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Best Cheap Electric Bikes: Budget-Friendly E-Bikes for All

Cheap Electric Bike
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Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

updated: July 1, 2024

Although e-bikes are an ideal solution for people looking to cycle to work without sweating through their shirt, their high price point can be off-putting for many. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best cheap electric bikes, which features the top budget models, as picked by e-bike connoisseurs. Jump on and let’s go for a spin!

Our picks for the top cheap electric bikes

Best on all aspects cheap electric bike: Lectric XP Lite

Lectric XP Lite

As our favorite all-rounder, we’ve gone with the Lectric XP Lite. It comes recommended by Tyler Swartz, co-founder of E-bike Commuting, who praises it for being so compact and easy to store, as well as its strong motor and solid range. “Plus, of all the low cost e-bike companies, Lectric has the best reviews when it comes to customer service,” he adds. “That’s something that I think is very important.” Shopping tip: The Lectric XP Lite also made our list of the best folding electric bikes.

Specifications

  • Power: 720 watts
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Range: 40 miles
  • Price on publish: $799

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Smooth ride thanks to its large tires

Cons:

  • Folding and unfolding it can be a little tricky at times

The bottom line:

A folding, compact e-bike that ticks all the boxes for a high quality budget model.

Best value cheap electric bike: Swagtron EB5 Pro

Swagtron EB5 Pro

Swagtron EB5 Pro

For a really inexpensive option that still gets the job done in style, Joan Denizot, cycling expert at Zize Bikes, advises checking out the Swagtron EB5 Pro. She recommends this model due to it being foldable, lightweight, and reliable, all without spending a fortune. Its range and top speed are admittedly a little lacking, but it makes up for this with its handy portability.

Specifications

  • Power: 250 watts
  • Weight: 37 lbs
  • Top speed: 15 mph
  • Range: 15.5 miles
  • Price on publish: $439.99

Pros:

  • Folding
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Shorter range and lower top speed than most other models

The bottom line:

You might not go as far (or as fast) on this highly portable e-bike, but for short trips, it’s a great value option.

Best cheap cruiser electric bike: Nakto Camel

Nakto Camel

Nakto Camel

From its easy, step-thru design to its snack-friendly basket, everything about this bike says fun, leisurely cruising. Praised by Denizot for its “comfortable design for casual rides,” it’s still capable of taking off when it has to, with a 450 watt motor and a top speed of 25 miles an hour. It also has several lights and reflectors to make sure people can still see you if your laidback cruise keeps you out past sundown.

Specifications

  • Power: 450 watts
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • Top speed: 25 mph
  • Range: 32 miles
  • Price on publish: $799

Pros:

  • Folding pedals and handlebars for easier storage
  • Puncture-resistant tires

Cons:

  • On the more expensive side for this list (although pretty affordable in general for a quality e-bike)

The bottom line:

A more expensive option for this list, but still a very reasonably priced e-bike overall, and one that’ll work perfectly for city commuters.

Best cheap electric bike for city riders: Charge City

Charge City

“The Charge City is a great option for city riders,” says Dong. “It comes with integrated lights, a rack, options for both closed and open frames, and multiple colors.” It also features a thumb throttle as well as pedal assist, folding pedals, a locking, removable battery, folding handlebars, and puncture-resistant tires.

Specifications

  • Power: 250 watts
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Range: 50 miles
  • Price on publish: $1,799

Pros:

  • Folding pedals and handlebars for easier storage
  • Puncture-resistant tires

Cons:

  • On the more expensive side for this list (although pretty affordable in general for a quality e-bike)

The bottom line:

A more expensive option for this list, but still a very reasonably priced e-bike overall, and one that’ll work perfectly for city commuters.

Most stylish cheap electric bike: Aventon Soltera.2

Aventon Soltera.2

Aventon Soltera.2

With its smooth, minimalist design, Aventon’s Soltera.2 will definitely turn a few heads. Dong, certainly, is a big admirer, saying that, “It’s available in a really striking citrine yellow color, which is a fan favorite!” It’s not all about the looks, though—this e-bike has a 350 watt motor, an aerodynamic frame, built-in turn signals, and a backlit LCD display. It’s also surprisingly lightweight at just 42 pounds.

