Should I buy an electric scooter [9 perfect use cases + when you shouldn’t buy]

If you don’t own an electric scooter yet, you may be wondering – do all these people riding them around know something you don’t? Should you go and get one of these things yourself?

Electric scooters are not for everyone. But they do work perfectly for a big part of the urban population, both for utility and for fun.

This post will help you make an educated decision of whether you should buy an electric scooter.

person calmly riding an electric scooter in the sunset
Should buyShouldn’t buy
You want to cut transport costsYour budget is very limited
You often cover short to medium distancesYou often cover very long distances
You’re sick and tired of rentalsYour country strictly prohibits scooters
You need a last-mile solutionYou live somewhere with horrific roads
You want to avoid traffic jamsYou live in a place with 365 days of rain a year
You need an efficient rideable
You want a cleaner environment
You need a new fun hobby
You want to be on the cutting edge of tech

Why buy an electric scooter?

Let’s start with the perfect scenarios, the use-cases where an electric scooter would be a very smart choice for you. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and if you have your own use-case not listed here, I would love to hear about it.

1. You want to cut transport costs

many silver coins

For the vast majority of people, the most compelling reason to get an electric scooter is that it is a great investment.

There is an initial cost paid upfront. Depending on the model you go for, it can be a couple of hundred dollars or a couple of thousand. Your budget, needs, and preferences will all be factors in your buying decision.

The great news here is, there are many, many, many budget scooters that are simply amazing and will fit all of your needs. $600 gets you a long way, not to mention $800. If you decide to spend $1000 or more on an electric scooter, you will likely get yourself a transportation companion for life.

After that, the expenses pretty much end. And that’s a pretty awesome deal when you think about it.

Public transport is not considered expensive. But in medium to big cities, the costs kinda add up. I can’t remember the last big city I’ve visited where a one-way bus or subway ticket cost less than 1.5 USD or EUR. Usually, it’s somewhere closer to 2.5 in fact. In some cities, it’s even 4 or more!

Paying that every working day, both ways, already means around $50 – $100 per month. Not as little as we might have thought.

Even a monthly pass will cost around the same, usually a little bit more.

That means, even in the best-case scenario, where you pay $50 per month on transport, you will still spend $600 in a single year.

And that is exactly how much a good electric scooter will cost you.

Your scooter will pay itself off in the first year! The difference is that it will then get you everywhere you need for free.

Charging your scooter costs so little, that you basically get to ride for free (check out the research for electric scooter charging costs for proof). Electricity prices will depend on where you live and how powerful your scooter is. But it will rarely cost more than a few cents per charge.

And also, in the first year, the warranty for your scooter will typically be still valid, so you will not have to pay for spare parts either.

Imagine having a truly free transportation vehicle, that works perfectly on short and medium distances. If you go for a long-range model, even several dozens of kilometers are not an issue!

The cost-effectiveness of electric scooters is undeniable. They are an amazing investment, and one of the most economic ways to get where you are going.

To find out exactly how much you can save on your commute, see the commute cost calculator.

2. You often need to cover short to medium distances

If you often need to cover distances between half a mile and three miles, an electric scooter might be perfect for you.

For that kind of distance, starting the car is sometimes not worth it (also, parking), and a bus or a train even less so. And while I personally love walking, sometimes you couldn’t get me to walk even for a million dollars.

Besides home-to-office and home-to-school commutes, electric scooters are ideal for trips to the gym, the grocery store, or just going to a friend’s place.

3. You are sick and tired of ride-sharing and rental scooters

Ride-sharing companies like Bird and Lime have been the entry point for many scooter owners. While they are multi-billion dollar businesses now, they started out as a way to bring scooters closer to people in a cost-efficient way. They do an awesome job most of the time, but if you’ve used them enough, you will know they are not without flaws.

Their scooters can be out of battery. They are often worn-out since many riders don’t care about them at all. And with the current epidemic, you probably don’t want to touch an object that 10 other strangers have touched that very same day.

