The 5 Best Cheap Electric Scooters (We Tested Them All)
Explore our unbiased evaluation of the 5 Best Cheap Electric Scooters available today. This blog post provides detailed insights into each scooter’s performance, ride quality, and value for money. A valuable resource for anyone considering an affordable means of commuting.
If you think selecting a new phone from the sea of options available is hard, try choosing a budget electric scooter. There are sooooo many options available, and that’s putting it mildly. What’s worse is that there’s no industry consensus on what the best cheap electric scooters are from a quick Google search. To be fair, though, there are increasingly good options in the market and you need to be very careful as the budget scooters category tends to be riddled with as many hits as there are misses.
The Rider Guide Guarantee
This is not a fake best scooter review where we take a bunch of PEVs and throw them together on some list. We’ve ridden and extensively tested these and many other cheap electric scooters over the last three years (more than 400 hours riding-over 1000 miles ridden) to find out exactly how fast and how far they really go, whether they’re any fun to ride, and whether they’re just going to fall apart right out of the box.
This is our BEST Cheap scooters list yet! We’ve found some very high-quality scooters from some of our audience’s favorite brands that won’t take your whole paycheck but do have a good warranty. Most are under $500, and a couple are going for way less than that!
That said, what are, or should be, the major concerns when looking for budget electric scooters?
What to Look for When Buying a Cheap Electric Scooter
We’ll keep this part brief–so here is what to look out for when shopping for the ideal budget electric scooter.
Value for Money
This goes without saying, but you should strive to get as much from your budget as is realistically possible. We will, however, point out that certain compromises must be made. The cheap scooter shouldn’t be bare bones, but you can expect the majority not to have sophisticated braking and suspension systems, advanced displays, industry-leading lights, etc. However, we are seeing brands stretch out the dollar to pack these scooters with more tech without necessarily raising the price too high.
In as much as cheap dictates lowered performance, this doesn’t have to be the case. The motorized scooters we recommend on this list really push the needle on the performance value–from going all the way up our hill test, making round commutes without running out of juice, keeping up with bicycles in the bike lane, and sometimes briefly merging with traffic, etc.
Brands don’t spend as much money on manufacturing these electric scooters, which sometimes means a stiff ride on any track outside of well-maintained city roads. Therefore, if your commute involves any sort of bumps, potholes, or rocky trails, prioritize a cheap scooter with pneumatic tires and a suspension system (however basic).
Safety is the bare minimum on any vehicle; the same goes for electric scooters, even cheap ones. At the very least, ensure it has safety features like a reliable braking system, lights for low-light situations, a predictable throttle, and a horn or bell for other road users. If it is IP rated, has a keyed ignition, or has an internal locking mechanism, we’ll take those as a bonus.
What You Order Vs. What You Get
In the era of online shopping, this is the one we can’t get away from. Unlike cars or clothes, you don’t get to try out a lot of electric scooters before buying them. But that’s where we come in as Rider Guide. We know that you can’t possibly try out every ‘good scooter’ out there, which is why we do it for you.
We give our recommendations based on the most stringent hands-on testing in the industry–and we’ve tested more electric scooters than anyone. We’ve invested time to bring you comprehensive reviews for every scooter worth your while, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Therefore, without any further ado, here are our picks for the best Cheap Electric Scooters of 2023–in no particular order, but each with at least one unique strength—so read to the end to find out what we think are the best electric scooters for you, if you’re on a budget.
Best Cheap Electric Scooters: Summary
Top 5 Cheapest Electric Scooters
The Best Choice for Teens and College Students
Segway Ninebot E2
If anyone was going to do it, it was going to be Segway. The Ninebot E2 is such an anomaly that it’s actually strange to think of it as a $350 electric scooter. We expect so many compromises at this price point, but that’s not the case with the E2.
The new entry-level scooters, the Ninebot E2 and the Ninebot E2 Plus, are perfect for teens and young adults for a couple of reasons; the most obvious one being the low cost. The E2 is currently the cheapest electric scooter we can recommend, and the E2 Plus, while being a little more expensive, is quite the steal for its price.
