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 we began seeing reports in the national news of the Metropolitan Police seizing electric scooters and dishing out fines and warnings to those riding them. It turns out that of almost 100 people stopped during their first operation, only 10 were given fines and had their scooters seized, a direct result of them either speeding or ignoring red lights and generally acting irresponsibly.
Elsewhere in the country the local police forces are less interested in acting against electric scooter use, according to Ed Wiles, founder of Scootered.co.uk. Having submitted FOI requests to every UK police force, he discovered that only City of London was able to confirm that it had seized an electric scooter. That's right, *one* scooter.
We're absolutely not saying it is okay to go ahead and ignore the law, but we do think it unlikely that you will fall foul of the police if you ride responsibly and only where it is safe to do so.
The good news is that the law could be changing very soon in the UK. Per a report from The Times, the Government is set to launch a consultation in February 2020 with the aim to legalise the use of electric scooters both on cycle lanes and roads across the country - as long as they're limited to 15.5mph (25kmph).
There's no solid timeline in place just yet, but the consultation should be followed by trials in select cities and, if successful, it should then be pushed out across the UK.
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, and shipping from Europe so it will not incur import duty. Sadly it is currently out of stock there, but you can also buy in the UK via 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 £412.50.
**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
Not quite up to the build standard set by the Xiomi M365, but with a more informative LCD display, the Turboant X7 houses its battery in the handlebar tube which gives better ground clearance.
It's relatively powerful on flat surfaces, but struggles quite a lot up hills even with riders half the maximum weight of 125kg. The 8.5in wheels are inflatable and use standard schrader valves like car tyres.
The battery is removable and has its own charging port so can be charged separately from the scooter. You can now purchase additional batteries, although they're $299.99.
Like the Xiaomi, there's built-in lights and reflectors, plus cruise control which is activated by maintaining the same speed for 6 seconds.
Bear in mind that you can only buy it direct from Turboant in Shenzhen, China. There are warehouses in California and Germany if you need a repair or replacement under warranty, though.
You can check out Turboant's Christmas deal here. This gets you the X7 for $399 (around £312).
Inokim Light 2
Inokim builds top-quality electric scooters for adults, and the Light (now updated with the £1230 Light 2) is a serious model that you can use every day.
It isn't as light as the Mini and, at 13.7kg, 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 speedy 21mPh.
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 24 miles, so you could easily use it to commute to work.
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.
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.