Best Electric Scooters Under $1200

Best Electric Scooter Under $1200

The Zero 9 is, hands-down, the Best Electric Scooter Under $1200 and simply one of the top electric scooters overall. The Zero has achieved what we think is the perfect balance of range, weight, portability, quality, and price. The scooter has been around and gone through numerous improvement iterations.

Zero 9: Exceptional Balance of Performance and Quality

Zero 9 Electric Scooter

Summary

The Zero 9 stands out as the top dog of e-scooters under $1200.

Coming in at just 40 lbs and delivering a realistic 21.7 miles of range on a challenging urban course, the Zero 9 strikes a perfect balance of portability, power, and features. In addition to its utilitarian features, it also has a pretty dramatic stem and ground swag lighting, which is a bonus for some.

Technical Specifications

Tested top speed: 28.4 mph*
Tested range: 21.7 mi*
Weight: 40 lb
Max rider weight: 220 lb
Water resistance: None
Check price and availability for the Zero 9 in the United States.

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Results: Best Under $1200 Scooter Finalists

To crown the best electric scooter under $1200, we began with a field of 20 e-scooters. Using simple criteria, we honed in on three finalists — the Kaabo Skywalker 10S, the Mercane WideWheel Pro, and the Zero 9— that we subjected to extensive did hands-on testing. Each scooter was graded in terms of performancerideportability, and quality.

Model One Skywalker 10S WideWheel Pro Zero 9
Our Ratings
Perform. 4th 3rd 1st 2nd
Portability 1st 4th 3rd 2nd
Ride 4th 2nd 3rd 1st
Quality 2nd (tie) 1st (tie) 2nd (tie) 1st (tie)
Specs.
Retail
Weight 26 lb 56 lb 54 lb 40 lb
Max Wt. 275 lb 265 lb 220 lb 220 lb
Brakes Regen+
Foot
Disc+
Disc
Disc+
Disc
Disc+
Drum
Motor 500 W 1200 W 1000 W 600 W
Battery 282 Wh 936 Wh 720 Wh 624 Wh
IP
Rating
IP54 None IP54 None
Warranty 12 mo 12 mo 6 mo 6 mo

Performance

Man riding the Kaabo Skywalker 10s

The Kaabo Skywalker 10S had the best performance — it had the highest top speed, longest tested range, and best braking performance.

The WideWheel Pro came in second with the best acceleration to 25 mph and quickest hill-climbing performance.

The Zero 9 is competitive — though not a winner — in all performance categories. It delivered very respectable top speed, acceleration, and range.

Finally, the Unagi lags significantly behind the others with its somewhat low top speed and its single-digit range.

Electric Scooter Guide Performance Tests Results

Model One Skywalker 10S WideWheel Pro Zero 9
Top Speed 20 mph 32 mph 26.7 mph 28.4 mph
Range 8.5 mi 25.1 mi 19.3 mi 21.7 mi
Hill climb 12.5 s 11.4 s 10.8 s 13.6 s
0-15 mph 4.4 s 3.7 s 3.2 s 4.2 s
0-20 mph 5.6 s 5.2 s 7.1 s
0-25 mph 9.1 s 8.4 s 11.8 s
Braking 16.9 ft 9.3 ft 12.5 ft 10.2 ft

Ride Quality

Animation of man riding the Zero 9 electric scooter

The Zero 9 crushes the other scooters in terms of ride quality. It has an excellent front and rear spring suspension and 8.5-inch pneumatic tires. Together, the suspension and tires help to smooth out rough terrain and should be suitable for anything you’ll encounter in a city.

Additionally, it has the most deck space of the tested scooters — leaving plenty of room to plant your feet in a comfortable position.

Kaabo Skywalker 10S front tire and suspension

The 10S (above) is equipped with a suspension and even larger 10-inch pneumatic tires. Yet, it has the least amount of usable deck space due to the placement of the suspension components.

Finally, the WideWheel Pro and Model One bring up the rear. Both lack pneumatic tires, making for a rough ride. The WideWheel Pro does have an integrated suspension, but it’s very stiff and jarring on uneven terrain. The Model One has no suspension, but uses tires with “air pockets” that provide some road damping, but still a harsh ride on poor terrain.

