Electric scooters have seen a huge resurgence in popularity over the last year or so, both with kids and adults, who've discovered they can be a surprisingly convenient way to shave some time off the morning commute.
They're a big purchase though, and you probably don't know exactly what to look for from a scooter, so we've picked out some of the best on the market, breaking down the features and specs that you need to think about before you buy.
Are electric scooters legal in the UK?
Before you rush out and buy an electric scooter you should know that electric scooters - kick-scooters that also build in a low-power motor - are classified as PLEVs, or Personal Light Electric Vehicles. They are not subject to taxes or registration, but neither are they legal for use anywhere other than private land in the UK.
If you are riding an electric scooter responsibly and showing due care to pedestrians and road users, we find it unlikely that you will be pulled over by the police.
BUT it can happen. In July 2019 the Safer Transport Team seized four electric scooters just down the road from our London office for not having insurance.
Read more about the UK law on electric scooters here. You'll also like: Best electric bikes.
Xiaomi Electric Scooter
Let's start with an electric scooter that's aimed at adults rather than kids, the Xiaomi Electric Scooter. This one is so much fun - fast, practically silent, battery power that just keeps on going and speed-trackable via a mobile app.
It has a folding design that should make this electric scooter easy to carry, although thanks to the huge battery even with its aluminium chassis it still weighs 12.5kg.
There are some other cool features too, including cruise control, adjustable acceleration, a headlight and brake light, a kinetic energy recovery system and an ABS braking system at the front and mechanical disk brake at the rear.
It will take up to 100kg of weight, which is about 15.5 stone (one big adult or a medium adult and a child), and keep going up to 30km. You won't manage quite this distance if you push it to its top speed of 25km/hour, but you'll still get hours of playtime. Large 8.5in tyres will allow it to manoeuvre small kerbs and some light offroading.
Xiaomi's electric scooter has a retail price of £399.99, but the best deal we've found is from GearBest at £333.20 (it ships from Europe, so will not incur import duty). If you'd rather buy direct from the UK it will cost you a little more but is available from the likes of Xiaomi itself, Pure Scooters, Scootered and Box.
A newer 'Pro' model has also been announced outside the UK, and is available on GearBest now for £449.82.
**Some Mi Electric Scooters are being recalled following safety concerns with the folding mechanism. Find out whether your scooter is affected and how to arrange a free repair.**
Read our full Xiaomi Electric Scooter review
The Alfawise M1 is a Xiaomi M365 copycat with an integrated speedo, a dual-braking system and more durable tyres. It's buckets of fun, with a top speed of 25km/hour and able to go up to 30km - not that you can easily keep track of this, since there's no companion app.
Unfortunately, issues with our review sample meant we had to replace the front tyre, and found that Alfawise does not supply spare parts.
The M1 is also cheaper than its Xiaomi lookalike. Since we reviewed the Alfawise M1 the company has made some improvements to its design that enhance comfort, durability and monitoring of stats, and it has increased the motor power from 250W to 350W. The second-generation model is available here at £280.60/309.67€/US$345.99.
Build quality lets down the M1, however, and we found it difficult to view the speedo in direct sunlight. We also found the automatic acceleration disconcerting, though once you get the hang of the throttle the cruise control feature is useful. Braking can be dramatic, too, so try to avoid doing so too sharply.
Read our full Alfawise M1 review
Another scooter aimed at adults, the InMotion L8F is great but costs twice as much as the Xiaomi scooter above. It does have a sturdier build though, and rides very smooth.
There's also a great headlight paired with a light strip and rear wheel light - the latter two you can change the colour of via an app. The rear wheel turns red when you brake and lights on the end of the handlebars mean this is safe for night riding.
With a 22 mile range and 19mph top speed it's fully featured but it comes at a high price. We review it here.
Inokim builds top-quality electric scooters for adults, and the Light is a serious model that you can use every day.
It isn't as light as the Mini and, at 13kg, you may not consider it light at all. But it is built like a tank and has a 250W motor in the rear hub which propels you along at a pacey 25km/h.
The brake is just as strong, and front and rear LEDs flash to warn others of your presence.
The scooter folds in half for transport or storage and the handlebars can be folded too. On the right side is an LCD display which shows your speed and total distance covered. Using the buttons you can choose between three power levels, but you can treat it like a normal kick scooter as well: you won't have to carry it when the battery runs flat.
Talking of batteries, the Light has a range of 25-30km, so you could easily use it to commute to work. And at £999/US$1199, you'd need to have a serious use for it to warrant this kind of outlay.
As well as the black model we tested, you can also opt for white, blue, orange or green.
Razor’s E300 electric scooter is a decent mid-range scooter, and is suitable for both kids and teenagers (possibly even big kids too, but we’ll let you decide that!). The E300 boasts a speed improvement over the E100, reaching speeds of up to 15mph while matching the 40 minutes of constant use that the E100 offers.
The E300 also features a ‘super size’ deck and frame, meaning the rider can stand firmly with both feet. It also features a twist throttle for finer control over speed, and a retractable kickstand so you don’t have to leave your scooter on its side when not in use.
The wider 25.4cm tyres should provide a comfortable and smooth ride, and the maximum weight limit for the E300 is 100kg.
Zinc Volt 120
The Zinc Volt 120 is another great electric scooter. It boasts top speeds of 12mph, and although we’re not quite sure how long/far you’ll get from a single charge, the scooter features a ‘fast’ recharge time. That being said, the scooter requires a 12-hour initial charge when first purchased.
Like others in our roundup, the Zinc Volt 120 offers durable tyres ideal for use on uneven, bumpy surfaces. Unlike other electric scooters, the Zinc Volt 120 offers push and go start-up. This means that you should be able to push off to gather a bit of speed, then let the electric motor do the rest of the work.
It has a slightly lower maximum weight than the Razor E300, at 70kg, meaning this is marketed towards children and young teenagers.
EVO Powerboard 48V
For those that want even more power and want to ride their scooters in the road, we’ve found the EVO Powerboard 48V road-legal electric scooter.
The scooter features street tyres, LED lights (both front and rear) as well as rear view mirrors. Riders can achieve a maximum speed of 24mph, and should achieve a range of 15.5 miles before requiring a charge.
Unlike other scooters in this roundup, the Evo Powerboard features a seat – those that don’t want a seat have the option to remove it. It also features front and rear disk breaks, and adjustable front suspension for a more comfortable ride.
It’s worth noting that to make this scooter road legal, you’ll have to fill out a V55/5 form and send it to the DVLA, costing £55 at the time of writing. The form, along with more information can be found here. A driver's license is also required to drive this electric scooter, with more information available here.