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The best electric scooters and skateboards for 2020

Whether it's for commuting or for fun (or a little of both) these electric scooters will get you where you're going.

With people still being urged to stay at home as much as possible and public transit systems difficult for social distancing, having an e-bike or electric scooter might make sense for essential short-distance travel -- it's an easy way to take supplies to vulnerable family and friends as safely and quickly as possible. Perhaps you want to cover longer distances faster than walking or maybe you've been looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint -- all good reasons to consider a rideable.

I've learned a lot from testing different types of battery-operated rideables, some tested before the coronavirus outbreak, others more recently, on a commute through sections of midtown Manhattan, around Central Park or down the West Side Highway bike path

This roundup, which I'll update as I review more products, covers electric scooters and skateboard-like devices. E-bikes get their own list. Why would you want a scooter over a more traditional bike? Electric scooters are nimble and smaller, and are easy to take on mass transit, leave in the trunk of your car or store at home.

Read more: The best e-bikes to ride in 2020

I've included water resistance ratings when available for each electric scooter. IP ratings, which stands for ingress protection, lets you know the dust- or water-resistance of a product. For example, if something has an IP54 rating, the first number after the letters refers to resistance to solids while the second refers to moisture. Read more in our IP rating explainer

Also, and let's not make a big deal of it, but I exceed the rated weight capacity for most of these products. For the most part, they all still performed as expected, though maybe with a little less range or speed. No devices were harmed during this roundup. 

Lastly, if you plan on getting into rideables, be safe about it. Leave enough space between yourself and both cars and riders on plain old human-powered bikes and scooters. Remember you're able to go a lot faster, so ride and pass with caution. Make sure to charge your battery and check on your tires. And, most important, always wear a helmet when you ride. 

Joseph Kaminski

Not all scooters are created equal. The $1,399 Emove Crusier makes this abundantly clear. One of my first times riding this scooter I kept looking at the battery indicator expecting it to move; it didn't move an inch for miles. I'm a heavy guy and I'm also heavy on the throttle, but I've learned to ease off of it if I want to make it home. That's not the case with the Emove -- it just keeps going. 

Keep in mind that these batteries can only be charged so many times before they no longer perform at an optimal level. That means the less you charge your device, the longer the battery will perform at its peak. That alone was more than enough for this scooter to make the list, but that's not all. 

The Emove Cruiser has a wide deck making it easy to stand in a staggered stance or side by side. It can support riders up to 352 pounds, hits a top speed of 25 mph and can travel approximately 60 miles on a full charge. The scooter takes about 8 to 12 hours to fully charge. It has 10-inch pneumatic tubeless car-grade tires, front dual suspension and rear air-shock suspension, which makes for a smooth ride. The acceleration is smooth enough to take off with one hand, though I wouldn't recommend it. The takeoff can also be adjusted for a more aggressive start if you want.

The scooter has a single-hinge, fold-down knob along with collapsable handlebars, which makes it convenient for storage. It weighs 52 pounds -- most of it battery -- so it's not the lightest. A key is needed for ignition and there are front and rear lights along with independent lights on the deck for added safety. It even goes one step further with an electric horn and signal lights. The signals aren't as visible during the day but are still a welcome addition.

Another useful design feature: The Emove has an IPX6 rating so you don't have to worry if you get caught in the rain. It also has fenders long enough to keep you dry when rolling over wet surfaces.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Swagtron Swagger 5 Elite is the least expensive product on this list, and that's its greatest feature. This folding e-scooter doesn't outperform any of the products mentioned here, but at $299 it's hard to complain about it not being the best electric scooter in the overall marketplace. It has a single 250-watt motor that doesn't put out much torque but can reach a smooth ride speed of 14 to 16 mph. The listed travel distance is approximately 11 miles on a fully charged battery, with a lithium-ion battery will charge in 3.5 hours. The maximum weight supported is 320 pounds and the e-scooter weighs 26 pounds. Although it supports larger riders, due to its low-powered motor, you may get a slower takeoff and slowdowns on inclines. It may also lose its charge faster. See our gallery of the Swagtron Swagger 5 Elite.

Joseph Kaminski/CNET

The compact $399 Geneinno S2 scooter is built for use in the ocean, lakes and in pools, its 350-watt brushless motors can propel you through the water at up to 2.7 mph. It might not be a speed demon, but its 97 watt-hour battery delivers approximately 45 minutes of use, and can take you down to depths up to 98 feet. Its included magnetic charger takes about two hours to top the battery off. 

The S2 works with an iOS/Android app -- you connect to your phone via Bluetooth -- to track dives and has parental controls so the little ones can use it, too. I could easily see this being used to help kids learn to swim or just get them used to the water. 

Also, while the scooter is designed to be used with two hands, you can switch to a one-hand mode. There is also a camera mount at the front of the device to attach a GoPro or light. The scooter floats on its own in case you need to let go for a second, and its bright orange color is easy to spot. 

The Geneinno S2 may not be the fastest or most powerful water scooter, but it weighs only 5.9 pounds and fits in a backpack, making it a good pick for flights to vacation getaways. Check out Geneinno's video of the S2 in action.

