I own multiple scooters, have helped many close friends buy scooters, and have even helped strangers online pick a scooter. Entry level scooters often cost more than people expect. If you are on a budget, you owe it to yourself to consider buying a used scooter. Many people buy a GoTrax, Glion, or knockoff for $300 or $400 and are bummed when the scooter has a 6-mile (10km) real-world range!
So don’t be like this little cowboy, wear a helmet, do your homework, and read on.
If you are on a tight budget buying used may be the only way to get a quality scooter. Unfortunately, many new escooter riders do not realize this until after an expensive mistake.
If you have some knowledge about scooters or personal electric vehicles (PEVs) it will help you, but if not don’t sweat it. I will cover some electric scooter basics, a method that will help you shop, and give you some good scooters to look for.
So lean back and read through the piece and after completion, you will be a Used-Scooter-Shopping-Expert.
Why buy used?
Most of us have been stuck in the house a lot lately, which is why we see so many people trying out new hobbies lately. An electric scooter will put a smile on anyone’s face by spicing up the daily commute or providing some weekend fun.
While some scooter enthusiasts will gladly spend $3,000 to $4,000 on the newest Dualtron, or $2,000+ on an Apollo Pro or Zero 10x, the average person wants to spend substantially less on their first scooter. In fact, most people I see in forums like reddit say they want to spend between $350 and 700 on their first scooter. $500 and less cannot buy much of an electric scooter new, but it can get you a used Xiaomi Pro or a Ninebot MAX!
If you are a new rider wanting to start scooting on a budget, or if you just want something to ride to work for a low-cost while you save up for your dream scooter, buying a used electric scooter can help you meet these goals.
Buying Used Stretches Your Dollar
People often underestimate the price of brand-new electric scooters. $600 – 700 is pretty much the bare minimum to spend on a new scooter if you plan to use it outside of your driveway. People ask questions online everyday such as, “What is the best scooter for less than $300 or $400?” My answer: Shop used! You don’t want a scooter that gives you range anxiety, and you don’t want a scooter with kiddy size tires.
Recently, I saw a used advertisement for a guy selling an electric scooter with 6-inch wheels. He wanted to spend under $300 and accidently bought a kids scooter and now is reselling it. If the buyer learned just a bit they would have known that a scooter with six-inch tires is for kids, and that they needed to skip this scooter. Now the guy is trying to sell it for $100 after spending $280 and must start scooter shopping from the beginning. That sucks!
You don’t want to risk buying generic when you can get a name brand used scooter with all the features you need.
Safety Equipment & Additional Expenses
In addition to buying your scooter you need to make sure you have gloves and a brain bucket to protect your dome. Some states require a helmet by law. At the minimum I recommend a helmet and gloves so leave room for these in your budget. Some ads include safety equipment or other accessories.
Example of used Ninebot MAX G30P on Facebook marketplace
The Segway Ninebot MAX G30P retails for $799. Here is an example of a used Ninebot MAX G30P for sale for only $550 with a $100 lock included free. The lock and the scooter are worth $900 combined, plus tax, which is worth about $1,000 after tax.
Sellers are often open to offers, especially if they have been trying to sell the scooter a long time. I would be surprised if this seller would take $400 for this scooter and I would be shocked if they would not take a $500. Negotiate! Be reasonable with your offers for the best results.
What Type of Buyer are You?
Most used electric scooter buyers fall into two main categories:
- New electric scooter riders – You are looking for an entry level escooter on a budget. Many people want to spend $400-700 on their first electric scooter. If you have $400-600 you can get a good used scooter instead of a bottom-of-the-barrel new scooter.
- Scooter enthusiasts – You know what you want and are hunting for good deals. I recently have seen two ads for the Dualtron Eagle Pro used with low mileage. You want to save money on a high-end scooter.
You don’t need to know everything about electric scooters before you buy one, but if you are buying used you need to know a few things, and some common pitfalls to avoid. The biggest mistake people make is making uneducated buying decisions. Learn the basics, decide on what you need, and be patient.
The EDS Method
EDS stands for: Educate, Decide, Shop. If you are an experienced rider that knows exactly what scooter you want, you can jump straight to the shopping tips. If you are new to escooters resist the urge to shop until you learn the basics. I use this three step method to guide my purchases:
- Educate – Educate yourself on the basics of scooters
- Decide – Decide what your scooter needs are, and what you can spend
- Shop – Shop for a scooter that meets your individual needs
Educate – Learn About Electric Scooters
Educate yourself. I often nerd out looking at electric vehicles in my spare time but you don’t need to. No one is expecting you to memorize specs on every scooter or explain the physics of an electric motor. Learn about scooters, you can start with these basics:
- Voltage: You want to know the voltage that your battery and scooter run on. Higher voltage scooters have more power. I would not recommend a scooter with less than 36v for adults.
