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In cities across the United States, Europe, and beyond, a public transport revolution is occurring. Cheaper than taxis or ride-sharing services, quicker than walking, and offering greater freedom than subways or buses, electric scooters provide an exciting alternative for commuters and sightseers alike.
The basic premise is similar from one company to the next: a fleet of dockless, stand-up scooters that can be unlocked and paid for via your smartphone and deposited anywhere at the end of your journey. The company that’s best for you will depend on what’s available in your location, and on your personal preferences. Here, we've chose our favorites.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Lime
Why We Chose It: We chose Lime as our winner for its presence in more than 142 cities globally, its commitment to user safety, and its conscientious community and sustainability policies.
Fleets in 142 cities globally
Excellent safety statistics
Ability to rent multiple scooters
No long-term rental options
Some reviewers find the ride less smooth
Fewer options for university students
San Francisco-based Lime is one of the biggest scooter rental companies in the U.S.
To use this service, you must download the Lime app, then use the interactive map to locate your nearest available scooter and check its battery level. To unlock the scooter, simply scan its QR code. When you reach your destination and click to end your journey, your credit card will be charged automatically.
Lime scooters cost about $1 to unlock, and from roughly $0.15 per minute thereafter depending on your location. Statistics show that 99.9% of Lime rides in the U.S. are incident-free. Nevertheless, the company offers an online First Ride Academy and a “training wheels mode” that allows new riders to select a slower speed. (The top speed is 14.8 miles per hour.)
Discounted fares are available for eligible riders, while cash payments are possible for those without smartphones. Uniquely, Lime also has a Group Ride function that allows users to rent up to five bikes simultaneously.
Best Runner-Up: Spin
Why We Chose It: Spin's commitment to user safety, offering online safety videos and discounts for members on Overade foldable helmets, made it a pick for our list.
Wide coverage in the U.S.
Free and discounted helmets available
Discounted rates for low income riders
Limited global presence
No functionality for group rides
Some reviewers report app issues
Founded in San Francisco, Spin provides dockless scooter sharing services in 48 cities and at 19 university campuses. It also has a limited overseas presence, mostly in Germany.
The process for locating, unlocking, and paying for your scooter is almost identical to Lime, although Spin requires users to add a $10 credit before their first ride which then reloads automatically unless you opt-out. You’ll be charged about $1 to unlock the scooter, and between $0.15 and $0.39 per minute thereafter, depending on location.
Take the online safety quiz, and be rewarded with promo codes and the chance to order a free helmet if you score 100% on it.
The second thing we like about this company is its commitment to mobility for all. Spin Access offers discounted rates for low-income riders and text-based solutions for those who don’t have a smartphone or credit card. The company also supports various projects aimed at making the streets safer for everyone.
Best for Long-Term Rentals: Bird
Why We Chose It: Bird is the obvious choice for those interested in renting a scooter for longer than a few hours, since it’s one of the only companies to offer rentals that last for a month or more with unlimited rides included.
Offers extended rental packages
Available in 83 cities around the world
Ability to reserve a scooter in advance
Waiting list for long-term rentals
Limited availability between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.
No option for multiple scooter rental
The other major player in the American scooter sharing game, Bird, was founded in Santa Monica in 2017 and fulfilled roughly 10 million rides in its first year of operation.
It has fleets in 83 cities worldwide, including locations in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Bird also provides a cheap and easy transportation option for students on more than 39 U.S. university campuses.
The app is full of useful information including user guides and safety guidelines and allows you to pay automatically using your credit card. As of December 2020, the service is available in Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and select college campuses and starts from about $25 per month.
Regular pay-as-you-go rentals cost about $1 to unlock, and from roughly $0.15 per minute thereafter. The ability to reserve a scooter for up to 30 minutes in advance is another highlight of this service.
Best for Comfort: Razor
Why We Chose It: Designed and assembled in the U.S., we selected Razor's scooters for its oversized, pneumatic front tires and decks wide enough to accommodate two feet side-by-side.
The original scooter brand
Oversized front tire for added comfort
Two styles of scooter to choose from
Limited hours of operation in some locations
Costlier than other companies in certain cities
Razor is the company that created the folding, push-operated scooter that served as many children’s first wheels back in 2000.
Now, the brand offers electric scooter rentals in a limited number of U.S. cities, with two styles to choose from. The first is a stand-up scooter with a top speed of 15 miles per hour, an 80-minute run time, and a 20-mile range.
The second option is a lifesaver for those who struggle to stand for extended periods of time. Razor’s sit-on scooter has the same top speed and longevity as its stand-up scooters, but with the added comfort of a padded seat.
Both offerings cost about $1 to unlock, and between roughly $0.15 and $0.39 per minute depending on type and location. Performance is guaranteed by a nightly maintenance schedule, while an affordability program gives discounted rates to eligible riders (i.e. those who qualify for state or federal assistance).
Best for Existing Rideshare Users: Lyft
Why We Chose It: We selected Lyft as the winner of this category because, in addition to offering convenience for existing users, it receives great reviews for comfort and performance.
Convenient for those who already use Lyft
Ability to reserve scooter in advance
Reviewers compliment its smooth ride
Limited operating hours in some locations
Shorter maximum rental time than most companies
Fines apply for leaving service area
If you already use the popular rideshare company Lyft, you’ll be pleased to know that you can use the same app to rent electric scooters—if you live in Minneapolis, Denver, Washington D.C., San Diego, Miami, Los Angeles, or Santa Monica. Scooters have a top speed of 15 miles per hour and are easily located using the app’s interactive map.
