How To Buy A Used Electric Scooter [Lessons From The EScooterNerds Marketplace]

Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Matt

Since we launched the used electric scooter marketplace, we’ve seen our first successful transactions between previous and new scooterists. These are some of the common insights and advice from people who bought or sold a used scooter.

How much should you pay for a used electric scooter?

Xiaomi M365 Pro on a charger

A good rule of thumb is to take the original price of the scooter when it was first bought, and then subtract 10% to 20% from that price for every year of usage.

Similar to buying a car, when buying an electric scooter, you should take into account information about the scooter’s mileage, and general use over time, as that can cause some wear-and-tear (often even in the internal parts and the electronics, and that’s very hard to estimate).

However, unlike buying a car, electric scooters have one more important variable that comes into play – they run on batteries, and as you may know, batteries wear out over time, even when not used.

The currently accepted consensus is that batteries will typically last between 2 and 3 years, or 300 to 500 charge cycles, whichever of those two comes first. Meaning, even if the scooter was never even used once after 3 years, there’s still a good chance the battery has already worn out significantly.

Plus, keep in mind that you probably can’t expect your scooter to last for decades. Most scooters easily last for at least one year and often more than two (even budget ones), but after about the fifth year, so much of the scooter can be worn out that it will require frequent repairs.

So, for used scooters that not only have several years behind them, but also have some serious mileage already (more than 1500 mi / 2400 km per year), you should be looking to get 20% off for every year of usage, and I wouldn’t be shy negotiating for more. For scooters that haven’t been used that much, you may subtract 10% or 15% of the original price for every year of usage.

Is it worth buying a used electric scooter?

Buying a used electric scooter can be worth the risk when two things are true: you are at least somewhat familiar with electric scooters (it helps if you know the model you’re looking to buy as well), and you have all the critical information about the scooter available like its age, condition, and mileage (test-driving the scooter can provide you with some of that information).

In general, buying a used scooter that’s originally more expensive has the potential for being a great deal, while buying a used scooter that’s on the budget side will often involve a lot more risk.

Not to over-generalize, but most of the time, wealthier people will tend to buy more expensive scooters, and when they sell them, they will not be too worried about extracting every cent out of their used scooter. In fact, they are likely looking to just get rid of it most of the time. Because of this, you can find some great deals in the higher price categories.

On the other hand, budget shoppers are likely to buy cheaper scooters, which get damaged more easily and don’t last as long as premium scooters, and they are also more likely to be unreasonable in their price demands or negotiate harder on the price.

That’s why I’m generally in favor of looking to buy a used scooter when going after a high-quality, premium scooter, but not expecting much when looking to buy a used scooter in the budget price category.

I’ve been there, and I had this dilemma myself when I was deciding on a scooter of my own. My budget was around $600, I had several options, and looked at a few used models. Some of them were seemingly good deals, but none seemed worth the downside of buying a pre-owned scooter.

For reference, the best deal I could negotiate at the time was $440 for a one-year-old Xiaomi M365 Pro with quite a lot of miles on it, and in the end, I just decided to go with a brand-new one for just $550. That’s just my mindset, and you may disagree, but for me, that seemed like a possibly decent deal but nowhere near an excellent one (I would probably have bought it for $400-$410 though).

How to buy a used electric scooter

If you consider buying a used electric scooter, these are the most important points to keep in mind (it’s a long list, but it’s better to spend 10 minutes reading it than $670 on a lemon scooter that stops working after a week).

Learn the basics of electric scooters

diagram showing how electric scooters work, with arrows indicating every step of the workflow

If this is the first time you’re buying an electric scooter, or if you don’t know anything about electric scooters at all, you will want to get familiar with the most important basics and specs of electric scooters.

At the very least, skim through the guide on how electric scooters work quickly. If you want to get into more depth, check out the complete buying guide, the motors guide, the battery guide, and the brakes guide.