Cost aside, the E2 is perfectly safe for teenage riders, considering the lower top speed of 12.5 mph, paired with the two-way braking system comprising a rear drum brake and front electronic brake. Both scooters are also well-lit, with a bright headlight, large rear/brake light, and high-quality reflectors installed on the front, side and rear.
For college students, the E2 Plus, with its 15.5 mph top speed, might be a better fit. Paired with the scooter’s good stem geometry, wide bars with chunky textured grips, and the large deck with generous rubber grip, you also get a good ride experience. They are also really portable, so you can carry and store them just about anywhere the road leads you.
But what’s even more impressive is that the E2 and E2 Plus electric scooters are backed by one of the most reliable scooter brands: Segway. You can tell that a lot of thought went into the scooters, and the E2 electric scooters are arguably the best-looking budget scooters we have. Everything from the sleek modern design, the 83% larger display, and the RGB deck lights on the E2 Plus make the scooters real outliers from what you expect at this price point.
That said, in making the E2 and E2 plus the most reliable entry-level scooters, Segway installed flat-proof hollow-rubber tires, allowing you to ride stress-free as they require no pumping or tire change. On the flip side, however, solid rubber tires do not make for the smoothest ride quality, so you’ll want to lay off bumps and potholes. Again, the small motors barely made it up our 10% grade test, so regular commuters need to be wary of this.
If you want more power from your scooters or are simply searching for a smooth-sailing electric scooter, check out our next recommendation.
High Performance and Smoother Ride
GOTRAX G3 Plus
The GOTRAX fleet got upgraded, and one of the most exciting outcomes is the GOTRAX G3 Plus model. The G3 Plus is the best alternative to GOTRAX’s other popular budget commuter, the G4 electric scooter, and it costs $100 less. It has a little more power than the Segway Ninebot E2 scooters and a smoother ride as well.
It’s smaller and lighter than the GOTRAX G4 but with a long, roomy 21.3-inch by 6.0-inch deck and 39.5 inches-tall handlebars. And thanks to the powerful motor, you get surprisingly good acceleration and hill climbing. In fact, the only scooter that does better at this price point is the super-performing Hiboy S2. However, you get a better ride quality with the G3 Plus thanks to the large 10-inch pneumatic tires.
The GOTRAX G3 also has one of the best speeds for its price, with a top speed of 18.1 mph. You can monitor the speed on the large readable center display that has a large speedo, a 4-bar battery gauge, an indicator for speed modes despite there being only two modes, and a cruise control on/off indicator. Sadly you cannot turn off cruise control, which comes on by default after a sustained 10 seconds in the same speed and is indicated by a soft beep.
GOTRAX elevated the composition of their entry-level scooters by adopting nicer color schemes, an easier-to-read display, a bag hook on the stem, and finally, a tail light that also doubles as a brake light in place of the former scooters’ (GXL V2) reflective rear fender sticker. For stopping, you also get front regenerative and rear mechanical disc brakes. It still has no app or zero start function, but then again, for the price, neither do most other scooters.
That said, it’s nothing fancy, with few features and a build quality that feels revealing of its price point. And because of the extra performance, the G3 Plus electric scooter also has the shortest real-world range of the group, covering 9.8 miles of fast riding on our hilly range test. But all in all, it’s still a ton of fun, a smooth ride, and a lot of scooter for the price from one of the best-known brands in the US.
The Best All Around Value (Especially if you Catch it on Sale)
NIU KQi2 Pro
The KQi2 Pro has been the scooter to beat since it premiered. NIU is an up-and-coming Segway rival that built three million moped-style electric scooters before getting into kick-scooters. One of their more affordable scooters, the KQi2 Pro, is the best all-around value we’ve witnessed in a scooter under the $600 mark.
