Zipping past tailbacks, feeling the wind rushing past you, and easily finding a spot to park up in, scooters are a fun and economical way to travel. They can also get you from A to B much faster during peak commuter times, when you can find yourself stuck in traffic for hours. If you’ve only got a short commute, you could even opt for an electric scooter, which cost next to nothing to run and are extremely environmentally friendly—what’s not to love?
We reviewed dozens of scooters to identify the best of the best. We compared them on a range of important factors, including engine size, physical size, cost of running, top speed, and reviews from existing customers.
Following a lot of careful consideration, the Honda Lead 125cc Scooter stood out to us as the clear top pick. Coming from a trusted name in motoring, the Honda Lead is sturdy and well-made. It runs on gas and can travel up to around 60 mph. This nifty little bike is great for anyone serious about regularly traveling by scooter.
In This Article
- The 5 Top-Rated Scooters for 2018
- Who Should Buy a Scooter
- Important Features to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Scooters We Reviewed
The 5 Top-Rated Scooters for 2018
|Best Overall||Honda Lead 125cc Scooter||5.0|
|Runner Up||Tao Tao Thunder 50 Gas Street Legal Scooter||3.7|
|Best Budget Buy||Razor Pocket Mod Miniature Euro Electric Scooter||4.2|
|Best 3-Wheel Scooter||E-Wheels EW-11 Sport Euro Type Scooter||4.3|
|Best 50cc Scooter||Tao Tao ATM50-A1 50cc Gas Street Legal Scooter||5.0|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Honda Lead 125cc Scooter
Some scooters are just for fun or for occasional use, but the Honda Lead 125cc Scooter is a serious vehicle that can get you where you need to go—and at a reasonable speed, too! Its 125cc engine can safely reach speeds of up to 60 mph, which is quite impressive for a scooter.
That’s not all we have to say about the engine. It’s single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, and incorporates low-friction technology for excellent fuel efficiency. The Programmed Fuel Injection system also helps to reduce the amount of gas used. So, all-in-all, the Honda Lead is relatively economical to run. What’s more, it has the build quality you’d expect from a Honda and is designed to last.
You’ll find a number of small touches that also contribute to the overall quality and usability of this scooter. The illuminated pointers in the LCD meters make the dash much easier to read, plus the addition of a clock is extremely handy. Under the seat is a large 37-liter storage space, big enough to fit two full-face helmets, or carry your groceries home.
Retailing at around $5,000, this isn’t an inexpensive scooter, but it’s not a bad price when you consider it could be your main vehicle for town or city use.
Honda Lead 125cc Scooter Key Features:
- 125cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine
- Large storage space under seat
- This model comes in white, but other colors are available
Our Runner Up Pick: Tao Tao Thunder 50 Gas Street Legal Scooter
This sporty-looking model is an ideal city scooter
Don’t be fooled by the low price tag, the Tao Tao Thunder 50 Gas Street Legal Scooter is a nippy little vehicle that handles well and is extremely fuel efficient. The fact that it costs around $800 only sweetens the deal.
Although the top speed of this scooter is only 35 mph, thanks to its 49cc engine, it’s perfect for use in city centers where the speed limit might be less than 35 mph and cars are often brought to a standstill by traffic, anyway. The Tao Tao Thunder can do an impressive 100 miles on just 1.2 gallons of fuel, so it costs very little to run.
Featuring both an electric start and a backup kick start, it’s easy to get this scooter going when you need it. It’s street legal (though you do need to register it and procure a license plate, first) and CARB-approved, so you ride it in the state of California. Some states don’t even require riders to have a driver’s license to operate the Tao Tao Thunder, due to its small engine size, but make sure you double-check your local laws.
While the scooter comes mostly assembled, there is some assembly required, which you might want to get a mechanic to tackle, unless you know what you’re doing.
Tao Tao Thunder 50 Gas Street Legal Scooter Key Features:
- Comes with matching trunk for storage
- Extremely fuel-efficient
- 35 mph top speed
Best Budget Pick: Razor Pocket Mod Miniature Euro Electric Scooter
It might have been designed as a toy, but this budget scooter can be much more
Some scooters are serious vehicles and others are just for fun. The Razor Pocket Mod Miniature Euro Electric Scooter falls firmly in the latter category, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be more than just a toy! Battery-powered, this scooter can do 10 miles on a single charge, with a 12 hour charge time, and a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
It might be marketed as a toy for young people, but there’s nothing to stop you riding this scooter in town. In fact, we’ve heard from a wide range of adults who use the Pocket Mod, including an OAP who rides theirs to the beach every day. Depending on the exact model you choose, there’s a maximum weight limit of up to 170 pounds, so you will need to make sure you’re not too heavy for this scooter.
Speaking of models, you can select between eight different options, from bubblegum pink with sparkly tassels on the handlebars to a more edgy red and black model. Depending on which you choose, expect to pay between $250 and $385.