Specifications

  • ower: 350 watts
  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Range: 46 miles
  • Price on publish: $999

Pros:

  • Built-in turn signals
  • Looks gorgeous
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Some reviewers note that the range sometimes falls short of the advertised 46 miles

The bottom line:

A great-looking, lightweight e-bike with a truly thoughtful design.

Best folding cheap electric bike: Lectric XP 3.0

Lectric XP 3.0

Lectric XP 3.0

As we’ve already established, Swartz is a fan of Lectric’s bikes, and that includes their XP 3.0. In particular, he praises its powerful 1,000 watt motor with 55 NM of torque, which will definitely let you speed through your daily commute. On top of all that, it’s foldable, so you can store it safely away when not in use. All in all, it’s accessible, reliable, and a whole lot of fun.

Specifications

  • Power: 1,000 watts
  • Weight: 64 lbs
  • Top speed: 28 mph
  • Range: Up to 45 miles (or 65, with larger battery–$200 extra)
  • Price on publish: $999

Pros:

  • Foldable
  • Powerful
  • Option for a larger battery

Cons:

  • On the heavy side

The bottom line:

Stuffed with worthwhile features while still remaining affordable, this folding bike will save both space and your wallet.

Best cheap fat tire electric bike: Heybike Mars 2.0

Heybike Mars 2.0

Anyone wanting to ride off the beaten path—and especially those who love to ride on sand, snow, or swampy mud—will want to consider a fat tire bike. If portability and fun color choices are also a consideration, then you definitely want to try out the Mars 2.0 from Heybike. Its powerful 1,200 watt motor will propel you across any surface, while its rugged, four-inch-wide tires will make sure it’s always a smooth ride. And if you go for the pumpkin orange option, you’ll definitely get noticed on your way.

Specifications

  • Power: 1,200 watts
  • Weight: 75 pounds
  • Top speed: 28 mph
  • Range: 45 miles
  • Price on publish: $999

Pros:

  • Powerful
  • Stable
  • Foldable

Cons:

  • Heavy

The bottom line:

A fun, portable fat tire e-bike with the power and traction to get you where you’re going.

Best lightweight cheap electric bike: Ecotric Vortex

Ecotric Vortex

Ecotric Vortex

While there are admittedly some even lighter models on this list, Denizot recommends the Ecotric Vortex for its ideal balance of weight, power, and price, describing it as, “Lightweight yet powerful for urban commuting.” Indeed, for less than half a grand, you get a high-strength, carbon steel frame, large, 26-inch wheels, an 18-month warranty, and a 350 watt motor. And it’s still only just over 50 pounds!

Specifications

  • Power: 350 watts
  • Weight: 51 pounds
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Range: 33 miles
  • Price on publish: $489

Pros:

  • Large wheels
  • Strong frame

Cons:

  • A minority of customer reviews say that some components need regular tightening

The bottom line:

A lightweight, inexpensive e-bike with high-end features.

Most impressive range for a cheap electric bike: Ancheer 26" Electric Cruiser Bike

Ancheer 26" Electric Cruiser Bike

Ancheer 26" Electric Cruiser Bike

One aspect to seriously consider when looking at more affordable e-bikes is battery life, and that’s what Denizot loves about Ancheer’s e-cruiser. Its range of up to 60 miles is frankly amazing for the price, but on top of that, you get large, 26-inch wheels, a fast charge time (three and a half hours), front and rear lights, and cruise control.

Specifications

  • Power: 350 watts
  • Weight: 61 pounds
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Range: 60 miles
  • Price on publish: $359.99

Pros:

  • Great range, especially for the price
  • Fast charge time

Cons:

  • Some customers complain that the assembly instructions are difficult to follow

The bottom line:

A highly affordable e-bike with truly impressive range.