Sarah Tew

The Levy Electric Scooter slides into this list due to its price-to-practicality ratio. An electric scooter that can hit 18 mph, costs around $500, weighs just under 30 pounds and has a removable battery is a pretty good all-around deal. Levy also has scooters available for rent through its iOS and Android app. 

The Levy has air-filled tires that make for a comfortable ride. The battery is located in the steering tube, unlike a lot of other scooters, so you get some body flexibility similar to a longboard for those bumpy roads. I really appreciate that the battery is removable as well. Anyone with a yard or stairs can leave it locked, and remove the battery to take into charge. 

The Levy is rated to travel about 15 miles on a full charge but that's not at top speed. I would say most riders would get realistically about seven to 10 miles. But because it is removable, you can buy a second battery for $139 and carry it with you.

For a closer look, check out our gallery of the Levy Electric Scooter.

Sarah Tew/CNET

OK, this is a little out of the wheelhouse here, but the MagicJet is an electric scooter for the pool or the ocean, or any other body of water you're swimming where you might want a speed boost. 

With a top speed of 4 mph and rated for depths up to 164 feet (50 meters), you'll be able to keep your distance. It weighs just under 8 pounds but floats, making it easy to locate on the water along with the bright yellow 155Wh battery. 

There are two modes -- low and high -- and depending on usage the battery will get you approximately 60 minutes of use. If you're in fresh water, you can swap the battery without drying off, just as long as the scooter is turned off. The battery indicator and the power switch are at the rear of the device, making it easy to see how much juice you have left while you're using it. It has enough power to tow two people with its 600-watt motor, but that does change the experience. 

The MagicJet can be used with a dual-handle attachment, which makes it easier to whip around. You can also remove them and opt for single-handed piloting (see photo), or you can leave the dual handles attached and just switch from one hand to two. Removing them is better when you pack it up for travel. It's environmentally safe for all ocean creatures and has three camera mounts to capture your underwater experience. See our gallery of the AquaRobotMan MagicJet Seascooter.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Segway Max is a reliable electric scooter that can take you very far. It's rated to go 40 miles on a full charge (if you're driving slower and on flat ground), which is a bold claim by Segway. In real-world conditions, I was able to go seven miles (my daily commute before working from home) at top speed using 45% of the battery. That's still pretty good considering the scooter itself is rather hefty, weighing 41 pounds and I frequently got it up to 18mph. 

The air-filled tires make for a more comfortable ride than the ES series from Segway. One feature I really appreciated was the charging cable. It's a generic power cord with no brick, making it easy to carry around or replace. The 551-watt-hour battery can be fully charged in 6 hours. 

To stop, riders can just use the handbrake. There's also a bell built into the handlebar to alert pedestrians you're coming. And if you've got big feet, like I do, I loved the long riding deck, which gave me plenty of room to get comfortable. See our Segway Ninebot KickScooter Max gallery.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The ES4 Kick Scooter sits atop the Segway consumer scooter chain, with a secondary battery to make a long distance ride or a lengthy ride time a breeze. It can travel an estimated 28 miles on a single battery charge, and the electric motor allows for a top speed of 18 mph (which I was able to hit). The folding point on this e-scooter is different from the others in this roundup. The entire front post folds down, wheel and all. While braking, I would shift my weight back over the rear wheel, pushing down on the spoiler brake along with hitting the handlebar brake (which is an antilock brake), but without much of the front headtube flex you'd feel in some other scooters. There are also shock absorbers that help with shock absorption when you ride over bumpy surfaces. 

The dual-battery model weighs just over 30 pounds, and it supports riders weighing up to 220 pounds. The scooter has some good power and can put out 300 to 800 watts depending on the riding mode. Single charge time is longer than the average, about seven hours. If you run out of battery life and don't have time to charge, it can also work as an old-fashioned kick-and-go scooter. It also sports some customizable LED lights under the deck between the tires. Those and some other settings can be adjusted in the iOS and Android apps. See our Ninebot by Segway ES4 gallery.

Mark Licea

The Onewheel Pint is $950, practically half the price of the bigger Onewheel Plus XR, which costs $1,800. It weighs 26 pounds and supports riders up to 250 pounds. The Pint can travel six to eight miles on a full battery charge with the motor allowing a top speed of 16 mph. It is more maneuverable than any previous Onewheel and most other rideables. It handles inclines with ease and sports rear along with front lights for night riding. The board is operated by shifting your weight forward and back to move forward and back, and heel to toe to steer. Once you get the hang of it, it's like riding a skateboard, and you'll be tempted to pull off some tricks (which we do not officially endorse). 

For a closer look, see our gallery of the Onewheel Pint. Read our OneWheel Pint hands-on.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Premium scooter manufacturer Unagi adds new color customization options and a dual 250-watt motor to this update to last year's E450 model, our previous pick for the best all-around electric scooter. Why call this one the E500? Because that's the new total motor output wattage. 

Due to the dual 250-watt motors, the E500 required a slightly larger battery (28.8 volts) than the E450 to maintain the same travel distance. It makes the carbon fiber and aluminum body about two pounds heavier, at just a hair under 27 pounds.

