If you're looking for a better way to get around, one of the best electric bikes could be the answer. Power-assisted bikes have exploded in popularity, because they make it easier to travel, as it doesn't require as much effort on your part to pedal.
Electric bikes come in all shapes and sizes — from folding models that you can carry around, to large cargo bikes that can haul all your groceries and kids around town.
Because electric bikes are so hot, there are thousands of models available — but that also means that there are a lot of duds out there, too. That's why we've tested a number of the top models across all types of electric bikes to give you the best recommendations for your needs.
1. The quick list
2. The best ebike for most people
3. Best budget electric bike
4. Best ebike for commuters
5. Best cargo ebike
6. Best fat tire electric bike
7. Best folding ebike
8. Best front-storage cargo bike
9. Best BMX-style bike
10. Most high-tech e-bike
11. Longest-range e-bike
12. What to look for
13. Electric bike FAQ
14. Ebike rules and regulations
15. How we test ebikes
We test the bikes by riding them around, to see how responsive their electric motors are when going up hills and getting started from a dead stop. We also gauge the comfort of the bikes over long miles, and note the ease with which we can use their various features, such as an accompanying smartphone app. And, we also test the bikes' battery life; while endurance is affected by many factors, such as terrain and temperature, we try to the best of our ability to see how the bikes live up to the company's estimates.
While many of the best electric bikes are expensive — upwards of $2,000 — they're coming down in price; in fact, we also have a list of the best budget electric bikes under $1,500. And before you do any riding, be sure to pick up one of the best bike helmets to keep your head safe, and one of the best bike locks to keep your ride secure.
For Black Friday, a number of the top models are also on sale - head on over to our Black Friday electric bike deals for discounts on some of our favorite models.
Read on for all our best electric bike picks.
The quick list
The best ebike for most people
It's not the flashiest, but the RadCity 5 Plus will more than fit the needs of most riders. It's comfortable, offers plenty of power, and can be outfitted with lots of accessories.
Best budget ebike
The best budget electric bike
For those who don't want to spend too much on an ebike, the Soltera.2 offers just about everything you could want, with few compromises.
Best for commuters
The best for commuters
This affordable ebike has a neat feature: Its handlebars can turn sideways, so it'll take up less room when you have to store it in a hallway or some other cramped space.
Best cargo ebike
The best cargo ebike
A truly versatile ebike that can be configured with dozens of accessories. It's also compact, powerful, very comfortable to ride, and one of the most affordable cargo bikes around.
Best fat tire ebike
Best fat tire ebike
If you're looking for an ebike that can go anywhere, look no further. This bike is responsive, stable in all conditions, including snow, has both lights and turn signals, and even comes with fenders.
Best folding ebike
Best folding ebike
This futuristic-looking ebike is made from carbon fiber, which keeps its weight to just 36 pounds. It has a speedy electronic shifter, responsive and powerful motor, and a great range for something this small. It ain't cheap, though.
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Best front-storage cargo bike
Best front-storage cargo bike
When you need to haul really big loads, the Supercargo CL is your best bet. It has a ton of space, yet is very stable and even fun to ride.
This bike sports an ultra-light carbon fiber frame, a fingerprint sensor to lock it, Apple Find My, turn signals that light up the road, and voice-control. It's also lots of fun to ride.
The best electric bikes you can buy today
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best electric bike
For the vast majority of riders, the Rad Power RadCity 5 Plus will be the best electric bike. It has a comfortable design, plenty of power, and a multitude of mounting points for things such as baskets and child seats. Plus, it comes with a rear rack and mudguards. Its 7-speed shifter, combined with three levels of pedal assistance and a twist throttle is more than enough to get you up even the steepest of hills.
Rad Power says that the RadCity5 should get upwards of 50+ miles on a charge; in our testing, it came fairly close — about 40 miles.