Finally, they are not exactly cheap for long-term use. That $1 to start and $0.15 for every minute can quickly add up to the cost of a brand new scooter.

If you’ve been using ride-sharing scooters for more than a month, and you believe you will continue to use an electric scooter, than getting one for yourself is almost a no-brainer. Not only will you save money, but you will have your very own mode of transport.

4. You need a last-mile transport solution

Last-mile transport means getting from the transport hub to your final destination. For commuters, it means how they get from places like the bus or the train station, to the office or their home.

You can see how electric scooters are a godsend for these types of situations. In fact, they are the perfect solution. Walking is not always feasible, and bikes have a hard time fitting in public transport.

With scooters, you just fold it, get in the bus or train, ride the longer part of your commute, and then finish the journey with the scooter. It has been one of the main reasons for the rising popularity of scooters.

5. You want to avoid traffic jams and time spent in traffic

I gotta confess – I had mixed feelings about electric scooter riders before I got one.

It felt somewhat strange being stuck in traffic in my car, waiting for the red light to turn green and getting ready to honk like a maniac, and then just watching these careless cool people effortlessly glide by me on the sidewalk.

Electric scooters are a brilliant solution to traffic jams.

They have the same advantage as a car has. They move almost as fast as a car moves during a ride in a busy city.

However, they have none of the disadvantages.

They are almost the size of a pedestrian, and can navigate the streets with ease.

Long queues of big, bulky vehicles don’t affect their movement at all.

My exact same commute to work is, on average, a few minutes shorter with a scooter than with a car. In all honesty, this may not always be the case. It will depend on your scooter model, your city, and the traffic at the time.

But in an average city, you can expect to shave anywhere from a few to quite a few minutes off of your commute.

Those brutal traffic jams are now a thing of the past.

When I see angry drivers stuck in cars, I think of my past self. I almost wish they would consider getting an electric scooter.

6. You need an efficient personal vehicle or rideable that doesn’t tire you out

The debate of electric scooters vs bikes is as old as electric scooters themselves.

Personally, I’m a scooter guy (bet you never saw that one coming). But I’ve had bikes for my entire life, and I’ve loved them dearly. In fact, the ideal scenario for me is owning both a bike and a scooter.

However, sometimes I just don’t feel like putting in the effort to get somewhere. Sure, bikes provide more exercise, but that’s not the point. Getting somewhere shouldn’t always be an exercise.

If you are in situations where you need a small personal vehicle or a rideable that will just get you from point A to point B, without making you sweat for it, then the electric scooter is a clear winner for you.

7. You care about the environment and don’t want to pollute

aerial view of pollution in a big city

Electric batteries are the actual bleeding edge of an energy revolution.

While still not as efficient as traditional fossil fuels, they have one huge advantage – they almost don’t pollute the environment at all.

Electric batteries don’t produce greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions. Sure, there’s the argument that producing the energy for batteries still causes pollution. But it’s a false argument when you think about it. Any form of energy production will inevitably cause some pollution. Our responsibility is to try and reduce it as much as possible, because completely eliminating it is probably not possible. And from all the other energy sources, guess which one is the cleanest? That’s right, it’s batteries.

Cities that have adopted the usage of scooters through ride-sharing companies, or have made their infrastructure friendly towards rideables, have seen their air get much cleaner, and pollution reduced by a significant degree.

In all fairness, the disposal of electric batteries is still an environmental issue in some countries.

However, the population is getting educated about recycling them. Thus, this is also a diminishing problem.

Global warming is still on the rise. Climate change will continue to negatively affect our lives everywhere. Because of that, we can expect to see more and more policies geared towards making electric scooters more accessible.

8. You need a fun new hobby

One camp of electric scooter riders is mainly about the utility.

The other camp, possibly the bigger one, is all about the fun.

Personally, I’ve probably been in camp utility for so long, that I sometimes forget how much of a blast electric scooters are. Even now, after so many rides, sometimes I just hit the throttle, watch the world around me move, and I manage to completely clear my head. And that’s not a small thing.