Top of its remarkable features is the scooter’s ride quality. The scooter has a pair of 10-inch tubeless tires that absorb the majority of road vibrations for quite a comfortable ride. Paired with the KQi2 Pro’s grip tape-covered deck, the 20.5-inch wide handlebars, the comfortable thumb throttle, and the cruise control, riders get the sort of ride feel experienced in the mid-range scooters category.
Then we have the electric scooter’s build quality. This is one of the best electric scooters design-wise. The excellence is in the small details like the taller and wider handlebars, larger tires, larger rake angle, and super solid frame. This results in a stable and wobble-free ride. And to show you how much they believe in their scooters, NIU throws in a 2-year warranty–the longest we’ve seen on any scooter.
Besides the impeccable ride quality, the KQi2 Pro also packs a punch. The electric scooter has a top speed of 16.3 mph, ensuring you don’t get stuck behind bicycles. The throttle is also smooth and gradual, accelerating from 0-15 mph in 7.6 seconds. We also got the best-in-class range from the scooter’s 365 wh battery–15.7 miles on a full charge. And it wasn’t slow on our 10% hill, covering the 200 ft stretch in 20.3 seconds.
Another area where the KQi2 Pro excels is braking. The scooter gave us the shortest braking distance on this list–14.1 ft, courtesy of the Pro’s 75 mm drum brakes and strong rear regen brake. The brakes are easy to use and operated via a single brake lever. Other security features include the scooter’s always-on halo light, the IP54 rating, good fender coverage, and the compulsory tutorial for beginners.
However, all these features come at the cost of weight–the KQi2 Pro is the heaviest scooter on this list with a tested weight of just over 40 lbs, so keep that in mind if you need to carry your electric scooter upstairs every day.
We’ve also recently tested the less expensive KQi1 Pro that we’ve seen for $399 on sale, and there’s also a base model KQi1 Sport that we’ve seen for as little as $299. But be warned, the Sport version doesn’t fold, while the KQi1 Pro does. If you’re interested, you can find the full performance test results for the KQi1 Pro on our website, but looking at what you get for top speed, range, battery size, and overall ride quality, if you can afford it, we still recommend the KQi2 Pro. It’s still one of the easiest electric scooters to recommend to someone shopping on a budget.
Best for Raw Performance–Best m365 Clone
If you’re new to the electric scooter game, you will come across mentions of the famous budget scooter–Xiaomi m365. What you need to know is that during its heydays, the m365 was the internet’s most beloved scooter. It was light, cheap, and it was pretty good at everything. However, they stopped importing them to the US in 2021, meaning if you found a new one past 2021, it came with no warranty since Xiaomi had no official presence in the US. Regardless, it remains one of the most searched-for scooters on the Rider Guide Website.
Now, that said, the market needed a new it-scooter, and many brands rose to the challenge. A lot of scooters imitated the m365’s design, but none did it better than the Hiboy S2, in our opinion. You can tell by the fact that it’s made our best cheap electric scooters list three years in a row now, and here’s why.
The Hiboy S2 is the fastest cheap electric scooter you can buy, with a certified 19 mph maximum speed. This is quite the feat, especially given the scooter’s light weight of 31.9 lbs–the second lightest electric scooter on this list. The acceleration is also quite something at 6.2 seconds to 15 mph from a standing start. The hill climb on the Hiboy S2 is also one of the best in its price class, reaching the top of our 10% 200 ft grade test in 7.1 seconds. And for stopping power, you get front regenerative and rear mechanical disc brakes.
The scooter also incorporates flat-proof honeycomb tires that ease flat anxiety and reduce instances of riders going back to repurchase tubes. The downside is the stiffer ride quality, despite the Hiboy S2’s rear suspension. But even with suspension, the ride feel comes nowhere near that of a scooter like the KQi2 with the 10-inch tubeless tires. That said, you can only expect so much in terms of ride quality from a scooter in this price class. We also had some issues with the Hiboy S2’s rattly fender and the fact that it has no brake or tail light.
However, even with the few shortcomings, we still regard the S2’s raw performance as the best in the entry-level category–and this is despite Hiboy having flankers like the S2 Pro, whose performance value per dollar doesn’t match or beat that of the original S2.
