Folds into 38-by-30-by-30-inch size for transport in an SUV or van. Hydraulic brakes on front and rear wheels provide good stopping power. Comes fully assembled. Five levels of pedal assist plus throttle.
May still be too large for car trunks or taking indoors.
Well-supported brand ecosystem provides wealth of parts and accessories. Solid range up to 55 miles on a single charge. Provides five levels of assist. Half-twist throttle adds power.
Basic accessories are extra. Assembly might require a bike shop.
Recline eases stress on lower back and shoulders. Fat tires work on paved and some unpaved paths. Rear basket included. Seven-gear system adapts to various riding conditions.
High standover height may make it difficult for some to use.
Mid-drive motor delivers power directly to pedal and gear area for more efficient ride assistance. Handlebar thumb control for gear switching. Fast top speed. Comes with front and rear baskets.
Lacks a throttle or motor-only mode.
Can carry up to 440 pounds of combined rider and cargo. Baskets and backrest come standard. Offers front suspension for added smoothness. Fast top speed. Can run on motor power alone.
Highest speed may run afoul of local laws and regulations.
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An electric tricycle or e-trike is a lot like an electric bicycle, but with an extra wheel and a design that’s more stable for a rider. You don’t need to balance on an e-trike, or have to swing your leg over a high crossbar, as you would with a bike. Most importantly, an electric tricycle has an electric motor, powered by a rechargeable battery, that can kick in while you’re pedaling, making longer trips or more difficult slopes easier to tackle.
The best electric trikes are easy to use, easy to maintain, carry a nice amount of cargo and make your life a little easier. We at BestReviews have pored over the market for the best electric trikes, taking account of features, capabilities, top speed, battery capacity and reviews. We’re confident you’ll find an e-trike on our list suited for your budget, your needs and your lifestyle.
Best folding electric trike for adults
Motor: 500W rear drive | Battery: 48V, 14 Ah | Gears: Single-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic rotor front and rear | Wheel Size: 20” | Frame Material: Aluminum | Max Capacity: 415 lb
For those who need a trike that’s easy to fold and take on trips, we found the Lectric XP Trike to be the best. When folded up, it measures some 38 inches long and 30 inches wide and deep. It also has a low 13.8-inch stepover height, so it’s easy to get on and off. And unlike many e-trikes, the Lectric XP ships fully assembled, so you don’t need a tool set or a bike shop to put it together.
The Lectric has a 500-watt rear-drive motor powered by a 48-volt, 14-amp-hour battery. Those 500 watts are nominal, though; the motor’s peak power is actually 1,092 watts. Its battery has an estimated range of up to 60 miles, and takes four to six hours to fully charge. The XP Trike offers five levels of pedal assist and power-on-demand controlled by a familiar twist throttle. We also like that it packs a cadence sensor that gauges your pedaling pace to better control the motor’s assist.
The XP Trike boasts both front and rear hydraulic brakes for secure stopping power. For inexperienced riders, it offers a speed-limiting feature that constrains its speed to 5 mph; its full speed is 14 mph. With all those features plus a convenient fold-up design, this one is tough to beat for the price.
Best full-size electric trike for seniors
Motor: 750W front drive | Battery: 48V, 480 Wh | Gears: Single-speed | Brakes: Front rotor | Wheel Size: 18” | Frame Material: Chromoly steel | Max Capacity: 415 lb
If you’re in need of an electric trike that’s sturdy, simple to operate and comes with plenty of great features, the RadTrike from Rad Power Bikes is it. We like that it packs a 750-watt brushless front-drive motor paired with a 48-volt, 480-watt-hour battery to last some 20 to 55 miles per charge. And with 18-inch wheels and a frame made of chromoly steel, it can carry a total load of 415 pounds.
The front-wheel motor of the RadTrike creates a pulling effect when the motor engages. Its single-speed gearing is aimed at simplicity and cruising down paths and city or suburban roads, making it great for trips to the store. The RadTrike comes with a front mechanical disc brake plus a rear coaster brake for added control. It has a cushioned seat with height-adjustable backrest but no suspension.
The RadTrike is intended for a top speed of only 14 mph, which might seem constraining but is plenty to serve you well for getting out and about. It offers five levels of pedal assist controlled by a half-twist throttle for convenient control. The RadTrike ships disassembled and things like racks and baskets cost extra. However, if comfort, stability and ease of use are your main objectives, you couldn’t ask for anything more.
