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Best electric scooters for 2021

If you’re looking to cut down on your carbon emissions but still need a convenient way to zip across town, an e-bike or electric scooter might be just the ticket. These devices make sense for essential short-distance travel, especially considering that public transit systems make it difficult to social distance. And to be clear, the devices on this electric scooter review list are nothing like the kids’ scooter you may have grown up with. These are legitimate electric vehicles with solid tires, a sophisticated braking system, a large battery pack, and the ability to cover semi-rough terrain.

After trying out different types of battery-operated rideables, I’ve learned a lot. Some were tested before the coronavirus outbreak, while other rides are more recent — all have been on trips through sections of midtown Manhattan, around Central Park or down the West Side Highway bike path

Read more: The best e-bikes to ride in 2021

This roundup, which I’m updating as I review more products, covers electric scooters, foldable electric scooter options and skateboard-like devices. E-bikes get their own list. Why would you want a scooter over a more traditional bike? Electric scooters are nimble and smaller, and are easy to take on mass transit, leave in the trunk of your car or store at home.

I’ve included water-resistance ratings when available for each electric scooter. IP ratings (IP stands for ingress protection) let you know the dust or water-resistance of a product. For example, if something has an IP54 rating, the first number after the letters refers to resistance to solids while the second refers to moisture. Read more in our IP rating explainer

Also, and let’s not make a big deal of it, but I exceed the rated weight capacity for most of these products. For the most part, they all still performed as expected, though maybe with a little less range or speed. No devices were harmed during this roundup. 

Lastly, if you plan on getting into rideables, be safe about it. Leave enough space between yourself and both cars and riders on plain old human-powered bikes and scooters. Remember you’re able to go a lot faster, so ride and pass with caution. Make sure to charge your battery and check on your tires. And, most important, always wear a helmet when you ride. 

Joseph Kaminski

The $1,499 Apollo Ghost is a great scooter for both beginners and long-time riders. With dual 800-watt motors, beginners can start off slowly using just one for smoother, softer acceleration. Once you get a feel for it, you can turn on the second motor for 1,600 watts of power and more aggressive performance. 

The Ghost feels quick and nimble due to its slightly smaller size and its 10-inch pneumatic tires. It also has front and rear spring suspension, which allows the scooter to ride smoothly even on bumpy surfaces. It was one of the only scooters I’ve tested that was fast enough for me but could be dialed back for my 12-year-old son to ride and chic enough for my girlfriend. The deck was also long enough to take my 7-year-old daughter around with me on errands.  

The scooter is solid, mostly comprised of forged aluminum, and alone weighs 64 pounds. While that’s only 13 pounds lighter than the 77-pound higher-end Apollo Pro, believe me, it makes a difference when carrying it for any period. The handlebars and steering tube are collapsible making it easy to transport. I especially like the high handlebars that make it more comfortable for taller riders like myself and the locking ergonomic grips are a nice addition as well. 

Riders up to 300 pounds are supported and the scooter can hit a top speed of 34 mph. There are three gear modes along with an Eco mode. Depending on the rider size, terrain and setting preference, the Ghost can run for up to 39 miles on a full charge. I was able to get around 20-plus miles going from single to dual-motor mode. The scooter’s 52-volt, 18.2aH battery can be charged in about eight to 10 hours. There is an option to cut charge time down with a single fast charger or using two standard ones. The Scooter itself has dual charging ports. 

The model I tested had mechanical disc brakes, but Apollo said there will be a hydraulic-brake version coming out this spring. The Ghost has lights in the front and rear of the deck and the rear lights flash when braking. They help at night, but at this level I would like to see an actual headlight up near the handlebars. (For models that don’t have a headlight, I use a Blackburn Countdown 1600 light so I can see more of the road ahead and I’m more visible to drivers.) The Ghost does have a blue light underneath which helps some with visibility and looks cool, too. It also ships with a bell to warn pedestrians, but it doesn’t quite cut it in the city where a horn is almost a necessity.  

A display next to the finger throttle shows battery level, current speed, the gear you’re in and distance traveled. It’s visible in direct sunlight and even has a USB port to charge a mobile device or GoPro. There is also a voltage display to help monitor the health of the battery. The Ghost has a key ignition and spots to attach a lock on the frame for added security when running errands. Also, while I wouldn’t leave it out in the rain, the Ghost has an IP54 rating so some splashing isn’t a problem. Plus, it has small front and rear fenders to keep you clean.  

The $1499 price is only good until March then it will go back to its original price of $1599. Shipping is free in the continental United States and Canada. They back their products with a 1-year warranty and are a Canadian based company with multiple service centers across the US.  And if for whatever reason you need to call them you can speak with a real live person.  

There’s a lot to like here. I even like the kickstand placement in the center of the deck, which is more convenient when you step off rather than at the back. Its current price of $1,499 only lasts until March, though; the Apollo Ghost’s regular price is $1,500. Still, it can compete with pricier models.  