Razor Pocket Mod Miniature Euro Electric Scooter Key Features:
- Travels 10 miles on each charge
- Top speed of 15 mph
- Eight color combos available
Best 3-Wheel Scooter: E-Wheels EW-11 Sport Euro Type Scooter
More stable than a standard 2-wheeler, but just as much fun
If you’re looking for a safe and stable electric scooter, the E-Wheels EW-11 Sport Euro Type Scooter is an excellent choice. With a price tag of close to $2,000, it’s certainly not the cheapest option out there. However, it is strong, sturdy, and built to last. Plus, since it’s powered off electricity, it has minimal running costs.
The maintenance-free 12-volt battery charges overnight using the included 48-volt smart charger (no need to remove the battery from the scooter) and can take you up to 40 miles on a single charge. With a maximum speed of 18 miles per hour, you won’t be winning any street races, but it’s not a bad speed, if the alternative is walking or sitting in a traffic jam.
With a cool, modish Euro look, this scooter looks stylish, but it’s very convenient, too. With a removable rear storage container, under-seat storage, and a basket up front, you’ve got plenty of room to transport anything you might need for the day.
E-Wheels EW-11 Sport Euro Type Scooter Key Features:
- Anti-theft alarm
- Ample storage
- Goes 40 miles on a single charge
Best 50cc Scooter: Tao Tao ATM50-A1 50cc Gas Street Legal Scooter
This scooter is economical to run and a pleasure to ride
While it might not stand up to the power and prowess of larger-engined models, the Tao Tao ATM50-A1 50cc Gas Street Legal Scooter is the ideal choice for anyone looking for a simple, economical 50cc option. The orange model that we’re reviewing here costs the bargain price of around $900, though some color choices are even cheaper.
The 50cc, 4 stroke engine can transport you at speeds of up to 35 mph, which is adequate for city use and will help you beat those tailbacks. Since the transmission is fully automatic, you don’t have to worry about shifting gears, which is perfect if you’re fairly new to riding scooters or motorcycles.
With a small trunk at the back and under seat storage, there’s enough room to carry a backpack, groceries, or anything else you might need to take with you. It’s large enough to hold two passengers and can carry approximately 350 pounds, though you might find it hard to reach the top speed when this scooter is carrying too much weight.
Tao Tao ATM50-A1 50cc Gas Street Legal Scooter Key Features:
- Passes DOT safety standards
- Front and rear brakes
- Top speed of 35 mph
Who Should Buy a Scooter
If you’re looking for a cheap way to get around town, a scooter might be for you. Scooters are especially great for rush hour commuting, as you can drive around cars rather than getting stuck in a tailback.
Sure, it might not get you places particularly quickly, but if you don’t want or need the speed or the power of a motorcycle, a scooter would better fit your needs.
Important Features to Consider
A scooter should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a scooter:
- Gas vs. electric. Since the only cost is the electricity used to charge an electric scooter, they’re extremely cheap to run. However, they tend to be slower and less powerful than scooters that run on gas.
- Engine size. Most scooters have an engine size of between 50cc and 150cc. The smaller the engine, the less powerful the scooter, and the slower they tend to run. That said, small-engined scooters do have their advantages: they’re cheaper to run and you might not need a license to ride one.
- Top speed. Scooters aren’t exactly known for their speed. The least powerful electric models may only reach of top speed of 15 mph, but the most powerful options can reach in excess of 60 mph.
- License requirements. As we touched on above, you may or may not need a special license to ride a scooter, depending on the size of the engine and your local laws. Check with your local DMV before you get started.
- Automatic shifting. Many scooters automatically shift gears, which makes riding them a breeze. This isn’t a given, however, so be sure to check the specs if this is a feature you want.
- Gas mileage. If you choose a gas-powered scooter, you needn’t worry too much about your fuel bill. Most scooters are extremely economical to run, but the very cheapest can do more than 100 miles per gallon.
- Storage. Make sure your chosen scooter has enough storage to need your needs. Some feature a trunk, in addition to under-seat storage, and a few models have a basket on the front, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a scooter and how does it work?
A scooter is a motorized vehicle, much like a motorcycle. Scooters are usually two-wheeled, but you can occasionally find three-wheeled models. They run thanks to an engine, either electric or gas-powered.
How is a scooter different from a motorcycle?
You might be wondering what differentiates a scooter from a motorcycle. Well, the most obvious difference is the engine size: scooter engines rarely exceed 150cc, whereas most motorcycles have engines of at least 250cc. Scooters have smaller wheels and a shorter wheelbase, which makes then safer and easier to maneuver at slow speeds, but less safe than motorcycles at fast speeds. What’s more, scooters usually offer a more upright riding position, whereas motorcycles tend to encourage a forward-leaning position.
Are scooters as dangerous as motorcycles?