Best Choice for Long Range on a Budget
Turboant X7 Max
The Turboant X7 Max has been the best electric scooter for riders wanting range on a budget for one simple reason–the 360 wh removable battery. It is among the best electric scooter swappable batteries and costs about $220, which is way less than most what most swappable scooter batteries cost. The weight is also pretty negligible, meaning you can easily carry one or two spares, depending on your budget.
On a full battery and ridden in peak performance mode, our scooter gave us 18 miles. So the Turboant Max electric scooter has the potential to go 36 or 54 miles and beyond–even more when ridden conservatively. But you’re not just getting long-range from this electric scooter.
You can go to a top speed of 18.6 mph, which is relatively fast for the price class. And the ride is very comfortable thanks to the 10-inch pneumatic tires. The deck is also one of the longer ones on this list at 20.5 inches and relatively wide at 6.5 inches, meaning you won’t struggle to find your stance. The handlebars sit 41 inches above the deck, which is right at the sweet spot. Ultimately, its specs make it an easy recommendation for bigger and heavier riders on a budget, not forgetting the 275 lbs rider weight capacity.
The narrow handlebars at 16.5 inches wide might be a bit challenging to work with even for average-sized riders, and the scooter’s 350 w front motor struggles quite a bit on hills, especially with riders closer to the payload capacity. And for this reason, we will include another grand voyager in our honorable mentions, but one with a higher tolerance for bigger riders and a bigger capacity for hills–the EMOVE Touring.
Best Scooters For City Life & Easiest Way to Start Riding
Unagi Model One
The UNAGI fits City Life because it’s the lightest, shortest, and narrowest electric scooter on this list, the fastest to fold and unfold, and widely praised for its design. The dual motors are a huge plus in hilly cities because it’s an absolute monster hill climber. Best of all, when you’re out running errands, it’s the only scooter where you don’t need to lock it up outside because its size, portability, and sleek looks mean you can just bring it with you wherever you go, and no one bats an eye.
If you’re unsure whether electric scooters are for you, renting an Unagi is the lowest-cost way to find out. This approach is great as it’s just like owning a scooter, and you can ride as much as you want. But if it turns out that scooters just aren’t for you, you can cancel your subscription and ship it back. It also has the lowest hassle factor of any e-scooter because the semi-solid tires mean you don’t have to worry about flat tires, and if anything happens, they’ll ship you another before the previous one is even fixed. And if you’re a worrywart, get the optional theft and damage insurance for your peace of mind.
There are two versions now, the Classic and the new Voyager, with the biggest difference being the much better range of the Voyager. The Voyager also comes with a cool app that does the usual things in addition to remote lock/unlock. There’s also one thing it does better than any other app–it automatically calculates the remaining range, which we’ve seen before. What’s different is that it does it based on what speed mode you’re using, whether you’re running single or dual motors, takes into account the rider’s weight, and whether you’ll be riding on flat ground or hilly terrain. So, truly next level.
The portability, hill climbing and the fact that it sneaks in where other scooters can’t makes the Unagi one of the first scooters we grab for city riding. The solid tires also don’t give you as smooth a ride as pneumatic tires, so it’s definitely better suited toward smoother pavement.
Best Seated Scooter Under $500
What’s not to love about a seated scooter? Much as we love our regular electric scooters, sometimes it’s nice to ride sitting down, especially when running errands and carrying things. The GoTrax Flex is an interesting PEV that’s easier to ride than a regular scooter, faster than a bicycle, and may look like an e-bike, but it is definitely still a scooter–no pedals, after all.
The Flex is nimble and easy to ride, is relatively lightweight at 47.6 lbs, and folds down to fit neatly in your office or apartment. GoTrax positions the Flex as a commuter scooter which makes sense given the ride’s big 14-inch pneumatic tires, well-padded soft seat, the rear suspension and seat springs that elevate the sitting experience, and the ultra-smooth twist throttle. And for your groceries, the Flex has a carrier basket that accommodates a 50 lbs payload capacity.