We really enjoyed pedaling around on this bike, which is offered in both step-through and step-over models. Its battery, while not fully integrated into the downtube, provides plenty of range, and can also be used to charge your phone (with the right adapter). At a starting price of $1,999, it's reasonably affordable, but you should check out our Rad Power Bikes promo codes for the latest discounts.
Read our full Rad Power RadCity 5 Plus review.
best budget ebike
The Aventon Soltera.2 is the successor to our previous top pick among the best budget electric bikes. This modestly priced model costs less than $1,500, yet sacrifices very little in the name of economy. In our tests, we found it very comfortable to ride, and it looks great, too. We also liked that it has features you won't find on other budget electric bikes — namely, the built-in turn signals, which are a real help when riding in traffic.
Aventon says that the Soltera.2's battery should get up to 46 miles per charge, a claim we found to be fairly accurate in our testing. However, the Soltera's rear hub motor does feel a little underpowered, especially on hills, but thanks to a torque sensor, it's a lot more responsive than the original Aventon Soltera. If you're looking for a low-cost electric bike to get you around town, this is definitely the model to pick up. Be sure to check out the best budget electric bikes for more picks.
Read our full Aventon Soltera.2 electric bike review.
best for commuters
If you plan on commuting to work, Charge Bikes City may well be the best ebike for you. Not only does it come with features like full-fenders to keep the mud off and a rear rack for a pack or bag, but it does everything well for a very reasonable price. The Charge City has a five level power assist, as well as a full-power throttle button, should the need or hill arise.
The biggest reason why we think this bike is best for commuters is that its handle bars fold flat, so you can more easily store it in an apartment or a cubicle at work. It comes with all the necessary bells and whistles a commuter is going to want, including the bell (actually a superior and very loud electronic horn). The bike is available in both step-over and step through, and in a few color options, too.
The City's electric assist is so smooth you'll think you're doing all the work yourself. At night, the bike's lights sufficiently lit up the road and the throttle helped us zip around potential trouble when we felt out of gas. Its advertised range of 50 miles held up, too; we found we only had to recharge the bike every three days using it on our regular commute.
Founded by folks from biking icon Cannondale, Charge's sui generis feature is that even newbies can assemble the bike right out of the box in 10 minutes or less. All you basically have to do is put the front wheel on.
Read our full Charge Bikes City review
Best cargo ebike
How's this for an endorsement? Our reviewer loved this bike so much that he decided to buy one for himself.
While it can't haul as heavy loads as some other larger (and much more expensive) cargo bikes, the RadPower RadRunner 3 Plus is more than capable of carrying you, your kids, and plenty of groceries wherever you need to go. We loved its responsive 750W motor, its comfortable ride, and its low center of gravity, thanks to its 3.3-inch thick, 20-inch tires.
However, we found it to be fairly heavy, tipping the scales at 75 pounds, so you're not going to want to try pedal it without any power assist. But we found its advertised 45-mile range to be pretty accurate, so long as we didn't go too heavy on the throttle.
Aside from its performance, what made the RadRunner 3 Plus stand out so much to us was its versatility: You can outfit the bike with any number of combinations of racks, seats, bags, and other accessories to truly customize it for your needs. And, its relatively low price for a cargo bike makes it a real bargain for those looking to replace their car with an electric bike.
Read our full RadPower RadRunner 3 Plus review.
Best fat tire ebike
If you're looking for a fat-tire electric bike that's less than $2,000, the Aventon Aventure.2 is hard to beat. It's as good off-road as it is on pavement, has a beefy battery and a clear color display, as well as fenders that'll save your clothes from getting too muddy. Other niceties include a brake-activated rear light and turn signals.
The Aventure.2 has both pedal-assist and throttle modes, and the battery and wires are neatly integrated into the frame. What's more, the battery can be removed for charging. The battery lasted nearly the advertised 60 miles on a charge, but, as with other ebikes, we drained it much faster when we relied on the throttle.