Know your requirements

You need to be aware of several things about you personally and your situation, that may limit the number of suitable scooter choice for you. Most importantly, consider the following:

  • Your weight – avoid buying a scooter with an official weight limit less than your weight, and try and have as much leeway in between as possible. If you need a bigger weight limit, you will want to look at some scooters for heavy adults.
  • Your height and reach – most scooters are designed for the average person, so if you are on the taller side, you will want to only look at scooters for tall adults. Also, make sure that the scooter’s handlebar height fits your reach (you can see the official handlebar heights for all scooters as well).
  • Your feet size – somewhat related to the above, although not as important, as usually everyone’s feet often stick out of the deck a bit when riding. But still, if you have larger feet, go for the scooters with the bigger decks.
  • Whether the scooter is street-legal in your location – in the majority of places worldwide, scooters are unregulated (which kinda means they can be used in any way people want), but some places have limitations on their speed, motor power, and battery capacity. Those limitations could technically make a scooter illegal to ride there, and even though in most places with strict regulations it seems that enforcement is not that strong yet, I would still not buy a scooter that’s not street-legal for where I will ride it. Consult our electric scooter legality guide, and your local authorities, to know whether your scooter of choice will be street-legal in your city or country.

Those two will be your primary requirements, as you can’t work around them, and you want to be sure your scooter supports you and provides you with a comfortable ride.

But after that, you should still consider a number of important points about how you will use your scooter, and what you hope to get out of it. You may have to compromise on some of them, but try and have as many of the following points satisfied:

  • How much range do you need from your scooter – if you have a daily commute, go with a scooter that has at least double that range (more on how to do the range test below). Typical commuting scooters have an advertised range between 15 and 28 mi / 25 and 40 km, and that’s either the actual range you’ll get, or around 20% less in some scenarios.
  • How portable should your scooter be – for most adults, scooters weighing around 30 lbs / 14 kg will not be hard to carry for the short distances they usually have to carry them over. Also, most scooters are not too large in volume when folded, the only exception being large racing or offroad scooters. However, if you’re looking for something extra easy to carry, you will want to start with the most portable scooters.
  • How fast would you like your scooter to go – the majority of commuter electric scooters have top speeds between 15.5 mph and 22 mph / 25 kmh and 35 kmh. In case you have no orientation for this, that’s pretty good for most beginners, and you will almost certainly not want a scooter faster than 22 mph / 35 kmh (plus, there’s a chance that scooter is not street-legal)
  • How much climbing will it have to do – if you live somewhere with a lot of hills, you will definitely want your scooter to be as good of a climber as possible. Many scooters struggle when going uphill, especially the less powerful ones, so you may want to know which scooters are great climbers and go from there.
  • What are the roads like in your location – I recommend talking to scooterists or bicyclists in your areas, and asking them how often do they get flats. If they answer “two every month” or something like that, you should strongly consider getting either a scooter with solid tires, or at least get a scooter with a great suspension to get a more comfortable and safer ride.
  • How waterproof do you need your scooter to be – if you live somewhere with a lot of rain, you will probably want a water-resistant scooter (there’s no such thing as a fully waterproof scooter, but some scooters are better at resisting water damage than others). Check the IP rating of the scooter as well.
  • Do you need a seat – while some models allow for a seat to be bought after-market and installed easily, this is still a feature you want to know about beforehand. Find out what the best scooters with seats are, and go from there.
  • What is the brand of the scooter – it should play a major role in your decision, and I strongly recommend going with the established scooter brands over the no-name Chinese models. Take a look at my research on the most common electric scooter problems as well, you will get a good idea of which popular models are known for certain issues, and you can also ask the previous owner whether the scooter has demonstrated any of those problems.
  • Does the scooter have good ratings and reviews in independent online stores – besides inspecting the actual unit you will buy, it’s also a good idea to do some research online on the model as well, and see the reviews and ratings it has, especially in independent online retailers that generally don’t skew the ratings. Also, see the EScooterNerds scooter reviews, you will probably find a dedicated review of your scooter of choice there.
  • Does your scooter need to fill a certain need, like being a good delivery scooter, or maybe being a good scooter for students, or maybe being a good summer scooter or winter scooter if you live in a specific climate

Consider buying a refurbished electric scooter

I believe buying a refurbished scooter from a trusted brand can make a lot more sense than buying a used electric scooter.

In case you don’t know, refurbished products are ones that have been returned to the seller for some reason, or simply not sold anymore (it may the launch of a new product even), but then they’ve been fixed and tested again by the seller, and then sold at a discounted price.

If the seller is a reputable brand, I wouldn’t mind buying a refurbished scooter from them (they will often have the same return and warranty policies for the scooter, something which a pre-owned scooter is unlikely to have).