Best recumbent electric trike
Motor: 750W front drive | Battery: 48V, 20 Wh | Gears: Seven-speed | Brakes: Front and rear rotor | Wheel Size: 20” | Frame Material: Aluminum alloy | Max Capacity: 380 lb
One of the pricier models on our list, the Addmotor Arisetan II M-360 is a recumbent trike, which many people find more comfortable than the upright position of most e-trikes or the forward hunch of a bike. With its literal laid-back design and fat 4-inch-wide tires, the Arisetan II looks like it’s built for cruising the boardwalk or the resort course.
It packs a 750-watt brushless rear-drive motor and a 48-volt, 20-amp-hour battery with an impressive estimated range of 85 miles per charge at its lowest pedal-assist level. That rear-drive motor runs a differential axle for better handling, stability and traction even at higher speeds. It uses a mid-drive torque sensor near the pedals to adjust its speed to match your pedaling. And it boasts a seven-speed gear system and a twist-grip throttle for its motor.
The Arisetan II comes with a rear basket, although its size is slightly constrained by the inclined backrest that also comes standard. It’s a big trike, measuring almost 7 feet long and nearly 3 feet wide at the rear wheels, with a tall standover height of 26.7 inches, so keep that in mind. It comes with a backlit LCD screen, a horn, and front and rear lights. If you like the recumbent design, this is for you.
Best mid-engine electric trike
Motor: 350W mid-drive | Battery: 36V, 10.4 Ah | Gears: Seven-speed | Brakes: Front and rear disc | Wheel Size: 24” front, 20” rear | Frame Material: Aluminum | Max Capacity: 340 lb
The Buzz Cerana T is a mid-drive electric trike, with a 350-watt brushless motor located right at the seven-speed gearbox and pedals. This location places the power right where your feet do the pedaling, resulting in higher efficiency, better control and improved range.
The lockable 36-volt battery has 10.4 amp hours of capacity and a range of 20 to 40 miles per charge, recharging in only two to six hours. The Cerana T has a top speed of 20 mph with four levels of pedal assist, although it lacks a throttle for non-pedaled propulsion. Easy-to-press buttons give you single-finger shift control from the handlebars.
The Cerana T has a moderate stepover height of 18 inches. It comes with front and rear cargo baskets, the rear basket boasting a 40-pound load capacity over and above the 300-pound rider maximum. A 24-inch front wheel is matched by two 20-inch rear wheels for stability, with front and rear mechanical disc brakes. The Cerana also comes with front and rear lights controllable from the handlebars.
Fastest electric trike
Motor: 750W front drive | Battery: 48V, 13 Ah | Gears: Seven-speed | Brakes: Front and rear disc | Wheel Size: 24” front, 20” rear | Frame Material: Aluminum alloy | Max Capacity: 440 lb
For a workhorse trike, consider the Malisa Forte, capable of hauling a total of 440 pounds of combined rider and cargo weight on its sturdy aluminum alloy frame. Its 750-watt front-drive motor and 48-volt, 13-amp-hour battery combine for a top range of over 50 miles with pedal assist or 38 miles of throttle-only power-on-demand and a top speed of 26 mph.
The Malisa Forte comes with niceties like both front and rear baskets, a padded saddle seat with backrest and front and rear lights. It offers front and rear disc brakes and a front suspension for its 24-inch front wheel, while two 20-inch wheels with thick tires provide traction on multiple surfaces. A rear differential adds stability to turns — a frequent sore point for e-trikes. The Forte has a maximum climbing slope of 25 degrees, and it charges in five to seven hours. If you want an e-trike with plenty of speed and power for hauling, it won’t let you down.
Electric trikes are very similar to e-bikes, third wheel notwithstanding. When shopping for an e-trike, it’s smart to know about the specs, numbers and features you’re likely to come across.
What sets apart an e-trike from a three-wheeled motorcycle or motor trike is operational pedals. Generally speaking, an e-trike always features pedal-powered or pedal-assisted propulsion. It’s assumed that you’ll use the pedals almost all of the time. Most e-trike motors won’t even start unless you start pedaling. This sets e-trikes apart from motor-only vehicles like electric mobility scooters.