Besides how useful and economic they are, electric scooters are incredibly fun to ride. It’s no wonder that they are extremely popular with younger generations.

Just take a look at the next time you see someone riding their scooter during the weekend. Chances are, you will see a big smile on their face.

One of the main reasons why electric scooters are so much fun is because they are very easy to ride.

I gotta admit, at first I was a little bit skeptical. I assume most people are. How those things maintained balance seemed like a mystery to me.

But this is one of those things that is much easier to learn by doing than by reading about it. Riding and using an electric scooter is something the average person will learn in about 3 minutes.

As with any skill, mastering the electric scooter will take some time. Gaining a basic skillset, good enough to ride safely and effectively, will be very easy.

9. You want to be on the cutting edge of technology

If you’re thinking about getting an electric scooter today, it may be too late for you to become an “early adopter”. But electric scooter technology is still in its infancy. It is a very dynamic field, and we are seeing lightning-fast progress almost every year. It is still a relatively new piece of technology, with lots of developments going on.

Can you remember how many electric scooters you noticed on the streets in your city when they first came out, some 15-20 years ago?

Almost none.

How about 10 years ago?

Well, some of the most progressive and modern cities had a noticeable number, but they were still quite rare.

How about 5 years ago?

It seemed like a somewhat large number of young people, busy professionals, and some strangely dressed nerds or hipsters were present.

How about 3 years ago?

You just kept seeing more and more electric scooters.

Maybe your city had them, or maybe it didn’t. But if you traveled to a big tech or technological hub, there were already lots of them.

How about now?

They are literally everywhere! We can only expect them to multiply and see this trend rise further.

Since they are spreading like wildfire, we may as well be on the bleeding edge of a revolution. There’s a reason nerds love scooters – they are a cool new piece of tech! If you’re interested in getting more tech-savvy, then a scooter is definitely for you.

When should you not buy an electric scooter?

There are plenty of scenarios where getting an electric scooter makes a lot of sense. But there are also a few where getting one would not be the best choice for you.

I wouldn’t want to discourage you completely from buying an electric scooter, but I do want to help you think about your needs and make a better decision. These are some scenarios where the disadvantages of electric scooters outweigh the advantages, and getting an electric scooter may not make sense for you. If you resonate with some of the reasons below strongly, you may want to look at other options.

1. Your budget is very limited (under $300)

You can still get a good electric scooter for $300, but keep in mind that it’s the absolute minimum price for which you have a shot at getting a decent scooter. The cheapest electric scooter for adults today will cost somewhere around $200, and there are a few below $300.

Now, here’s the kicker – they are actually some not-so-bad scooters for that price. Some of them may even get the job done. But there are several downsides and risks associated with them.

Naturally, they will be of lower quality and probably not last as long. They will not be very performant, and not provide a lot of range. Usually, their climbing capabilities will be terrible, and they will have low weight capacities. And as the quality decreases, the chances of you getting a scooter that’s dead-on-arrival increase.

They do have their uses. They will be great for trying out scooters for the first time, or maybe buying a scooter as a gift for a smaller child that will not take good care of it.

But if you need a reliable transport solution, the cheapest scooters will not be it.

If your budget is under $300 and you need a rideable, I see two possible solutions.

One is to look for a used electric scooter. And as with everything used, it’s a mixed bag. You may be lucky and get a great deal, but you may also end up with a scooter that worked the day when you tested it and bought it, and it’s no longer working the next week. Just be aware of the risks.

Another, and probably better option for you, would be to get a bike. While $300 is also kinda low for a good bike, you will have a better shot at finding something good. If you’re considering a used bike, then you can get a pretty sweet deal, since bike defects are much easier to spot than electric scooter defects.

2. You often cover very long distances

There are many long-range electric scooters today, able to cover 65 miles / 100 kilometers and more, and there are tons that can cover 30 miles / 50 kilometers.

But if you need to cover 15 miles / 25 kilometers, there might be better options for you than an electric scooter.

