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Must-See Electric Scooter Buying Guide Before Buying

Must-See Electric Scooter Buying Guide Before Buying

Electric scooters are becoming a more and more common form of transportation. They offer a bicycle's convenience in a more compact form factor without the need to pedal. In this blog post, we will take a deep dive into every aspect to watch for and know about before you make such a wonderful eco-friendly, and sustainable purchase.

- The challenges of purchasing an electric scooter

- The features and parameters to look for

1. Motor power and size

2. Range

3. Speed

4. Rider weight

5. Water resistance

6. Tires

7. Suspension

8. Brakes

9. Weight

10. Warranty

- Laws regarding electric scooters in the US

- Electric Scooter Accessories

- Maintenance of an electric scooter

- Concluding summary

Without further ado, let us dive in. 

The Challenges of Purchasing an Electric Scooter

With so many options and factors to take into account, buying an electric scooter can be a difficult task. A good electric scooter can cost between $500 and $2,500 in total – but pricier does not often translate to better. Several questionable websites with reviews from people who have never used a scooter in their lives complicate matters even more. Electric scooters come in a wide variety of styles, prices, features, origins, and even customer assistance, as you will discover in the coming sections of this guide.

The Features and Parameters to Look For

There is a multitude of parameters to take into account before purchasing an electric scooter in an informed manner. We will discuss the salient ones from our years of experience at SmooSat.

1. Motor Power and Size: The wattage of an electric scooter represents its power. They can range from 200 watts to more than 2,000 watts. Scooter motor size is crucial because it essentially determines how much power the scooter has. Its capacity to accelerate and ascend hills is impacted by this. For instance, 250 watts is typically enough to cover level land. But if you intend to frequently travel up hills, you ought to aim for a more potent motor. For instance, our flagship – the SmooSat MAX comes with an uncompromising 500 W motor making the daunting task of hitting the top speed of 18.6 mph on a 15° hill, even at a maximum load of 264 lbs.

2. Range: Every scooter has a range that is advertised. A scooter can travel this distance on a single charge. You will need a higher range the further you intend to ride. Also, you want to aim for a wider range than you anticipate using. The range of a scooter is determined by how far it can drive on flat ground. Also, it considers the battery to be fully charged. The longer you own an electric scooter, the less power it can retain. In our adult line, the SmooSat SA3 has a range of 20 miles (32 km), the SA3 Prime has a range of 29 miles, and our flagship, the SmooSat MAX boasts a massive range of 30 miles at full charge. 

3. Speed: Every scooter has a top speed. This is fast enough for the majority of uses and an electric scooter usually travels at roughly 10 mph. You will probably spend a lot of time driving slower than that if you are traveling through a metropolis. Going up can buy you a scooter that has a top speed of over 15 mph. The majority of places have scooter speed limits, and the quicker you go, the simpler it is to fall off.

4. Rider weight: The weight that an electric scooter can support is limited. Usually, this weighs between 180 and 220 lbs. It is crucial to select a scooter with a higher weight limit if you weigh more than this. No matter how much you weigh, you can ride a scooter, however, going over the weight restriction is not advised. A scooter that is too heavily laden won't accelerate properly, won't be able to attain its top speed, and can have trouble stopping.

5. Water resistance: People are frequently shocked to hear that scooters are not always watertight. It's crucial to purchase a scooter made expressly for riding in the rain and/or across slippery surfaces if you want to do so. Typical electric scooters are susceptible to water damage, and if this occurs, the guarantee won't protect you. That said, it is inadvisable to ride an electric scooter in the rain in the first place for the rider’s own safety as the wet streets can be a hazard in itself. 

6. Tires: Scooters can have pneumatic or solid tires. Tires that are pneumatic or air-filled. It is crucial to remember that pneumatic tires need routine maintenance and that some models are simple to puncture. Those who desire a scooter that is always ready to use prefer solid (or airless) tires because they require less maintenance. Solid tires have the drawback of providing no shock absorption and being uncomfortable to ride on uneven ground. We at SmooSat use the most sophisticated non-pneumatic tires (NPT) with the least chance of punctures while also being robust to shocks and bumps offering a smooth ride.

7. Suspension: On many electric scooters, the front, back, or both wheels are suspended. If you intend to ride across a lot of unforgiving terrains, the suspension is important. Since it makes riding a scooter more comfortable, it is also useful for long-distance rides. Exceptional non-pneumatic tires (NPT) can serve the same purpose without the need for suspension just like our line of electric scooters at SmooSat.

8. Brakes: In electric scooters, brakes are obviously a crucial safety element. Although there are many different kinds, disk brakes are typically the best choice. A metal disk that is mounted to the tire makes up a disk brake. Simply depress a hand lever on the handlebars to engage the brake. Disk brakes are advised since they are dependable and provide swift stopping.

9. Weight: Certain electric scooters weigh a lot more than others. This is mostly unnecessary for some things. So, it is a good idea to select something light if you intend to carry a scooter with you. It's important to keep in mind that the scooters with the fastest ranges are typically heavier as a result. Both SmooSat’s adult and kids line of electric scooters are extremely light and is engineered to both be durable and be able to be carried around with utmost ease.

