All Electric Scooter Types Demystified (Illustrated Guide)

In the world of micromobility, every person has a different need. Whether you’re a business or a regular person, people need solutions. Not every problem is a last-mile problem, so mobility should be as bespoke as it can be.

Electric scooters are the answer to the micromobility revolution. Even then different needs mean different solutions. From kick scooters, electric mopeds to off-road scooters, we have a lot of options to pick from. There are so many choices that demystifying all the electric scooter types is a must.

Why? If you are in a perplexing dilemma where you’re not sure which is the best e-scooter to buy, you need this list. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about every type of scooter available on the market.

Which one fits your specific needs?

Why Learn All the Electric Scooter Types

Before we look for the different types of electric scooters, we need to look where people need them. By looking at where you use them and what their purposes are, you can determine where you stand. Before buying them, it’s good if you have a good idea of what you want to do.

Many electric scooters serve as micromobility vehicles. Micromobility vehicles are small and ultra-compact transportation solutions. People use them for first-mile and last-mile solutions in and around the cityscape.

The terms first-mile and last-mile refer to the common issue for transportations. In short distances, you usually would need very mobile transportation. These should allow you to weave around traffic in your area and allow for better movement.

First-mile problems come from suburban and out-of-city residents’ need to reach short distances. Because of growing concerns for the environment, people want alternatives to cars. It’s not practical anymore to burn too much gas for a simple visit to your local convenience store.

On the flipside, last-mile problems are an issue for everyone. Traffic analytics provider INRIX notes in their research that 48% of all US trips are less than 3 miles. In the same category, they note that most of the congestion comes from the last 3 miles of trips.

Being able to get out of these problems is something a personal electric scooter can solve for you. Even then, there are other things you can still use your e-scooters.

Problem Solving with an Electric Scooter

An electric scooter is not all about city transportation. Many people like to use their scooters for off-roading when moving around parks and hikes. This allows them to see more of the world around them and help in better relaxation.

Some people, like any car, like to use their scooters for leisure and entertainment. Many people like to use their e-scooters for going outdoors and riding them in race tracks. From leisure businesses to personal entertainment, an e-scooter is a great choice.

There are also scooters that people use for themselves or their loved ones. Adult-use scooters and kid scooters have different ratings of safety and usability. Some dedicated adult scooters are not available for kids and vice versa.

Another great use of electric scooters is disability and eldercare. Senior citizens and the disabled can use electric scooters to move around. It gives them unparalleled mobility, moving and overcoming their limitations.

At the end of the day, however, you want an electric scooter to be reliable. It’s crucial to have a solid mobility option that takes a fraction of the space of a car.

Want it to be small enough to park it anywhere? Want to store it with you on a commute? Having the right e-scooter to solve your own transportation problems is the one you need.

Demystifying E-Scooters in the Market

Let’s get this out of the way. Almost every electric scooter’s goal is to resolve a level of micromobility issue. Maneuverability and portability are among the key targets for many e-scooter manufacturers. Most of these solutions change depending on the terrain, distance coverage, and accessibility.

Every scooter will have its own advantages and disadvantages over the other.

The terrain is crucial in predicting the use of the scooter. Some scooters are only usable in flatter areas because of their design. Some are more usable in rougher terrain.

Many e-scooters also handle different comfort and wellness needs. These help riders use the scooter for long distances or prevent health issues from affecting mobility. At most, an e-scooter will provide superior flexibility to let you go around.

1. Kick Scooters

One of the most popular scooters, the electric kick scooter is micromobility. It’s the poster child of the micromobility industry for a reason.

It has a long, storied history and its original manual analog became popular in the 90s. In the last 5 years, electric kick scooters became a popular means of last-mile solutions.

Many kick-like e-scooters are portable and are easy to stow in your car or in public transport. You can also put many of these kick-like e-scooters on your shoulder. They are lightweight and easy to carry in general, so you can use them anywhere.

The advantage of these electric scooters come from their ease of use and convenience. They can be fast, able to go an average of 15 mph (24 km/h) up to a blazing 25 mph (40 km/h).

Their low weight and general stability are great for the general population. They are easy to use, especially in smaller streets inaccessible to public commute.

Kick e-scooters are great in flat terrain, paved roads, and city streets. They are, however, at a disadvantage on rough terrain. There are also licensing and insurance rules that differ per state.

2. Electric Motorcycles

Electric motorcycles are the more commercial EV scooters. Their design resembles dirt bikes and common scooters the most. This makes them EV versions of your common gas motorbikes.

The advantage of electric motor scooters is in their range and speed. Unlike kick scooters, they are full-fledged vehicles treated as motorcycles. They can have a top speed of around 50 mph (80 km/h) and a range of up to 100 miles (160 km).