- Motor: Most entry level scooters have 350-watt or 500-watt motors. Bigger motors have more power but also consume battery power faster. A larger watt motor means a scooter can climb hills more easily. Modern scooters have hubless motors so if you see a chain driven motor it is an older model scooter.
- Battery Type: Lithium ion (Li-ion, Li, LIB) is the new standard battery type for PEVs. I have seen some cool old lead acid battery (LA, LAB, PbAc) scooters converted to lithium ion but that is something for advanced hobbyists. I would not buy a scooter with a lead battery or recommend it. PEV batteries can last 10,000 miles (16,000km) but it greatly varies.
- Battery Size: Batteries size is usually listed in amperage hours (Ah). Sometimes you will see a battery size listed in watt hours (Wh). Watt hours are calculated by multiplying voltage times amperage hours (Wh=V X Ah). You don’t need to memorize this but it can help to compare scooters since some specs will show amperage hours and some will show wattage hours.
Think about your needs while learning about electric scooters. What do I need in a scooter? Learning some scooter basics and the common brands and models will also help you find a good used scooter.
- Range info given by retailers and manufacturers are not accurate. You may see no-name new scooters for $400 on Craigslist. You will be extremely disappointed when it goes 6 miles (10km) instead of the 16 (26km) listed on the box and ad. Check YouTube, forums, and reviews for the real-world range of a model, not the box or retailer. Rider weight impacts the range.
- Heavy riders should check the weight limits of scooters. The common weight limits for scooters are 220lbs, 275lbs, and 330lbs with a few holding 400lbs+. I am no Shaq, but at 6’3” 225lbs I avoid scooters rated for 220lbs and less.
- Retailer and manufacturer webpages are great for info other than range. You can find the weight of the scooter in case you need to carry it. You can find the scooter max load, motor size, battery size, and voltage of a scooter.
Decide what your needs are, what you are willing to spend, and what work you are willing to do. You cannot get a 50mph (80km) scooter with a 31-mile (50km) range for $500 so be realistic with your needs. If you are using the scooter to commute you need to ensure the scooter has enough real-world range for your commute. Here are a few things to think about:
- Decide your range needs. Many inexpensive scooters go from 8 (13km) to 15 miles (24km) on a charge, some up to 25 (40km). Batteries are expensive so more range costs more money. If you are riding for fun this may not be important to you; If you commute range is very important.
- Decide how much work you are willing to do to get the scooter. This includes repairing a scooter and driving to get a scooter. Ask yourself these two questions:
- How far am I willing to drive to buy a scooter? I search locally and in cities 2-3 hours in every direction, but I have my own hybrid car, so gas is cheap.
- Am I willing to repair a scooter I buy to make it work? Changing brake pads is no big deal but I don’t want to buy a big time project scooter. Are you?
- Decide what you can spend to meet your needs. If you have $300 and have a long commute you need to look for a longer-range scooter like a Ninebot Max. This means you need to save more money, so try to be realistic.
Once you decide what you need you are ready to shop. People make mistakes like buying scooters too small or scooters with very short range. You can buy a fantastic used electric scooter without being an expert by learning a bit and only shopping for scooters that meet your needs.
Shopping for an electric scooter is exciting! If you have $500 or less, the lack of new options can also be frustrating. Don’t be discouraged and buy new junk or give up because you can get a great used electric scooter! A used Xiaomi Pro or a used Ninebot MAX makes a great, affordable entry level scooter.
There are some clones that are decent, but it can be tough to identify a good no-name clone from a junky one. For this reason, it can be best to stick to more commonly known brands.
Where to Shop?
If you live in a small town or rural area you may need to look at ads in the closest major city. I look for used scooters as far as 2 – 3 hours away. You may need to use different sites than me depending where you live. Find a few sites or apps that have listings for scooters and check them regularly. Here are a few sites and apps I use to shop for electric scooters:
Craigslist is the best site to buy and sell cars and many other things. Good scooters sell fast on CL but the junk does not so I check it a few times per week. While Craigslist is not a one stop shop for buying a used electric scooter like it is with buying a used car, it is a good place to start.
Facebook Marketplace is a great place to buy a used electric scooter. If you don’t use Facebook you will need an account to set alerts so make an account. Use a dummy account if you don’t want an account in your name. Facebook Marketplace is one of the best sites to shop for local used items so, plain and simple, it should be included in your used scooter hunt.
OfferUp is an app to sell local goods and it even offers free listings. Shipping scooters is expensive so many sellers choose to sell locally on OfferUp over eBay for heavy adult toys like personal electric vehicles. You may have seen ads on TV or another app called LetGo. OfferUp acquired LetGo and as a result became a top app for selling used good locally.
eBay can be great too. I recommend looking for listings that offer local pickup. Look as far as you are willing to drive. Getting a scooter shipped you haven’t seen is risky and I only would take the risk if it involved big savings on a high-end scooter.