10. Warranty: Even a well-designed electric scooter requires routine maintenance since electric scooters are not always dependable. So, it is critical to get a scooter with a warranty. Several producers offer large warranties. Yet, a lot of scooters lack any kind of warranty. SmooSat offers 180 days of no questions asked warranty and an astounding five years of service on battery. 

Laws regarding Electric Scooters in the US

As of 2023, legislators handled a number of issues relating to the usage of electric scooters due to the surge in users. Different states and territories now have various regulations governing electric scooters. It can be difficult to determine whether using an e-scooter is permitted in a certain location. Finding accurate information online can be difficult, and sometimes there is confusion about what is allowed in a certain state. For instance, whether a license is necessary or not, or whether helmets are necessary. Laws may also be amended, which is a continuous process. The laws of the time of writing can change of course as time goes by. 

Cities in every state may have local ordinances that forbid, restrict, or outright outlaw the usage of electric scooters. Scooters that are owned privately versus those that are rented may also differ.

electric scooter law

Table attribution: Electric Scooter Guide

Speed limits in the governed state: Most states' maximum speed limit now is 20 mph (32 kph). Unexpected considering that the majority of shared scooters are only permitted to travel around 10-15 mph (16-24 km). A few things are exceptions. In New Jersey, the top speed is 19 (30 kph) mph, compared to DC's 10 mph (16 kph). It is 25 mph in Michigan and Oregon (40 km). A comprehensive list can be found in this article from Fluid Free Ride. 

- Licensing: While the majority of states demand DMV registration for motorcycles and mopeds, each state has its own regulations for electric scooters. Fewer limitations apply to e-scooters than to motor vehicles since they are simpler to operate, yet it is challenging to manage the shared scooter market. However, several states demand that users of private electric scooters possess a license.

- Sidewalk regulations: The fact that some states have outlawed using electric scooters on sidewalks is not surprising. E-scooters shouldn't be used in areas with a lot of obstacles because they not only increase the risk of accidents but can also be dangerous for others. Not all states, meanwhile, prohibit the use of e-scooters on sidewalks. They consist of New York, Montana, North Dakota, Connecticut, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Electric scooters are not permitted on public highways in Pennsylvania or Delaware, although they are in other states as long as the rider follows the speed limit.

- Helmet regulations: We at SmooSat want to be clear that everyone should wear helmets when using e-scooters before discussing the regulations governing helmets. No matter how fast you drive, even a slight accident could result in serious brain injuries. Wearing a helmet ensures your safety no matter what you do, and as electric scooters improve and reach higher speeds, it's advisable to provide the finest defense for yourself. Electric scooters will be required in most jurisdictions that have moped legislation, and all states expect riders to act responsibly and always wear helmets.

- Age Limits/Minimums: Although some jurisdictions are more lenient than others, the legal age to operate an electric scooter is typically 16 years old. Virginia, for instance, has a 14-year-old minimum age requirement, while Utah restricts access to those 15 and older. The laws governing electric scooters are less rigorous in Minnesota and Michigan, and these states permit anybody over the age of 12 to use them. Electric scooters are now free from registration requirements, in part because they're less risky to use than mopeds and bicycles.

Finally, we and everyone must note that legislation is developing and dynamic. Keeping a watch on any local news or updates is the only way to be absolutely certain.

Electric Scooter Accessories

Electric scooter accessories are crucial since they make riding safer. Electric scooters are surprisingly quick and frequently utilized close to automobiles. This makes it crucial to wear a helmet at all times. Although some scooters come with lights, you can also buy lights separately. This is advised if you intend to ride at night. Theft of electric scooters is a common occurrence. It's a good idea to get a lock, possibly even an alarm and tracking device if you intend to park the scooter outside.

Maintenance of an Electric Scooter

You can avoid future pain by considering maintenance before you purchase an electric scooter. For instance, replacement parts for some electric scooters are not readily available. So, buying one with a good warranty and durability is important that would require almost no maintenance to do in the first place. We, at SmooSat, pay very high attention to this aspect.

Lastly, you can avoid a lot of trouble in the future by performing proactive tune-ups. Although the majority of electric scooter parts don't need routine maintenance, you might need them for your tires or specific bolts.

Even the toughest electric scooters might need maintenance. The most frequent components in need of repair are fenders, brakes, and tires (flats, low tread) (broken, loose). Therefore, we take the highest preventive measures when it comes to these components as was discussed in the previous sections. 

Concluding Summary

The saying goes “a stitch in time saves nine” and it is absolutely applicable to electric scooter purchasing. The key here is research. Having read all the aspects to be mindful of in this guide, when you are on the verge of purchasing, use it as a checklist. Also, it is important to remember your own use cases. So, the best electric scooter for someone else may not be the best and most bang for your buck for you. As such, carefully conduct research on all the parameters, be conscious, and always make an informed purchase. 

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