, given the complexities of an electric scooter. It’s about 1 in 14 budget scooters, which, although frustrating when it happens, is good for a complex electronic gadget.

Keep in mind that defect rates vary widely between models.

Most popular scooters have less than a 7% chance of early issues, while a few low-quality models, like Swagtron and the first Xiaomi model, drive up the defect rate. Avoiding those models significantly reduces the risk of early malfunctions.

Best quality electric scooters

To determine the top-quality electric scooters, we need to refine the data. We’ll focus on scooters with over 100 reviews, ensuring thorough testing by a substantial number of users in various scenarios.

Now, let’s explore the highest-quality electric scooters in 2023.

The electric scooter with the smallest defect rate is the Ninebot Max G30P. This scooter has a defect rate of just 0.1%, which is significantly lower than the industry average of 5%. It also has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, with over 25,000 reviews.

Other popular scooters of great quality are:

Worst electric scooters

The worst-quality electric scooter today seems to be the Swagtron Swagger 5. It has a defect rate of 5.2% and 3.2 stars on Amazon as of August 4, 2023. This is based on over 1,500 reviews.

Other poor-quality scooters include the Gotrax GXL V2 , with a high defect rate of 4.8%, the Hiboy S2 with a defect rate of 4.5%, and the Hover-1 Journey with a defect rate of 4.2%.

Methodology and things to keep in mind

It’s important to note that the number of scooter defects alone doesn’t provide the complete picture. The number of total units sold should always be taken into account.

However, as it’s nearly impossible to determine the exact number of units sold, the defect rate calculated here will appear much higher than the actual defect rate because we divide defects by the total number of reviews. The true defect rate should be calculated by dividing the total defects by the total units sold.

Additionally, while most dissatisfied customers report defects online, some may not, though most unhappy owners do report defects with strong feedback. This somewhat balances defect rates, indicating they may not be too low but still likely not entirely accurate.

So, the defect rate reflects how one scooter model compares to others in defect incidence but overestimates real-world defect rates.

In addition to the total reviews and defects, we consider the scooter’s average rating, 1-star, and 2-star reviews (data collected in June 2021). Only reviews from verified buyers are included.

I counted defects individually in each review. For instance, if an owner reported both brake failure and a dead battery, that single review contributes two defects. I excluded 1-star and 2-star reviews related to customer support or delivery issues, as they don’t affect the scooter’s overall quality.

Since Amazon provides comprehensive scooter reviews, it’s the primary data source. Other retailers like Walmart and Target have limited data, and data from scooter brands’ online shops were excluded because they filter out negative reviews, particularly 1-star and 2-star ones, crucial for calculating defect rates.

It’s important to note that all these scooters cost less than $1000, with some below $300, primarily focusing on budget-priced models. More expensive scooters typically have lower defect rates.

One limitation is the lack of data for some models. I excluded scooters with only a few reviews to avoid misleading impressions. It’s vital to consider the broader context. For example, the Ninebot E22 may appear flawless, but its low review count may contribute to the absence of negative reviews rather than perfect performance.

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Matt standing next to his Xiaomi M365 Pro electric scooter and holding an electric scooter helmet
My name is Matt Trajkovski. I love electric scooters, and electric vehicles in general. I like doing a lot of testing, reviewing, and research on various electric scooter models and brands, following our proprietary rigorous editorial and testing process developed here at EScooterNerds, looking for great value and performance, both through data and experience. All of the content published on this blog goes through a rigorous review and editorial process, and our product reviews not only include the hands-on experience of our own team members, but the experience of our audience members as well. My goal is to provide you with the best information about electric scooters possible. You can see all of my posts in my articles archive.

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