Best budget electric bikes in 2024

The best budget electric bikes are ideal if you want to take a ride without breaking the bank. But it's also important that they perform well too, which is why we put them to the test to check for comfort, adjustability, battery life, and uphill performance.

They're an ideal entry point into e-bikes, especially as many of the best electric bikes can range up to thousands of dollars, and you may want to test out a more affordable option first while you get used to the experience. 

From our time on the road, we felt that the Ride1Up Turris is the best budget electric bike overall, thanks to its comfortable ride and plenty of assistive power while pedaling. 

Likewise, we were impressed with the Ride1Up Roadster V2, which packs in a lot of features for a sub-$1,000 electric bike. But these aren't your only choices, as we've put together a range of budget electric bikes to suit leisurely rides about town, long distances, and crowded commutes. 

The quick list

The best budget electric bikes you can buy today

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Best overall

Ride1Up Turris parked outside against wall

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
An inexpensive electric bike that hits all the marks

Specifications

Battery: 48V, 12.8Ah Reention Prism, LG cells
Estimated range: 25-45 miles
Max assist speed: 28mph
Motor: 750-watt, 48V Shengyi geared hub motor, 60Nm torque
Gearing: Shimano 7-speed, 11-32 cassette and 44T chainring
Weight: 55 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Good assist power when pedaling
+
Great price
+
Comfortable to ride

Reasons to avoid

-
Suspension fork seems unnecessary

The Turris from Ride1Up is solid proof that an e-bike doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be good. The Turris' 750W motor punched above its weight, and was powerful enough for most situations. Even more impressive was how quickly the motor engaged when we started pedaling (though there was a slight lag when using just the throttle).

We also liked its looks, mechanical disc brakes, and easy-to-read digital display. Even better was the bright 60 Lux headlight, front and rear fenders, adjustable kickstand, and wide, 27.5 x 2.4-inch tires. There's no taillight, so you'll want to check out our picks for the best bike lights

Unlike more expensive electric bikes, the Turris requires you to attach the handlebars, front wheel, pedals, and make a few adjustments to the fenders, which might require a trip to your local bike shop. And, we thought that the front suspension fork felt a bit extraneous. 

But for those who want an affordable electric bike to get around town, the Turris should be at the top of your list. 

Best under $1,000

Ride1Up Roadster V2 parked outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best budget electric bike under $1,000

Specifications

Battery: 36V, 7Ah Samsung 35e Cells
Estimated range: 20-30 miles
Max assist speed: 24 mph
Motor: 500W peak, 350W nominal hub, 40Nm of torque
Gearing: 64/20T singlespeed Toptrans Belt Drive
Weight: 33 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Light
+
Sleek
+
Doesn’t look like an e-bike
+
Fun, zippy ride
+
A great, inexpensive option for city commuting

Reasons to avoid

-
Would prefer disc brakes over the included rim brakes
-
LCD unit is difficult to read

The Ride1Up Roadster V2 It looks like a regular, non-motorized commuter bike, but hides inside its frame a battery capable of delivering up to 30 miles of pedal-assisted power. At 33 pounds, this is one of the lightest e-bikes we've tested, and it comes in two sizes, so it should accommodate riders of nearly all heights. 

In our rides with the Roadster V2, we found it to be fast and fun on flat and rolling terrain, but was a bit hard to get going on hills, as it's a single-speed model, and its pedal assist lags a bit. And, like the Core-5, the Roadster V2 lacks head- and taillights. Other concessions in the name of economy include a small display and rim rather than disc brakes, but it does have a belt drive rather than a chain, making it quieter as you go about town. 

Best for commuting

Wing Freedom 2 sitting outside at park

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
One stylish ride with antitheft features

Specifications

Battery: Panasonic 8.8/10.4/14aH
Estimated range: 35-60 miles, depending on battery
Max assisted speed: 20 mph
Motor: 36V/550W Bafang rear hub motor
Gearing: 7-speed Shimano Tourney
Weight: 39 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Removable battery
+
Comfortable ride
+
Nice design

Reasons to avoid

-
Pedal assist and throttle a little slow to respond
-
Basic display

No, it's not a VanMoof; the Wing Freedom 2 certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to the now-defunct electric bike that cost more than twice as much, but if you don't have two grand to spend, this is the bike to get. We had a grand time riding the Wing Freedom 2, and though it's not as peppy as some higher-priced models, it was reasonably fast to respond, and very comfortable to ride.

Wing also lets you customize the Freedom 2 with a few handy antitheft features, such as an AirTag so that you can find the bike if it's ever stolen; a built-in alarm, which you can activate using a key fob, is surprisingly loud; and, you can remove the bike's battery, which also makes charging easier. We also liked that the Freedom 2 has integrated lights — the better to be see and be seen. 