Trusted vendors like Voromotors often have refurbished units available at great discounts, and if you’re looking for a more premium choice, I recommend a refurbished EMove Cruiser as one of the best options for a used scooter (probably in the world), and a refurbished EMove Touring as a cheaper alternative.

On the more budget end, I recommend a refurbished GoTrax GXL V2 Commuter – this scooter is one of the best budget scooters around, and GoTrax is a very well-respected budget brand, so this might be a good deal as well.

Finally, when buying from Amazon, simply look at the used and refurbished options there as well. You can be reasonably confident that Amazon will be a good intermediary here and go to great lengths to ensure you don’t get a raw deal here. Chances are, all the most popular scooters there will have even more than one available option for a used or a refurbished scooter based on the level of usage:

Ask all the questions

For many people, it’s easy to start getting uncomfortable when negotiating, and forget that you are the one spending the money, and shy away from asking all the questions you need to ask. Don’t forget that. Ask everything you want to know about the scooter you’re buying

I recommend asking for all of the following if it’s not already provided:

  • Why is the scooter being sold?
  • When was it bought?
  • At what price was it bought?
  • Where was it bought from?
  • Is it still under warranty?
  • How many miles has it covered?
  • Is it damaged? Where?
  • Has it suffered any major damage, a crash, a serious fall, or a serious impact?
  • Has it been repaired?
  • Does it need repairs?
  • How old is the battery and has it been replaced (if yes, how many times)?
  • How long does it take to charge now?
  • How much range did the scooter provide when first bought?
  • How much range does the scooter provide now?
  • What is its current top speed?
  • How old are the tires and have they been replaced (if yes, how many times)?
  • Are the tires worn out?
  • Are the brakes operational, and do they need new pads?
  • Has it been opened, unassembled, modified, or tinkered with?
  • Has it been hacked, or has it had custom firmware installed?

Feel free to add as many other questions to this list as you like.

If the seller is not giving you clear answers, or trying to make it look like you’re too worried/boring/paranoid, probably look for another seller. That’s not a good sign.

Ask for pictures

Before test-driving it, looking at pictures from the scooter will be even better than asking all the questions.

I would be wary if the seller is trying to avoid providing a lot of pictures.

The more of the following pictures you see, the better:

  • the owner together with the scooter
  • several pictures of the entire scooter from a distance, from multiple angles
  • frontal picture of the stem and handlebars
  • frontal picture of the deck
  • close-up pictures of the cockpit and the handlebars from different angles
  • close-up pictures of both of the tires, the brakes, the suspension
  • close-up pictures of the deck from different angles

Spend some time inspecting the pictures, and look for signs of damage, this may save you some time and eliminate some choices right away.

Ask for a test-drive

I wouldn’t buy a used electric scooter from a seller that doesn’t let me test-drive it for at least an hour, and preferably for a day.

The more you can test-drive the scooter before you hand over your money, the better.

Ask the seller to bring the scooter with the battery fully charged, so that you can do a range test as well.

If you’re not familiar with electric scooters at all, it’s smart to ask a friend who’s either an expert, an enthusiast, or at least has owned a scooter before, to come with you and help you with the test-drive and the inspection.

Perform a visual inspection and a diagnostic check

deck of the Xiaomi Mi Pro 2

When you see the scooter, perform the following inspections:

  • Inspect the outside of the scooter, and look for visible signs of damage like scratches or bumps, but also possible cover-ups of damage (look for mismatches in color, stickers, etc, those can be huge red flags).
  • Inspect the screws and the bolts, see how stable they are, and whether they wiggle.
  • check the folding mechanism, make sure the scooter folds and unfolds properly, and that the folding mechanism is stable while riding.
  • Inspect the tires, and see if they are in good condition or if they’re worn out and may need replacement (if they have the little knobbies, look at those, they tend to indicate the general condition of the tires).
  • See if all the braking systems are operational, and that the brakes are strong enough and provide a short stopping distance.
  • If the scooter has suspension, ask the owner if you can perform some light jumps on the deck to test it, and also test it by riding over some smaller bumps or potholes.
  • Make sure the dashboard is operational, the scooter powers on and off as expected, switches gears as expected, and all of the buttons and functions on it work properly.
  • If the scooter has lights, make sure they are all working properly.
  • If the scooter has a bell or a horn, make sure it’s operational and loud enough.
  • If the scooter has an app, ask the owner to see the app (you can often find the total mileage of the scooter in there as well).
  • Go for a test-drive, test all of the systems from above in action, and pay attention to the sound the scooter produces and for some unusual rattling (either from the motor, the fenders, or when braking), but also pay close attention to the overall ride comfort and experience.
  • Perform a range and speed test. I would really try to negotiate for this point if the owner is reluctant, as this is probably the best way to see the general condition of the scooter. Start with a full battery, and ride the scooter naturally. Use an app to measure the distance you cover, or maybe just measure the total ride time. You should expect the real-world range to be about 20% less than the official scooter’s range, and I would add an additional decline of 15%-20% for every year of the battery’s usage. Calculate how much range should the scooter provide, and see whether you get somewhere near that. Also, make sure the top speed you can develop is close to the official one.
  • If you have the scooter available to test-drive for a longer period of time, consider taking it to a scooter mechanic or a bike shop and have them run a quick diagnostic check if possible (especially if you’re considering buying a more expensive scooter).

