If you're looking for a way to travel to work or do your shopping without using your car — and paying at the pump — then one of the best electric bikes could be your answer. These battery-powered bicycles have a little motor that can give you an extra boost when you need it, making it easier to travel up hills and longer distances. What's more, the best electric bikes are simply fun to ride. They'll make you feel like a kid again, even if it's just for commuting.
The quick list
The best ebike for most people
Best budget electric bike
Best ebike for commuters
Best cargo ebike
Best fat tire electric bike
Best folding ebike
Other excellent ebikes we tested
What to look for when buying an electric bike
Electric bike FAQ
Ebike rules and regulations
How we test the best ebikes
Because electric bikes are so hot, there are hundreds of models available — but that also means that there are a lot of duds out there, too. We've tested a number of the top models to give you the best recommendations for all kinds of electric bikes.
Keep in mind that due to high demand, many of the best electric bikes are either on backorder or are sold out. And while many are still quite expensive, they're coming down in price; in fact, we also have a list of the best budget electric bikes. And before you do any riding, be sure to pick up one of the best bike helmets and some of the best bike lights if you'll be riding in the dark.
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 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.
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.
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, too.
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 price of electric bikes is coming down, but many of the best electric bikes still cost more than $1,500. The Aventon Soltera is a much more modestly priced model that sacrifices little in the name of economy. In our tests, we found it very comfortable to ride, and it looks great, too.
However, the Soltera's rear hub motor does feel a little underpowered, especially on hills, and if you want the least expensive version, you'll have to go with a single-gear model. Still, if you're looking for a low-cost electric bike to get you around town, this is definitely a model to consider. Be sure to check out the best budget electric bikes for more picks.
Read our full Aventon Soltera 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. 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 handle bars fold flat, for easy storage in an apartment or cubicle, and the City's electric support is so smooth you'll think you're doing all the work yourself. We were able to do three days plus of typical city commuting before having to re-charge. 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. 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
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.
What makes the RadRunner 3 Plus stand out is 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. 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, it is also able to fold up in a couple of minutes into a size small enough to get by security and into the 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.
Read our full GoCycle G4i+ review.
Other excellent ebikes
The Core-5 from Ride1Up is solid proof that an e-bike doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be good. Nor does a bike need to be expensive to look great. In our tests, we found the bike's motor to be powerful enough for most situations, but it felt a bit weak going up steeper hills. We also liked its looks, mechanical disc brakes, and easy-to-read digital display. However, the Core-5 does not include any integrated front or rear lights, so you'll want to invest in a pair of the best bike lights.
Unlike more expensive electric bikes, the Core-5 requires you to attach the handlebars, front wheel, pedals, and make a few adjustments, which might require a trip to your local bike shop. Also, while Ride1Up says the bike should fit riders up to 6' 4", it felt small to a 5-foot 11-inch rider, so taller riders may be more comfortable on the Aventon Soltera.
But for those who want an affordable electric bike to get around town, the Core-5 should be towards the top of your list.
Read our full Ride1Up Core-5 review.
The Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB is one of the smoothest-riding electric bikes we've tested. Thanks to a Gates belt drive and seamless Enviolo shifter that allows you to change gears in the middle of a hill, everything about this bike is effortless. Its low-step frame is topped with a Selle Loire Gel seat with an internal compression post to soften the ride. The aluminum frame also has an internal front fork suspension system and removable battery to keep the whole design as svelte as possible.
The Gazelle has full mud guards, a metal belt guard (to keep your pants clean), kickstand, lights front and back, a rear rack with a built-in stretch bracket, and even an Axa Defender lock that immobilizes the rear wheel when you snap it shut and remove the key. But, all of this will cost you: The Gazelle Ultimate is a steep $4,800.
Read our full Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB review.
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.
Read our full Yuba Supercargo CL review.
The all-weather Biktrix Stunner X is equally at home in the mud and snow as it is on pothole-dotted city streets, keeping the rider comfortable and in control no matter the terrain or conditions. It's got enough of a kick to get you up a gravel hill, and enough padding so that your ride doesn't turn into a torture test.
Its Bafang 750W mid-drive motor is surprisingly powerful, and can be used in pedal-assist as well as throttle mode, for when you want to give your legs a break. While not as nimble as purpose-built electric mountain bikes, it performed admirably on mud-slicked roads. Our only real critique is that the Bafang controller was a bit difficult to master.
Read our full Biktrix Stunner X electric bike review
While a lot of cargo ebikes can carry kids, the Urban Arrow Family is the best electric bike for the job. We really liked its stability and the ease with which we could start this massive bike from a dead stop. This is not a small bike: it's 9 feet long and weighs 110 pounds, which is a good thing that it also has one of the best kickstands we've seen yet from a bike.
The cargo area is made of thick EPP foam, which is designed to absorb impacts. The seats — there are also adjustable seatbelts — are also fairly low, which keeps the center of gravity low. As you might expect from such a large bike, its range is fairly limited — around 31 miles — but the battery is removable. Overall, it offers an incredibly smooth ride for its size.
Read our full Urban Arrow Family electric bike review.
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.
If you're looking for something more affordable than the GoCycle, the Brompton Electric C Line Explore is the best electric folding bike for those who need something super-portable. It's also very small and compact, weighing just 32 pounds, yet its 250W motor is strong enough to get you around with plenty of zip. Its battery, which comes in a removable bag that's also great for storing other things, provides up to 45 miles of range — a good long way.
We also like that the C Line has a second pair of tiny wheels that make it a lot easier to roll the bike around when it's folded. Just keep in ming that this commuter-focused bike has smallish 16-inch wheels, so it's not meant to handle rougher roads.
Read our full Brompton Electric C Line Explore review.
If you're looking to replace your car with an electric bike, then the Riese and Mūller Load 60 should be at the top of your list. Despite its large size and weight, the Load 60 was a delight to ride, with a tight turning radius, full suspension, a Gates carbon belt drive, and a strong and responsive motor assist.
We also loved the startlingly loud horn — a must if you want cars to know you're there — as well as the myriad accessories and options available when configuring the bike. However, if you want the Cadillac of cargo bikes, you'll have to pay Cadillac prices: The Load 60 starts at around $10,000, so you'll have to really consider how much you plan to ride it. But if you do spring for this bike, you won't be disappointed.
Read our full Riese and Mūller Load 60 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.
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. Day and night rides, where relevant, are also included and bikes are tested for stability, handling, and safety features (including lights, reflectors, and horns). With an increasing number of models available online only, we also take ease of assembly into account.
Next: If you're looking at electric skateboards, then we recommend the Base Camp F11 that is an urban commuter's dream.
I noticed a couple of errors in the article around pricing on a couple of the bikes. Regarding the Gazelle Medeo T9 classic, your article list a starting price of $1999 but clicking the link takes you to their site where the least expensive model is $2499 and no model called Medeo T9 Classic is available nor can such a model be found with search.
The second model is the VanMoof S3 which is listed in the article with a starting price of $1999 but going to the site shows a price of $2299. As someone trying to persuade his wife that an ebike would be a worthwhile purchase for me, I’d be grateful if you would clarify these discrepancies.
One last thing. On the article itself, it says it was published 21 hours ago when it was actually published on July 21. I’m going to assume some aspect of it was updated but I can’t spot any changes to it and would appreciate it if whatever was updated could be noted somewhere. Many thanks for the article. Pricing confusion aside, it’s been quite helpful for me.
A year ago. Prices may have changed.