How to Buy the Best Electric Scooter for Commuting
The variety of electric scooters on the market has exploded in recent years, from lightweight, low-powered recreational vehicles to heavy-duty scooters built for rugged off-road use, and everything in-between. This range of options can leave consumers a little dizzy, especially if you’ve chosen to use an electric scooter primarily for the daily commute. You don’t want a toy and you don’t need a tank—you need a reliable, lightweight, portable vehicle that will get you there with minimal fuss and make you look good while doing it.
These might seem like pretty simple requirements, but it’s important to drill down on the specifics when researching the right e-scooter for commuting. There are a number of considerations, including battery life, range, speed, power, weight, and portability, that will help you make the right choice. Ultimately, you want a quality electric scooter that’s going to last, and while there are many options out there, we think Unagi succeeds in every category for the perfect commuting e-scooter. Let’s take a look at some of the specs.
Battery Life, Charging Time, and Range
One important concern in choosing the right electric scooter is the battery life. You want to make sure that your scooter will cover the distance, and you don’t spend more time charging it than riding it. Many electric scooters on the market have smaller batteries, which can mean less charging time but also a shorter range, meaning you could be searching for an outlet when you get to where you’re going. Some models only have a range of about 10 miles before the battery runs out. Unagi, on the other hand, has a range of over 15 miles on a fully charged battery.
Other e-scooters may have a longer range, but their larger batteries mean added weight. One competitor, for example, advertises a range of 20 miles. However, you’ll notice that their scooter weighs 10 pounds more than Unagi’s dual-motor model, and 13 pounds more than the single-motor version. This represents a significant trade-off that commuters should consider carefully. And while other scooters may fully charge in less time than Unagi’s 4-5 hours, their reduced range means more frequent charge-ups, and less time spent on the road.
Motor Size, Power, and Speed
Another important factor in a good e-scooter for commuting is the motor size, which will determine the vehicle’s power and speed capabilities. A large motor can mean more speed and power, but also, like a large battery, added weight. This can make your e-scooter less than easily portable. You want your commuting e-scooter to navigate most hills with ease and accelerate quickly in traffic. A 250-watt scooter (like the Unagi E250) can definitely meet these requirements, provided the e-scooter is well-engineered in other respects.
The E250 puts out a maximum instant power of 500 watts, which can tackle an incline of 6 degrees. If you live in a place with more hills, however, you’ll want to consider an electric scooter with a more powerful motor. The Unagi E500 can take on inclines of up to 15 degrees and like the E250 can reach speeds of up to 17 miles-per-hour. While other scooters may claim higher top speeds, they can’t claim the same high level of quality construction you need in reliable e-scooter than can stand up to years of commuting.
Scooter Construction and Tires
E-scooters can be constructed out of a number of different materials. Some have wood decks, some plastic, and some metal or composite. The construction material can have a significant effect on long-term durability of the electric scooter. Likewise, an electric scooter’s components, such as the brakes, folding mechanism, and tires, should be constructed of high-quality materials that can stand the test of time and the rigors of the road. Looks aren’t everything, though you certainly want a product that looks good—like the sleek, streamlined Unagi with its one-click folding mechanism.
In choosing the right scooter for commuting, however, you’ll want to look past your first impressions and examine the construction. Both Unagi models are constructed of high-quality aluminum and carbon fiber, the same materials used to make high-end racing cycles, which enables them to be both strong and incredibly light. As far as tires go, an e-scooter with inflatable tires can make for a smoother ride, but it also increases the chances of getting a flat while on the road. A better option is a well-designed solid tire that resists flats and corrosion. Unagi’s solid tires also act as a suspension system, with hollow areas that allow them to flex and bend but never go out of shape.
Weight and Portability
As discussed, an e-scooter’s weight and portability can be some of the most important considerations when choosing the right vehicle for commuting. While you might just hop on your scooter at your front door and ride it all the way to work or school, you might also combine scooter rides with subways, buses, or ride shares. One of the real advantages of commuting with an electric scooter is this kind of flexibility. But it means that you have to be able to easily fold and carry the scooter when it’s time to move.
The weight of electric scooters can vary widely depending on their size, battery, motor, and materials. Because Unagi uses carbon fiber in its construction, it can maintain a relatively light weight of 23-26 pounds, depending on the model, while still packing plenty of battery capacity and power. This makes it especially easy to carry up and down stairs and onto city buses, while its one-click folding mechanism makes it easy fold up and carry or store in a closet or under a desk. Other scooters may be somewhat lighter, but that reduced weight comes at the cost of quality and power.
Other Important Features
A quality electric scooter for commuting should always come with a lighting system for riding in dim early morning light or at dusk. It should also have an easy-to-read display for important information. Unagi scooters come standard with bright LED head and taillights and an uncluttered LED display that shows the speed (in miles or kilometers per hour), battery status, and mode of operation. Unagi also comes with a nifty integrated kickstand so you never have to lay your scooter on the ground. And you’ll want to keep it clean given its impressive design.
While speed, power, weight, and reliability are key considerations for choosing an e-scooter for commuting, let’s face it, you also want to look good, and in this respect, Unagi’s got you covered as well. Not only do our beautiful scooters come in four standard colors, but you can customize your scooter with a number of patterns and design options, making Unagi stand out even more from the crowd. If you’re looking to commute by e-scooter, you’ll want to compare all your options, but we think you’ll find Unagi gets it just right in every category.