In this guide, we will go over the pros and cons of electric scooters.
- Great investment
- Easy and safe to ride
- Most have great range
- Handle many terrains well
- Maintenance is easy
- Great for avoiding traffic jams
- Easily portable
- Great for the environment
- Technology is still new
- Repairing can be difficult
- Steep hills may be a problem
- Heavily regulate in some places
- Many are not waterproof
- Older models are weaker
- Easy to steal
- Some models are heavy
- Battery may need replacement
- Best models are expensive
While the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, it’s wise to know about both of them if you’re thinking of buying an electric scooter. Let’s dive into more detail for each one of the points and examine the reasons behind them.
Pros of electric scooters
The benefits of owning an electric scooter are numerous and apply to the vast majority of people, especially people in urban areas.
These are some of the most important advantages of electric scooters (and this is not a complete list by any means).
1. Electric scooters are a great investment
Electric scooters, along with some other rideables, are the most cost-efficient means of transport today. Cost-per-mile, no other mode of transport beats them.
Buying an electric scooter will set you back a few hundred dollars initially.
Some can cost a thousand, or even a few thousand dollars, but you can easily find amazing scooters for under $1000.
However, the bulk of the money you spend on your electric scooter will be at the beginning.
There are almost no costs to riding your scooter after that, except in the event of a defect after the warranty expires.
The cost of electricity for charging an electric scooter is ridiculously low. I don’t want to say it’s free, but it’s practically free. Certainly beats fuel for your car, as it is orders of magnitude cheaper.
If you want to find out how much you can save on your car commutes, or how soon your scooter will pay for itself, check the car commute calculator.
In big cities, the cost of public transport tickets over one year will be the same as buying a medium-priced electric scooter. It’s a no-brainer really – you pay off your scooter in a year, and then you’re left with a free mode of transport for life.
2. Electric scooters are cheap
Most electric scooters are affordable, costing a few hundred dollars.
While there are pricier options, most are budget-friendly and offer great features. Plus, electric scooter prices keep dropping as they get better.
Charging an electric scooter is super cheap, just a few pennies. The cost depends on where you are and the scooter’s battery.
For example, charging a Xiaomi M365 Pro costs around 4 cents in the USA, about 6 pence in the UK, and between 3 and 8 euro cents in most of Europe (refer to the tables in this post, or see the scooter charging cost calculator).
3. Electric scooters are easy and safe to ride
Electric scooters might look a bit tricky if you’ve never tried them.
But when you do, you’ll find out they’re actually easy to ride and don’t need a driver’s license. You just give a little kick to start and then push the throttle, and it’s even simpler than riding a bike!
Electric scooters are pretty safe and accidents are rare if you ride carefully and responsibly.
Even if accidents occur, they’re usually not serious and mainly happen when someone isn’t paying attention or is going too fast. Just follow safety tips to stay even safer.
4. Most electric scooters can have a great range
Most electric scooters can travel a good distance on one charge, around 18 miles or 30 kilometers, which is enough for most people.
If you plan to use a scooter for transportation, aim for at least 12 miles or 20 kilometers of range. Some scooters can have a really long range, over 62 miles or 100 kilometers, but they tend to be expensive.
For regular commuting, a range of 20 to 30 miles or 30 to 50 kilometers is usually sufficient, and many good scooters offer this range.
5. Electric scooters handle many terrains well
Electric scooters are usually recommended for smooth, flat surfaces like asphalt or pavement.
However, many scooters, especially higher-end ones with air-filled tires or suspension, can handle bumpy and uneven terrain quite well. While they may not be perfect on rough surfaces, they generally provide good rides.
There are specialized off-road scooters designed for rough terrain, but they tend to be more expensive and are mainly for enthusiasts who want to ride on any type of ground without problems.
6. Electric scooters are reliable
Electric scooters have greatly improved in reliability over the years.
