Best Electric Scooters Under $1000-The Entry Level Icons

Portrait of Mitchel Anderson, Rider Guide's Editorial Lead
Josh Jones
March 22, 2023

A devoted road and gravel cyclist and all-around gearhead, Josh has been riding and writing about electric scooters for the past five years. He’s generally happier on two wheels than two legs. When Josh isn’t writing or wrenching, he’s usually out on the road….

Introduction

If you’ve just started shopping for an electric scooter, it can seem like some of the most popular scooters on the market will set you back over $1000. And it's true: the $1000-$1500 price range includes some of RG's top favorites, like the EMOVE Cruiser and Apollo City Pro, scooters we highly recommend for the daily commute and more. 

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 under $1000 range we find manufacturers making their best attempts to balance speed, range, portability, safety features, ease-of-use, and ride quality in one total package. We'll find more or less compromise in each of these areas, but something’s always got to give a little bit. Under $1000 scooters are typically made for beginner-to-intermediate riders who own one electric scooter and want lots of versatility.

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.

Summary

NIU KQi3 Max
Pre-Mentions
$999
Best Electric Scooter <$1,000
ANYHILL UM-2
Pre-Mentions
$999
Top Alternative <$1,000
Apollo Air 2022
Pre-Mentions
$999
Best Ride Quality
EMOVE Touring
Pre-Mentions
$899
Best Rugged All-Arounder
Unagi Model One (E500)
Pre-Mentions
$59/mo
Top Pick for Best Design
Fluid Freeride Mosquito
Pre-Mentions
$899
Best High Speed Ultraportable

Best Electric Scooter <$1,000

KQi3 Max - $999
Air 2022Air 2023
pros icon of thumbs up
PROS
Safe and Reliable Stopping Power
Offers Good range
Comes With a Two Year Warranty
Self Healing Tires!
cons icon of thumbs down
CONS
A Larger Battery Means it Takes Longer to Charge
App Set-Up Is Lengthy
Takes A Long Time To Charge
Technical Specifications
Tested Top Speed:
22.0 mph**
tested range icon of a path between to points
Tested Range:
23.3 mi**
weight icon of kettlebell
Weight:
47.0 lb**
Tested Weight icon of a scale
Max Rider Weight:
265 lb
water resistance icon of raining cloud
Water Resistance:
IP54
acceleration icon of stop watch
Acceleration:
4.6 s
**Based on our independent performance tests which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.
The NIU KQi3 Max is available in United States from Amazon.
Our content is independent, but using our links supports our hard work!

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 at this price point, there are several electric scooters under $1000 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. Variable electronic brakes in both the front and rear wheel, along with a front and rear disc brake, offer the best in braking confidence.

The KQi3 Max gets our top rec for best e scooter under $1000 for its best-in-class braking, a smooth ride, self-healing tubeless tires and exceptional build quality, speed, and range.

Full NIU Kqi3 Max Review

Top Alternative for Best <$1,000

UM-2 - $999
Air 2022Air 2023
pros icon of thumbs up
PROS
Ultra-Light Removable Battery
Best-in-Class Braking
High Rider Weight Limit
Ultra-Stable (Confidence-Inspiring Ride)
cons icon of thumbs down
CONS
A Few Pounds Heavier Than Comparable Scooters
Display Could be Brighter
Stem Shape Not Ideal for Carrying
Technical Specifications
top speed icon of speedometer
Tested Top Speed:
17.9 mph**
tested range icon of a path between to points
Tested Range:
17.0 mi**
weight icon of kettlebell
Weight:
45.0 lb**
Tested Weight icon of a scale
Max Rider Weight:
300 lb
water resistance icon of raining cloud
Water Resistance:
IP54
acceleration icon of stop watch
Acceleration:
5.9 s
**Based on our independent performance tests which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.
The Anyhill UM-2 is available in United States from ANYHILL.
Get 10% OFF with code RIDERGUIDE
Our content is independent, but using our links supports our hard work!

ANYHILL UM-2

ANYHILL UM-2

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. It makes a great commuter scooter and an all-around fun and comfortable ride.

Full Anyhill UM-2 Review

Best Ride Quality

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.

Full Apollo AirReview

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 — one of the only scooters to have suspension that works for this price. The Touring also an inexpensive option that’s built better than most every other cheap scooter out there.

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.

Full EMOVE Touring Review

Top Pick for Best Design

Model One Classic - $59/month
Air 2022Air 2023
pros icon of thumbs up
PROS
Totally Unique Monthly Rental Option
Excellent Speed and Power for its Lightweight Design
Highly Maneuverable in Dense Urban Environments
Beautiful and Sleek
Premium Materials & Ergonomics
cons icon of thumbs down
CONS
Definitely for Short-Range Commutes (though you can get the more expensive new Voyager which greatly improves range)
Focused Far More on Portability Than Suspension
Technical Specifications
Tested Top Speed:
20.0 mph**
tested range icon of a path between to points
Tested Range:
8.5 mi**
weight icon of kettlebell
Weight:
28.6 lb**
Tested Weight icon of a scale
Max Rider Weight:
220 lb
water resistance icon of raining cloud
Water Resistance:
IPX4
acceleration icon of stop watch
Acceleration:
4.4 s
**Based on our independent performance tests which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.
The Unagi Model One (E500) is available in United States from Unagi.
Our content is independent, but using our links supports our hard work!

