Rent vs Own an Electric Scooter | What's Best For You?

Rent vs Own an Electric Scooter | What's Best For You?

If you’re looking for a cost effective way to replace your car for your daily commutes then you’ve likely considered using an electric scooter. E-scooters are a great eco friendly alternative to cars and busses, that are also super fun to ride. But is it better to buy a scooter or rent one? In most cases it depends on how frequently you plan to use your scooter, but there are other factors to consider when you decide to change up your commuting style.

In this blog we’re going to cover some of the main debate points between renting and owning an electric scooter. Hopefully reading this blog will help you to determine which option is best for you and your commute.

Broke person standing next to an electric scooter

The Cost Conundrum: Investment vs. Incremental Expenses

The first concern that pops into everyones head when debating between renting or purchasing an electric scooter is the cost. To help you make a decision at what’s best for you, let’s use the Coffee Scenario; A lot of people like to have coffee in the morning before they wake up, usually people will stop at a local Tim Hortons on their commute to get their favourite blend of coffee, but overtime the costs start to add up. Instead of buying a cup of coffee every morning, most people will op for buying a coffee maker, this costs a little bit more upfront but saves them from high coffee prices in the long run. Now if you drink coffee everyday a coffee maker is a great investment, but if you’re not an avid caffein enthusiast then stopping by your local Tim’s every once in a while isn’t so bad.

This same concept applies to electric scooters. If you only need to ride one every once in a while then it totally makes sense to just rent. However, if you’re planning on riding an electric scooter everyday then those rental fee’s can add up quickly, and you’ll find that purchasing a scooter is the better option in the long run.

Let’s take a look at the price for renting a Bird Electric Scooter, these are the most popular scooter rentals in Canada. To rent a Bird scooter you need to download an app, once you’ve connected your debit or credit card to the app you have to pay a $1.15 “unlocking fee” to activate the scooter, and then an additional $0.35 a minute to ride the scooter. If you ride half an hour to get to work that works out to be $11.65 one way, and over $23 for your commute to and from work or school. Let’s say you have to do that every working day of the month, that works out to almost $500 every month.

Most electric scooters range from $700-$1500 depending on their specs and capabilities. Based on the math above, you could afford one of the most expensive electric scooter models in only three months with what you’re paying in rental fee’s, so why bother spending all that extra dough when you could simply buy a scooter out right!

Electric Scooter with LED lights

Customization: Make It Uniquely Yours

There are a range of benefits that come from owning an electric scooter, one of which is the ability to make the scooter look and feel like your own. Modifications to both the appearance and performance of your electric scooter is something that can only be done if you own the device. Rentable scooters do not allow for customizations, since this isn’t your property it’s considered vandalism.

If you own your scooter there’s a lot that you can do to make it feel more like your own, a lot of people have started getting custom wraps for their scooter, allowing them to change the aesthetics of their device. Other people tend to go with more practical options like installing a phone holder, cup holder, or mirror to their handle bar. Our personal favourite is adding LED light strips to the base of your scooter, this provides a cool under glow for your scooter when you ride at night! If you’re interested in modifying the appearance of your scooter check out the handy resources we’ve added below!

1. Scooter Wraps

2. How to Install Accessories to Your Scooter

3. How to Install LED Lights to Your Scooter

Remember, modifying your scooter is only something you can do if you own the device, if you rent a scooter you can’t make changes to its performance or appearance, this would be considered vandalism and you could face legal repercussions.

Dirty Electric scooter

The Hygiene Factor: Cleaner, Safer, Better

This one is pretty obvious, but a lot of people don’t realize that rentable electric scooters don’t get cleaned, or at least don’t get cleaned often. You’d think since we just came off of a two year pandemic where everyone was hyper fixated on killing germs that rentable scooters would be cleaned more frequently, but they aren’t. When you ride a Bird or Neuron scooter you’re holding handle bars that have been held by every other person who’s rented that device. Now you might be a clean person who washes and sanitizes their hands frequently, but do you think every person who’s rented that scooter is as cleanly as you? Unlikely.

For all us germaphobes out there, the clean alternative is owning your own scooter! When you own a scooter the only germs that you have to worry about are your own, and you have the freedom to clean your scooter whenever you want! So why deal with sticky handlebars or dirt covered decks when you could ride your own scooter that you can clean whenever you want.

Bird Electric Scooters

Performance Matters: Own the Ride, Own the Road

When it comes to performance, not all scooters are created equal. Rental fleets often consist of basic models designed for durability and cost-effectiveness, not speed or features. Most of the time rental scooters only go 20-25 KM/HR with limit acceleration, and these scooters don’t have shocks, so you literally feel every pebble as you ride. We’re not kidding, we tested out the Bird and Neuron electric scooters in 2023, both of these scooters were slow, took a few kicks to get going, and then we could feel every bump in the road, since the scooters have little to no shocks.

Testing the Bird Electric Scooter 

Testing the Neuron Electric Scooter

But rental scooters do have one positive, their range, these models have a great battery life, so you could realistically ride one all day long, mind you this would cost you an arm and a leg. With a scooter you actually buy you can pick a model that suits your needs. Scooters come in all different shapes and sizes with speeds up to 40 KM/HR, ranges up to 95 KM and max payloads designed for any kind of user.

To help you in your buying process check out our helpful article on “How to Choose the Best Electric Scooter for your Needs

Electric scooter in front of Tim Hortons

Accessibility All Year Round: Always at Your Service

Finally, while rentable scooters are readily available in the summer, they’re taken off the roads in the late fall, winter and early spring, so you can really only use them for commuting in the warm months. For an electric scooter that you own, you can ride it whenever you want, any time of year, any time of day, its your scooter so it’s your choice when you ride it and when you don’t. Of course, you might not want to ride your scooter in certain weather types, but if you do, here’s a list of tips for riding your scooter in the winter.

While renting an electric scooter might seem convenient for the occasional rider, the perks of ownership are too significant to ignore for anyone considering regular use. From the financial savings to the joy of customizing your ride, from the hygiene peace of mind to the unparalleled performance, and the unbeatable accessibility, owning an electric scooter offers a freedom that rentals simply can't match.

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