Our pick of the best scooters you can buy right now
Scooters aren’t just for kids. As well as being fun to ride and great for getting from A to B, they fold down to a small size and are much more lightweight than even the best folding bikes. Most are considerably cheaper, too, and are a great choice for covering short distances – such as the last leg on a commute from the railway station to your office or home.
But how do you know where to begin with buying a scooter if you’ve not used one for years? And where do you stand legally when it comes to using one on the UK’s roads and pavements? For everything you need to know about commuter scooters, read our buying guide below. After that, you’ll find a selection of mini-reviews of the best commuter scooters you can buy today.
READ NEXT: Best electric scooters
Best commuter scooter: At a glance
How to choose the best commuter scooter for you
How much should I spend on an adult scooter?
The push scooters in this list start at under £100 but, as with most things, you get what you pay for. More expensive scooters will likely last longer and will be easier to fix when parts wear out. More often than not, they’ll be comfier to ride, quicker to stop and easier to fold away, too.
How far can I realistically scoot every day?
When testing the models in this list I travelled two to three miles between the railway station and my place of work and covering that distance in both directions (five miles total) quickly took its toll on my legs. Unless you already have high levels of scooting fitness, I’d suggest you’re best off covering no more than two miles on any single journey when you start out. It’s worth considering, however, that a better scooter will help you go further; bigger wheels, in particular, make for a smoother, more comfortable journey.
How much faster is it than walking?
I found during testing that my moving speed was somewhere between 5mph and 6mph on average. In very rough terms, that means you can halve your walking journey time and, perhaps, shave even more time off if you stick to quiet routes.
Is it legal to use a push scooter on public land in the UK?
The law surrounding push scooters is confusing, to say the least. Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 states you cannot ride a “carriage of any description” on any “footpath or causeway”, so that technically rules out using push scooters on the pavement (as well as skateboards and rollerblades). Whether the police will enforce this arcane law is another thing altogether.
If you do opt to scoot on the pavement, however, be sure to give pedestrians plenty of space because they have the right of way at all times. When it comes to using a push scooter on the road, the laws are even more opaque. In theory, you can scoot legally on the road but, equally, there may be by-laws prohibiting this in some areas.
Are electric scooters legal?
As for electric scooters, the law is much clearer: it’s illegal to use them on roads and pavements in the UK. Mechanically-propelled vehicles are banned from pavements by the Road Traffic Act 1988 (section 34) and, to use powered vehicles on public roads, it’s necessary to meet a number of requirements. You need insurance and a license, to name just a couple.
With electric scooters already legal in many cities across Europe and the US, however, it’s surely only a matter of time before UK laws catch up. Apart from anything, electric scooters offer a much cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternative to petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
The best adult scooters you can buy in 2023
1. SwiftyONE MK3: Best scooter for longer journeys
Price when reviewed: £749 | Check price at Bell’s BicyclesAt £750, the SwiftyONE is considerably more expensive than the other scooters in this list but, after stepping on it for the first time, it quickly became clear that it’s streets ahead of those models in terms of both comfort and stability. Much of the improved ride quality can be attributed to the fact it has large 16in pneumatic wheels, which roll faster and are much better at soaking up all the lumps and bumps in the road.
Its wide handlebar is a factor, too, with the pitched fork angle giving it handling more akin to a bike than a scooter. Braking is also much more efficient thanks to the SwiftyONE’s front rim brakes, and as such I rarely found myself needing to use its second, stomp brake. As you’d expect, the main trade-off for having larger wheels is that the scooter is larger and heavier than its small-wheeled rivals. If you’re regularly scooting more than a couple of miles at a time, it’s well worth the sacrifice.
Folding the scooter, like with a Brompton bicycle, quickly becomes second nature, and although it doesn’t have the smallest footprint, it can be easily wheeled around in its folded state and stashed out the way on trains or in your car boot. Because most of the wearable parts are standard bicycle parts, the scooter can be easily serviced at reasonable cost. So, are there any caveats? Aside from its steep price tag, the SwiftyONE might not be well suited to very tall riders because there’s a 100cm limit to the handlebar height. Otherwise, it comes very highly recommended.
Key specs – Weight: 8.3kg; Max passenger weight: 150kg; Guarantee: 2yrs (frame and fork)
2. Oxelo Town 7XL: Best budget commuter scooter
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at DecathlonIf you want the most comfortable commuter scooter you can buy for less than £150, the Decathlon Oxelo Town 7XL is the one for you. As with the company’s more expensive Town 9 EF V2 (see below), it comes with dual suspension, 200mm wheels and a hand-operated brake, but it’s lighter than its stablemate at just 5.6kg. So what are the drawbacks?
For a start, its folding mechanism isn’t as elegant as the foot-activated method on the Town 9EF. Its wheels also feel harder (due to the fact that they contain a higher percentage of polypropylene and less polyurethane) and this means there’s noticeably more vibration when you’re rolling on tarmac. The footbrake and handbrake aren’t particularly powerful, either, but you shouldn’t have any trouble coming to a stop if you’re happy using both simultaneously.
All in all, though, this scooter is remarkably well-made and it’s also good to see that spare parts are readily available from Decathlon.
Key specs –Weight: 5.6kg; Max passenger weight: 100kg; Guarantee: 2yr, excluding wearable parts
3. Micro Speed scooter: Best adult scooter for short journeys
Price when reviewed: £153 | Check price at HalfordsThe Micro Speed Scooter’s trump card is its lightweight aluminium design. At 3.75kg, it’s about half the weight of the Oxelo Town 9EF, which means you can happily carry it around in its folded state without getting a sore shoulder.
It’s just as fast as most of its rivals, too, and despite having smaller 145mm polyurethane wheels and no suspension, its shock-absorbing footplate and foam grips do a decent job of nullifying the worst vibrations from lumps and bumps.
The Micro Speed Scooter’s smaller footplate is undoubtedly less comfortable for longer journeys but if you’re only covering a mile or so it’s a great choice.
Key specs – Weight: 3.75kg; Max passenger weight: 100kg; Guarantee: 6 months