After extensive tests, we have picked the 5 top budget scooters for 2024.
Looking for a reliable electric scooter under $500? We've done the hard work, testing more than 30 models to find the best for every use.
Electric scooters don't have to break the bank. Entry-level models can be reliable, too. Through a half-decade, we have rigorously tested numerous electric scooters to find the best at every price point.
Driven by our real-world test approach, here are five budget-friendly gems, all under $500. Whether you're new to electric scooters, need a dependable daily commuter, or want a portable ride for short trips, we've got you covered.
Let's find your next ride!
Here's a quick overview of our top picks before we dive deep into their performance and why we chose them.
Motor performance isn't where the 48V 300W NIU KQi2 Pro shines. In our tests, we clocked a 17.3 MPH top speed, and accelerated to 15 MPH in 8.83 seconds. It has its limitations on hills as well, but that is to be expected for majority of entry-level scooters. While it isn't the best choice for steep inclines, the KQi2 Pro has the power needed for flat urban commutes.
The KQi2 Pro delivered the longest real-world range out of all models on this list. Thanks to its 365Wh battery, we got 18.9 miles on a single charge in normal riding conditions. The KQi2 Pro stands out with its 48V system, which provides better performance retention than the competitors as battery levels get low; it doesn't loose its zing. However, charging takes about 7 hours, which is slower than we'd like.
The NIU KQi2 Pro offers a smooth and stable ride, thanks to its large 10" x 2.3" pneumatic tubeless tires which absorb road vibrations effectively and provide strong traction. Its rear-wheel drive and low ground clearance makes it very stable and reponsive in handling.
The low-maintenance braking setup, with a drum and regenerative brake, delivers excellent stopping power. Other highlights we love are the classic grip tape for good footing and wide handlebars for comfort.
At 40.6 lbs, this is the heaviest scooter on the list. However, anything below 45 lbs is still very manageable. The dimensions strike a balance between ride comfort and portability and it easily has the best folding mechanism in this round-up.
The NIU KQi2 Pro is built to perfection. The KQi2 Pro oozes reliability and functional design. From the sturdy yet easy-to-use folding mechanism to its great lighting setup, NIU doesn't cut corners despite the competitive price. Thanks to the large pneumatic tires and IP54 weatherproofing, it is one of the best options under $500 for riding in the rain, too. The 220 lbs max load does limit the fun for heavier riders, but very few cheap scooters will perform with loads above 200 lbs due to their limited motor power.
We chose the NIU KQi2 Pro because it is the best overall option below $500 in our books. It ticks all the boxes with long range, great ride quality, excellent durability and a 24-month warranty. Everything is above standard apart from the modest motor performance.Read our full NIU KQi2 Pro review
Motor performance is the strongest feature of the Hiboy S2. Its 36V 350W front-drive motor reached a top speed of 18.9 MPH in our tests, and it scored the best in acceleration to 15 MPH out of the bunch (6.89 s). Thanks to its strong torque, it performs well on moderate inclines up to 15%, so if your commute has hills, it's likely a better pick than the KQi2 Pro. The Hiboy S2 offers the most speed relative to both price and weight.
With a relatively small battery capacity of 270 Wh, we "only" got 11.4 miles of real-world range on this electric scooter. This limits it to shorter commutes or as a last-mile scooter in conjunction with other means of transport. Still, the range isn't bad for its price. It took us 4 hours to fully charge the Hiboy S2 which is considered moderately good.
The ride quality is where the Hiboy S2 falls short. Its 8.5" x 2" solid honeycomb tires are convenient but they don't absorb any road vibrations. To alleviate that, the S2 has two rear springs. However, in our testing, they do little to nothing to improve comfort. With nowhere for vibrations to go, the ride quality is rough on anything but perfect roads. The rear disc and regen braking performance is still solid.
At 31.9 lbs, the Hiboy S2 is one of the lightest scooters on this list. It has an effective folding mechanism with a safety pin for extra protection that seamlessly hooks to a latch on the rear fender. It's compact and easy to carry around thanks to its even weight distribution and slim stem.
The built quality of the Hiboy S2 is good although it is a little rough around the edges. It's based on the immensely popular Xiaomi M365 design that has been a staple for years. The fenders are fairly sturdy and the lights are bright and visible from any angle. Despite having an IPX4 rating, it is not recommended for riding in the rain due to its small solid tires as traction is compromised. With a 220 lbs max load, it isn't ideal for heavy riders either.
