With social distancing and more eco-friendly developments, many European countries have introduced e-scooters into their daily commute or as an alternative to driving or using public transport.
While private e-scooter use in public is not yet legal in the UK, hired electric scooters have become more popular, with electric scooters cropping up around big cities, and new regulations are starting to come into play.
E-scooters are effectively standard scooters with an added battery pack and a small electric motor, which turns them into a small portable vehicle. Some electric scooters can reach around 15mph and can be used for 10-to-40-mile trips depending on the model and the route.
Electric scooters are a sustainable way to go short distances without jumping in your car or taking public transport. They have taken off in mainland Europe, and it won’t be long until they are part of daily commutes here in the UK.
Here is our pick of the best budget scooters in the market in the UK right now.
The best budget electric scooters at a glance:
Best overall electric scooter: Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter - 1S
Best lightweight electric scooter: Hover-1 Eagle
Editor's pick: Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Essential
The best electric scooter with durable rubber wheels: Reid E4 Plus Electric Scooter
Best electric scooter for teens: Razor Power A2 Electric Scooter
Best electric scooter for long distances: Segway Ninebot Max G30
Are electric scooters legal in the UK?
As of now, E-scooters can only be legally used on private land, with the landowner's permission. Unlike people-powered scooters, privately owned e-scooters are not currently permitted for use on public roads, pathways, or cycle roots.
Nevertheless, with the UK Government’s ongoing trial of hired e-scooters, it won’t be long until they are fully legalised for private use.
The current trial only allows rental e-scooters to be used in public and is testing whether e-scooters can offer “fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can also help ease the burden on transport networks and allow for social distancing.”
The outcome from this trial will be used to "guide final decisions about whether and – if so – how to fully legalise e-scooters". Standard, non-motored scooters, are legal for use in the UK. Private and hired e-scooters are already legal to use in many European countries.
The best budget electric scooters 2021
Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter - 1S
Best overall electric scooter
The Xiaomi M365 is one of the best-selling e-scooters on the market right now due to its lightweight foldable design. This e-scooter weighs just 12.5kg, so it is easy to carry when on the move. Moreover, Xiaomi does not skimp on safety either with controlled acceleration, anti-slip handles, 8.5-inch anti-skid tyres, eABS disk brakes and bright headlights; your journey will be safe and smooth.
Additionally, the cruise control feature will allow you to maintain a steady speed and preserve your battery. Boasting a maximum speed of 15.5mph, the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter - 1S has all the perks of a high-end e-scooter with a budget price tag. Win-win.
|Max Speed||15.5 mph|
|• Popular brand||• Heavy|
|• Can reach high speed (15.5mph)||• Small wheels|
|• Long range|
|• Comes with an app|
|• Dual braking system|
Review: "Bought to ride to work 3 miles away. A mix of road and cycle paths with one reasonable hill. As it's only 3 miles and I can charge the scooter at work, I ride in S mode, which gives 24 kph. At work, I have a 70% charge left so I could make it home without recharge. I bought a helmet, important. It's great fun, and I arrive without sweating. So far, I love it."
HOVER-1 Eagle Electric Folding Scooter
Best lightweight electric scooter
If a basic budget scooter is what you are after, then the Hover-1 is not only reasonably priced but also lightweight and has excellent performance. Weighing only 9.47kg, this e-scooter is easy to carry and has useful add-ons, such as a small LCD display that shows speed and battery life, a built-in suspension to absorb shock if you ride through bumpy terrain, an LED headlight and reflectors to keep you safe while riding in the dark.
This model has a sleek design with black and gold panelling and 6.5-inch wheels - this e-scooter looks as good as it is practical.
However, compared to some other upmarket models from Xiaomi or Segway, the Hover-1 Eagle does take longer to charge, so you will have to plug it in after every long trip.
|• Fast top speed||• Longer charge time|
|• Lightweight||• Short range|
Review: “So far, so good, travel 2 miles per day roughly, so it’s ideal for getting me to and from work, probably one of the best purchases I’ve made had it a month now and going strong.”
Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Essential
The Xiaomi Mi Essential is the budget version of The Xiaomi M365 but still has most of the perks that the brand has to offer. Released in June 2020, the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Essential is shockingly one of the cheaper e-scooters on the market.
It has a smaller battery which means it has a shorter range but is light to carry and fast to charge—reaching a maximum speed of 12.4mph and a range of 12.4 miles.
Just like other Xiaomi e-scooters, it has excellent safety features such as dual brakes and braking lights. So, if you are on the hunt for a high quality, lightweight and basic electric scooter, then the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Essential ticks all those boxes.
|Charge time||3.5 hours|
|• Light to carry||• Slower than other models|
|• Charges quickly|
Review: "This was the best price I could find at the time of purchase, and the scooter is exactly what I was expecting. Top speed of 20km is a little slow but good enough for short commutes."
Reid E4 Plus Electric Scooter
The best electric scooter with durable rubber wheels
The Reid E4 Plus is ergonomically designed with a powerful 350W front motor, a rear suspension system, and sizeable 10-inch rubber wheels, making it a much smoother ride compared with its predecessor, the E4, which has 8.5in wheels no rear suspension.
As a result of these changes, it offers a more premium experience than brands such as Xiaomi, although you are paying for the extra stability. In addition, the free Reid eMobility app provides enhanced customisable features such as journey tracking, custom underdeck lights, and a speedometer.
Another perk of the Reid E4 Plus is that it is designed with solid rubber tyres, making it less susceptible to punctures and giving you a smoother ride overall. So if you are looking for a nice-looking e-scooter that is secure and smooth, then the Reid E4 Plus would be an excellent choice for you.
|Charge time||5 hours|
|• Secure ride||• Heavy|
|• Long range||• More expensive|
|• Solid rubber tyres|
Review: “There is much to like about this scooter, though early days in using it. It's easy to use, the large floor plate accommodates my big feet and, mostly, pretty zippy. I'm still getting used to it, and it can be a little jerky if I'm not doing top speed. Excellent scooter”
Razor Power A2 Electric Scooter
Best electric scooter for teens
If you are after an e-scooter for your teenager, then The Razor Power A2 is an excellent choice. It is compact, foldable, lightweight, and one of the best portable electric scooters available today. In addition, this e-scooter comes at an affordable price for such a high-quality model.
This scooter can reach up to 10mph, which doesn’t make it the fastest scooter on our list; however, it has a battery life that can last up to 40 minutes (7.5 miles) of continuous usage. Therefore, the Razor Power A2 Electric Scooter would be an ideal pick for any lighter individuals with an on-the-go lifestyle.
|Max Speed||10 mph|
|• Lightweight||• Slower speed|
|• Affordable||• Low load capacity|
|• Reliable brand||• Low range|
|• Compact||• Suitable for lighter indviduals|
Review: “A nice little scooter! I find 10mph to absolutely be fast enough for the kind of trips I am doing (to connect to bus/train). Folding and unfolding are quick and easy, and I have not detected a rattle so far. The deck is big enough for me to have both my feet on it at an angle (women's shoe size 8.5). The motor works well and accelerates quickly, but not so quickly that you'd be thrown off the scooter.”
How do you charge an e-scooter?
You can charge up electric scooters using a standard power outlet. The plug and cable will be provided with the e-scooter.
Why does an electric scooter’s speed or distance range change?
The top speed and maximum range of an e-scooter are deduced from tests in near-perfect conditions. Factors such as hills, heavy loads, wind direction, and cold temperatures can all negatively affect an e-scooters performance.
It will not be likely that the person using it will always be able to get the best performance from the model’s battery.