Best Electric Scooters Under $1000-The Entry Level Icons
But there are several under-$1000 scooters that hold their own next to more expensive models, like the Cruiser and City's smaller siblings, the EMOVE Touring and Apollo Air. Few entry level scooters can compete with the Touring’s tested top speed of 21.5 mph, for example, or the Air’s 20 mi range and IP66 resistance rating.
On our list of the best electric scooters under $1000, we've got one powerful dual motor scooter and several impressive single motor models with features like variable regenerative braking, a swappable battery, and even the rare tubeless tire or two. There's serious value under $1000 if you know where to look.
One of the first places we look at the under $1000 level is NIU scooters. Their line of electric scooters has consistently impressed us, and for just under $1000, you can get one of the most impressive single motor electric scooters we’ve ridden, the KQi3 Max.
With best-in-class braking and exceptional build and ride quality, the KQi3 Max may be the best value for the money at $1000. At a close second is the Anyhill UM-2, a favorite of our expert reviewer. And if you’re looking to spend a little less, you do not have to sacrifice range, speed, or ride quality with the EMOVE Touring for $1000 less.
Getting the Balance Right
In the case of the Unagi Model One, premium ride quality gives way to greater ease-of-use, power and portability. The KQi3 Max, on the other hand, has great ride quality thanks to tubeless pneumatic tires, but it weighs 47 lbs, not a vehicle you want to heft up more than one flight of stairs if you can help it.
Mindful of these compromises, we’ll look at our favorite under-$1000 electric scooters below in terms of what makes them great and where they might improve.
Best Electric Scooter <$1,000
NIU KQi3 Max
Although NIU’s KQi3 Max is probably the least portable scooter on this list when it comes to scooter weight, it’s also one of the most exceptionally built electric scooters we’ve ridden. The KQi3 Max makes excellent work of its extra poundage, with a tested range of 23 mi and maximum speed of 22 mph.
The Max also has the best braking in its class by a long shot. It uses mechanical disc brakes that behave like hydraulic brakes, meaning that the calipers both squeeze toward the brake rotor when you pull the brake lever, instead of just the outer caliper moving in as with most mechanical brakes.
This results in some serious stopping power and very precise braking performance, bringing the KQi3 Max to a complete stop from 15 mph in only 9.3 feet.
The Max does not disappoint when it comes to ride quality. Although it’s rare to find any kind of suspension under $1000 there are several models with pneumatic tires. Nothing under $1000, however, has 9.5-inch x 2.5 inch self-healing tubeless pneumatic tires like the Max.
The Max’s tires are not only flat-proof, but because they’re tubeless, they can be run at lower pressures (say, around 45 PSI) for more a more comfortable ride.
The KQi3 Max gets our top rec for best electric scooter under $1000 for its best-in-class braking, comfortable ride quality, self-healing tubeless tires and exceptional build quality, speed, and range.
Top Alternative for Best <$1,000
When we first rode the Anyhill UM-2, it seemed like a clear winner for a Segway Ninebot Max alternative. But with features seen on few other scooters, newcomer Anyhill has made a big impression as a unique brand all its own.
The UM-2 packs practical features like a locking, lightweight, swappable battery integrated into the deck, a very high rider weight limit (300 lbs), ultra-stable ride quality, and a center-balanced kickstand that props the scooter upright on any hill.
The UM-2 keeps pace with the Ninebot Max, with a top speed of around 18 mph, though it’s got slightly less tested range at 17 miles. Anyhill’s scooter feels zippier than its peers, and it is, at least by a few hundredths of a second, hitting 15 mph in only 5.9 seconds next the Ninebot Max’s 6 seconds.
Anyhill’s UM-2 has two features especially that, taken together, make it a very confidence-inspiring ride, as we noted in our review: 10-inch pneumatic tires and incredibly effective dual braking performance. The Scooter’s dual regenerative brakes work together with dual sealed mechanical drum brakes that never need maintenance.
At 45 pounds, it’s not ultraportable, but the removable battery weighs only 5 pounds, so it’s easy to carry a spare for twice the range. With its impeccable build and ride quality and unbeatable unique features, the Anyhill UM-2 is a top choice for best electric scooter under $1,000.
Best Ride Quality
Apollo Air 2022
We’ve called it the “SUV of entry-level scooters,” and if any part of that comparison makes you think “big and slow,” you’ve got the wrong idea. The Apollo Air is just the opposite: relatively lightweight and speedy, it’s becoming a commuter classic for good reason.
One reason the Air gets rave reviews is its exceptional ride quality, thanks not only to its burly, 10-inch pneumatic tires, but also a dual fork front spring suspension that really delivers when the scooter hits the inevitable rough patch of road.
The Air stacks up very nicely against the KQi3 Max, with a top speed of almost 20 mph, tested range of 19.5 miles, and weight of 39 lbs. The Canadian-made Apollo is as well-built as the Chinese NIU scooters, and boasts the same IP54 water resistance rating.