While not as capable as a dedicated mountain bike, the Aventure.2 was able to get us up and over hilly terrain, and its torque sensor was quick to translate our pedaling into power.
Our only real critiques were the bike's 77-pound weight and its front suspension fork, which felt unnecessary. Otherwise, it's an excellent bike for the price.
Read our full Aventon Aventure.2 review.
Best folding ebike
The Gocycle G4i+ looks like something a supercar designer would build, which isn't surprising given that it was conceived by former McLaren sports car engineer Richard Thorpe. Not only is this bike's unique wheels-on-one-side and tapered body eye-catching, but we were able to fold it up in less than a minute into a size small enough to get us on and off a train, and past our security and into our office elevator. At 36 pounds, it's one of the lightest folding electric bikes out there, too.
Despite that, this bike was a real pleasure to ride. Its electric shifter responded near instantly, as did the pedal assist and throttle. However, while the G4i+ has daytime running lights, you'll have to pay extra for a legit headlight, as well as mudguards. Also, the G4i+ has a great smartphone app, but one of the flimsiest methods of holding your phone on the bike itself — a cheap solution for a bike that costs $7,000.
If you're looking for something slightly more affordable, GoCycle also sells the G4i ($5,999) and the G4 ($4,799). A 2022 version of the G4 has an injection molded composite mid-frame. Still too much for your wallet? Then you should check out the Brompton Electric C-Line Explore, which starts around $3,000.
Read our full GoCycle G4i+ review.
Best front-storage cargo bike
The Yuba Supercargo CL can haul an astounding 500 pounds, making it one of the heftiest electric cargo bikes in its class. Yet, it offers a surprisingly stable ride, thanks to its low center of gravity. Its cargo area is very customizable, letting you convert it from a place to carry groceries to a space to tote your tots to soccer practice.
Magna hydraulic brakes and a Bosch mid-drive motor were very responsive, though the relatively small 20-inch tires and lack of suspension did make bumps feel a bit jarring. The Supercargo CL starts at around $6,000, but is incredibly customizable; you can select from a range of accessories to adapt the cargo area to suit your needs.
If you're looking for a cargo bike that can haul more than the Rad Power RadRunner 3 Plus, this is the model to consider.
Read our full Yuba Supercargo CL review.
Best BMX-style bike
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.
Read our full Juiced Ripracer review.
Most high-tech ebike
If you're going to ride the next generation of transportation, why not make it as high-tech as possible? That's what the folks at Urtopia did with the Carbon 1S. First, it has a carbon fiber frame, which makes it extremely light — just 33 pounds. Some of the best electric scooters we've tested weigh more.
But it doesn't stop there: The bike also has a fingerprint sensor, voice control, turn signals, an anti-theft alarm and GPS tracking — no one wants to lose their $2,000 ride. The fingerprint sensor was handy - we just pressed our thumb to a small pad on the right handlebar, and the bike turned on. Try someone else's fingerprint, and you get a nasty-looking face on the bike's display. If someone tries to make off with the bike, a really loud and obnoxious siren goes off, and if that still doesn't deter them, you can track the bike using its built in GPS tracking and 4G eSIM. (After the first year, this feature will set you back $39).
The bike even has its own voice control, which lets you change its assist levels, activate the turn signals, and more. However, it felt a bit like a gimmick, and was more distracting than helpful.
On the go, the Carbon S1 was a delight to ride. While its 350W motor isn't the most powerful among the other electric bikes we've tested, it was more than enough to get us around town and up some pretty steep roads. Urtopia says that you should get between 25 to 60 miles on a charge from its battery, which was accurate. Using the max assist setting, we came pretty close to hitting the 25-mile mark.
There are more practical electric bikes on the market (and on this list), but what sets the Carbon S1 apart is its light weight and neat safety features. It's also a lot of fun to ride.
Read our full Urtopia Carbon 1S review.
Best for long distances
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.
