While not as expensive as a few years ago, electric scooters are still a substantial investment. We all want high-quality products that last, and we hate to have to get a new product after a few weeks.
Naturally, most first-time electric scooter owners will wonder – will their scooter serve them for years to come? To answer that, I did full research on the best-selling electric scooter models. The data provided exact answers to how long electric scooters last.
How long do electric scooters last?
95% of the budget electric scooters last more than 1 year, and at least one in every three scooters will last more than 2 years. One in 6 scooters will last 5 years or longer. Higher-end scooters last even more than that.
Let’s take a deep dive into the data that provided these answers, see which scooters are the most reliable and how long do they last.
We used Amazon review data for the following popular electric scooter models:
- Ninebot Max
- Xiaomi M365
- Glion Dolly
- Ninebot ES1
- Swagtron Swagger 5
- Razor E300
- Razor EcoSmart
- Uberscoot 1600W
While some of these scooters are different than the others in this list, they still have comparable prices and are in the same price category more or less. They all cost between $300 and $500, except for the Uberscoot 1600W and the Ninebot Max, which often cost below $800.
That means we are mostly looking at budget scooters. Higher-end models will have even better lifespans, of course.
How many electric scooters break down in the first year?
We estimate these scooters have sold between 571.300 and 1.142.600 units combined, and a quarter of the owners that have had serious malfunctions have reported that on the Amazon listing (methodology explained below).
The following table represents all of the negative reviews from users where the scooter has stopped working, or arrived unable to work at all. They were between one-third and one-half of all the negative reviews. They include the time when the defect happened since delivery, the reason for it, and the number of instances this defect occurred.
|Time of defect||Reason||N. of instances|
|Dead on arrival||App||5|
|Dead on arrival||Battery||8|
|Dead on arrival||Brakes||2|
|Dead on arrival||Charging or charger related||9|
|Dead on arrival||Controls or controller||10|
|Dead on arrival||General or unknown||39|
|Dead on arrival||Mechanical||2|
|Dead on arrival||Stem and folding||2|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||App||3|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||Battery||20|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||Brakes||7|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||Charging or charger related||8|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||Controls or controller||4|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||General or unknown||44|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||Mechanical||7|
|Very little use (< 1 month)||Stem and folding||6|
|Less than 6 months||Controls or controller||3|
|Less than 6 months||General or unknown||14|
|Less than 6 months||Battery||6|
|Less than 6 months||Brakes||2|
|Less than 6 months||Charging or charger related||7|
|Less than 6 months||General or unknown||11|
|Less than 6 months||App||1|
|Less than 6 months||Stem and folding||11|
|Less than 6 months||Mechanical||14|
|Less than 6 months||Battery||10|
|Less than 6 months||Controls or controller||3|
|Less than 12 months||Battery||9|
|Less than 12 months||General or unknown||8|
|Less than 12 months||Mechanical||1|
|Less than 12 months||Stem and folding||3|
There are a total of 279 defects that have rendered the scooter unusable or unsafe for further use.
Further, 176 of them either arrived with a serious defect, or presented one in a very short time after delivery. This means, in more than half of these unfortunate cases, owners have been able to spot the defect very fast, and ask for a return or replacement.
These are the defects, presented in order of frequency:
- General or unknown – 116 (scooter didn’t start, didn’t run, stopped working, or not specified)
- Battery – 53 (battery or battery-related components were the known cause for defect)
- Mechanical problems – 24
- Charger or charger related – 24
- Stem, folding, or handlebar – 22
- Controls or controller – 20
- Brakes – 11
- App – 9
This table represents the number of reported defects and the defect rate for every scooter model in the first year.
|Electric scooter||N. of reviews||Units sold (est)||N. of defects||Dead on arrival or after short use||Defect rate|
|Swagtron Swagger 5||305||45750||28||22||9.18%|
This is a visual representation of the defect rates.
The defect rate looks at the number of reviews, but I think a really strong case can be made that it should look at the number of total units sold. The reason behind that is that a defect in the first year is very likely to be reported and punished with a one-star review.
So the real defect rate will very likely be much, much lower than these numbers. And these numbers are not so bad to begin with – an average defect rate of 4.63% in the first year is pretty reliable for a product of this complexity.
Which provides our answer to the question.
Electric scooters have a 95.37% of lasting at least one year after purchase.
How long do electric scooters last?
The previous data set addressed the opposite of this question, which is how fast can scooters stop working. Naturally, we will use a different data set to figure out how long scooters last.
This is a bit more difficult to measure. The reason for that is two-fold:
- we can only know how long a scooter lasts after it breaks down completely
- most electric scooters have not broken down completely yet, and will probably not do so in the short term
- very few people actually leave reviews, and even fewer leave reviews when a product works as it’s supposed to
This means we can only partially answer this question.
The data that we do have can help us see the minimum likelihood of a scooter reaching a certain lifespan. From the models specified above, we have to exclude the Swagtron Swagger 5, the Ninebot ES1, and the Ninebot Max, since they are newer listings and their reviews don’t go that far back, so they would only skew the data.