They’re easy to operate and cost less to use too because of the relative cost of electricity vs fossil fuels. For people concerned about climate change, these are great mobility options. You can use them in and out of the city, giving you unlimited transport flexibility.

They, however, are not without consequences. For one, these electric scooters are, under Federal Law, treated as motorcycles. They have their own licensing and insurance that the government mandates.

The use of electric motor scooters also means you need to be of legal driving age to use them. Unlike kick scooters, they are not small, portable or mobile enough. You would need to park them like regular vehicles and you can’t bring them inside public transport.

If you need a clear transport for short to medium distances, an electric motorcycle is what you need.

3. Seated Electric Scooters

Seated scooters are a modified version of the kick scooter. They look like a barebones version of electric motorcycles, but they offer a good midline. For people who are having issues standing up, seated e-scooters are the right pick.

Many seated scooters have all the features of an electric kick scooter and a bit more. They are still lightweight and easy to carry, with some being foldable too so you can carry them. These scooters are a great buddy for your local commute.

The advantage of seated scooters come from their design. Their seated ergonomics helps users ride it for longer distances without standing up. This can give you a more relaxed commute and a more stable center of gravity.

Seated electric scooters have higher weight capacities, carrying up to 400 lbs. (180 kg). Their aircraft aluminum and taller profile gives better usability on uneven terrain. Many of these scooters are also foldable so you can store them under your office seat.

The problem comes from their price. The extra specs and heavy-duty design puts the price premium on the high-end of the spectrum. You also still need to do proper balancing to handle this e-scooter at faster speeds.

4. Standing E-Scooters

Standing scooters sound like they are kick scooters, but they’re not. Many standing scooters use a key start for ignition rather than a forward push. They also have more creature comforts too.

One common problem in kick scooters is the lack of space to stand in a comfortable position. Most standing scooters solve this with a bigger, wider horizontal deck. This gives these scooters a better balance that is great for people who have balance issues.

These scooters are great for healthier senior citizens who can stand for a bit of time. The wide standing deck needs less balance so anyone can use it.

Standing scooters have the same speed and total performance as kick e-scooters. They are, however, have finer control at the expense of portability. They are heavier than your average scooter, so it’s best to use these for general mobility needs.

5. Vespa-Style Electric Scooters

A variant of the electric scooter is what we know as Vespa-style electric scooters. These seated electric touring motorcycles that are using the same design aesthetics as Vespa. They have a full-sized seat, wider steering and a wider deck for a comfortable seat.

A Vespa-style e-scooter works more than a simple micromobility solution. It’s great for short-range rides but you would need to park it like a regular motorcycle. This can work for or against you, as it is less prone to pilfering but impossible to use with public transport.

This scooter is stylish too and can carry more, but has the same issues that e-motorcycles have. Electric touring scooters are best for people looking for commuting solutions in the city. It’s cool, nostalgic, and very functional.

6. Chopper Scooters

On the other end of the style spectrum, chopper scooters are among the more badass options. A chopper scooter design uses the same aesthetics as Harley-Davidson big bikes. They are seat e-scooters with some extra flair and personality.

The design of a chopper e-scooter comprises of a bigger frame and a very solid, wide deck. It has raised handlebars, a thicker front shaft, and even ultra-wide, XL wheels. This not only works as an aesthetic change but also a functional one.

Bigger wheels and larger frame means higher torque and higher durability. There is also zero need to balance because of the larger wheels, so it can support more weight.

7. Self-Balancing E-Scooters (Hoverboards)

Self-balancing scooters are another hit trend for micromobility enthusiasts. Called by people as “hoverboards”, self-balancing scooters take portability to the extreme. They are great short-range transportation and are usable in indoor environments like warehouses.

Self-balancing electric scooters use a horizontal deck with two wheels side-to-side. You would need to create a calibration with these scooters to zero them in before use. The gyroscope will handle speed and tilt controls while you use pressure pads to go forward.

From here, activating tilt comes through the use of a laser photosensor. This detects the movement of your feet, telling its logic board to compute for left and right turn.

Self-balancing boards are easy to use once you get the hang of it. They have a specific learning curve so you would want to do a few test runs with them. Even then, they’re great for city and suburban mobility because they’re ultra-light.

8. Foldable Electric Scooters

One of the common issues of kick scooters is extreme portability. Many are not portable enough for public transport options like buses, planes, and subways. Some customers also want a way to store them in their lockers or under their office tables.

The solution to all these became the foldable electric scooter. Foldable scooters vary in their portability. Some only have the handle foldable into a neat vertical frame while some even have the deck foldable.

Many foldable e-scooters also have kick-like and even seated style frames. The general argument, however, comes from their price points. Some foldable electric scooter brands come at a premium price even for lower specs.

If you have enough budget, give it a go. If you think you can take advantage of the convenience, foldable scooters are a great choice.

