Best Electric Trikes

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
213 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best electric trikes

Last Updated November 2019

Are you in the market for an electric trike? Many riders find these bikes fun and highly convenient as a mode of casual transportation. Electric trikes have all the benefits of electric bikes in terms of environmentally friendly power, but they are much more stable. This makes them easier to ride, particularly for those with any kind of reduced physicality.

Another bonus with a wider platform is that electric trikes generally have much more carrying capability. There are often useful baskets or boxes at the front, rear, or both. Electric trikes can vary greatly in their power, range, and other features. If you’re looking for a new ride for yourself or someone close to you, the choice may seem a bit complicated. We can help.

To learn more about electric trikes and make the most informed purchase possible, continue reading our buying guide. Don’t forget to check out the electric trikes we’ve spotlighted in this article, too.

If you’re looking for comfort, recumbent (feet forward) trikes often offer large padded seats. Unfortunately, their height can make them unsuitable for people with restricted mobility.

Key considerations

To pedal or not to pedal

Electric trikes can be divided into two main categories: those that are entirely battery powered and those that have a choice of battery power, pedal power, or a combination of both.

Either one is capable of getting you out in the fresh air, which is never a bad thing. Although three-wheeled electric scooters are the obvious choice for those with reduced strength, they are about much more than physique alone.

Electric

This type of trike is popular as a mode of personal transportation at outdoor and indoor events and in large businesses, such as factories and warehouses. Electric trikes are also popular at airports. Several models are designed to be used either while sitting down or standing up. Folding electric trikes are also a consideration for these purposes; some fulfill the legal requirements for “luggage,” so they can be carried in an aircraft and used on both ends of a trip.

Pedal-powered

In general, trikes with pedals have the potential to deliver greater range. That’s because whenever you’re pedaling, you’re not using the motor. They are also an excellent choice for personal exercise — even for those who are not as fit as they once were. Pedal-assist is an option that can still requires you to turn the pedals, even if you’re not providing all the energy required to move the trike forwards.

Performance

Performance is rated in volts for the battery and watts for the motor. You can look at volts as the maximum power available — like having a V8 motor — whereas watts is how long the power can be delivered — the “fuel tank” of your trike.

Lots of electric trikes on the market have 48-volt batteries, but wattage varies from 300 to 750 watts (the largest currently allowed by law). This gives you an indication of potential but not a direct comparison of power between models. Overall weight and available gearing also have an impact.

Gear sets and brakes on electric trikes are often the same as those used on bicycles, and they are relatively easy to maintain. When it comes to looking after maintenance of the electric motor, however, you may want to talk to a professional.

Speed and range

In real-world terms, these are more important that volts and watts. In theory, most states restrict the maximum speed of an electric trike to 20 miles per hour, though it’s not unusual for some models to exceed that. Range varies from a low of around 15 miles to as much as 45 miles — though the latter requires at least partial pedal assistance. If regular travel over extended distances is important to you, the range of your trike is a crucial consideration.

Charging

Charging time will be a consideration for those who use their electric trike regularly. Generally speaking, it can be anywhere from three to eight hours. Therefore, charging your trike overnight is a good habit to get into. Expected battery life is frequently quoted as the number of charges it can take. Durability is important because replacement batteries are not cheap.

Weight capacity

A maximum passenger weight is sometimes given, and for safety reasons, it should never be exceeded. Even on portable folding electric trikes, this can exceed 200 pounds, and 300-pound maximums are not uncommon.

A note about mobility scooters

Some electric trikes — those without pedals — look very similar to mobility scooters at first glance, and the latter are usually quite a lot cheaper. However, the majority of mobility scooters have a top speed of only five or six miles per hour and a range of just a few miles. Electric trikes might look much the same, but performance is on a whole different level.

EXPERT TIP

Think about the width of your bike, especially if you’re overtaking parked vehicles. It’s easy to forget you have two wheels behind you instead of one.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Despite the obvious differences between pedaled and battery-only electric trikes, most features are common to both.

