Electric scooters are gaining in popularity because they make getting around cities a lot faster. But not everyone can drop $500 or more on something that merely makes your life more convenient. The $349 Swagtron Swagger 5 makes our list of the best electric scooters because it's a solid compromise between more expensive models loaded with features and budget scooters more suited for kids.
|Size (unfolded):||45.3 x 41.5 x 17 inches|
|Max rider weight:||320 pounds|
|Max speed:||18 mph|
|Max range:||11 miles|
|Motor:||250 W, front-wheel drive|
|Battery:||36 V, 6 ah|
|Charging time:||3.5 hours|
Swagger 5 design
The Swagger 5 is aptly named. My review model had a bright aluminum frame with red accents, which definitely give the scooter a bit of flair. "SWAGTRON" is printed boldly on one side of the down tube, with "SWAGGER 5" on the opposite side, giving no doubt as to who makes this electric scooter. If you don't like the shiny aluminum look, don't worry; the Swagger 5 is also available in all black.
The front tube folds back and locks into the rear fender, so you can more easily transport the Swagger 5. However, this scooter is not as compact as the Glion Dolly, nor is it as easy to carry around.
I also wish that the height of the Swagger 5's down tube were adjustable. I had more trouble stowing the Swagger 5 underneath the seats of a NJ Transit train, as well as toting it through Penn Station.
In the center of the handlebars is a black-and-white LED display that gives you a rough estimation of the scooter's battery life; you'll also find icons for Bluetooth and the Swagger 5's lights here. As with the Glion Dolly's display, this one was hard to view in bright daylight.
If you want more-detailed information, turn to the Swagger 5 smartphone app (Android and iOS), which will show you your speed, trip distance and more. (The scooter comes with a universal smartphone holder that mounts to the handlebars.) One annoying thing about the app, though, was that it didn't override the screen timeout on my iPhone, so my phone's screen would turn off halfway through my ride.
Like the Glion, the Swagger 5 has both headlights and taillights, but they're significantly dimmer than the Glion's. When I placed the Glion next to the Swagtron Swagger 5, I found the former's light to be much more intense, almost like staring at the high beam of an oncoming car. Also, the Glion's headlight can be tilted, whereas the angle of the Swagger 5's is fixed.
Similarly, the Glion's taillight is much larger and brighter, though I liked that the Swagger 5's light flashed.
Swagger 5 Performance and battery life
Overall, the Swagger 5 proved very enjoyable to ride. It has three speed modes. I kept the Swagger 5 in the top mode, which zipped me along at around 17 mph on flat roads.
Because the front tire of the Swagtron 5 is air-filled rather than hard rubber, this scooter rolled much more smoothly over both suburban and city streets than the Glion Dolly did. However, the Swagger 5 has a shorter range and is less powerful than the Glion. Acceleration was a bit more gradual, and the Swagger 5 had a harder time getting up hills.
Going up a hill with a 6% grade, the Swagger 5 slowed so much that I had to get off and walk; the Dolly slowed to a crawl of about 5-6 mph but made it to the top of the hill.
Following a 6-mile ride that included a few hills, the Swagger 5's battery died less than a quarter-mile afterward. By contrast, the Dolly was good for at least another mile.
If you're looking to spend less than $500 for an electric scooter, consider the Swagtron Swagger 5; it's a very capable machine, and thanks to its air-inflated front tire, it offers a smooth ride. Those who live in hillier areas might need something with more power, but for most others, the Swagger 5 is a good all-around electric scooter.