Best fat-tire budget ebike

Juiced RipRacer parked on mountain trail

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A truly fun fat tire BMX-style ebike for less

Specifications

Battery: 800 aH
Motor: 1300W (Peak) 750W (Sustained), Rear Hub Motor
Gearing: Single speed
Weight: 66 pounds
Max advertised range: 55 miles
Max advertised assist speed: 28 mph

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful pedal assist with a full-throttle mode
+
Maneuverable
+
Competitively priced

Reasons to avoid

-
No shocks
-
Single speed

The Juiced Ripracer is a lot more fun than it should be, for a lot less than you might think. It's one of the more affordable offroad ebikes we've tested, and it can go just about anywhere. This fat-tire ride has a 40.3-inch wheelbase and 20-inch wheels designed for trails and other unpaved surfaces, though its lack of shock absorbers means a rougher ride than with so-equipped e-bikes. 

This bike has some serious pep, and it flew just about everywhere we wanted it to go. We really liked its low-end torque, which made it great for getting up hills. However, it has a cadence, rather than a torque sensor, so it takes a rotation or two of the pedals for the assist to kick in. As it's a BMX-style bike, the Ripracer is a lot smaller than other mountain e-bikes, which also makes it easier to maneuver around tight spaces. 

Most adjustable

Propella 9S Pro V2 parked outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A solid and affordable e-bike that fits riders of many sizes

Specifications

Battery: 36V, 350Wh LG Li-Ion, UL-certified, removable
Estimated range: 55 miles (max)
Max assist speed: 20 mph
Motor: MIVICE 350 Watt (500 watt peak) rear hub motor, 40NM torque
Gearing: 9-speed shimano
Weight: 43.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Torque sensor makes pedal-assist feel natural and smooth
+
Great hydraulic brakes
+
Fenders, lights included
+
Integrated battery

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit cramped, especially for taller riders
-
No throttle

While taller riders may find the Propella 9S Pro a bit cramped, we like that this electric bike has adjustable handlebars, so those of smaller stature will have an easier time adapting the bike to their body. It also comes in a step-over or step-through design, further adding to your choices.

Apart from that, we found the 9S Pro V2 functional and fun to ride. Improvements to this model over the original include a torque sensor and a new motor that are much faster to engage once you start pedaling. And it's pretty powerful, too: We were able to get moving, even on steep hills, though the addition of a throttle wouldn't hurt. An even better improvement: The 9S Pro V2's removable battery is now integrated into its frame, which not only makes the bike look a lot nicer, but eliminates the annoying rattle of the original.

Like the previous model, the 9S Pro V2 has a headlight (but no taillight) and integrated fenders to keep mud off your clothes in wetter weather. And, it has hydraulic disc brakes, something you don't often see at this price.

Best folding e-bike

Lectric xp 3.0

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget folding electric bike

Specifications

Battery: Lithium-Ion 48V, 9.6ah
Max estimated range: 45+ miles
Max assisted speed: 20 mph (class 2); 28 mph (via change on display to class 3)
Motor: 500W (1000W+ peak) brushless geared rear hub, 5 pedal-assist levels; class 2 and 3 capabilities
Gearing: 7-speed Shimano
Weight: 64 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful motor kicks in quickly
+
Fun, comfortable ride
+
Lots of accessory options

Reasons to avoid

-
Suspension fork is unnecessary and a bit clunky
-
Folding and unfolding process could be streamlined

Folding bikes are great for those who need something that can fit on a train or bus, or don't have room in their apartment for a full-size model. However, the best electric folding bikes — Brompton and GoCycle, specifically — each cost more than $3,000, making them prohibitively expensive for many.

The Lectric XP 3.0 is the low-cost answer for those riders. This folding model starts at around $1,000, comes with a suspension fork (which we found unnecessary), big 3-inch tires, plenty of mounts for racks and other accessories, front and rear lights, and hydraulic disc brakes. It was a treat to ride, especially when we hit the throttle, and its excellent range meant more time between charges.

The biggest downside is that the XP 3.0 weighs a hefty 64 pounds, more than twice as much as other folding bikes, so it could be a real bear to get up and down stairs. We also wish that it held together securely when folded. A 5'11" rider found the XP 3.0 to be perfectly sized, but a taller 6'5" rider found things a tad bit cramped. But once you get going, it's a blast. 

Best for long distances

NIU BQi-C3 Pro E-bike

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best for long distances

Specifications

Battery: Two 48V, 20Ah removable batteries
Max estimated range: 90 miles
Max assisted speed: 20 mph
Motor: 500W (750W max) rear hub motor, 45Nm torque
Gearing: N/A
Weight: 70.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful motor
+
Dual batteries means extended range
+
Deep step-through design is great for riders of varying heights

Reasons to avoid

-
Could use more gears in the drivetrain
-
Heavy for a bike in this category

One compromise you have to make with many electric bikes — budget or not — is their range. The more pedal assist you use, the quicker you're going to drain its battery. The NIU BQi-C3 Pro is the best budget electric bike for those who have range anxiety, as it packs two batteries that can provide you as much as 90 miles before they run out of juice. And, in our testing, that claim looks pretty accurate, too.

