There is a very wide span of prices in the current scooter market, and a big difference in what you get for your money. You can buy a scooter for $600, or $5500. What's the difference, and what do you get for your $5500 (OK, you have to be pretty keen to spend $5500, but the option is there if you want to!), and what do you get for your $600?
It starts with looking at who you are buying from. As in all markets, what is the brand you are buying? Is it a scooter from a long-term scooter manufacturer who has been conducting R&D for years, continuously developing new models and supporting older ones with part and service, or is it a 'bandwagon' product from a recent entrant to the market, who has figured that scooters are 'so hot right now', and has bashed out a quick line of very mass-produced products? What do they make as well as scooters? Are they a specialist, or do they make mass-market electronic products, with scooters stacked in there alongside big TV's and wireless toasters?
What advice and service do you receive from the vendor? Can you receive friendly and impartial advice, test rides, knowledgeable recommendations for your situation? Or does it extend to 'Pay for it over there at one of those tills'?!
And let's look at the products themselves. Before buying, I would suggest doing a search on Alibaba / AliExpress, the giant Asian online marketplace, and see if you can spot your scooter being sold by numerous vendors under different names and guises. If you can, you are looking at a generic product being pumped out as copycat technology loaded with cheap parts and probably from several different factories. Someone will stick their badge on it, and sell it to you as theirs, but it hasn't come from a company with a vested interest in developing scooters, and good luck if anything fails on it! But, it will be cheap(er) than a brand name product.
So now you have decided on the established brand you will buy, and you have found a retailer who knows what they are talking about (well done, there aren't many), which scooter should you invest your hard-earned cash in, and what does it buy?
The biggest cost of an e-scooter is the battery. Batteries are expensive, especially good quality ones. The stabilising element (usually Cobalt) costs, and this is reflected in the price of those batteries. More powerful motors naturally require more battery power, hence as your scooter increases in power, so does the battery to sustain a reasonable range, and therefore the cost increases. If you are buying a cheap scooter, I can guarantee you a poor range and a weak battery that fades fast. The economics make it so.
Motors are the next in the cost line. Power comes at a cost, and the biggest scooters, such as the Dualtron , now run dual motors, one in each wheel. The engineering of those motors is also a variance, and as always, buy a branded product and you are buying longevity. There is also the question of front-wheel or rear (or two) wheel drive. Front-drive is the cheapest system. You'll find it on Lime, Xiomi, and other scooters built to a price. It also has the least traction as your weight is positioned more over the back wheel, and easily loses traction, especially in damp conditions.
Next, look at the tyres. Again, cheaper tyres are solid, polythene-derived numbers. No chance of a puncture, but also a harsh ride and limited traction. Does anyone make solid car tyres? No? There's a good reason for that!
And finally move on to the components. Brakes? Actual levers, preferably with discs or drums, or those silly switches that send the current around the other way to hopefully slow you up a bit? Frame? Rigid? Or bendy like an over-ripe banana? Does it lock solidly in place when you unfold it, with a satisfying clunk, or does the locking lever it feel like it might just come off in the hand of an enthusiastic 4-year-old?
There's a lot to think about, and all of these elements will have a bearing on the final cost of the scooter. Ultimately, perhaps the depth of your own pockets will determine which way you go, but hopefully I have given you something to think about. Personally, I think you are better off with a mid-range offering from a top brand than a top-range scooter from a knock-off brand, but I am probably biased, because at Electric Scooter Shop, we only stock the top brands!