We chose the Hiboy S2 because it is great value for the money and offers the best motor performance found at its price. It isn't perfect; the ride lacks comfort and stability at full speed, but its a solid foundation for those with hills to climb.Read our full Hiboy S2 review
Thanks to a 36V, 350W the TurboAnt X7 Max scored a high top speed of 19.5 MPH in our tests. While the acceleration isn't impressive, its high top speed translate to solid performance on hills up to 15%.
We got a solid 15.4 miles of real-world range on the X7 Max. It sets itself apart with a 360Wh quick-swap battery that opens up a world of convenience. You can bring the standalone battery in for a charge, carry it separately for portability or extend your range by purchasing an extra pack. It took us just over 5 hours to charge the battery, which is considered fast for its size.
The X7 Max is fairly comfortable to ride, thanks to its large 10-inch pneumatic tires. However, the stem-mounted battery gives the scooter a high center of gravity, making it harder to handle and control. Combined with fairly narrow handlebars, the X7 Max leaves a bit to be desired in comfort, but greatly favors practicality with its battery.
The X7 scores well on portability at 34.2 lbs. Its folid mechanism is solid and easy to operate, although the rear fender hook requires a bit of precision to hit. The battery makes for a thick stem that is a bit awkward to carry. Removing the battery leaves you with a too-slim stem that is also not ideal. Still, the X7 Max is nimble for the functionality it delivers.
The TurboAnt X7 Max is very sturdy, considering it is a cheap electric scooter. At its price, it is hard to beat on durability. With a weight capacity of 275 lbs, it can support heavier rider, although the motor may not be strong enough to carry max load riders over steep hills. The lighting setup is decent and thanks to an IPX4 weather resistance score combined with large air-filled tires, it handles light rain and wet roads confidently.
We chose the TurboAnt X7 Max electric scooter for its high weight capacity, convenient swappable battery setup and high top speed. It is a reliable machine with great value that strikes a good balance in overall performance.Read our full TurboAnt X7 Max review
The fluid CityRider has mediocre motor performance. Powered by a 36V, 350W front hub motor, it reached a GPS-verified top speed of 17.9 MPH and accelerated to 15 MPH in 8.24 seconds in our tests. Similar to the NIU KQi2 Pro, it doesn't set any speed records. It also struggles on inclines above 10% - while it's adequate for flat urban commuting, it isn't ideal for challenging hill commutes.
The fluid CityRider's 36V 360Wh battery delivers great performance. It stands out for providing the longest range for its weight among scooters under $500, with a verified 16.9 miles. However, its charging time is a bit slow, taking about 6 hours for a full charge. If you're after long range in a lightweight package, the CityRider doesn't disappoint.
While the CityRider is both sturdy and reliable, the ride quality suffers with small, solid tires and no suspension. In our braking tests, the CityRider's drum and electronic regen braking setup performed relatively poorly. It's not a safety concern, but it had the longest stopping distance on this list.
The CityRider is a true featherweight in the electric scooter space. At a mere 31 lbs, it's super easy to carry, and its compact dimensions make it a great option for carrying on the train or bus. The folding mechanism is good, too. It is easy to operate without excessive force and has a safety pin and plastic slider that ensure it doesn't come undone by accident.
The FluidFreeRide CityRider offers impressive build quality, especially for its price. It's unique in its category for including turn signals, a key safety feature for commuters. Our stress tests on its folding mechanism and kickstand showed it's quite durable. It also has excellent weather resistance with an IP55 rating, the best in its class. However, due to its lack of suspension and solid tires, we recommend avoiding use in wet conditions.
We chose the fluid CityRider because it is a reliable and lightweight electric scooter packed with value. It has the best range-to-weight ratio on this list and safety features like turn signals, and two-layered folding mechanism protection. For the practical commuter, the CityRider is a low-maintenance dream.Read our full fluid CityRider review
As the cheapest electric scooter on this list, the Atomi E20 doesn't match top performers with its 250W motor. We clocked a top speed of 15.6 MPH and accelerating to 15 MPH to 12.5 seconds. In other words, this scooter is only suited for flat terrain and riders below 220 lbs.