Aside from its endurance, there are a lot of other niceties we found on this bike for the price. For starters, it has a carbon belt drive, which is not only quieter, but lasts longer and is easier to maintain. Then there's the mechanical disc brakes, front and rear lights, and a built-in rear rack. The bike's step-through design made it easy for both a 5' 11" rider and a 5' 3" rider to hop on and off. 

The biggest knock against the bike is its weight — 70.5 pounds — most likely owing to its two batteries. Fortunately, we found the pedal assist from its 500W motor to be more than up to the task of getting us going wherever we wanted.

The BQi-C3's regular price is $2,199, but we often see it on sale, sometimes for as low as $1,299, so we recommend waiting until it's discounted.

How to choose the best budget electric bike

When compared to some of the best electric bikes that cost upwards of $1,500, you're going to have to make some compromises when buying a budget electric bike.

Motor
Pedal-assist electric bikes employ one of two kinds of sensors in their motors: Cadence and Torque. A cadence sensor detects when a bike's crankshaft is moving, whereas a torque sensor detects increased force on the crankshaft. Cadence sensors are less expensive — and thus are used on the majority of budget electric bikes — but they're also less responsive than torque sensors. As a result, it may take a revolution or two of the crankshaft before the motor kicks in — which can be a problem if you're trying to start a heavy electric bike on a hill. 

Lights
Here's another area where companies cut costs; some electric bikes may not have integrated lights, which will make it harder for you to see and be seen in dimmer conditions. Fortunately, this can be remedied with a set of the best bike lights. It's an added expense, though. 

Gears
Less expensive electric bikes may only have one gear. While not a huge deal for something with a built-in motor, it can be an issue if you live in hillier areas. 

That being said, even a budget electric bike shouldn't be cheap. Look for models that are well built — if you can take a test ride on one, all the better. 

You'll also want to look for features that best suit your needs. If you live in a city, or have limited space, you'll want to prioritize electric bikes that are smaller and lighter, so you can squeeze it into your apartment, or carry it up a flight of stairs.

If you live in the suburbs, you're less constrained by size, and will want to look for an electric bike that's capable of transporting you longer distances. If you're planning to use it to go to the store, you'll want one that can easily accommodate a rack or basket of some sort.

How we test electric bikes

We test the budget electric bikes the same way we test the best electric bikes. It doesn't matter if an electric bike costs $500 or $5,000 — we put it through the same tests, which includes, of course, riding it around a lot. 

In the process, we gauge the bike's overall comfort, such as its seat, handlebars and grips, our posture when riding, and how easy everything — especially the seat — is to adjust. 

For the most part, electric bikes come fully assembled, but budget models often require you to attach a wheel, handlebar, or some other component. In those cases, we look at the ease with which you can put the bike together: How long does it take, are the instructions easy to follow, are there any special tools required, and are all the tools included?

We also test to see how well it performs as an electric bike. While we don't expect budget electric bikes to perform as well as high-end models, they should still provide an enjoyable experience. To that end, we ride the bikes up hills to see how much assist their electric motors provide, and how fast they are to respond when we start pedaling; lower-quality models will take a longer time to engage, which makes for more difficult starts when going uphill.

Another crucial feature of an electric bike is its battery. Larger batteries allow you to travel further on a charge, and spend less time with your bike plugged in. In the course of testing an electric bike, we see how quickly the battery drains when riding in different conditions. We test this using pedal assist and, when available, throttle, to see how much the battery is impacted.

Last, we also look at what other features come with the bike — a large display, integrated lights, disc brakes, etc — and factor this in with its price to determine its rating. 

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

  • danielnothome
    Help!! question is in bold print but thin k this is very valid info for others but id really like to know the answer to my question as im disable cant really pedal spinal cord injury foot drop and need it for some pretty good distances as live in the city but small town in the country

    IM REALLY WONDERING ABOUT TOMS CHOICE OF BIKES,
    i have reasearched tons of bikes companies ect checked um with the better business bureau throught the bbb website read people reviews trust pilot ect
    hadnt looked at all the bikes but theres several on this list including your top bike that has a F rating with the bbb complaints and theres several saying they dont honor warranties, they bs ya till ur bike runs out of 14day refund period

    as well as bogus numbers and calls iv come across like one company (not on this list) dont answer phones ect have called some companies that they clearly use a burner phone called one it said your tmobile account is out of minutes please add minutes before can complete thgis call (this isnt on my end i called mom to check my phones aint buggedd i have comcastmobile point is serval of these bikes if not all (hadnt researched each are not good bikes from what i could gather.

    SO BIG QUESTION HAVE YOU TESTED ANY OF THESE BIKES FOR LONGEVITY OR HAVE ANY INFORMATION THAT THEY COME FROM GOOD COMPANIES?

    or had problems with any of these and couldnt get a warranty (id guess not they prolly send there best tom reviewers
    Reply
  • sicknasty19
    Why do all 3 of the first bikes you list go to Aventons website?!?
    Reply