Baskets and storage

If you regularly use your trike to go shopping, you will need a basket of some kind on your trike. Options range from small front-mounted baskets to large rear baskets and even fully enclosed boxes. The latter can usually be removed fairly easily if you just want to use your trike for fun or for getting around.

Size

Some electric trikes can be folded down to fit in the trunk of your vehicle. Many are narrow enough to go through a standard doorway. At the other end of the scale are some fairly large vehicles — particularly the recumbent (feet forward) models. What you use your electric trike for and where you’re likely to keep it will play a big part in this decision.

Monitors

A monitor can provide all kinds of useful information, from battery power remaining to speed, distance, and time. If a speedometer isn’t included, it’s worth checking to see if you could install one later. In general, the maximum legal speed is 20 miles per hour, but you might find yourself in areas with lower restrictions and knowing your exact speed can save you a ticket.

Gears and brakes

Gears on battery-only electric trikes work just like gears on cars, allowing you to select the best power for the situation, thus reducing power consumption.

They also have a big impact on flexibility with pedal-assisted trikes. The more you can pedal, the farther you can travel — and the more you can conserve battery power for when you really need it. A wide range gives you low gears for more efficient hill climbing and high gears so you can stretch your legs on flat areas. Some advanced pedal electric trikes provide different modes so you can choose how much assistance the motor provides.

Brakes are either disk, caliper, or drum brakes in design. Disk brakes are considered to be more efficient than calipers on pedal electric trikes. Electric-only versions usually have drums.

Other features

  • Fat tire trikes typically handle wet or muddy roads better than traditional models and rear drive better than they front drive.
  • LED headlights are provided on some models. They’re generally more useful for being seen than for seeing in the dark.
  • Mirrors are sometimes included, and they are worth investing in if not. Front and rear lights are also worth adding to increase visibility.
  • Suspension for the seat will give you a more comfortable ride. Suspension for the frame, while not common, will give you better handling on rough tracks.
EXPERT TIP

Your electric trike may go faster than you’re used to going on a bicycle, and your eyes may become dry and irritated. Clear protective glasses or goggles are an effective solution.


Staff  | BestReviews

Electric trike prices

The cheapest electric trikes sell for somewhere around $650. That said, the majority of electric trikes are in the $2,000 to $2,500 range. We expect most people to find what they’re looking for here, as popular features like impressive ranges and high speed engines are common.

The more sports-orientated recumbent electric trikes and fat-tired commuter versions push the price up toward $3,000.

Tips

  • Initial acceleration uses a lot of energy, so start gently, pedaling if possible.
  • A battery that sits in the hot sun will lose power more quickly, so park in the shade whenever possible.
  • Under-inflated tires increase drag, making the motor work harder.
  • Electric motors are more efficient with a full charge. Topping up regularly does no harm; it’s a good idea to do so after each trip.
  • Just like in your car, if you keep your trike on full throttle, you’ll empty the tank quicker. Back off to maximize journey distance.
  • The more you pedal, the less the motor has to work. If you’re looking to amp up your exercise routine, this is a great option.
Make sure you get insurance specific to your electric trike. Don’t assume it’s covered by home insurance, even if your ordinary bike is.

FAQ

Q. What laws impact electric trikes?
A.
In general, an electric trike comes under the same rules as an electric bike. In most states you need to be 16 years or older to operate an electric trike. The motor should be under 750 watts, and the top speed should be under 20 miles per hour on level ground. However, laws do vary, so we strongly recommend checking with your local state motor vehicle authority. It’s the only way to be sure.
 

Q. Can I ride an electric trike in the rain?
A.
Because of how well the battery and motor are protected from bad weather, it shouldn’t be a problem. Some fat tire models are even promoted for their ability in rain, mud, or snow. However, front-wheel drive electric bikes can suffer from wheel spin in damp conditions.
 

Q. Do I need to wear a helmet on an electric trike?
A.
Laws on this point vary from state to state. However, it’s just plain common sense to do so, regardless of the law. An accident at 20 miles per hour could easily prove fatal without a helmet.

The team that worked on this review
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    Bob
    Writer
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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