- Others – There are many other sites used in different regions and countries. If there is a popular app, site, or classified in your area then use it.
You should check ad listings frequently, but setting alerts is still a really big help. Once you target a model you can get alerts when people post that model for sale. Many sites allow you to set alerts so it is good to check. Here is some information I use to set alerts on a couple common sites:
- Craigslist – You need to create a Craigslist account. You can save searches, and there are even apps that will notify you when a new item is posted that matches your saved search. CPlus is an app that offers an improved mobile experience and can send alerts to your phone. You can get it for Android and for Apple iPhone.
- Facebook Marketplace – It is easy to turn on FB alerts:
- Others – Check other sites and set alerts if you can.
- Checking multiple sites makes it easier to get the jump on a good used scooter before someone else snags it. Check them regularly, and set alerts (more on that later).
- Be patient. Riding anything now may sound better than waiting but you need to resist that urge unless you have money to burn. If you don’t rush you can find a great used scooter.
- Ask the owner questions. It can help you learn about the scooter and how they cared for it. What is the mileage? Has it had any repairs? Where and when did they buy it? If it was purchased recently the warranty may be transferrable.
Spotting a Scam
- Beware of red flags! If it seems too good to be true it usually is. In many areas there are more ads for new junk than for quality used scooters. People who claim to have a business but don’t even have a website are ones to avoid. Buy used scooters from individuals and from brick and mortar businesses.
- There are plenty of deals that seem shady or too good to be true.
- Do not waste time looking at scooters or talking to sellers if something seems off.
- If someone seems pushy or sketchy there is probably a reason for it. Avoid them.
- Research to find red flags the seller doesn’t mention, like 6.5” kids sized wheels.
- Avoid deals for “new” scooters on used sites. They are usually no-name junk.
This is a GoTrax for $50. The ad doesn’t tell you it has 6.5” tires. It claims a 7 mile (11km) range so it may go 3 (5km). Many of the “new” scooters listed on websites for used items are scams, avoid them. A GoTrax G2 is a kid sized scooter that retails for $150-200. The price is fishy, and it is not a good adult scooter.
This ad shows a Kaabo Wolf Warrior selling for $1,500. This scooter retails for $2,800. Sellers may not be scooter experts, but they usually know a bit about their scooter. This seller listed the brand, model, and tire size incorrectly and didn’t post good pictures. I asked for more pictures, but the seller wouldn’t give them. All I can see is the front fork and tire of the scooter, along with a car that looks like it belongs in The Fast and the Furious. The scooter could be stolen but I think more likely the owner has crashed it since they said, “must sell before I killmyself”. Way too many red flags for me to drive two hours.
Best Entry Level Electric Scooters
Need ideas for scooters to look for? Here are some entry-level scooters. There are others not listed. The Ninebot MAX and the Xiaomi M365 Pro are two of the best entry-level scooters.
|Electric Scooter Model||Price New||Real-World Range|
|Gotrax Xr Ultra||$399||9 miles (14.5 km)|
|HiBoy MAX||$399||10 miles (16 km)|
|Xiaomi Mi M365||$400||14.6 miles (23.5 km)|
|Levy||$499||7.5 miles (12 km)|
|Glion Dolly||$500||7.5 miles (12 km)|
|Xiaomi M365 Pro||$560||25 miles (40 km)|
|Segway Ninebot ES2||$589||10 miles (16 km)|
|Segway Ninebot MAX G30LP||$699||14 miles (22.5 km)|
|Segway Ninebot ES4||$750||19 miles (30.5 km)|
|Segway Ninebot MAX G30P||$799||28 miles (45 km)|
Used Scooter Buyer’s Checklist
|Question||Yes||No||# or note|
|Does it have enough range for me?|
|Do they list the Mileage? If not ask.|
|Is there wear and tear? Look closely.|
|What areas are worn?|
|Does it need any repairs?|
|How long have they owned it?|
|Why are they selling it?|
|Any red flags to worry about?|
|Any concerns about the battery?|
|Are the tires good or do they need replacing?|
|Will they let me (or a friend) test ride it?|
|Are the tires good or do they need replacing?|
|Are the brakes good? Need adjustment? Need pads?|
|Worth making an offer?|
Good preparation will improve the odds that you land a good used Electric Scooter. I love buying used scooters, and you will too. Similar to cars, you can save tons of money and time and usually sell the scooter again for a minimal monetary loss if you want to change scooter and try something new. As long as you understand the market, have the cash to purchase you can always find a good deal out there. You should be ready to shop for a used electric scooter. After you make the payment, enjoy your used-but-new-to-you E-Scooter and welcome to the family! Happy Searching!