Read our full NIU BQi-C3 Pro review.
What to look for when buying an electric bike
Pedal-assist or throttle?
All electric bikes have what's called pedal-assist; you start pedaling, and the bike's motor kicks in to make your ride a little easier. But you need to put in at least some work: you won't go anywhere unless you pedal. Most electric bikes will also let you set the level of assistance, so you can decide how hard you want to pedal.
However, some electric bikes will also have a throttle. Press a button or push a lever, and the bike will do all the work for you — no pedaling needed! Using a throttle will quickly eat up the battery life on the bike, so you'll get far less of a range if you don't want to pedal at all.
Less expensive electric bikes traditionally use a rear hub motor. Mid-drive motors located in the center pedal crank shaft tend to be more expensive but offer better overall balance and smoother shifting.
Motors are also rated based on their power, measured in Watts. Typically, the least powerful motor will be 250 Watts, but unless you're a very large person or planning to go up really steep hills, the motor size shouldn’t be a major determining factor for your purchase. More important, there is no industry standard for measuring Watts (is it continuous or peak and if peak, for how long?). So in general, a motor’s Watt rating isn’t a reliable indication of power.
Consider where you live. If you're in San Francisco you're going to want more help than if you're cruising around Austin. Watt hours (Wh) is the most important figure for comparison—it takes into account battery output and battery life to give you a better sense of available power. Higher Wh translates into more range.
Many electric bike makers will also include an estimated range (usually about 40 miles) that you can get off a single charge. You should take this figure with a large grain of salt, as that number is usually determined under ideal circumstances: A fairly lightweight person riding on flat terrain with no wind, and at the perfect ambient temperature for the battery. Range is also dependent on the level of power assist being used, whether full-throttle has been applied and for how long, and your average speed. As they say, your mileage may vary.
Removable or built-in battery?
Most bike batteries will handle rides of about 40 miles and need to be plugged in for at least a couple of hours to get to 80 percent of capacity. So if you have a more demanding commute, consider a model that lets you swap out the battery rather than a bike with an integrated battery.
Also, if you live in a place where you can't bring your bike inside or get close to a wall outlet (such as if you live in a walk-up apartment), definitely look for a bike with a removable battery. It will make your life a lot easier.
Step-over or Step-through?
Many electric bike makers will offer their bikes in two configurations: Step-over (which has a top bar that runs parallel to the ground) and Step-through (the bar is angled downwards). Once upon a time, step-through models were traditionally thought of as women's bikes, but that perception is changing. It's generally easier to get on and off a step-through bike, as you don't have to lift your leg over a bar.
If you're planning to ride your electric bike in traffic or in low-light conditions (such as dawn and dusk), it's worth looking for an electric bike with built-in head and taillights. While increasingly common, it's not a standard feature on all models.
Electric bike FAQ
What are the different types of electric bike?
Generally speaking, electric bikes fall into the same categories as non-electric bikes. Here's a quick summary of some of the kinds of electric bikes you'll find.
Road bike: These are meant solely for riding on roads, and are designed for speed. They will have thinner tires and curved handlebars, so that the rider will be crouched forward. Higher-end models may also be made out of carbon fiber, so as to make the bike as light as possible.
Mountain bike: Designed for off-road use, mountain bikes will have thick, knobby tires, full suspension, and a burlier frame to better absorb bumps and jumps.
Fat tire bikes: Similar to mountain bikes, fat tire bikes are meant to be ridden off-road, usually on very soft ground, such as mud, sand, and snow. As their name suggests, these bikes have very wide tires — as much as four inches — which helps keep a grip on unsteadier terrain.
City/Commuter bike: Made for urban dwellers who need to get around town, a commuter bike will have tires that are somewhere in between a road and a mountain bike. Generally, the bikes will be configured so that the rider's back is vertical when seated, which gives them a better view of their surroundings.