The display is bright and easy to see in sunlight and instead of sticking a bell on the scooter, they've put on an electric horn that's loud enough to be heard through a closed car window. 

The electric scooter can support riders up to 270 pounds, hit a top speed of 18 mph, and a travel distance of 15 miles. To stop the scooter just use the ABS electric brake or put a little pressure on the rear spoiler brake for those steep hills. 

For a closer look at this electric scooter, check out our gallery of the Unagi E500. Read more on the Unagi E500.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The 2019 WideWheel made our list last year and it's no surprise that the 2020 WideWheel Pro makes it this year. Living in New York, I see all types of scooters but none more than the WideWheel. It's a beast and its performance-to-price ratio is hard to beat, even at $1,299. 

Improvements can be found all over. For starters, it did away with the LED indicator lights and put in a full display that shows battery level, current speed and riding mode. In addition, they've upgraded the headlight for better visibility at night and added more comfortable ergonomic handgrips.

The Pro still sports dual 500-watt motors but can now hit a top speed of 26 miles per hour and it has an upgraded lithium-ion battery to help out. There are a lot of scooters on the market that can hit around 25 mph but the WideWheel gets up to speed faster. This scooter just wants to take off and is why I don't recommend it for beginners. The company did, however, add a front disc brake to help bring this beast to a stop. It has two riding modes, Eco and Power, and an approximate travel distance of 20 miles. 

The new WideWheel Pro comes with or without a key ignition switch. It feels more solid than the 2019 model -- from the steering tube to the deck and handlebars. Both the handlebars and steering tube still fold down for transport or storage. The Pro weighs 54 pounds and supports riders up to 220 pounds (100 kg). 

Another feature that may get overlooked in the Pro is that it comes with a spring suspension but with limited travel. True to its name, the 3.9-inch wide wheels make for some serious traction on dry surfaces. The tires aren't air-filled (or comfortable), but the upside is the never-flat foam-filled tires won't leave you stranded. Trust me, it's no fun pushing a heavy scooter if the wheels let you down. 

The WideWheel Pro is a powerful and stunning scooter. And as a guy that exceeds its weight limit, I was impressed with its torque and ability to get me to top speed. See our gallery of the Mercane WideWheel Pro.

Sarah Tew

The Mercane WideWheel scooter is the best electric scooter when it comes to motor power in this lineup. Powered by dual 500-watt motors, it has some serious takeoff power and torque. 

Most models are locked to a top ride speed of 15 mph, but there's an advanced mode where you can unlock its full battery power and ride it to 25 mph (but you do so at your own risk). It has a dual suspension and weighs a whopping 50 pounds. The range is up to 20 miles on a single battery charge, and it supports riders weighing up to 220 pounds. The riding deck is longer and wider than your average scooter, making it easy to get both feet on the board comfortably. It has an IPX4 rating.

The scooter gets its name from its 8-inch wide tires. The tires are great for staying upright during a ride, but turns take some getting used to with the tires. Unlike most of the honor-system devices here, this one needs a key to start. See our Mercane WideWheel gallery.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Boosted is best known for its motorized skateboards, but it's now getting into the e-scooter market with the battery-powered Rev, the best electric scooter for the sophisticated set. This smooth ride has a powerful dual 1,500-watt motor and air-filled 9-inch pneumatic tires for a top ride speed of 24 mph. Due to its motor power and speed, it's best as an electric scooter for adults and not exactly a scooter for kids -- though if you're looking for an electric scooter for kids, there are plenty of options out there.

The $1,599 Rev (and its pneumatic tires) supports riders weighing up to 250 pounds, which is 30 more pounds more in weight capacity than some other scooters in this list, which makes it the best electric scooter as far as weight capacity. Bonus: For those with larger feet, the board is wide enough to get them side by side.

For a closer look at the electric scooter, check out our gallery of the Boosted Rev. Read our Boosted Rev hands-on.

The Onewheel Plus XR is the bigger and older brother to the Pint. Still one of my favorites, due to the all-around freedom you feel when riding. That along with the ability to travel 12 to 18 miles on a full charge of the battery, plus the motor lets you hit a top speed of 19 mph. 

A nice feature found in the app, for iOS and Android, is while riding you'll get a notification once the battery is at 50% so you can make it back home from wherever you may roam. The app offers a bunch of other settings from social to board riding customization. It's not the most travel-friendly in terms of carrying around, it weighs about 30 pounds, but is easy to store. In addition, it only takes about two hours to fully charge the battery. 

For a closer look, see our gallery of the Onewheel Plus XR. Read our Onewheel Plus XR hands-on.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Out of all the scooters in this lineup, this is the one that can most closely replace your car. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Apollo Pro made running errands and checking on the family the fastest and safest way to get around New York City. 

This is a comfortable ride, due to its dual 10-inch air-filled tires and spring suspension, which you really need for a scooter that can hit 40 mph. 

The Pro can travel close to 50 miles on a full charge and is powered by two 1,000-watt motors. You can ride the electric scooter in single- or dual-motor mode (balancing longer life versus more power), or get extra green with an eco mode. Read our Apollo Pro Scooter hands-on.

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