Powered by a 270Wh battery, the Atomi E20 delivered 10.8 miles of range on a single charge in our tests. While it isn't as much as the more expensive KQi2 Pro, it is still competitive relative to its price. For short inner-city commutes or in connection with public transport, the E20 is both practical and capable.
The Atomi E20 surprised us with its ride quality. Thanks to its 8.5-inch pneumatic tires and ultra-wide handlebars, it offers one of the most comfortable rides on the list. However, there are a few imperfections, like the handlebar grips being a bit loose, and the braking distance, while adequate for its limited power, could be better.
At only 30.2 lbs, the Atomi E20 is the lightest electric scooter is this guide. The less-powerful hardware explains a lot, but the folding mechanism is decent and it is easy to carry and store in compact spaces.
The structural integrity of the Atomi E20 is good, although it feels a bit creaky here and there. Through our extensive testing, it's held up well and handled several rainy rides with no complaints. It has a decent light setup and an IP54 weather resistance rating.
We chose the Atomi E20 because it is incredibly cheap yet reliable and comfortable. It's a solid choice if you're on a very limited budget and need a practical last-mile solution.Read our full Atomi E20 review
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Our selection of the best electric scooters under $500 is based on extensive hands-on testing rooted in data and in-depth research. We aim to give you trustworthy and straightforward recommendations.
We believe in a rigorous testing approach, which is why we used the VBox Sport data logger to extensively test over 30 electric scooters within the $500 price range. Our methodology involved conducting more than 32 tests and measurements on each scooter.
To ensure a consistent basis for comparison, all tests were conducted under similar conditions.
Test rider: Rasmus Barslund
Weight: 175 lbs
All tests were carried out in temperatures between 10-25 degrees Celsius and in dry weather conditions, except for rain test rides. Each scooter was ridden for a minimum of 150 miles, adhering to our 'minimal miles rule,' to provide a thorough evaluation.
To learn more about our testing methods, check out our How We Test page.
Our picks are rooted in our expertise from testing over 70 models since 2017, detailed ride data, and ongoing market research, including customer and expert feedback, brand reliability, and retailer reputation.
We understand there's no single best scooter for everything, especially under $500. Rather than choosing the five fastest models, we focused on a diverse selection. We've chosen models that excel in specific areas like range, motor performance, portability, or rain riding. This ensures there's an option for everyone.
Based on our own test data, we used metrics like $/MPH, $/mile, MPH/lbs, and mile/lbs to objectively assess performance relative to price or weight. This ensures our picks offer the best balance of cost and capability.
Build quality and reliability are crucial in our selection, particularly for budget scooters where manufacturers are known to cut corners. Through our stress tests and wear simulation, we were able to find the models with the best structural integrity and reliability.
With a $500 budget, finding the perfect electric scooter means prioritizing what matters most to you, be it range, hill performance, or comfort. This section will help you dial in on the features that align with your needs.
It's hard to tick all the boxes with a small budget. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide which electric scooter is right:
Yes, cheap electric scooters can be safe, provided you choose models with essential safety features like effective brakes, adequate lighting, and a solid build.
Stick to tried and tested models with positive customer feedback and buy from reputable brands or retailers to avoid less reliable options. Always wear a helmet and adhere to traffic laws for safety.
Yes, many cheap electric scooters are suitable for daily commuting. Ensure their real-world range falls within your travel distance, and the scooter can handle the terrain of your route. Most electric scooters can only cover 60-70% of their advertised range in real-world conditions. Our electric scooter reviews are a great resource for GPS-verified range tests.
Get a range estimation using our range calculator before buying an electric scooter. It uses an advanced algorithm based on our real-world ride data for high accuracy.
Cheap electric scooters typically last 1-3 years, depending on usage, maintenance, and build quality. Regular care and avoiding extreme conditions can extend their lifespan. Keep in mind that battery performance may decline over time.
Expensive electric scooters generally offer longer battery life and range, superior build quality, and more powerful motors for higher speeds and better hill climbing. They also tend to feature advanced extras like enhanced suspension, higher water resistance, and smart connectivity.
With the extra hardware, more expensive scooters are typically heavier and may, in some cases, require more maintenance with additional moving parts.