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.

Full Unagi Model One Review

High Speed Ultraportable

Mosquito - $899
Fluid-Mosquito-Full
Fluid-Mosquito-Cockpit
Fluid-Mosquito-folded-back-view
Air 2022Air 2023
pros icon of thumbs up
PROS
Ultraportable
Unbeatable Top Speed
Proven Reliability Backed by a Reputable Retailer
cons icon of thumbs down
CONS
Ride Quality Can be Jittery
Longer Braking Distance
Poor traction on Wet Surfaces
Technical Specifications
top speed icon of speedometer
Tested Top Speed:
27.7 mph
tested range icon of a path between to points
Tested Range:
16.6 mi
weight icon of kettlebell
Weight:
29.6 lb
Tested Weight icon of a scale
Max Rider Weight:
265 lb
water resistance icon of raining cloud
Water Resistance:
IPX5
acceleration icon of stop watch
Acceleration:
5.1 s
**Based on our independent performance tests which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.
The Fluid freeride Mosquito is available in United States from Fluid Freeride.
Get $50 OFF with code RIDERGUIDE50
Our content is independent, but using our links supports our hard work!

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?

Full Fluid Mosquito Review

Conclusion

From the NIU KQi3 Max's tubeless pneumatic tires to the Unagi Model One's dual motors, the range of features available on electric scooters under $1000 is seriously impressive. Unfortunately, because of the need to keep costs low while maximizing versatility, makers of scooters at this price point need to make certain compromises, so you won't find all of these features on the same scooter.

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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Electric Scooter FAQ

Q: Is it hard to maintain an electric scooter?

A: Electric scooters require minimal maintenance: you should check the battery, brakes, and tires regularly. Additionally, keep the scooter clean and regularly inspect for any damages or wear and tear. For more information about maintenance and repair, see our post here.

Q: What accessories do I need for an electric scooter?

A: At a minimum, you should consider investing in a lock and a helmet for your electric scooter. Other accessories, such as reflectors, phone mounts, and headlights can be especially helpful as well. Learn more about scooter accessories at our post on the 10 Best Electric Scooter Accessories.

Q: How much does a good electric scooter cost?

A: Prices for electric scooters can range from as low as $300 for basic models up to several thousand dollars for performance scooters. Prices will vary based on range, speed, suspension, and other features. Generally, whatever your budget, you can find a great scooter at an affordable price.

Q: Do I need to wear a helmet when using an electric scooter?

A: Riding an electric scooter requires the same safety precautions as riding a bicycle; therefore, riders should always wear a helmet while operating an electric scooter. Different jurisdictions have different rules, so it is important to be aware of and follow the laws in your area. What kind of helmet should you get? See our guide to learn more about electric scooter helmets and visit the Rider Guide electric scooter helmet database.

Q: What is the best way to store an electric scooter?

A: The best way to store an electric scooter is to place it indoors in a cool, dry area. If the scooter needs to be kept outdoors, be sure to invest in a scooter lock for added security and try to keep your scooter covered and out of the rain.

Q: How far can an electric scooter travel?

A: The range of an electric scooter can vary depending on the model and battery life. An average electric scooter can travel between 10-20 miles before needing to be recharged.

Q: How long do electric scooter batteries last?

A: It depends on the battery size and manufacturer. Generally, the smaller the battery, the shorter the range. Some batteries can last up to 40 miles on a single charge, while others last only a few miles. Learn more about electric scooter batteries here.

Q: Are electric scooters legal?

A: Rules and regulations on electric scooters vary by city or state, so it is important to contact local authorities for more information. See this Comprehensive Electric Scooter Laws article to learn more about specific laws for every state in the U.S.

Q: Can you ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk?

A: This depends on the city or state regulations. Generally speaking, electric scooters should be ridden on bike lanes, trails, or roads with the flow of traffic. It is also important to make sure that you keep your electric scooter away from pedestrians and make sure it is not blocking any public pathways. See Comprehensive Electric Scooter Laws to find out where and when it might be safe and legal to ride on the sidewalk.

Q: Are electric scooters safe?

A: Most electric scooters are considered safe if ridden responsibly on roadways that allow them, and in accordance with the speed limits in your area. Additionally, wearing a helmet and other protective gear is always a good idea while operating an electric scooter. See our Ultimate Guide to Scooter Safety for more.

Q: Can electric scooters be used off-road?


A: Some electric scooters are designed for off-road use, but it’s important to check with the manufacturer to make sure the scooter is designed to handle off-road terrain.

Q: Is it safe to ride an electric scooter in the rain?

A: That depends on the scooter. Please see our post on Best Electric Scooters for Riding in the Rain to learn more about which scooters function best on wet roads and how to navigate bad weather on your scooter.

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