As I said, there are scooters that will get it done without a hiccup. Not an issue at all.

It’s just that doing that often is not without issues. It’s not exactly how electric scooters were meant to be used. Plus, the scooters capable of achieving that will typically cost more.

If you need to cover long distances, a car or public transport is a better option.

Now, with the public transport option, you still need to get from your home to the station, and from the other station to your destination. That effectively turns your commute into a last-mile situation, and as we covered above, electric scooters are the best solution there.

But if you need to cover long distances and public transport is not an option, then a car will likely make more sense.

3. Your country or city strictly prohibits scooters

Luckily, there are not a lot of countries that completelly prohibit scooters.

The famous case of London’s ban on electric scooters was the biggest example of this (not even a country). After a vigorous effort by the electric scooter community in England, the ban has been lifted and now electric scooters are road-legal again.

There may be a few cities here and there that decide to ban electric scooters altogether. They usually seem to come to their senses as they probably see other places seeing reduced traffic jams and pollution after adopting and encouraging electric scooter use, and they usually reverse those bans.

But if your place is currently not allowing electric scooters by law, then you may want to wait for a bit before you buy one. Check the electric scooter legal guide to find out about your specific location.

4. You live somewhere with horrific roads

The number one reason for defects in electric scooters is flat tires. Tire technology for scooters is improving, but it’s not bulletproof yet.

If the place you live and ride in has bad roads, it is likely you will get more flats. Solid-tire scooters may be a good solution, but the ride quality will suffer greatly.

5. You live somewhere where it rains or snows almost every day

Are there water-resistant electric scooters? Sure, plenty of them.

Can you waterproof your electric scooter to provide it with better protection against water damage? Of course, there are many things you can do.

And still, electric scooter brands, manufacturers, the community, and me, all suggest not riding in the rain.

In most cases, your scooter will be fine. Plenty of owners have ridden through rain, snow, storm and fire (ok, probably not fire), and have reported that their scooters have remained intact.

But all it takes is for water to reach your controller or battery one time and to fry it forever. And most brands don’t provide a warranty against water damage.

To make use of your scooter in a safe way, you need at least some dry days. Even if you have half a year of rain, that’s still half a year where you can safely ride your scooter.

So, if you live in Waratah, Australia (314 rainy days per year), an electric scooter is not a good choice for you.

But that doesn’t eliminate places like the UK for example, infamous for its bad weather. You will still have dry days for most of the year, and getting a waterproof electric scooter may do the trick for you.

Should I buy or rent an electric scooter?

rows of rental electric scooters from Lime

Renting an electric scooter from a ride-sharing company like Lime or Bird has a few uses.

It is the optimal solution without a doubt in the following scenarios:

  • you are curious about trying out electric scooters
  • you are curious about a particular electric scooter model that the fleet has
  • you are traveling and you’re not sure if you can take your scooter on a plane

And for those scenarios, ride-sharing scooters are far superior.

However, for everyone else, buying a scooter will be much, much better.

The cost to rent out a scooter and drive it around for some time is usually cheaper than getting a public transport ticket or two. Chances are, you will also get where you need to faster.

But still, it is a price that will accrue over time. If you ride a scooter every day, it’s better to buy one without a doubt.

Also, scooters from ride-sharing companies will tend to be more banged up, abused, and dirty.

Having a scooter of your own will make you confident you are doing everything you can to have a comfortable and safe ride.

How to choose an electric scooter

Choosing an electric scooter that fits your very own unique needs is both an art and a science.

The main things to look for are:

  • the scooter is within your budget
  • abides your laws
  • supports your weight and height
  • is powerful enough
  • is portable enough
  • comes from a reputable brand and has good reviews

Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form, outline your current situation and needs, and I will do my best to help you choose.

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Matt standing next to his Xiaomi M365 Pro electric scooter and holding an electric scooter helmet
I love electric scooters, so I decided to make a blog about them. I like doing a lot of research on various models and brands, looking for great value and performance, both through data and experience.