In the past, they were seen as toys, but now they are a significant mode of transportation in many big cities, reducing pollution and traffic congestion. Today’s electric scooters are known for their reliability and durability.
They can last for years without issues and can efficiently take people to their destinations over long distances. Defect rates are decreasing, ranges are expanding, and scooters are becoming more reliable with each passing year.
We already have many reliable electric scooters made by established brands that are very affordable to the average person.
7. Maintenance of electric scooters is easy
Maintaining electric scooters is relatively easy. While more complex than non-motorized transport, electric scooters are much simpler than cars or fuel-powered vehicles.
A few components, such as the motor, battery, and screen, can cause significant defects if they have problems, the rest are easy to maintain.
Brake adjustment is typically straightforward with instructions in most manuals. Changing a flat tire is usually simple, though some models may pose challenges, but flat tires are uncommon, especially for responsible riders.
Cleaning your scooter is also easy since it’s small with a minimal surface area. Avoid spraying water, even if it’s waterproof; just wipe it with a dry or slightly damp microfiber towel.
Check out my guide on electric scooter maintenance to learn about my complete yet quick maintenance routine.
8. Electric scooters are great for avoiding traffic jams
This is how I first fell in love with the idea of electric scooters. I kept seeing young people just joyfully sliding through traffic, while I was stuck on the bus, waiting on a red light, with 30 vehicles in front of the bus.
Electric scooters are like motorized vehicles but small enough to navigate through tight spaces. They’re as fast as a car but compact like a pedestrian.
Traffic jams don’t affect electric scooters at all. With my scooter, I even get 10 minutes faster to work than with public transport, and other times I take the scooter on the bus with me.
9. Electric scooters are easily portable
Most electric scooters are fairly portable, especially lightweight scooters meant for commuters. Popular electric scooters rarely weigh above 45 lbs / 20 kg, and most are somewhere around 33 lbs / 15 kg. Not exactly light, but perfectly carryable for short distances for most people.
Most scooters can be easily folded and stored in various places, including your home, office, elevator, or car trunk.
10. Electric scooters are great for the environment
Unlike gas-fueled cars and even public transport, electric scooters don’t pollute. Every car replaced by an electric scooter makes the city (and the world) cleaner.
With growing pollution concerns, electric scooters are becoming more popular, especially in environmentally conscious areas. Some cities have seen reduced pollution and emissions as electric scooter use has risen.
Cons of electric scooters
Even though the downsides and disadvantages of electric scooters are far less numerous than the advantages, they still exist.
While not dealbreakers for most users, it’s still worth reviewing these factors when making your decision.
1. Electric scooter technology is still relatively new
While the individual components of electric scooters have all been around for quite a while, electric scooters as we know them today are still fairly new.
The Segway Personal Transporter, a precursor to modern electric scooters was first sold in 2002. While it’s not a recent technology, it’s not yet considered fully mature.
New technology has got electric scooters’ pros and cons. It’s innovative but untested over time, and though constant improvements are underway, the potential for further enhancement in electric scooters’ range, power, battery life, and climbing capabilities remains.
While scooter defects are becoming rarer, they still occur more often than with traditional transport modes, but it will be a few more years before defects become almost unheard of.
2. Repairing an electric scooter can be difficult
Finding specialized repair shops for electric scooters can be a challenge since they are not widespread. In case of issues, general mechanics can help, and many repairs can be done through online tutorials.
Critical malfunctions are rare, and you don’t often need a specialized expert. Spare parts availability and cost depend on the scooter’s brand and popularity, with more popular scooters having easier access to parts.
If your scooter’s warranty is still not expired, you can have your manufacturer send you spare parts for free. Otherwise, you can likely order parts from them as well.
3. Unsuitable Terrain and Steep Hills
Electric scooters are great for city streets and smooth pavements, especially higher-quality ones. However, they’re not suitable for rough terrain like old bumpy roads, dirt paths, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces.