If we look at the 4 and 5 star reviews of the models, and reviews older than 6 months, we can be fairly certain that those scooters have lasted at least from the moment they were bought to now. Users can easily change the reviews to one-star reviews if the scooters break down.
|Electric scooter||Total Reviews||Total 4 or 5 stars||4 or 5 stars, > 6 months||4 or 5 stars, > 1 year||4 or 5 stars, > 2 year||4 or 5 stars, > 3 year||4 or 5 stars, > 4 year||4 or 5 stars, > 5 year|
|Xiaomi M365||1938||1124||56%||38%||10%||no data||no data||no data|
|Glion Dolly||613||484||63%||37%||18%||9%||5%||no data|
Here is a visual representation of the averages from the table above.
We can draw the following conclusions:
- even budget scooters have at least a 62.7% chance of lasting more than 6 months
- there is a minimum of 44.2% chance that an electric scooter will last at least one year
- at least 29% of scooters last more than two years
- at least 24% of scooters last more than three years
- at least 17% of scooters last 4 years or more
- 16% of scooters can last longer than 5 years
However, these are the bare minimums.
The problem with this data set is that very few people leave a review for a product when it works the way it should.
As we saw previously, scooters have about a 95% chance of surviving the first year without a defect, and that data set was much better for determining that.
Anecdotal evidence, experience, and simply checking out electric scooter communities, will lead us to conclude that the actual numbers are much better than these minimums.
What is the most reliable electric scooter?
We can finally answer a very, very important, and interesting question for new or repeat electric scooter owners. And the best part is, we know that the answer will be backed up by data.
Initially, we may think that the most reliable scooter should be the one with the lowest defect rate. That would mean that the Uberscoot 1600W is the most reliable scooter.
However, the problem here is that we don’t have as much data about this scooter. It has the fewest reviews out of all the models.
Don’t get me wrong, the Uberscoot 1600W is an excellent scooter! It is, in fact, very, very reliable, and that I know from other scooter owners. It is one of the more expensive scooters on this list, and there is a good reason for it. It is also the best performing scooter on this list by far.
All in all, the Uberscoot 1600W has a lot of great things going for it. With an estimated number of units sold at 11400 and a defect rate of just 2.63% in the first year, it is one of the best inexpensive scooters you can ever buy.
Where to buy the Uberscoot 1600W from?
To be confident that we really have the most reliable scooter ever, we need to look at the models for which more data is available.
And so, we arrive at our champion.
The most reliable budget electric scooter in the world today is the Glion Dolly. With an estimated 91950 units sold, a defect rate of just 2.94% in the first year, and a very strong chance that it will last more than 3 years, it fully earns the title of the most reliable scooter.
Check the full review of the Glion Dolly if you want to find out more about the most reliable scooter.
Where to buy the Glion Dolly from?
The methodology used for research
Since we can’t obtain perfect and complete data for this research, we have to rely on partial data and a few assumptions. That will obviously cost us some precision, but it will get us one step closer to answering the question.
The data we use for this research is the reviews that scooter owners have left on Amazon for the various models. We use Amazon data because it is the only place that is big enough to have a substantial number of reviews. Given how Amazon is the biggest online store in the world, and its business depends heavily on the correctness and genuineness of the reviews, we can be pretty confident that the reviews will be mostly true and unbiased.
To clean the data, we will only use reviews from verified buyers.
One major problem is that we only have sufficiently large datasets for fairly new scooters. It’s pretty hard to say how long will a scooter last if it’s only been released two years ago. So in some cases, we can only make educated guesses.
As we demonstrated, we have two primary groups of data.
One is the number of 4-star and 5-star reviews. These are the owners that have had no issues, or only minor issues with their scooters. We only look at reviews that are 6 months old or older, which reduces the number of owners to those who’ve only had the scooter for a significant amount of time. Then, we multiply the number of reviews by the quotient of the total number of reviews, and the number of 4-star and 5-star reviews, which will take into account people that have left positive reviews without a comment, but still keep in mind the proportion of the time intervals.
The other data group we look at is the number of people that have left 1-star and 2-star reviews, and have also stated that their scooter has become unusable or no longer safe to ride. We also note the reason for the defect. The error in this data will be that not every serious defect is reported on Amazon.
But we can be pretty certain that serious malfunctions are reported and punished with 1-star reviews far, far more often than ideal performances are rewarded with 5-star reviews.
Let’s be very hard on electric scooters and go for the worse assumption here, and assume that only a quarter of the serious defects have been reported.
That very likely makes this data skewed towards negative reviews, and thus towards a shorter lifespan of the electric scooters.
We will work under the assumption that between 0.5% and 1% of customers leave reviews (source). Using that percentage, we will estimate the total number of units sold on Amazon.
That number, together with the data, will provide the answers we are after.
Worst electric scooters
This study looked at the total number of defects but it didn’t group and intersect them based on the defect type and the scooter model. See my research on electric scooter defects for a more in-depth look at the most common serious scooter problems and malfunctions. More importantly, scooters tend to have them the most (which also answers the question of which scooters are the worst scooters around right now).