If you do all of the above, and the scooter passes all the checks with at least somewhat satisfactory results and you don’t find any red flags, you can be fairly certain you’re getting a good scooter.

Keep proof of the transaction

You will probably not get a written document of this transaction, but keep all the electronic correspondence with the seller, and don’t delete any of the emails, texts, or messages you’ve interchanged. Hopefully, you will never need this, but know that even when buying a used product you are still protected by certain consumer protection laws in most countries, and in the cases of a potential misunderstanding or fraud, the correspondence will be proof for your case.

Negotiate a return period

I would be glad to pay someone the money for a used scooter, if they would agree to a return period of three days, or even a week (granted that I don’t damage the scooter in that period). I think that’s a fair deal, and sellers that have nothing to hide should usually be open to it.

Buy from a reputable reseller or person you know (if you can)

When buying a used electric scooter, you will have to make some decisions based on a limited amount of information. The external condition of the scooter will let you know a bit about the overall condition of the scooter, but the internals like the motor, the battery, and the controller, hide the real story, and those are much harder to evaluate by a quick visual inspection.

That’s why it’s ideal to buy the used scooter from a person you know, as the chances of deception will usually be much lower. Also, that’s why I recommend buying a refurbished scooter, as you’re still buying from a trusted entity but at a discount.

Used electric scooter offers and marketplaces

While Craigslist and eBay might be the first obvious choices, I would recommend checking Amazon, maybe even checking it first. You will almost certainly find several options from the most popular electric scooters, and they will all be priced differently based on how long they have been used.

Usually, the following popular models have some used options available:

Aside from Amazon, as I mentioned before, you may want to consider some refurbished models as well, as they not only come from established and reputable merchants, but are also discounted and are usually a good deal. I think the best deals on refurbished scooters are the EMove Cruiser at Voromotors for a more premium choice, and the GoTrax GXL V2 Commuter for a budget choice.

Also, make sure to check out our electric scooter used marketplace as well, it’s still quite new but I’ve seen a number of interesting deals being posted there lately, and you can both buy and sell used scooters there. For now, new entries and ads are possible only through the EScooterNerds Universal Scooter App, available for both iOS and Android.

How to sell a used electric scooter

If you need to sell your used electric scooter, follow these guidelines to quickly find a buyer:

  • Include as much detail about the scooter as you can
    • why are you selling it?
    • how much did you buy it for?
    • when did you buy it for?
    • whether it’s still under warranty
    • where did you buy it from?
    • how many miles has it crossed?
    • the general condition of the major components (dashboard, tires, brakes, suspension, charger)
    • does it have any damage or does it need any repairs?
    • has it been repaired, and which parts have been replaced?
    • the real-world range
    • the real-world speed
    • anything note-worthy
  • Include as many pictures of it as you can, from different distances and angles, and several pictures of you with the scooter to establish some trust
  • Give a discount on the original price. If you have no idea how much to ask then subtract 20% for every year of heavy usage, or 10% to 15% for every year of light to no usage.
  • Understand the buyer’s position, and try to meet them halfway. This can involve arranging for them to test-drive the scooter before buying, and maybe agreeing on a short return period of a few days as well.
  • Keep all of the electronic correspondence between you and the buyer.

If you have a scooter you want to sell, make sure to create an ad on the electric scooter used marketplace through the EScooterNerds Universal Scooter App.

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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, 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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