Learn more about the Ghost and see it in action here.

 

Joseph Kaminski

Not all scooters are created equal. The $1,399 Emove Cruiser makes this abundantly clear. One of my first times riding this e-scooter I kept looking at the battery indicator expecting it to move; it didn’t move an inch for miles. I’m a heavy guy and I’m also heavy on the throttle, but I’ve learned to ease off of it if I want to make it home. That’s not the case with the Emove electric scooter — it just keeps going. 

Keep in mind that these batteries can only be charged so many times before they no longer perform at an optimal level. That means the less you charge your device, the longer the e scooter battery will perform at its peak. That alone was more than enough for this scooter to make the list, but that’s not all. 

The Emove Cruiser has a wide deck, making it easy to stand in a staggered stance or side by side. It can support riders up to 352 pounds, hits a top speed of 25 mph and can travel approximately 60 miles on a full charge. The adult electric scooter takes about 8 to 12 hours to fully charge. It has 10-inch pneumatic tubeless car-grade tires, front dual suspension and rear air-shock suspension, all of which makes for a smooth ride. The acceleration is smooth enough that you can take off with one hand, though I wouldn’t recommend it. The takeoff can also be adjusted for a more aggressive start if you want.

The scooter has a single-hinge, fold-down knob along with collapsible handlebars, which makes it convenient for storage. It weighs 52 pounds — most of it battery — so it’s not the lightest. A key is needed for ignition and there are front and rear lights along with independent lights on the deck for added safety. It even goes a step further with an electric horn and signal lights. The signals aren’t as visible during the day but are still a welcome addition.

Another useful design feature: The Emove has an IPX6 rating so you don’t have to worry if you get caught in the rain. It also has fenders long enough to keep you dry when rolling over wet surfaces.

Joseph Kaminski/CNET

The compact $399 Geneinno S2 scooter is built for use in the ocean, lakes and in pools: Its 350-watt brushless motors can propel you through the water at up to 2.7 mph. It might not be a top e scooter speed demon, but its 97 watt-hour battery delivers approximately 45 minutes of use, and can take you down to depths up to 98 feet. Its included magnetic charger takes about 2 hours to top the battery off. 

The S2 works with an iOS/Android app — you connect to your phone via Bluetooth — to track dives and has parental controls so the little ones can use it, too. I could easily see this being used to help kids learn to swim or just get them used to the water. 

Also, while the scooter is designed to be used with two hands, you can switch to a one-hand mode. There is a camera mount at the front of the device to attach a GoPro or light. The scooter floats on its own in case you need to let go for a second, and its bright orange color is easy to spot. 

The Geneinno S2 may not be the fastest or most powerful water scooter, but the lightweight electric scooter weighs only 5.9 pounds and fits in a backpack, making it a good pick for flights to vacation getaways.

Check out Geneinno’s video of the S2 in action.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

OK, this is a little out of the wheelhouse here, but the MagicJet is an electric scooter for the pool or the ocean, or any other body of water you’re swimming where you might want a speed boost. 

With a top speed of 4 mph and rated for depths up to 164 feet (50 meters), you’ll be able to keep your distance. It weighs just under 8 pounds but floats, making it easy to locate on the water along with the bright yellow 155Wh battery. 

There are two modes — low and high — and depending on usage the battery will get you approximately 60 minutes of use. If you’re in fresh water, you can swap the battery without drying off, just as long as the scooter is turned off. The battery indicator and the power switch are at the rear of the device, making it easy to see how much juice you have left while you’re using it. It has enough power to tow two people with its 600-watt motor, but that does change the experience. 

The MagicJet can be used with a dual-handle attachment, which makes it easier to whip around. You can also remove them and opt for single-handed piloting (see photo), or you can leave the dual handles attached and just switch from one hand to two. Removing them is better when you pack it up for travel. It’s environmentally safe for all ocean creatures and has three camera mounts to capture your underwater experience.

See our gallery of the AquaRobotMan MagicJet Seascooter.

 

The Onewheel Plus XR is the bigger and older brother to the Pint. Still one of my motorized scooter favorites, due to the all-around freedom you feel when riding and the ability to travel 12 to 18 miles on a full charge of the battery, plus the motor lets you hit a top speed of 19 mph. 

A nice feature found in the app, for iOS and Android, is while riding you’ll get a notification once the single-charge battery is at 50% so you can make it back home from wherever you may roam. The app offers a bunch of other settings from social to board riding customization. It’s not the most travel-friendly in terms of carrying around, it weighs about 30 pounds, but is easy to store. In addition, it only takes about 2 hours to fully charge the battery. 

For a closer look, see our gallery of the Onewheel Plus XR.

Read our Onewheel Plus XR hands-on.

 


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