Best Electric Scooter Under $300: GOTRAX Xr
The Best Electric Scooter Under $300 designation belongs to a single winner, the GOTRAX Xr. The Xr stomped out a field that began with twenty-five electric scooters to be crowned champion.
The Xr has a complete feature set, including large pneumatic tires, a disc brake, and 9.1-miles of real-world range. The scooter looks nice, has good build quality, and is backed by one of the biggest companies in the industry.
|Retail price: $249 (discounted)|
|Tested top speed: 14.6 mph*|
|Tested range: 9.1 miles*|
|Weight: 26 lbs|
|Max rider weight: 220 lbs|
|Water resistance: IP54 (splash)|
* Based on our performance tests which may differ from the manufacturer’s claims.
Results: Best Under $300 Scooter Finalists
To crown the best electric scooter under $300, we began with a field of 25 electric scooters. Using simple criteria, we narrowed it down to three finalists — GOTRAX Xr, GOTRAX GXL Commuter V2, and the Swagtron Swagger 5 — that we subjected to extensive did hands-on testing. Each scooter was graded in terms of performance, ride, portability, and quality.
Overall Results for the Finalists
|GOTRAX XR||GOTRAX GXL V2||Swagger 5|
|Ride||1st (tie)||1st (tie)||2nd|
|Weight||26 lb||26 lb||26 lb|
|Max Wt.||220 lb||220 lb||330 lb|
|Brakes||Regen + Disc||Regen + Disc||Regen + Disc|
|Motor||250 W||250 W||250 W|
|Battery||187 Wh||187 Wh||216 Wh|
|Warranty||3 months||3 months||3 months|
The Swagger 5 (above) has the best performance of the bunch.
The Swagger 5 had the best acceleration, top speed, and hill-climbing ability of the bunch. The GOTRAX GXL Commuter V2 had the best range while the GOTRAX Xr had the best (shortest) braking distance.
Electric Scooter Guide Performance Tests Results
|XR||GXL V2||Swagger 5|
|Top Speed||14.6 mph||13.5 mph||18 mph|
|Range||9.1 mi||10.1 mi||8.6 mi|
|Hill climb||34.4 s||20.9 s||24.3 s|
|0-15 mph||8.2 s||10.0 s||– s|
|Braking||14.9 ft||16.7 ft||– ft|
The Xr (above) and GXL V2 have the best ride quality.
They edge out the Swagger 5 due to their dual 8.5-inch pneumatic tires and tied for best ride. Both scooters have slight edge in ride quality due to their 8.5-inch pneumatic tires which serve as better shock absorbers on poor roads and have better traction in wet conditions.
Overall, all scooters have great ride quality on smooth roads. They are all very nimble due to their low weight, skinny tires, and small dimensions. On rougher terrain, none of the scooters have amazing performance due to lack of suspension.
The Swagger 5 (above) has just a single pneumatic tire in the front and an airless honeycomb tire in the rear. The airless tires does not have as good shock absorption or traction as pneumatic tires. This is most noticeable on rough roads; we also notice decreased traction on the rear wheel when riding in wet conditions.
The GOTRAX Xr (above) is the most portable scooter, for three reasons:
- Smallest folded dimensions of 41-inches by 15-inches by 6-inches. This ties with the GXL V2, which has the same dimensions.
- Best folding mechanism. The Xr has a folding mechanism that is quicker than the Swagger 5 and improved over the GXL V2. It features an additional safety pin to prevent accidental folding, which is absent from the GXL V2.
- Easiest to carry. When folded, both the Xr and GXL V2 have a 180-degree angle that gives them the perfect balance for carrying.
All the scooters are fairly portable, despite the Xr’s clear edge. They all have the same 26 lb weight, easy-to-use folding mechanisms, and relatively small folded dimensions.
The Swagger 5 (above) trails behind these other scooters in terms of portability. Due to the steeper angle of its stem, when folded, it is more difficult to carry. Its folding mechanism is slower to use and takes more hand strength to lock and unlock.
The GOTRAX Xr has the best overall quality — thanks to its quality components, good fit-and-finish, and bright LED display.
Thanks to its quality components, good fit-and-finish, and bright LED display.
Though the GOTRAX Xr and GXL V2 have a very similar quality, except for one noticeable difference — a nicer, brighter display compared to the GXL V2. For this reason, the Xr edges out the V2.
Both of these scooters have better fit-and-finish. Controls like the accelerator and brake lever feel stronger and have better mechanical action. The brakes, in particular, are quieter and smoother compared to the Swagger 5. The quality difference isn’t huge — but it’s noticeable.
All scooters have acceptable quality. None of the scooters had noticeably rattling parts or defects. All scooters survived the 3X drop tests with minor scratches or less.
The GOTRAX Xr is the new Best Electric Scooter Under $300, replacing the GOTRAX GXL Commuter V2.
The Xr was as good or better than the other scooters in every aspect considered, except performance. The Xr provides the best portability, ride, and quality of any scooter under $300.
Full Methodology For Selecting Best Electric Scooter Under $300
The Field: 25 Electric Scooters
We started with a field of twenty-five electric scooters — all retailing for less than $300 — then applied simple criteria to narrow down to a handful of scooters that we will put through our extensive testing.
- Max weight at least 220 lbs. We choose this because we are looking for an adult electric scooter, not one for children.
- Only established electric scooter brands. Amazon is rampant with generic scooters that pop up quickly, make big promises and sales, then disappear. We only consider scooters from companies that can provide real post-purchase and warranty support.
- Battery capacity of more than 150 watt-hours. This will ensure a real world-range of at least 5 miles.
Applying these simple criteria to our massive scooter database, we end up with seven reasonable contenders that we can further pair down before actual testing. They call come from just four well-known brands: Voyager, Razor, Swagtron, and GOTRAX:
- Voyager Proton
- Razor E300
- Swagtron Swagger Pro
- GOTRAX GXL Commuter
- GOTRAX GXL Commuter V2
- GOTRAX Xr
- Swagtron Swagger 5
Challenger Comparison Table
|Proton||Electric + Foot||None|
|Swagger Pro||Electric + Foot||IPx4|
|GXL||Regen + Disc||IP54|
|GXL V2||Regen + Disc||IP54|
|Xr||Regen + Disc||IP54|
Looking over the choices, we note that the Proton, E300, and Swagger Pro are clearly the bottom-runners. While many of the contenders have an IP (water-resistance) rating and strong, redundant braking systems, these scooters lack one or both features.
Therefore we exclude them, and are left with just three finalists:
Evaluating the Finalists
We evaluated the finalists in four areas: performance, ride, portability, and quality.
- 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:
- Acceleration time (0 to 15 mph)
- Top speed
- Range (100% to 0% charge)
- Stopping distance from 15 mph
- 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:
- Roads in good/bad repair
- Dirt trails
- Riding over grass
- Up and downhill
- Wet and dry conditions
- 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:
- Folded dimensions
- Folding ease and speed
- Carrying ease
- 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:
- Fit and finish
- Quality of components
- How solid the scooter feels
- Noise or rattling parts
- Drop test, repeated three times