This is a hard question to answer, as both can be equally dangerous, if you get in a bad situation. Due to their slower top speeds, scooters are often perceived as safer, and it is true that you’re less likely to injure yourself if you crash at 30 mph than if you crash as 120 mph. That said, you shouldn’t underestimate the potential for danger on a scooter, and should take all necessary precautions.
Do you need to wear a helmet when riding a scooter?
While not all states require scooter-riders to wear a helmet by law, we would strongly advise it. If you fall off your scooter or get into a collision, a good helmet can mean the difference between life and death. You should also check what type of helmet (if any) you’re required to wear when riding a scooter in your state. Some local laws dictate you should wear half, full-face, or three-quarter shell helmets.
Other Scooters We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other scooters. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best scooters list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
This motocross scooter is a bit sportier than most other options, but it’s great fun! Although advertised for ages 8 and up, it can take upto 250 pounds in weight.
- Twist-grip throttle control
- Max speed of 14 mph
- Two riding modes: standard and sport
This cool Euro-style scooter comes with a high-torque 24 volt electric motor and offers a top speed of 15 mph, which isn’t bad for a basic electric model.
- 12-inch pneumatic tires
- Twist-grip throttle
- Rear handbrake
Want something a bit different from the standard electric scooter options? This impossibly cool three-wheeled fat tire scooter will get you where you need to go in style.
- Five color options
- Hydraulic disc brake system
- Choose from two battery sizes; largest can go up to 52 miles on a single charge
Cost: $1,500 to $1,800
Despite being able to reach speeds of up to 20 mph, you won’t need any kind of license to operate this moped, plus you have your own pedal power as a backup.
- 750 watt motor
- Can take you 25 miles on a single charge
- Comes in six colors
A nifty moped-style scooter with a maximum range of 30 to 40 miles and a maximum speed of around 20 mph.
- 500 watt motor
- 48V, 17Ah Lithium Ion battery
- Smart LCD display
With a total ride time of 40 minutes, you might not get very far on this adorable little scooter, but it’s good for short trips, or just for fun.
- Puncture-proof front tire
- Under-seat storage
- 10 mph max speed
This convenient scooter set comes with the Razor Pocket Mod scooter in red and black, plus a safety helmet included. Everything you need to get out and about.
- Can travel 10 miles per charge, with a top speed of 15 mph
- Holds up to 170 pounds
- 12-inch pneumatical tires
Larger and faster than the standard Pocket Mod, the Bellezza is better for older/larger riders or anyone who simply loves the gold-colored decorative features.
- 16-inch pneumatic tires
- Top speed of 16 mph
- Can hold up to 220 pounds
With a maximum speed of 20 mph, this is on the faster end of the electric scooter spectrum and is perfect for whizzing around a city center.
- 500 watt motor
- Comes with truck for storage
- Front and rear suspension
The large 500 watt brushless hub motor can get you going at up to 20 mph and take you up to 25 miles on a single charge.
- Under-seat storage and a storage trunk
- No license required
- Front and rear brakes
With under-seat storage and a trunk, this nifty scooter is perfect for grocery shopping, commuting, and general use around town.
- 3.3HP 4 stroke engine
- Rear wheel drive
- Simple analogue dash
This cool chopper style scooter is designed with young people in mind and is suitable for anyone 13 years of age or older.
- 1.3 liter gas tank
- Five color options
- Max speed of roughly 20 mph
This 50cc gas scooter can hold two adults and gives an impressive 11o miles per gallon, under optimum conditions.
- Fully automatic
- Twist throttle
- Front and rear brakes
This sleek all-black model not only looks great but performs well and is extremely economical to run. Don’t expect to take it past 35 mph, though.
- Comes with storage trunk
- Fully automatic
- Does up to 110 miles per gallon
Another Tao Tao model, but this time sportier looking. Despite it’s racy looks, it has low emissions and is CARB-approved for California buyers.
- 12-inch alloy wheels
- Some assembly required
- Three color options
Sure, it’s a bit different from your standard road scooter, but it sure is fun to ride. Although it can handle up to 200 pounds, it’s suitable for younger riders of 13 years+, too.
- Approximately 200cc engine
- Pull-start operation
- Rugged construction
While it might have the sporty appearance of a motorcycle, the 150cc engine places it more accurately in scooter territory. A good option if you like the look of a motorbike but prefer the lower power of a scooter.
- 70 mph top speed
- Electric or kick-start operation
- Comes fully assembled
This 125cc scooter offers great performance and faster speeds than 50cc models, plus it comes from a trusted manufacturer.
- Fully automatic
- Anti-theft lock
- 1.2 gallon gas tank
A powerful 150cc offering from Tao Tao. You get all the quality and reliability of its smaller-engined options but with a max speed of around 50 mph.
- GY6 engine
- Fully automatic
- A range of color options
With front and rear hydraulic suspension and a 4 cycle 150cc engine, the Lancer-150 is a pleasure to ride and gets you where you need to go quickly.
- Automatic CVT transmission
- Street legal
- Some assembly required