E-trikes provide multiple levels of assistance from the motor. For example, the Lectric XP Trike offers five levels of pedal assist and a cadence sensor that applies assistance depending on how fast you’re pedaling.
E-trikes also give you the option for using the motor alone for short periods. This is controlled by a throttle usually located on a handlebar just as with a motorcycle. Using motor power alone depletes your battery faster, but it’s a great option if you want to rest for a while without stopping, or want the motor to handle that slope up the driveway.
An e-trike’s motor can either be front-mounted, rear-mounted or mid-drive.
Front-mounted motors are located in the front wheel and drive the trike from that location; it’s a little like the front wheel is pulling the rest of the trike along.
Rear-mounted motors are located in the back wheels and provide rear-wheel drive. This is particularly useful when going uphill.
Mid-drive motors are located near the pedals and gearbox and add power to the drive chain. This location adds power at the same spot where you pedal, making for a more integrated boost.
When shopping for an e-trike, you’ll see values given for motors and batteries in watts and volts.
Watts usually tells you how powerful the motor is. The higher the wattage, the more powerful your motor — and the more it can boost you while riding. In the United States, the top limit for an e-bike or e-trike’s motor is 750 watts (1 horsepower). Above that you’re in motorcycle or moped territory.
Volts refer to your e-trike’s battery. The higher the voltage value, the longer or faster you can go. Sometimes you’ll see the battery’s voltage value combined with multiples of time, such as ampere hours (Ah) or watt hours (Wh). This tells you how much voltage your battery can deliver per a period of time.
Your e-trike’s maximum speed and top range are two other specs to consider.
Speed: E-trikes generally have a top motor speed of 15 to 20 mph. If that sounds low, remember that most people can pedal a traditional bike only up to 10 or 15 mph, and that’s with a lot of effort. An e-trike’s motor takes some of that effort away, so you can feel like you’re pedaling at an easy 5 mph while going 15. You can achieve higher speeds than 20 mph by combining hard pedaling with motor assistance.
Range: This refers to how far your e-trike can go on a single charge. Range depends greatly on how much you’re willing to pedal versus how much motor assistance you use. The more you pedal, the farther you can go on a single charge. In general, e-trikes can range from 20 to 45 miles on a single charge.
An e-trike may take from two to seven hours to charge. Most e-bikes and e-trikes now run on lithium-ion batteries, which charge quickly, often up to 80%, within the first two hours, but charge more slowly after that due to how lithium-ion battery chemistry works. As with other lithium-ion batteries, like in your smartphone or laptop, similar rules of thumb apply: never let your e-trike battery fully empty, avoid charging in the heat and charge your e-trike frequently. E-trikes generally plug into household AC and often handle outlet voltage from 100 to 240 volts.
A big benefit of an e-trike over an e-bike is that it can haul a sizeable load for you. The maximum load of an e-trike can be measured either as a total load, including the rider and any cargo, or separately with a maximum rider weight plus a cargo weight. A common maximum-load value is 350 pounds for rider and cargo combined; however, some e-trikes have total max-load weights of 400 pounds or more, and over 500 pounds for two-seater trikes.
The frame of most e-trikes are commonly made of steel or aluminum alloy. Steel alloy frames are strong but heavy. Aluminum frames are lighter.
If you have limited mobility or range of motion, or just want an easier time getting on and off your trike, look for a trike with a step-through frame. These trikes have a low or absent crossbar that lets you step easily across the frame, almost like a scooter, rather than having to throw your leg across it like a bicycle or motorcycle.
To determine if the frame is right for you, look for the step-over or stand-over height when shopping for an e-trike. This gives you the maximum height you’ll have to cross over when using it.
E-trikes typically come with saddle seats like those of bicycles and motorcycles, although bench-type seating can be found on two-person models. For added comfort, some models offer wider saddles with included backrests, but these sometimes cost extra.
Recumbent e-trikes go even further and feature a design that lets you recline with the pedals forward of your center of gravity. Suspension for the seat helps deliver a smoother riding experience.
If you regularly use your trike to go shopping, you will need a basket of some kind on your trike, which on some brands may not be included with the base price. Options range from small front-mounted baskets to large rear baskets. Frequent commuters may want to look into some kind of covered storage option for inclement weather.
