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9 Best Kids Scooters of 2023

Apr 21, 2023Apr 21, 2023

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Whether you want to roll fast on pavement or go big at the skatepark, one of these scooters will do the trick.

The "kick scooter" has been around for close to a hundred years now, starting as a homemade adaptation of roller-skate wheels to a wooden frame, deviating in the 1980s to complex tube-frame devices using BMX technology, and then settling on the "Razor scooter" pattern that kids know and love today. Along the way it's found a place in the lives of everyone from urban commuters to off-road stunt riders. Today's scooters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and capabilities. We’ve examined the options to come up with the best choices for scooter-loving kids of all ages.

The first decision you’ll want to make is wheel size. Until recently, most scooters used a urethane wheel on ball bearings with a 100mm diameter. These wheels are cheap to replace, hard to damage, and available in a variety of materials to suit different terrain. The vast majority of "pro" scooters used at skateparks and in trick competition still use this size.

In the past few years, however, some scooter manufacturers have experimented with larger wheels. The benefits are easy to see: They roll faster, they’re less sensitive to cracks in the sidewalk and other terrain issues, and they can offer increased ground clearance which in turn makes the scooter less likely to scrape or grind during a turn. In particular, the 200mm wheel size can make for a very pleasant ride. The downsides: It's not as easy to get replacement or upgraded wheels, and the folding models won't be as easy to stash in a car or office.

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Which brings us to the next question: Do you want a folding scooter? Chances are that you do. A non-folding scooter can be surprisingly bulky and won't always be a good fit in a vehicle or even in a bedroom. The most common folding mechanisms are durable and time-proven, even for mild trick riding. And having a folding scooter means you’re more likely to take it with you, which means you’ll be more likely to use and enjoy it.

Riders who expect to "go big" at a skatepark or when doing street tricks, however, will want a scooter with a solid frame and a non-collapsing handlebar. They’re stronger, lighter, and less likely to crack under the pressure of enthusiast use.

Your child might want a pro-level scooter like the ones they’ve seen on YouTube or at a skatepark, but be aware that many of the "custom builds" require regular and thoughtful maintenance in order to work correctly. Some scooters with a high-strength steel frame or handlebar can also be subject to rust inside their tubing that won't be readily apparent but can still result in a failure. Don't have a custom scooter built, and don't choose a "pro shop" option, unless you really know how to maintain and repair it.

For this scooter test, I enlisted my son, who is a USABMX racer and downhill mountain biker, to ride a variety of different scooters. Over the course of a year, he and his friends rode (and broke) multiple scooters in every situation from heavy street riding to light skatepark use. In the course of this effort, I disassembled and examined multiple scooters to evaluate build quality, methods of construction, and various technologies for wheels and headsets. We then took this information and used it to evaluate both the scooters he tested and substantially similar items from the same manufacturers.

Key Specs

With the A5, Razor almost singlehandedly got people interested in large wheels—and after riding the Lux, it's easy to see why. This scooter is surefooted in urban traffic, easy to operate, and less prone to "fold-over" crashes, where the bar turns more than you expect, and it's still able to fold into a usably small space. But this isn't a scooter for smaller children, who may find it too tall to safely operate, and it's not ready for the local skatepark.

Key Specs

Not everyone likes the look of the Razor A5, but almost everyone knows that larger wheels bring significant benefits for daily use. Thus the middle-of-the-road A3, with 125mm wheels—not as large as the A5 but slightly larger than the average smaller-wheeled scooters. It's great for older children or anyone who wants a bit more stable ride. And the price is right.

Key Specs

The classic BMX brand Mongoose has gotten increasingly serious about its offerings in both bikes and scooters. The Trace is an attempt to provide all the classic small-wheel scooter virtues at a killer price. We’d say it mostly succeeds, with a proven folding mechanism, high-quality wheels, and plenty of room on the deck for larger feet. If you want a wider handlebar and more usability on rough pavement, however, consider a large-wheel scooter.

Key Specs

Off-road scooters are becoming more popular, and Osprey has a solid handle on the basics here. In particular, the bar is a great combination of traffic-friendly narrow width and chromoly-steel durability. The grips have a lock-on feature to prevent slippage. A little tall and heavy for 12-and-under riders, the Osprey should be just the ticket for teens looking to explore the whole neighborhood.

Key Specs

Dominator all but owns the entry-level trick-scooter market. The Sniper is sized for older and taller riders; tweens should look at the similar Dominator Trooper. The deck is boxed aluminum, made for long grinds at a skatepark and abusive landings. The alloy core wheels are built to endure punishment. A welded two-piece handlebar is as sturdy as they come. If you want more than what Dominator offers, you’ll be in the realm of custom scooters. Think of this as a bridge to the high-end scooter-trick hobby.