Portability

Man folding an electric scooter

The Unagi Model One gets its first win, for being the most portable scooter of the bunch — thanks to its meager 26 lbs and ultra-quick folding mechanism.

Some of the e-scooters in this cohort weigh twice as much!

The Zero 9 comes in second for portability. It is the next lightest scooter — tipping the scales at 40 lbs. Additionally, it folds to the most compact dimensions thanks to its folding handlebars and telescoping stem.

The Skywalker 10S is the least portable scooter of the bunch. It is the heaviest and has the largest folded dimensions.

Model One Skywalker 10S WideWheel Pro Zero 9
Weight 26 lb 56 lb 54 lb 40 lb
Folded Length 37 in 47 in 43 in 43 in
Folded Width 16 in 9 in 9 in 7 in
Folded Height 15 in 13 in 16 in 14 in

Build Quality

Electric scooter rear wheel containing the DC electric motor

The Zero 9 and Skywalker 10S (above) share the prize for the best quality. Each of these scooters are sturdy metal juggernauts — each with distinct advantages and drawbacks that cause them to tie. The Skywalker has a more extended 12-month warranty and a slightly higher 265 lb weight limit than the Zero 9. On the other hand, the Zero 9 has better overall fit-and-finish and better build quality out of the box.

The Unagi (above) takes the second spot for quality. It has a great design, long 12-month warranty, beautiful fit-and-finish, and the highest weight capacity of 275 lbs. The Unagi’s build quality is good but unremarkable, given its premium price point compared to its other features. It is not in the same quality class as the Tesla-like Boosted Rev — we think it is more comparable to a Xiaomi M365 in terms of build quality.

Close up of large electric scooter tire

Bringing up the rear is the WideWheel Pro (above). The Pro has a 6-month warranty and meager 220 lb weight capacity — when we consider its hefty 54 lb weight.

Summary

Heavier rider jumping up and down on the Touring electric scooter

There is a strong case that the Zero 9 is the best electric scooter under $1200 — taking 1st or 2nd place in every category we considered it. The Zero 9 delivers long real-world range, enough power, a good ride, and is light enough for frequent lifting and carrying. It has a spacious deck and large dual pneumatic tires that, along with a dual-suspension, provide ride quality that won’t fatigue you after long distances.

Runners-Up

Kaabo Skywalker 10S

Kaabo Skywalker 10S electric scooter unfolded

The Skywalker 10s is a great scooter with a comfortable ride; it had the longest range of the scooters considered. The main drawbacks that kept it out of the Winner’s Circle were its relatively cramped deck and 56 lb weight. The Skywalker has the tires, suspension, and battery to go a long distance, but we found the relatively small deck to be cramped for long rides. Riders with smaller feet may not find this to be a problem. Finally, its 56 lb weight was simply too much for regular lifting and may be very difficult for some to carry upstairs. However, this scooter does offer quite a bit for its price point. If you want something with great range and power and don’t mind the weight, it’s worth looking checking out.

Mercane WideWheel Pro

2020 Mercane WideWheel Pro electric scooter

The WideWheel Pro is a weighty dual-motor scooter that has thrilling acceleration. It is probably one of the most fun electric scooters you can buy. It is a worthy contender as the best scooter, but not balanced enough to take the win. It has great performance but lacks practical features like a quality suspension and pneumatic tires that enhance daily riding. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a super fun scooter, less practical scooter, for recreational use.

Unagi Model One (E500)

The Unagi Model One is very competitive if you are looking for the best portable electric scooter. Tipping the scales at 26 lbs, it is among the lightest scooters, in general. When you consider that excellent acceleration provided by dual motors — the next lightest dual-motor scooters weight more than twice as much — its weight is downright ridiculous. However, as a contender for the Best Electric Scooter Under $1200, it has to compete considering an “average rider” who is not looking for a specialized, ultra-portable scooter. For this reason, it did not prevail in this category — it’s simply too specialized for the average rider.

Full Methodology For Selecting Best Electric Scooter Under $1200

We considered approximately twenty electric scooters — all costing between $900 and $1200. Next, we excluded any scooter that wasn’t available for purchase as of 2020. We applied simple criteria to narrow the choices down to just a handful of scooters that we subjected to full, in-depth, hands-on testing, and comparison.

