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Unagi Model One electric scooter review

The Unagi Model One is a fast, powerful and stylish electric scooter

Unagi Model One electric scooter review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

While pricey, the Unagi Model One is the best electric scooter, especially for getting up hills.

For

  • Sleek design
  • Powerful
  • Clear display

Against

  • Rougher ride than other scooters
  • Expensive

In Japanese, Unagi means "eel," and it's a fitting name for the company that makes one of the sleekest electric scooters around.

Unagi Model One specs

Size (folded): 37.8 x 16.5 x 15 inches
Size (unfolded): 43.3 x 37.8 x 16.5 inches
Weight: 26.5 pounds
Max Speed: 15 mph
Range: 15.5 miles
Max Rider Weight: 275 pounds
Motor: Dual 250-watt, all-wheel drive
Battery: 33.6 V, 9.0 Ah
Charging time: 4.5 hours

The Unagi Model One ($990) not only slithers through crowds but also does so with power and looks good doing it, too. Read our full Unagi Model One review to find out why it's the best electric scooter for those who need to get up and down hills — or anywhere, for that matter. 

Unagi Model One: Price and availability

Unagi makes just one scooter, The Model One, which comes in two configurations. The E250 ($840), which has a single motor, and the E500 ($990), which has two motors. Both are available in blue, red, white and black, though the company also offers premium and custom colors and designs for the E500, which costs an additional $300.

Unagi Model One: Design

The Unagi Model One is one of the sleekest scooters I've ridden. The front steering tube tapers elegantly from the bottom to the handlebars and goes from a circle to a triangular shape.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There's a minimum of fuss about the deck, which has clean, minimalist lines. The top of the deck is coated in a grippy rubber; my feet never slipped. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I also liked the hinge mechanism for the steering tube, which is among the cleverest designs I've seen from a scooter. Pull down on two tabs at the base to fold the tube down; in the folded position, it also locks the front wheel in place. Where other scooters require you to lock the handlebar to the rear fender, the Unagi's handlebar floats above.

Unagi Model One electric scooter review

(Image credit: Unagi)

The Unagi is controlled using two thumb paddles. The one by the right handlebar is for acceleration, and the left paddle is for braking. Above each paddle is a small button; the one on the right lets you switch between its three riding modes (which limit its top speed). The left button sounds the scooter's horn, which is loud and high pitched; it's as if Unagi stole the siren from a smoke detector.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In between is a large, bright LCD panel that displays your speed, distance traveled and estimated battery life remaining. You can switch among three riding modes, which limit the top speed of the scooter. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Two LEDS in the front provide a clear view of what's ahead when you're riding in the dark. While not as bright as the Glion, it was more than effective. The Unagi also has a large red taillight, which remains on, but flashes when you apply the brakes. 

The only real criticism I have with the Unagi's design is that the handlebars themselves don't collapse, so it's not as compact for commuters as the Glion Dolly. 

Unagi Model One: Performance

With dual 250-watt motors, the Unagi Model One delivered a ton of power. It was most evident on one hill near my house; where other scooters would slow down to about 5-6 mph, the Unagi roared up it at around 12 mph. While it's limited to 15 mph, I could feel that it was ready and willing to go much faster.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Unagi uses rubber, rather than inflatable wheels for its scooter, but instead of a solid mass, they have slots around the circumference, which in theory offers a smoother ride without the danger of getting a flat. Riding around on the Unagi's 7.5-inch tires was definitely smoother than the Glion Dolly (which also has rubber wheels), but nowhere near as pleasant as the Levy, which uses larger, 8.5-inch inflatable tires. 

One other nice feature that the Levy scooter has that the Unagi lacks is cruise control; on the Levy, it was nice to be able to set a speed and not have to keep my thumb on the accelerator.

Unagi Model One: Battery life

Unagi advertises the Model One as having a 15.5-mile range, but as with all electric scooters, it's a figure based on the most optimistic of circumstances. In my riding, which involved using both motors and going up and down hills, I was able to get about 10 miles out of the Model One's battery. 

Unagi Model One: Verdict

At nearly $1,000, the Unagi Model One is not cheap, but it's the best electric scooter, especially for those who need to get up steep hills. It has powerful motors, a bright and clear display, and it has an awesome sense of style, too.