Key Specs

The scooter craze of the ’80s combined BMX influence and a focus on bulletproof strength. The Mongoose Expo is an authentic re-creation of that vibe from a brand that was there the first time around. Compared to a modern scooter, the Expo has heavy-duty frame tubes, a BMX-style handlebar, pneumatic tires, and brakes both front and rear. It won't be for everyone, but it's a durable way to cover major mileage—and for taller children, it will be more comfortable, as well.

Key Specs

The "oil slick" trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon; it's the coolest look at the park, and some kids will move heaven and earth to get an oil-slick scooter from their indulgent parents. Havoc now offers its Mini scooter in the finish. The Havoc Pro is highly desired among teenaged riders; this is the same thing sized for the 8 to 12 set. High-speed bearings, a forged steel fork, and a high-strength handlebar handle the tough tricks and pull the admiring looks. If you want the looks of a $500 custom scooter at a third of the price, this is the only game in town.

Key Specs

Razor's entry into the street pneumatic-tire market addresses two of everyone's least favorite aspects of scooting, namely ride quality and annoying rattles. The A5 Air rides on massive pneumatic tires that soak up bumps and imperfections, while an anti-rattle system keeps it quiet. Best of all, it still folds up for storage, unlike most of its competitors. Targeted explicitly at adults with ground to cover between the parking lot and the office, the A5 might also serve well for a child with a long ride to school.

Key Specs

The Razor A scooter is the company's most basic offering for younger kids. The small-diameter urethane wheels and low handlebar height make it easy to learn and use. While it looks almost exactly like the original Razor scooters, the folding mechanism and adjustable bar work better than they did on the company's first efforts. If you’re looking to get started with scooters, the Razor A is hard to beat.

PM: What's the biggest decision to make when shopping for a kid's scooter?

J.B.: It's as simple as this: Do you want the traditional solid-wheel folding scooter, the kind that's been popular for a while, or do you want to go outside that envelope for an off-road, pneumatic-tire, large-diameter wheel? Basic scooters like the Razor A-line still meet most needs. The most common digression is into a larger-diameter wheel. If you’re older than six, and not interested in skatepark tricks, there's pretty much zero drawback for going with a 12-inch wheel.

PM: What's the most important criteria to consider before buying an adult scooter?

J.B.: Durability in the frame and running gear. Too many adult scooters are simply sized-up versions of the ones ridden by children. The forces on wheels, bearings, axles, steering systems, and even the frames increase dramatically with rider weight. So a scooter ridden by a 250-pound adult doesn't need to be three times as strong as that operated by an 80-pound child. It's more like 10 times as strong. When you’re considering an adult scooter, look for heavy-duty components from top to bottom.

PM: To fold or not to fold?

J.B.: If you’re going to put your scooter on a backpack or in a locker at school, you have to fold. But if you’re not constrained that way, I like the solid-deck scooters from Dominator and other manufacturers. The hinged deck of a folding scooter is the most fragile, wear-prone, and likely to break part. The solid-deck scooters ride better, handle impacts better, and last longer. I’m not recommending folding scooters to anyone who doesn't really need that capability.

PM: Typical lifespan of a scooter—kids or adults?

JB: Gently used as a neighborhood commuter or as a way to get from a parking garage to an office, scooters can last almost indefinitely. Check to make sure there's no "shake" in the handlebar, and turn the wheels by hand to check the condition of the bearings. They should turn freely without lateral play in the wheel. If, on the other hand, you’re riding skateparks every day or hitting a few big "stair drops" on the way to work, the lifespan is anyone's guess and you’ll need to perform the above checks on a daily basis. Weight plays a role as well. A 50-pound child will have a hard time damaging most scooters, but a full-sized adult can bend the frame in a single unplanned detour off a curb. When in doubt, have service performed or replace the scooter. Falling on your face at 10 miles per hour can be a much bigger deal than one might think.

PM: Is there something to avoid when buying a scooter?

JB: Adults need to be very conscious of just how tall a scooter is, and how high the handlebar is. Too low, or too narrow, and you won't be stable on the move. This is doubly true for people who haven't ridden any sort of BMX bike or scooter since their youth. While it may be true that you never forget how to ride a bike, riding a scooter with a low and narrow handlebar is an eminently perishable skill. You don't want to get a real-world thumbs-down in that skill at speed on a crowded street or city sidewalk. When in doubt, get a scooter with a tall and wide bar. If that means you miss out on a little bit of convenience when it's time to pack up, so be it.

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