The best electric scooter under £700

The next step in the green revolution

The best e-scooters

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

The landscape of personal transportation is changing. People are hungry for new, innovative, and, most importantly, environmentally friendly modes of transport. This is especially true for inner-city commuters in places like London, Liverpool, and Manchester, as these rank amongst some of the most polluted areas of the UK (via BBC News). Add into this the public avoidance of public transport and emptier roadways in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, and it’s clear that we are on the cusp of a green transport revolution.

While it’s fair to say that cycling is still the people’s choice when it comes to green travel, many are realising the positives of opting for a scooter. A scooter's biggest strength is its simplicity. Not only is it easy to use, requiring a fraction of the physical exertion of a bike, but it can quickly collapse down into very compact and ergonomic bundles (especially when compared to the cumbersome shape and weight of a folding commuter bicycle). The simplicity carries over into maintenance too. Effectively just two wheels and a metal frame, there are no brake cables, cranks, and chains to upkeep, and in some cases solid or reinforced tyres prevent punctures.

As the recent hike in e-bike sales show, there’s a real and demonstrable demand for alternative power-assisted personal transportation. The willingness of people to invest considerable sums in these options shows an ongoing commitment to utilising these eco-friendly options. Much like e-bikes, e-scooters have also grown in popularity over the past year.

Electric scooters take the basic scooter form, and add in a battery pack and small electric motor, effectively turning into a small, lightweight vehicle. These e-scooters are both speedy, with some topping out at around 15mph, and great for distance travel, providing enough juice to complete between 10- and 40-mile trips. It’s no wonder that these sleek and powerful devices are gaining momentum with those looking for green travel alternatives.

Below, you'll find our best e-scooter recommendations.

Are e-scooters legal in the UK?

Unlike people-powered scooters and e-bikes, privately owned e-scooters are not currently permitted for use on public roads, pathways, or cycle roots. E-scooters can only be legally used on private land, with the landowner's permission. However, the tide is changing. With the UK Government’s ongoing trial of rental e-scooters and increasingly loud calls to clean up inner-city air, it’s only a matter of time before they are fully legalised for private use.

The UK Government's current trial only allows hired e-scooters to be used in public spaces. It seeks to assess whether e-scooters can offer “fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can also help ease the burden on transport networks and allow for social distancing.” Once the complete, the gathered statistics and evidence will be used to “guide final decisions about whether and – if so – how to fully legalise e-scooters.”

Standard, non-motored scooters, are legal for use in the UK. Private and hired e-scooters are already legal in many European countries.

The best at a glance:

Xiaomi Mi M365 Electric Scooter

Segway Ninebot ES1 KickScooter

City Bug 2 Electric Scooter

Segway Ninebot Max G30 Electric Scooter

The best in detail:

Gallery

The best e-scooters

Xiaomi Mi M365 Electric Scooter1 of 4

Xiaomi Mi M365 Electric Scooter

Pros:The Xiaomi M365 is one of the world's best-selling e-scooter, and for good reason. It's a light and easy to fold electric scooter, weighing in at just 12.5kg. It's keen on safety too, with controlled acceleration, anti-slip handles, and eABS disk brakes working to keep the journey safe and smooth. It also comes with an in-built headlight and rear red light. The cruise control feature allows for a steady speed to be maintained, preserving battery life. It's got a top speed of 15.5mph, but 10-12mph is more accurate in day-to-day practice.Cons:The battery life isn't as generous as Xiaomi advertise, however, this may be due to the British weather and terrain type, and rider weight. You won't get 18 miles out of it, but a 10-mile round trip should be fine. No dashboard and speedometer.Weight: 12.5kgMax load: 100kgMax speed: 15.5mphApprox. range (miles): 18.6Battery cap: 280WhApprox. charging time: 5 hours

City Bug 2 Electric Scooter2 of 4

City Bug 2 Electric Scooter

Pros:The City Bug 2 is a smart scooter that's understated and reliable. It's got a top speed of 10mph, and a handy safety feature for inexperience riders and rough or complicated terrain, is the speed limiter, which can cap the speed to 4mph. There is also a load sensor, which will cut the motor when no weight is detected. One of the best things about this scooter is the quick recharge time, which clock in at around three hours – this is reflected in the distance, however, as anyone riding this will get no further the 12 miles. However, if you're looking for a short-distance travel companion, you can trust the City Bug.Cons:Comparatively short-range and slower speed.Max load: 100kgMax speed: 10.5mphApprox. range (miles): 12Battery cap: 350WhApprox. charging time: 3 hours

Segway Ninebot Max G30 Electric Scooter3 of 4

Segway Ninebot Max G30 Electric Scooter

Pros:Much like the Segway ES1, the Max G30 is a thoroughly accomplished scooter. However, despite sharing many similarities with the other model, this one has some serious feature upgrades hiding in its frame. The full-colour on-board dashboard eeps the rider up to date with speed and battery life, and front and rear lights run to boost visibility. The 10-inch pneumatic tyres are comfortable and reliable. The Max G30's battery is the truly impressive feature here, offering a huge 40-mile range which is only mildly affected by environmental factors – plus, it'll recharge in only six hours.Cons:The extra battery capacity has increased the scooter's weight to 19.1kg. It's also a very expensive option for those not need to travel long distance.Weight: 18kgMax load: 100kgMax speed: 15.5mphApprox. range (miles): 40 Battery cap: 350WhApprox. charging time: 6 hours

Segway Ninebot ES1 KickScooter4 of 4

Segway Ninebot ES1 KickScooter

Pros:Segway's sleek ES1 KickScooter is our favourite, because its simple design has been executed with accuracy. The two large anti-slip large tyres are solid, so there's no chance of getting a flat, and the front shock absorbers keep the rider comfortable over bumpy terrain. The full dashboard display shows the remaining battery life and current speed, and the front headlight is good and bright. There are two brakes, one electric and one mechanical, the latter being operated by the foot. At the end of the day, the scooter folds down with one-push, and is easily carried as it weighs only 11.3kg. The speed is reasonable, topping out at just over 12mph, hill-climbing is a breeze, and the range measures 15.5 miles – though this can be extended to around 20 miles with an additional battery pack (this will also boost the top speed a little).Cons:The additional battery pack is expensive.Weight: 11.3kgMax load: 100kgMax speed: 12mphApprox. range (miles): 15Battery cap: 250WhApprox. charging time: 4 hours

Trusted e-scooter retailers:

Pure Electric

Amazon UK

Halfords

Do I need to wear a helmet?

While there is no legal obligation to wear a helmet when using an e-scooter, but it is highly recommended. Many e-scooters can achieve speeds of 12-15mph, and any crash or accident that occurs at these speeds could cause some serious physical harm.

We strongly recommend that you wear a helmet when using traditional or electric scooters and bicycles. Here are two of our favourites:

BELL Daily MIPS LED Adult Commuter Bike Helmet
Price: $53.95

Giro Register Cycling Helmet
Price: $109.00

How do e-scooters charge up?

E-scooters are charged via a standard power outlet. The plug and cable will be provided with the e-scooter.

Why does an e-scooter’s speed or distance range change?

The top speed and maximum range of an e-scooter are deduced from tests in near-perfect conditions, i.e. no headwind, flat surface, equitable temperature, lightweight load. All of these factors affect an e-scooters performance.

Hills, heavy loads, wind direction, and cold temperatures can all negatively affect an e-scooters performance. It is unlikely that a user will always be able to get the peak performance from a battery.

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in gaming, technology and the outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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