The three classes of e-bikes

“E-bikes are categorized into three main classes, based on their electric assistance capabilities,” explains Kelly Dong, operations manager at Upway. He breaks down the three classes as follows:

Class 1 E-Bikes

Also known as pedal-assist e-bikes, these provide electric assistance only when the rider is pedaling. They have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph and do not have a throttle. These e-bikes are popular for commuting and recreational cycling, offering a natural riding experience with added assistance.

Class 2 E-Bikes

These feature a throttle in addition to pedal-assist. Riders can choose to pedal or use the throttle for electric power, and they also have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.

Class 3 E-Bikes

These e-bikes provide pedal-assist up to 28 mph, making them suitable for longer commutes and faster rides. Like Class 1 e-bikes, they do not have a throttle.

Read also: How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go? A Complete Guide

How to choose the best budget electric bike

“There are quite a few factors to consider when purchasing an e-bike!” stresses Dong. He particularly emphasizes the following:

Open vs closed frame

This is important, as the frame style dictates your position when riding the bike. Be sure to go with something that’ll be comfortable on longer rides (and since you’ll be getting some powered assistance, you can go pretty far!)

Manufacturer

Going with a more popular manufacturer (such as Aventon or Cannondale) is advantageous, as it means you’re more likely to easily find a service center when needed.

E-bike class

Deciding whether you would like a throttle is a key consideration when purchasing an e-bike and will change how you ride on a daily basis. At lower price ranges, you’re not going to get significant deviation in performance regarding range.

For more in-depth information about e-bikes, read our guides to what an electric bike is and how to choose an electric bike.

How we selected the best cheap electric bikes

To compile our list of the best cheap electric bikes, we turned to experts in the field for their advice and product recommendations. We also conducted thorough research to make sure that all the bikes we listed have strong customer feedback, especially in terms of ease of use, comfort, longevity, and overall satisfaction.

If you found this list helpful, be sure to also check out our guides to the best electric bikes, the best three wheel electric bikes, and the best electric bikes for commuting.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are cheap electric bikes worth it?

“Absolutely!” says Dong. “You can still get a high-quality ride, even at a more budget-conscious price. There are plenty of manufacturers which specialize in providing e-bikes with high quality components in a lower price range (such as Aventon or Rad Power). E-bikes can quite literally change your life, by vastly improving your daily mobility options.”

How much does a cheap e-bike cost?

Obviously this one depends on your definition of “cheap,” but Swartz points out that you can pick up a good value e-bike for around $700, while Dong says that between $1,000 and $2,000 is a good spot for an affordable but well-made bike.

Which brand is best for cheap electric bicycles?

“My favorite brand for inexpensive e-bikes is Lectric Bikes,” says Denizot. “They make a variety of e-bikes that are less than $1,000 and have good quality batteries with excellent range.”

Dong, meanwhile, recommends Aventon or Rad Power, saying that they, “provide multiple robust options at a reasonable price point. They offer city-commuter, fat-tire, cargo bikes, and more! Aventon also has some really fun colors.” Fun fact: Rad Power made our lists for the best electric bikes, the best electric commuter bikes, and the best fat tire electric bikes.

What features should I look for in a cheap electric bike?

“I’d look for one that has a motor that’s at least 200 watts and has an estimated range of at least 30 miles,” says Swartz. “Most inexpensive e-bikes will have a cadence sensor and rear hub motor.”

Dong also lists the following features to look out for:

  • Throttle: Having a throttle can make your life much easier when riding! If you’re tired out, you can stop pedaling and keep zooming forward.
  • Rack: Having a bike rack is great to transport goods, whether that’s your backpack, groceries, or more. You can also attach things such as a child seat, pannier bag, or crate.
  • Integrated Lights: These lights are built into the e-bike’s system and can help you stay safe during dark rides.
  • Torque Sensor: While these are not on all e-bikes at the lower price range, these are great as they allow for fine-tuning the amount of assist you’re getting out of your bike. They will match the strength of your pedaling, in contrast to a cadence sensor, which simply prescribes a fixed amount of power when pedaling is detected.

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