How to choose the best electric scooter for your commute: 4 deciding factors
You may have seen commuters zipping around your city on a fast, new type of transportation: electric kick scooters. An electric scooter commute is quickly becoming an ideal solution for many riders who travel short distances to work or school each day.
Electric scooters are a convenient, portable, and inexpensive method of private transport. Many countries do not require a license or insurance to ride a kick scooter, nor will you need to pay for parking, which makes them a budget-friendly alternative to a car when commuting.
But how do you choose the best kick scooter? What is the best kick scooter to buy? Here are some key points to check for in a commuter scooter:
First and foremost, you want to choose a commuter scooter that prioritizes rider comfort.
Wider is better
The handlebars are crucial to maintaining control of the electric scooter during your ride. Small or confined handlebars can increase fatigue on your arms and shoulders. Choose a commuter scooter with wider handlebars to maximize your control and confidence in the vehicle.
Especially when taking longer trips, you should also seek out an e-scooter with a spacious deck so your feet are not crowded. You want a scooter that gives you flexibility with foot positions, regardless of your riding style.
Just like the handlebars and deck, wider tires will also improve your electric scooter commute. They offer more padding and balance when navigating difficult road conditions throughout your city.
We also recommend a 75 degree stem angle for optimal riding posture. Combining this ideal posture with wider handlebars, deck, and tires will add up to a better e-scooter commute experience overall.
Another factor that really sets some scooters apart is their power. Whether you have a daily electric scooter commute, or you’re enjoying a weekend adventure in the city, you need to ensure you can power through streets, hills, and traffic without any trouble.
The motor is key
The top consideration is certainly the motor power, which is measured in watts. Aim to purchase an e-scooter with at least 300-350W of motor power, as that should be sufficient to navigate uphill grades in most urban environments.
Power should also be balanced in order to optimize for maximum range. Many commuter scooters can provide 40-50+ kilometers (25-31+ miles) of autonomy on a single battery charge. That should be well above the needs of most urban scooter commuters.
Moreover, you will want a scooter that can keep pace with surface street traffic. The top speed for scooters in many European countries is 25 km/h, but some countries will allow higher speed. The NIU KQi3 electric scooter, for example, has a top speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) in some regions.
3. Safety and reliability
Certainly, safety is of the utmost importance when riding an electric scooter on your commute. Whether you are riding on roads with other vehicles, cruising along bike paths, or scooting past pedestrians, you need a scooter that protects you and others around you.
Are electric scooters safe? They certainly can be if you choose one with the right safety features.
Sight and sound
The first safety point you should focus on is visibility, particularly at night. Make sure you choose an e-scooter that is equipped with head- and tail lights. You should also check that the scooter has a high beam and brake lights for additional safety. These are essential for notifying others in your vicinity that you are close during evening or night rtrips.
Secondly, you should not only be seen but also heard. Ensure that the kick scooter you choose includes a bell, preferably an analog one. This is helpful both during the day and at night, especially when passing pedestrians, bikes, or other vehicles.
Braking and maneuverability
Consider the type of brakes that you want on your e-scooter, as well. Choose a brake system that uses actual brake levers, not a thumb button, for maximum dependability. Many scooters also include regenerative braking, which will assist you in slowing down automatically as you release the throttle.
Quality and trust
Just as important as the parts themselves is their quality. Make sure you choose an e-scooter made with high quality materials, such as aerospace grade aluminum. Another helpful tip is to pick a scooter that has the battery in the deck, as it provides a lower center of gravity and more balance when compared to a scooter with the battery in the stem.
Of course, you should also purchase a kick scooter from a trusted brand. Compared to general electronics manufacturers that also make e-scooters, a company like NIU that has been producing electric vehicles for years is a preferable choice. Selecting a brand that has extensive experience with vehicle safety is a must.
4. Smart and convenient features
Your electric scooter commute shouldn’t only be comfortable, powerful, and safe; it should be smart, too!
Many electric scooters include smart app integration, which typically displays information about your vehicle and includes additional options for riders.
Keep an eye out for anti-theft features, such as an app-enabled alarm system that engages the electronic braking system when moved so it’s very difficult to roll the scooter away. Although fairly common among smart scooters, it’s also nice to have ride statistics built into the app functionality so you can track your journeys.
The electric kick scooter should also offer features that are flexible to your riding habits, such as multiple riding modes. The KQi3, for example, includes an E-Save mode to maximize range, Sport mode for high performance, Custom for setting your own top speed, and Pedestrian mode for slow rides or assisted scooter walking. Most electric scooters also include easy folding for storage in your home, office, dorm, or on public transit.
Hopefully you can make an informed decision about what sets a great commuter scooter apart from the rest. In addition to these crucial features, other factors like budget will certainly also be important when considering a purchase.
Factoring in all these criteria, and including price in your consideration, it would be difficult to beat the NIU KQi3 in terms of features and affordability.