Mountain trails aren’t the right place for scooters either. Plus, if that’s your thing, you can choose from a large number of great offroad scooters that can tackle any terrain and challenge.
Most electric scooters will climb most hills that are not too steep without any bigger issues.
The less powerful scooters will struggle when going uphill and some may even stop completely. If the hill is very steep, even the popular scooters can have trouble climbing it.
As time goes by and scooters get more power into their motors, going uphill will only improve. Until then, if you live in an area with lots of hills, you will get a great return on investment by buying a strong climbing scooter that can handle hills without much effort.
4. Some places heavily regulate the use of electric scooters
There are a few cities worldwide that have banned the use of electric scooters. The bans have mostly been overreactions to scooter accidents, and not a well-thought-through course of action.
Most places either regulate their use or have evolving laws regarding electric scooters.
When regulated, electric scooters have their maximum speed limited or they’re required to be ridden on certain lanes on the road.
5. Many scooters are not waterproof
The good news is that most electric scooters are water-resistant. That means they can handle rain and snow pretty fine (even though manufacturers don’t recommend riding in wet weather).
The most popular scooters usually have at least an IP standard of IP54, which makes them good enough for riding through rain.
But almost no electric scooter is truly waterproof. Technically, you can increase the water resistance of your scooter, but it will always remain an electronic device, and as such, it will be at least a little vulnerable to contact with water.
Being waterproof by definition means you can throw it in a pool and it will continue to work after you take it out. While your scooter will rarely end up in the pool, not being waterproof still means it can be affected by water and you should avoid riding it in the rain.
6. Older models are less powerful and have less range
Electric scooters have become popular for transportation in the last 5 years.
Older models were originally meant as hobby vehicles with weaker performance. Users needed more power and greater range, leading to improvements in newer scooters.
Most scooters made in the last 5 years have better range and power, but older ones may have a smaller range. For those looking to buy a scooter today, the range is typically sufficient.
7. Easy to steal
Theft is a significant concern for e-scooter owners due to their small and easily pilferable nature, especially in urban settings.
However, there are proactive measures to counter this issue. The inherent portability of electric scooters is a major advantage, enabling users to avoid leaving them exposed in public spaces.
In cases where parking in the open is unavoidable, there is a range of scooter locks designed to deter theft and provide peace of mind to e-scooter riders. These measures help safeguard your investment and ensure a more secure ownership experience.
8. Some scooters are heavy
The good news is, the heavy scooters are not the ones that you will typically carry around. Heavy scooters typically have powerful motors and batteries, making them unsuitable for casual commuters.
High-speed scooters, with speeds over 60 mph/ 100 kmh, need more weight for stability. Everyday commuter scooters are usually not too heavy, but powerful ones can be challenging to carry.
9. The battery will need to be replaced after a few years
This is probably the only real downside that every scooter will have no matter what.
Scooter batteries have a lifespan, and lithium-ion batteries have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years. The battery’s capacity will diminish after a few years, and you’ll likely need a new one. Proper care can extend its lifespan, and the cost of replacement is not significant.
Battery technology is advancing rapidly. Even Elon Musk is working on providing the world with better batteries. It is likely that batteries will only get better.
10. The best electric scooters are still expensive
Popular electric scooters cost around $500, which is affordable for most users.
State-of-the-art models with high performance, long ranges, and all-terrain capability range from $1,200 to $3,500. Some custom-made scooters can even cost as much as $10,000.
For most people, these high-end options are more than they need. Fortunately, there are many more affordable scooters available.
Is it worth buying an electric scooter?
Both the pros and the cons lists are long.
The pros are universal, while the cons mostly apply to specific models or uncommon situations. Few cons apply to all scooters, and popular ones generally have minimal downsides.
Electric scooters offer amazing value. If you are considering getting one, go for it, you will be glad you did it. You can take a look at my electric scooter buying guide to see which scooter model will be a good match for your needs and lifestyle.