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The best electric scooters for students

Included in this guide:

The best electric scooter for students
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Electric scooters for students are a quick, affordable and fun way to get around campus, so we've picked give of the very best. Whether you're heading off to college or university yourself, or helping your kids get ready for the new school year, we've picked out a set of scooters that are affordable, safe, and reliable enough for everyday riding.

When it comes to electric scooters for students, there are a few important points to look out for. Range is particularly important, as this varies greatly depending on the scooter's battery capacity and weight. If you're using an e-scooter to zip around campus, you might not be able to recharge it until you get home at the end of the day, so you'll need to be sure that it's not going to run out of juice before your final class. Nobody wants to be carrying a dead scooter back to their dorm.

Cost is another consideration, but in our experience the very cheapest scooters on the market are generally pretty poor value in the long run. The build quality is poorer, you might not get a warranty or servicing, and the spec just isn't up to snuff. 

Take brakes, for example. Disc brakes will allow you to stop your scooter quickly and safely in an emergency (particularly if you've picked up speed going downhill). A cheap scooter, however, might only have a foot brake, which requires you to stamp on the back mudguard to stop yourself. It's less effective, less intuitive and less safe.

Thankfully, quality components don't have to break the bank, and you can pick up an excellent cheap electric scooter that's built to last – if you know where to look.

One factor that's not so important is speed. A college or university is going to be pretty busy, and you're unlikely to be the only one riding a scooter, so traveling at a slower speed might actually be an advantage, helping you turn more easily and avoid accidents. Moving a little slower will also help your scooter's battery last longer between charges. Win-win.

Xiaomi Mijia M365

The Xiaomi Mijia M365 is light and cheap, and is our number one e-scooter for students (Image credit: Xiaomi)

1. Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter

A great all-rounder – the best electric scooter for students

Reasons to buy
+Reasonably priced+Good range+Nippy top speed
Reasons to avoid
-External brake cables

It's not the cheapest model around, but the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter (better known as the M365) has earned its place as the world's most popular e-scooter.

One of its key selling points is its range, which maxes out at 18 miles (enough for several days of zipping around campus). Your exact mileage will depend on various factors, including any hills and the type of terrain you're riding on, but that's an impressive figure at this price point.

The Mi Electric Scooter is also pretty nippy, with a top speed of 15mph, but sticking to a slightly more sedate pace will help increase its range so you aren't left carrying 12.5kg of scooter home at the end of the day.

Dual brakes help you stop quickly and safely in emergencies without the scooter tipping forwards, and although we prefer scooters with internal cables (it looks neater and means they're less prone to damage or vandalism), the build quality is robust. A great all-rounder

Xiaomi Mi Essential

The Xiaomi Mi Essential is a well built electric scooter that covers all the basics well (Image credit: Xiaomi)

2. Xiaomi Mi Essential Electric Scooter

A basic but well-rounded entry-level electric scooter

Reasons to buy
+Recently dropped in price+Robust build quality+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Limited range

When the Xiaomi Mi Essential first launched earlier in 2020, we weren't too impressed. With a top speed of 12.4mph and a maximum range of 12.4 miles, its specs were about what you'd expect from an entry-level scooter, but its price was far higher than similar devices from the likes of Segway-Ninebot.

However, the price of the Xiaomi Mi Essential has plummeted in just a couple of months, making it one of the best value electric scooters you can buy today, and a great choice for students heading back to school.

Although it's a little slower than the Mijia 365 above, this newer model has a more robust build that'll take the knocks of college life and keep on rolling. It has much less in the way of exposed cabling too, and is a little lighter. If you're looking for an electric scooter that can take a bit of a bruising, this might be the better option.

Pure Air Go electric scooter

If you've not ridden an e-scooter before, the Pure Air Go will give you a gentle introduction (Image credit: Pure Electric)

A solidly built entry-level electric scooter for new riders

Reasons to buy
+Top-end build+Low price+Plenty of lights
Reasons to avoid
-Very limited range

Pure Electric makes some of the best electric scooters around, and the Pure Air Go is its new entry-level model. It doesn't have the same raw power as its bigger sibling, the Pure Air Pro, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; if you're new to scooting then you'll find its gentler acceleration easier to handle, and its lower price is easier on your wallet as well.

It doesn't skimp on features though, and has all the essentials for students riding around campus, including puncture-proof tires, a water-resistant design with nicely built mudguards, and plenty of lights and reflectors to keep you safe after dark.

In our tests we found it struggled a little with some steeper hills, which is something to be aware of if your campus isn't flat. Any students planning to tackle tougher terrain will be better off with something more powerful.

Segway Ninebot ES2

The Segway Ninebot ES2 isn't cheap, but it's extremely well built, and will stand all the knocks a student can throw at it (Image credit: Segway)

4. Segway Ninebot ES2

A robust, speedy scooter for students with deeper pockets

Reasons to buy
+Full suspension+Impressive top speed+Smart design with internal cables
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than Xiaomi

Xiaomi might be the biggest name in electric scooters right now, but Segway is making big strides too, particularly in the US. The Segway Ninebot ES2 is one of its most affordable scooters, but has surprisingly impressive specs and is another top choice for students heading to uni or college.

Its top speed of 15mph means it's considerably faster than the Xiaomi Mi Essential above, and it can keep going a little further too, with a top range of 15.5mph in optimum conditions. It's well built too, with all cables tucked away neatly inside, and full suspension to cushion you from life's little lumps and bumps. It is, however, more expensive, so it's a matter of where your priorities lie.

It's possible to extend the range of the ES2 even further by attaching an auxiliary battery, but this bumps up the price beyond most student budgets, and isn't something we'd recommend.

Pure Air Pro

If you're comfortable riding an e-scooter already, the powerful Pure Air Pro will make light work of your college commute (Image credit: Pure)

5. Pure Air Pro

A seriously tough, water resistant scooter for students

Reasons to buy
+Easy to service+IP65 water resistant+Respectable range
Reasons to avoid
-High price

The Pure Air Pro, from British company Pure Electric, is a seriously sturdy electric scooter built to last years – even if you're studying somewhere with inclement weather, where you're likely to be riding it through more than a few puddles. Indeed, it's one of the few electric scooters around with IP65 water resistance.

At 15.5mph, its top speed is on a par with most of the scooters in this roundup, and its range of 22 miles is very reasonable. It also has a higher maximum load capacity than most scooters. While the likes of the Xiaomi M365 Pro are only rated for loads up to 100kg, the Pure Air Pro can heave up to 120kg without breaking a sweat. Ideal if your studies involve a lot of weighty textbooks.

It's certainly not cheap, so you'll have to be confident you'll be riding it between classes regularly, but it should serve you well until you graduate (and beyond).

Cat Ellis

Cat Ellis (@CatEllisTech) is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 11 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line at catherine.ellis@futurenet.com.