Acceleration and hill climb take the same hit as all other big-wheeled scooters. However, the top speed is impressive, averaging at 16.1 mph, especially relative to the Flex’s biggest competitor, the Fiido Q1s, which costs almost twice as much. Even with a bigger rider, the Flex still did an impressive 15.1 mph, and we should mention that it is rated for 264 lbs capacity. The Fiido is a better hill climber thanks to the rear hub gear drive, but that’s about it.
The drum brakes are super easy for new riders to use but do require a firm squeeze to get maximum braking. Then we have the innovative 13.3-inch by 7.8-inch deck with a generous amount of grip tape that increases comfort levels when riding the Flex. Even the kickstand is easy to deploy once you’re parked, in theme with the Flex’s easy breezy design.
We think the Flex is a better, less expensive alternative to scooters like the Razor Ecosmart because it has more battery capacity yet is 20 lbs lighter. The current tested range on our RG course is 13.5 miles, but watch out for the Pro version if you prefer more range. That said, since GoTrax improved their warranty to one year, we’re struggling to fault their scooters and think they’re quickly reclaiming the budget category from the competition.
Ultimately, the Flex’s feature set is sparse, which is what we expect at this price point. But the comfortable and friendly ride of the Flex, plus its huge cargo-carrying capacity, makes it the best-seated scooter we’ve tried anywhere near this price.
Best Value For Heavy Riders and Big Hills
The EMOVE Touring is not exactly an affordable electric scooter at $799. However, it gets a spot as it is the Best Value Scooter for Heavier Riders. The e-scooter has a rider weight capacity of 308 lbs, which is higher than any of the scooters on this list and ranks pretty high overall among our tested scooters. Other features like the ultra-long deck, high ground clearance, tall handlebars, and the front and rear suspension adequately support heavier riders’ comfort requirements.
That aside, the scooter has quite the torquey motor. It climbed our 10%, 200 ft hill test in just 12.4 seconds. To put that in perspective, that’s almost half the time it took the Turboant X7 Max to reach the top. The acceleration from a standing start is also impressive, with a 3.9-second sprint to 15 mph. You also get a big 624 Wh LG battery (that’s great for battery life) for your power needs, and the top speed of 21.5 is just more icing on this cake.
The performance per dollar is all the reason you need to consider getting this electric scooter, even moreso for the big dawgs.
Best Upgrade for Ride Quality
Apollo Air 2022
We also make room for the 2022 Apollo Air, despite its price being anything but cheap. However, we include it for anyone that might have a little wiggle room in their budget, as the scooter is sort of a holy grail. It manages something most scooters fail–and that’s being lightweight, having good range, and having excellent ride quality.
The 38 lbs Air is the perfect intermediate electric scooter as it blends performance and ride quality without breaking the bank. The scooter managed to do 19.5 miles on our challenging range test course while hitting a max speed of 19.9 mph. At this weight and with this kind of range, you’d assume that the compromise would be on the feel of the ride, but no.
The Air has a nice and smooth ride feel from the front suspension, and Aramid belted 10-inch tires. You also get super wide handlebars, sufficient deck space, and cruise control to occasionally let your hands off the thumb throttle. The IP66 rating also eases any weather anxiety you might have and is the highest on our database alongside the Apollo City 2022.
The Air electric scooter also has Apollo’s leading app that allows you to set the mode, top speed limit, adjust torque, and set acceleration and braking intensity. That said, we also love how well Apollo integrates regenerative braking on all their scooters, including the Air. And thanks to this ingenuity, the Apollo Air electric scooter has a shorter stopping distance of 10.4 ft, with the incumbent of this list, the KQi2 Pro, stopping at 14.1 ft.
It’s a splurge, for sure, compared to some of the lower-priced scooters on this list, but it’s also a truly premium scooter without costing as much as other expensive electric scooters.