9. Off-Road Electric Scooter

Off-road electric scooters are another variant of kick scooters. It’s almost a hybrid between the chopper scooter and a kick-like. How?

Off-road e-scooters use a stronger, thicker, and heavier frame. Most off-roaders have at least aircraft aluminum and powerful suspensions for superior shock absorption. They will also use thicker wheels and a higher profile to prevent rocks from lodging in.

The wheels have deeper treading, which is great for muddy and rocky conditions. Most off-roading electric scooters will also have higher watt motors for power. Like their name, they use a design that is perfect for rugged and muddy terrain.

You can expect this extra power to cost a bit more of your budget. If you are into off-roading, however, these are worth every penny.

10. Self-Balancing Electric Scooters with Handlebars (Segway-Style)

Photo by Timur Romanov

A variation of the self-balancing electric scooter is self-balancing with handlebars. Many know these by the name of the brand that made them popular – Segway. Segway-style scooters are great picks for business or even senior citizens.

Segway-style e-scooters use the handlebars for speed and tilt adjustments. The wide horizontal deck allows for extra comfort while scooting around. This is great for people with poorer health conditions.

There’s almost no learning curve with these micromobility vehicles. This is why almost anyone can use and forget them

What makes them great, however, are the wheels. They use bigger, more powerful wheels than even many self-balancing scooters out there. These are also usable both indoors in wide factory floors or outdoors.

The issue with these scooters is their range and speed. The top speed for an average Segway-style electric scooter is at a decent 12 – 15 mph (19 – 24 km/h). Their range, however, is only around a paltry 24 – 30 miles (40 – 50 km).

11. Electric Unicycles

Electric unicycles are a type of self-balancing electric scooter that works like traditional unicycles. How do electric unicycles work?

They use a single wheel with two-foot decks on each side. This single wheel is wide and tall, providing the right movement speed and balance. Like self-balancers, they use gyroscopic controls for their speed and tilt movement.

Electric unicycles come in two varieties: standing and sitting. The more common standing variety offers more mobility, which only weighs a few pounds. Sitting e-unicycles tend to have a scant seater enough to give users a bit of comfort.

12. 2/3/4-Wheeled E-Scooters

Extra-wheeled scooters are electric scooters that go on the opposite design philosophy as e-unicycles. They add extra support wheels to give the user a superior experience commuting. The most common configuration for e-scooter wheels is two, three and up to a max of four.

Three and four-wheeled scooters are for users who like to use scooters. Casual users but are casual enough to not want a long-learning process. Three and four-wheelers are great for morning commutes due to wider decks and seats.

As with any other scooter, extra features mean an extra price for you to pay for at the cashier. These accessibility choices, however, are great for seniors or the disabled.

13. Electric Scooters for Kids

scoot around the lake-1 – VoxEfx” by Vox Efx, used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

Electric scooters are not only for adults. As a matter of fact, the first e-scooters took their designs from the original 90s kick scooter. Like anything, kid scooters are specific for younger teens and even teenagers.

There is no functional difference with e-scooters for kids compared to kick-like e-scooters. The difference is the units using lower-cost materials for less carry weight.

Many electric scooters for kids use plastic, carbon fiber, and some steel. They will have weaker specs in total but will still have a solid performance for kids.

14. Mobility Scooters

Doug(Hulk Hogan)Llanberis” by Hefin Owen, used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

Mobility scooters are the variants made to help senior citizens, the disabled, and others to go around. The entire goal of mobility scooters is to provide users with a comfortable ride. The materials and designs are there for comfort, support, and stability.

With this in mind, electric mobility scooters are not, in any way, supposed to be transportation options. Their value is for use in small outdoor areas like nursing homes, villas, and nursing facilities. It lets seniors enjoy the outdoors without having to labor in their movement.

Cushions will be soft and wide for full seating. The motors have a focus on movement rather than top speed. they can also carry larger weight capacities in exchange for portability.

For hospitals, nursing homes, or even at home, mobility scooters are crucial for people with mobility issues. It gives them the independence they need without extreme labor on their part.

Conclusion

Demystifying all the electric scooter types is a vital way for people to understand what they’re buying. Every person has a specific need, whether it’s for commuting, micromobility or even mobility in general. Knowing the right e-scooter for you can save you time, money, and energy once you buy the right unit.

If you’re in the market for a new electric scooter, take a look at the list we made for you. There should be a few e-scooters that could answer your dilemma. Once you have a few on your list, compare advantages and see which one fits your budget.

Get the best electric scooter for you today.

Mike Reyes

I'm Mike Reyes, a guy behind eDrivePlanet.com. I have a background in electrical engineering and I was interested into technology since my early age. My passion is sustainable transport and energy, and my objective is to make eDrive Planet a pillar of the electric vehicles industry with hopefully millions of site visitors each year. I am counting on you, please spread the voice!

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