  • Max weight of at least 220 lbs. We chose these criteria because we are looking for powered scooters for adults.
  • Only well-known, established brands. We excluded brands that have recently appeared, on Amazon for example, that may not be around in the next few months.
  • Battery capacity of more than 200 watt-hours. This ensures a range of at least 7 miles, which is reasonable at this price.

After applying these criteria, we are left with nine unique challengers from eight notable brands, including UScooters, Kaabo, Unagi, Mercane, and Zero.

Challengers

We’ve reviewed and tested every scooter from this list (or at least some version of it). From here, we’ll purge a few more scooters to keep the list simple.

Note: The values below are from our independent testing and may differ from the specifications provided by the manufacturer.

ScooterPriceRange0-15 mphMax Wt.Weight
Booster V$119912.6 mi5.7 s280 lb24 lb
Skywalker 10S$99925.1 mi3.7 s265 lb56 lb
Model One (E500)$9908.5 mi4.4 s275 lb26 lb
WideWheel$99918.8 mi2.9 s220 lb45 lb
WideWheel Pro$114919.3 mi3.2 s220 lb54 lb
Zero 9$105021.7 mi4.2220 lb40 lb

Scooters That Were Eliminated

Booster V
UScooters Booster V electric scooters

The UScooters Booster V is a specialized scooter that is targeted for users who want something that is an ultra-portable tank. The Booster V is one of the lightest scooters you can buy, folds into an incredibly compact package and has maintenance-free solid tires. However, due to its specialized design, it has a somewhat limited range and poor ride quality on bad roads. It is a contender for the best portable electric scooter, but not well-rounded enough to compete with other scooters for an the average rider.

Mercane WideWheel (dual motor)
2019 Mercane WideWheel electric scooter

The 2019 Mercane WideWheel (dual motor version) was not kept in as a finalist because the WideWheel Pro, an upgraded version of the same scooter made it in. This doesn’t mean the Mercane WideWheel is a bad scooter.

Following our purge, just four finalists remain — the Kaabo Skywalker 10S, Unagi Model One (E500), WideWheel Pro, and the Zero 9. To determine the best scooter under $1200, we graded these scooters based on results from hands-on testing, in terms of performance, ride, portability, and quality.

Evaluating the Finalists

We evaluated the finalists in four areas: performance, ride, portability, and quality.

  1. Performance. Performance basically describes fast the scooter goes, how far it goes, and how quickly it accelerates and stops. Factors affecting this are brake type, motor power, controller power, and battery capacity. All scooters are tested under the same conditions with a 165 lb rider. We use high-precision Racelogic GPS unit — the same type used for performance car testing. We use this type of unit because cell phone-based performance logging is unreliable for many of these tests. For performance, we consider:
    1. Acceleration time (0 to 15 mph)
    2. Top speed
    3. Range (100% to 0% charge)
    4. Stopping distance from 15 mph
  2. Ride. Ride or ride quality basically describes the feeling and stability of the scooter on a variety of terrain. Some scooters have a great ride on smooth roads but are punishing on poor ones. Features that affect ride quality are tire type and size, the geometry of the scooter, and the presence or lack of suspension. To test ride quality, we typically ride the scooter for several weeks and for around 100 miles. We test the scooter on the following types of terrain/conditions:
    1. Roads in good/bad repair
    2. Dirt trails
    3. Riding over grass
    4. Up and downhill
    5. Wet and dry conditions
  3. Portability. Portability describes how easy a scooter is to carry, store, and bring onto public transportation. Some things that affect portability are weight, folded dimensions, and folding mechanism. We specifically rate portability, based on:
    1. Weight
    2. Folded dimensions
    3. Folding ease and speed
    4. Carrying ease
  4. Quality. Quality encompasses how well the scooter was designed and assembled. We also consider warranty duration and post-purchase support data, if known. Some scooters need a full tune-up as soon as you take them out of the box, while others are ready to ride. To rate quality, we consider the following factors:
    1. Fit and finish
    2. Quality of components
    3. How solid the scooter feels
    4. Noise or rattling parts
    5. Drop test, repeated three times

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