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The best electric scooters for students 2020

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

An e-scooter is a quick, affordable and fun way to get around campus, so we've picked out the very best electric scooters for students. 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 electric 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.

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Xiaomi Mijia M365

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

1. Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter

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

Reasonably priced
Good range
Nippy top speed
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

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Xiaomi Mi Essential

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

2. Xiaomi Mi Essential Electric Scooter

A basic but well-rounded entry-level electric scooter

Recently dropped in price
Robust build quality
Lightweight
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.

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Segway Ninebot ES2

(Image credit: Segway)

3. Segway Ninebot ES2

A robust, speedy scooter for students with deeper pockets

Full suspension
Impressive top speed
Smart design with internal cables
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.

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Xiaomi M365 Pro

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

4. Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro

A more powerful scooter for longer cross-campus treks

Great on hills
Excellent range
Relatively expensive
Quite heavy

As the name suggests, this is a beefed up version of the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter, with a bigger battery, more powerful motor and, of course, a higher asking price. It's usually listed as the Xiaomi 365 Electric Scooter Pro online.

While the cheaper scooter can keep rolling for up to 18 miles, the Mi Electric Scooter Pro boasts a top range of 28 miles in favorable conditions. With that kind of battery life, you might only need to charge it once a week, which could be a real boon if you're short of time and are likely to forget to plug in your scooter at night (a full charge takes nine hours, so you won't be able to juice it up during classes).

The Mi Electric Scooter Pro is also better at tackling hills than its smaller brother, but at 14.2kg, it's noticeably heavier. If you'll be using public transport as part of your regular journey to class, you might prefer something less powerful but lighter.

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Pure Air Pro

(Image credit: Pure)

5. Pure Air Pro

A seriously tough, water resistant scooter for students

Easy to service
IP65 water resistant
Respectable range
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).

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Back to School 2020 is certainly going to be different, and we’re here to guide you through what you'll need. Whether you’re truly going back to school or remotely attending classes online, we’re rolling out a series of in-depth guides for students, teachers and parents to ensure you're buying the right technology and accessories.