If you’re looking for an e-trike to take with you on road trips, look for a model that folds or partially disassembles and reassembles to fit into your car trunk. Some folding e-trikes can even fit through standard door frames, but check the weight if you need to lug it up and down stairs.
Can you check your e-trike on a plane, like many people do with their two-wheel e-bikes? It depends. In the U.S., the Transportation Security Administration leaves it up to individual airlines whether to accept certain sporting equipment like e-bikes. Lithium-ion batteries are a dangerous fire hazard and can’t go in checked baggage, while even some of the folding, portable e-trikes still weigh well over most airlines’ 50-pound maximum limit for checked bags. Be prepared to pay for oversized cargo and take the battery with you into the cabin.
Gears: E-trikes, like e-bikes, come with either single-speed or multispeed gears. Single-speed gears are simple to use and maintain; they work well on flat and predictable rides, such as commuting on urban or suburban streets. Multispeed gears, as bike aficionados know, help you deal with different terrain and conditions, like hills, sand and dirt paths. E-trikes with multispeed gears often boast a seven-speed system.
Brakes: E-trikes typically use disc brakes rather than lightweight caliper-style brakes. Disc brakes are stronger and perform better in changing conditions than caliper brakes, especially considering that an e-trike is already heavier than a bicycle and may be carrying cargo. An e-trike may offer mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes, placed on the front, rear or all three wheels.
A pair of rearview mirrors help you see behind you and give you better situational awareness. E-trikes often don’t come with mirrors installed, but some brands offer mirror accessory sets you can install at an additional cost.
E-trikes often come with a headlamp, but they may not really be bright enough to light your path in the dark. You need at least 250 lumens for an effective headlamp. E-trike lamps are better at letting other people, especially drivers in motor vehicles, know you’re there. Rear lights and reflectors also help keep you visible to drivers, and some models offer brake lights.
E-bike batteries can be pretty attractive to thieves, and e-trike batteries are no different. Locking batteries helps make it harder for thieves to make off with your trike’s battery.
You can find e-trikes costing below $1,000, but the sweet spot for solid brand-name trikes starts at around $1,500 and goes up to $2,500. These mid-range bikes come from reputable e-bike brands with loyal customer followings and offer solid performance and plenty of added features and impressive innovations. The high end of the e-trike market goes to $3,000 and above for single-seaters and $5,000 and up for two-seaters.
We researched this article by consulting e-bike and e-trike enthusiast websites for their top picks, then collating those and researching each brand and model for reputation, reliability, features and pricing. We also checked the laws pertaining to e-bikes and e-trikes in different jurisdictions. Our picks impressed us most with their features, brand reputation and positive reviews from both professional outlets and customers.
A. In the United States, electric tricycles are regulated as electric bicycles under the Consumer Product Safety Act, which was amended in 2002 to specifically refer to “low-power electric bicycles.” Under this definition, e-bikes and e-trikes are two- or three-wheeled vehicles equipped with “fully-operable” pedals and electric motors less than 750 watts in power (equivalent to 1 horsepower) with an upper speed limit of 20 miles per hour.
U.S. states have varying regulations for e-bikes and e-trikes. For example, Alaska treats e-bikes the same as motorcycles and requires a license and registration to operate them. Many states, however, have adopted a three-class definition for e-cycles, depending on how they work, how much power they have and how fast they can go.
Class 1 and 2 cycles are typically permitted on bike paths and trails and usually don’t require licenses or registration, while Class 3 cycles do. Most e-trikes are sold to conform to these cycle classes, and you’ll probably see their classification when you’re shopping.
A. E-trikes have water-resistant connectors, cables and housing for their electric components, so getting wet is seldom 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.
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.
A. E-trikes certainly won’t fulfill your need for speed. They are heavier than e-bikes or purely pedal-powered tricycles. They also have a tendency of tipping when turning corners at a high speed, forcing you to slow down when turning if you want to be cautious. Additionally, the battery of an e-trike can be dangerous if tampered with or misused.
A. Like other lithium-ion batteries, e-trike batteries tend to have an effective lifetime of three to five years. As you’ve probably learned regarding your smartphone battery, lithium-ion batteries have only so many charge cycles before they lose the ability to charge fully and hold on to that charge. If your battery conks out in half the time or less even if you’ve had it charging for a full two to seven hours, you probably need a new one.
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