The Apollo Air excels in the comfort of its ride quality, and it shines in the quality of its unique braking system. A single lever combines a front drum and rear regenerative brake, and a thumb lever operates only the regen brake, which can be adjusted in the settings.
The Air has several other nice features, including zero start, a nicely visible lighting profile, and a wide, grippy deck. Really, there’s little not to love, although it may not the best for bigger riders with its maximum rider weight capacity of 220 lbs.
Best Rugged All-Arounder
The EMOVE Touring gets consistently high marks as a daily commuter electric scooter. It’s got rugged build quality, a huge deck, and high top speed. The Touring is also a rare entry in the under $1,000 category in that it has front and rear spring suspension.
The touring is powerful and no-nonsense, and its high ground clearance and other features make it excellent for riding some rough terrain and steeper climbs. The scooter’s plug-and-play cables, a major plus for both the EMOVE Touring and the Cruiser, makes it easy to customize, upgrading from the trigger throttle to a more ergonomic thumb throttle, for example.
The Touring’s large deck is complemented by a telescoping adjustable stem that makes the scooter easy to adapt for different sized riders. In addition to swapping out the throttle, controller, and other parts, you can add an optional seat to the Touring to make it even more versatile, and the seatpost is easily removable with the flip of a quick-release lever.
One thing that can’t be easily changed is the diameter of the Touring’s small 8-inch tires, a mix of solid tire in the rear and pneumatic up front. It’s a worthwhile compromise that minimizes the risk of flats, but also minimizes traction on wet roads. This, plus a dual regen/drum braking system concentrated in the rear wheel, with no brake up front, make for reduced braking performance.
A few flaws aside, the Touring is agile, comfortable, and FAST, hitting 15 mph in only 3.9 seconds and maxing out in our tests at almost 21.5 mph, thanks to a huge, premium 624Wh LG battery.
Top Pick for Best Design
Unagi Model One
The Unagi Model One has become a scooter icon since its introduction in 2019. Unagi has essentially only built one electric scooter over the course of their existence, and that scooter just keeps getting better.
The latest version of the Model One, the Voyager, will feature some beautiful new colors, more range, and an app.It will also roll on the same solid tires as every other version of this scooter, which might come as a disappointment to those who hoped Unagi would go pneumatic.
But there is a good reason ESG has given the Model One the “Zero Hassle” award for 2022-23. Not only does the scooter require almost no maintenance whatsoever, but it’s got a best-in-class one year warranty.
And if you’re leasing through Unagi’s subscription service, you always have the option of sending your scooter back to the company and having another one shipped to you, and you’re even covered in cases of theft.
The Model One is an ultra-sleek urban machine made with exotic materials like magnesium and carbon fiber and packing two 250-watt motors. In fact, it’s the only dual motor scooter under $1,000.
While you can ride the Model One in single motor rear drive mode, its dual motor power carries it up steep inclines with ease and gives the ride plenty of torque for fast acceleration. Dual motor mode also gives you even more range, surprisingly.
Still, most versions of the Model One have less than impressive range, at an average of around 9 tested miles. The Voyager should remedy this significantly more battery life.
We love the improvements, but in any case, this stylish, ultraportable is truly unlike any other scooter. The Model One, Classic or Voyager, exists in a class all its own.
High Speed Ultraportable
Fluid Freeride Mosquito
Fluid Freeride’s ultraportable, 29 lb Mosquito is an electric scooter that sets the bar high for lightweight and compact. Not only is the Mosquito fast, hitting 15 mph in 5.1 seconds and achieving a tested maximum speed of 27 mph, but it’s also plenty powerful despite its tiny size.
The scooter’s front wheel mounted 500W motor punches above its weight class, literally, accelerating with no loss of power in our tests with a rider 50 lbs over the 200 lb weight capacity. Small but mighty, the Mosquito’s got a built-in carrying handle, collapsable stem, and folding handlebars, which make it a complete package for busy commuters.
The Mosquito is a good hill climber, outperforming the Xiaomi M365 and Segway Ninebot Max. It’s no match, however, for the Unagi Model One’s climbing abilities. The Model One is also a nicer-looking scooter with wider (non-folding) handlebars.
But Fluid’s ultraportable has an advantage over other solid tire scooters like Unagi, incorporating a front + rear spring suspension system that helps compensate for the rougher ride.
Aside from its utilitarian looks and tiny, 8-inch tires (courtesy of the E-TWOW platform on which the scooter is built), the Mosquito excels where it counts for many riders: it’s fast, light, and will take you far (around 17 miles in our tests). What more do you really need?
Buying a scooter for under $1000 means making choices about what matters most to you as a rider. Are you an urban commuter mostly concerned with portability? Then the Unagi or Fluid Mosquito should be at the top of your list. Do you need a scooter with more range and comfort for longer rides? Definitely consider the KQi3 Max, EMOVE Touring, Apollo Air, or Anyhill UM-2, with its lightweight, swappable battery.
Ultimately, no scooter can be all things to all riders. When you're spending less than $1000, it's even more important to consider what exactly you want in an electric scooter.
That concludes our selections for the best electric scooters under $1000.
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