Best Cheap Electric Scooters - We Tested Them All: Conclusion
It’s never easy making one of these lists, especially given the number of good scooters we get to review. However, we have to do justice by you, the reader, and give you what we truly believe to be the best cheap electric scooter per category for this particular period of time. If you live in a city or simply need a first and last-mile commuter, the options don’t get better than this.
What’s the best budget electric scooter? Well, we’ve given your our top and most honest picks for your specific situation. Whether you’re searching for basic transportation, bargain performance, max range, comfort, speed, or straight-up utility, these five scooters deliver proven value.
The Segway E2 and E2 Plus are the options to consider for those that want the cheapest scooters, without compromising on build quality or reliability. Also widely appealing for teenagers and college students.
The GoTrax G3 Plus is a charming scooter to ride. It has 10-inch pneumatic tires, a powerful motor for acceleration and hill climbing, and impeccable build that add up to good ride quality and long years of service.
The NIU KQi2 Pro is a massive bargain and the best ride quality you will get under $600. The scooter has massive 10.0-inch air filled tires that deliver a great feel ride. The KQi2 is also well designed, guranteeing you stability on the road. The deck is covered with a grip tape mat that keeps you planted during the ride. And what’s not to love about a scooter that comes with a 2-year warranty like the KQi2 and NIU’s other scooters.
The Hiboy S2 is the go-to for those who want the fastest scooter for the cheapest price. It’s also the best option if you don’t want air-filled tires that can go flat. By getting the S2, you get additions like an IP54 rating, good hill climbing, and a high rider weight capacity.
The TurboAnt X7 Max is the best option if you want a scooter with a battery that can be removed for convenient charging or swapped out to extend range. The Max is built off the X7 Pro’s framework, therefore, you enjoy all the things you loved about the Pro, but with major upgrades across performance, build quality and ride quality.
Unagi Model One Classic and Unagi Voyager. We find ourselves unable to leave this scooter out of our recommendations due to the affordability of Unagi’s monthly rental subscription model. No sign-up fees, cancel any time. They’ve lifted the barrier to scooter ownership, and their scooters are quite the snag.
Gotrax Flex is the best cheap seated scooter. It is ergonomically built, has top-notch ride quality, and gives riders with a preference for seated scooters a reliable and affordable option.
EMOVE Touring is our affordable-ish option for heavier riders. It has tall and wide handlebars, a super-sized deck, one of the highest rider weight capacities, and best of all, great performance per dollar.
The Apollo Air 2022 might have the highest price tag of the group, but it is worth splurging on thanks to its incredible balance of weight, ride quality, and range. It is our top recommendation for intermediate riders.
Remember, we test electric scooters so you get the ride feel before getting your actual ride. That said, we have full video and written reviews for each individual e-scooter based on real-world testing. And we’ve also left links with the latest pricing and Rider Guide exclusive coupons. We hope to play a small part in your decision to purchase your new scooter. And should you need help learning how to ride, we have a video on pro riding tips and another on common mistakes to avoid when riding your electric scooter.
How We Tested Them
We tested the top 40 scooters under $700, and filtered the data to find cheap electric scooters with standout performance or better yet, significantly above-average performance across many categories.
Our favorite method to identify standout performance is to plot performance versus another variables such as price, calculate the trend line for the group, and then look for outliers, or scooters that are farthest from the trendline in the intended direction.
Usually higher is better, but for braking and acceleration times, a lower position on the plot demonstrates better performance. The actual data we used to select the top five is based off the findings of our independent test reviews, usually performed under identical conditions–same range test course, same rider weight, two directional speed run to eliminate tailwind for speed, same battery conditions, etc.
For our ranking, we charted all the scooters that qualified–first by price, then scored the scooters overall by ranking them by their average deviation from trend across all categories.
We subjected the entire field to a pass/fail test for quality and repairability. After all, it doesn’t matter how well a scooter performs if you can’t rely on it or repair it.
There was one scooter, for example, which scored well in some of our tests but we found we just couldn’t recommend: the Macwheel MX Pro. It had amazing performance scores for range per dollar and range per pound, but the ride quality and build quality were just not up to the same level as the other scooters.