Cargo bike: These bikes are made for carrying heavy loads, and will have a cargo area either in the front or rear of the bike. Because of the payload area, these bikes often tend to me much longer and heavier — and more expensive — than a typical bike.
What is a good speed for an electric bike?
In the U.S., electric bikes are limited to 20 miles per hour; that is, they can only provide you with power — either through pedal-assist or with a throttle — until the bike hits 20 MPH. While you can easily go faster than 20 MPH on an electric bike, the rest of that power will have to be provided by you — or gravity.
How much does an electric bike cost?
Electric bikes range widely in price. Some of the best cheap electric bikes start at around $1,000; you can certainly find models for less, but quality will be less.
The bulk of electric bikes cost anywhere from $1,500 to around $2,500, and there are hundreds of models in this price range.
Higher-end and specialized electric bikes — such as cargo bikes — will cost upwards of $3,000, and can easily reach $6,000 to $8,000, which is a sizable investment.
rules and regulations
There has been a lot of confusion about ebikes (pedal assist versus throttle bikes) and where you can legally ride them. Some municipalities have banned ebikes from bicycle paths, for example. Many places classify ebikes depending on whether they can go full throttle and have a maximum speed of 20 or 28 mph. There are three official classifications:
Class 1: Ebikes that only assist while you pedal, with a top speed of 20 mph.
Class 2: Ebikes with a throttle that don't require you to pedal but have a top speed of 20 mph.
Class 3: Ebikes that only assist while you pedal, with a top speed of 28 mph.
So check your local regulations before you buy. And always wear a helmet.
Meet our testers
Dan Cavallari is the former technical editor for VeloNews Magazine, who currently reviews electric bikes, the best bike lights, best bike locks, and other bike accessories for Tom's Guide. In addition to VeloNews, his work has appeared in Triathlete Magazine, Rouleur Magazine, CyclingTips.com, Road Bike Action, Mountain Bike Action, CycleVolta.com, Tomsguide.com, and much more.
Dan also hosts two podcasts on his site, Slow Guy on the Fast Ride: One is about cycling and other outdoor activities, while the other looks at mental health issues. Most recently, Dan also covered the 2022 Tour de France. Dan lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his family.
John R. Quain has been reviewing and testing video and audio equipment for more than 20 years. For Tom's Guide, he has reviewed televisions, HDTV antennas, electric bikes, electric cars, as well as other outdoor equipment. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and the CBS News television program. John has also written our guide to the best bike helmets.
how we test
All the bicycles in this feature were road (and in some cases, off-road) tested by Tom’s Guide reviewers and staff.
The testing process begins when we first receive the bike; as most come only partly assembled, we assess the difficulty with which we have to put the final pieces together. Typically, this involves attaching the front wheel, handlebars, and pedals, but some bikes are easier to put together than others.
Next, we take the bikes for a ride, evaluating their comfort, handling, responsiveness of their motors — some will be faster to apply power than others — as well as how they perform over a variety of terrain and conditions. For example, if we're testing a fat-tire bike, we'll take it off-roading; if we're testing a cargo bike, we'll load it with kids and grocery bags.
If a bike has headlights and/or taillights, we'll also check to see how bright they are in dimmer conditions. After all, you're not going to only ride it during the day. We'll also try out any other safety features, such as bells and horns.
We also evaluate the advertised battery range of an electric bike. Many companies will offer, shall we say, optimistic range estimates based on ideal riding conditions: A light rider using the lowest level of power assist, and traveling on a level road in 70-degree conditions.
But, that's not reflective of real-world use. While it's impossible to replicate the exact same conditions from one bike review to the next, we do our best to provide as much detail in our reviews as to how we rode the bike (terrain, pedal assist levels) to determine how close to accurate the companies' claims are.
Finally, if an electric bike comes with an app — as is becoming increasingly common— we'll test it out too, to see how easy it is to use, and how well it works with the bike itself.