Scan the QR code to use yours immediately, or opt to reserve it for up to 15 minutes in advance. You can also pause your ride if you need to take a break without the scooter becoming available for someone else.
Operating hours vary from city to city. For example, Lyft scooters are available 24/7 in San Diego, but only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. in Minneapolis. Unlock fees are about $1, and per-minute rates also range from roughly $0.15 to $0.29. Discounts are available for those who qualify for state and federal assistance programs.
Best in San Francisco: Scoot
Why We Chose It: We like Scoot the best because it offers plenty of choices, both in terms of scooter style and payment methods.
Offers a choice of styles
Flex Plan for locked-in pricing
Free online and in-person training
Only available in three cities worldwide
Increased rate for rush hour trips
Only accepts U.S. driver's licenses
San Francisco is the home of the electric scooter, and those who live there have plenty of operators to choose from. There are two options to choose from when it comes to Scoot. The first is the Scoot Kick: an electric stand-up scooter perfect for short urban commutes. It functions in the same way as the other stand-up scooters on this list and can be rented for an unlock fee of roughly $1 and $0.29 per minute thereafter. Scoot’s Community Plan offers significant discounts for eligible riders and the ability to pay in cash.
The second offering is an electric moto, or moped-style scooter, with a top speed of 30 miles per hour and a range of 20 miles. It comes with a complimentary helmet and helmet box, and a USB charging point. Motos cost about $4 for the first 15 minutes and approximately $0.10 per minute thereafter, with an increased initial charge of roughly $6 during weekday rush hour.
You can avoid this additional charge by opting for a monthly Flex Plan, whereby every ride costs around $3 for the first 15 minutes. As of December 2020, San Francisco has the only Scoot fleet in the U.S. Worldwide; the service also operates in Barcelona and Santiago.
Best in Europe: Voi
Why We Chose It: We selected Voi for its wide availability and for a series of clever innovations that make it stand out from the crowd.
One of the largest scooter companies in Europe
Can pay with PayPal as well as credit card
Day passes and monthly subscriptions available
Some claim the scooters don’t perform well on inclines
Others report poor customer service
Maximum ride duration of three hours
Stockholm-based scooter company Voi claims to be the first in Europe and has one of the largest fleets on the continent. You’ll find Voi scooters in nearly 12 countries and 46 cities, and there are more than 400,000 active users.
And although on-demand rides are capped at three hours, you can purchase a day pass or monthly subscription in many cities if you need your scooter for longer.
Other initiatives include a virtual traffic school to enhance rider safety, a Voi for Business platform, and a newly launched scooter model that shows a considerable drop in emissions. An incentivized parking system also helps to reduce sidewalk cluttering.
Rates differ from city to city but are clearly visible in advance on the app. You'll have the ability to pay via PayPal or by credit card. A loyalty program, called Vioalty, rewards frequent riders with points and discounts of up to 40%.
Best Durability: Wind
Why We Chose It: We selected Wind because of its scooters' durability, which is important considering the risk of being on the road.
Highly durable new scooter model
Free helmet included with most scooters
Ability to pay with PayPal
New model not yet offered in every city
New model not yet offered in every city
No functionality for group rides
Berlin- and Barcelona-based company Wind offers another alternative for your European vacation. Its scooters are available in seven European countries, Israel, and Korea.
Wind has a $50 million funding injection which was used to develop third-generation scooters with improved hardware and a level of waterproofing high enough to survive the tough climates of countries like Iceland and Norway. The scooters’ bright yellow color also makes them highly visible even in poor weather conditions.
These new scooters also boast best-in-class battery life, with the ability to go 65 to 80 kilometers between charges. The downside? They’re not yet available in every Wind city. Wind scooters cost roughly €1 to unlock, and cost about €0.15 per minute, depending on your location and the time of day. Exact pricing is displayed in advance in the app, and the scooters feature a pause function.
A free helmet is supplied with most scooters. Be careful to stay within the agreed operating area, however; if you don’t, the scooter will stop automatically and you could also be subject to fines.
The best scooter sharing company depends on your location, and which companies operate locally. While it's important to consider geography and cost, safety and scooter options available are also important when determining which service is best for you. At the end of the day, our pick for the overall winner is Lime, based on its fees, the company’s global presence, safety commitment, and user reviews.
Which Cities Have Scooter Rental Programs?
Scooter rental programs are now found in major towns and cities all over the U.S. and in many other worldwide locations as well. Lime, for example, has programs in 142 cities globally.
Are There Long-Term Scooter Rental Companies?
Some scooter rental companies offer long-term rentals in certain cities. Bird has the best long-term rates in the U.S., with programs in Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and select college campuses, offering rentals from about $25 per month.
Are Scooter Rentals Safe?
Scooter rentals are generally safe, although it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the company’s safety rules and guidelines before your first ride. Learn how the scooter works in a quiet back street before venturing onto main roads. Helmets should always be worn, whether legally required or not.
Can You Rent More Than One Scooter at Once?
Most scooter rental companies only allow users to rent one scooter per account. However, Lime has a Group Ride function that allows users to rent five scooters simultaneously.
How We Chose the Best Scooter Sharing Companies
There are many different scooter rental companies available around the world, and we looked at more than 20 of them in our search for our favorites. To narrow down our selection, we compared the information on each company’s website with independent user reviews and media coverage. We focused on companies with fleets in multiple cities, and only considered those that had clear pricing information on their website and/or app. We also downloaded the apps for each company and tested them for functionality and user-friendliness.