Moped vs. Scooter: Which is Right for You?

With so many types of personal electric transportation, it can be difficult to choose the right option for you.

If you're choosing between a moped vs. scooter, this guide is for you.

If you are in the market for a means of transportation that will get you where you need to go without having to worry about having a car, then a moped or scooter may be the way to go.

Compared to other alternative travel methods, mopeds and scooters move at a relatively decent pace and can get you moving without the need for harmful pollutants, such as gas or diesel.

As much as they are alike, however, there are many more differences.

Before you can possibly determine which one is right for you, you must learn about each – and what it has to offer.


Moped vs. Scooter: What's the Difference?

It seems quite common for the terms moped and scooter to be used interchangeably. And, while they are quite similar, there are distinct differences that set them apart.

  • Mopeds refer to bikes that closely resemble a combination of both a bicycle and a motorcycle. Some have pedals (this used to be a common feature), though most newer models do not. Many have a kickstand. They all have a motor, whether they have pedals or not.

If you break down its name, you will see how it came about: mo for motor and ped for pedals.

  • Scooters are wider and offer a bit more cushion. They are step-through motorized bikes that have a platform for your feet to rest on. You will find no pedals at all.

When choosing between a moped vs. scooter, there are some specific aspects to consider:

  1. Speed
  2. Type of Road Traveling
  3. Moped vs. Scooter Laws
  4. The Price


1. The Need for Speed

At what speed do you wish to travel? What are your driving habits?

The answer to these questions is definitely something to keep in mind on your search.

  • Mopeds generally have a top speed of about 30-35mph.
  • Scooters, on the other hand, can go in excess of 85mph, depending on the engine size (which usually comes in three choices: 50cc, 150cc, or 250cc).

Consider, though, that the size of the driver will have an effect on the speeds obtained. The heavier you are, the more energy required to reach higher speeds.


2. The Roads You Wish to Travel

Perhaps one of the greatest differences between mopeds and scooters is how one is allowed on all roadways and one is not. So, yes, your moped will likely have to stay out of the travel lanes.

Scooters can reach higher speeds and are considered more adaptable to current traffic trends. They can integrate well into traffic and can keep up with speed limit requirements for the most part.

Before you make your purchase, you will want to consider your travel habits and needs.

  1. Where will you be heading in your moped or scooter?
  2. Will you be utilizing busy roadways or backroads?
  3. Do you see yourself wishing to travel in the car or bike lanes?


3. The Legalities

Depending on where you live, there could be some laws regarding the use of both scooters and mopeds.

  • Typically, mopeds are classified as an electric bike – whether they have pedals or not. This means that technically, they are not able to travel on roadways and they do not require a driver license to operate.
  • On the contrary, scooters tend to be viewed more fairly as motorcycles, likely due to their speed capabilities. In most areas, scooters are not able to travel on sidewalks but are expected to travel on roadways and adhere to all rules of the road. This, of course, means that to operate a scooter you will need a driver license.

As with any vehicle you operate on the roadway, you are going to be required to purchase insurance for your scooter. Thankfully, these rates tend to run much, much cheaper than other motorized vehicles.

If you are interested, most major insurance carriers also provide insurance for mopeds as well.

Please remember that these are just general scenarios. The laws on mopeds and scooters vary greatly from state to county to city and municipality.

Check the laws where you live before you make your purchase.


4. A Price that is Right

When it comes to a moped vs. scooter, the cost of the two will vary. This is primarily due to the different engine sizes.

Those with larger engines are going to require more money to purchase. And, since scooters win out on having the large engines, then they usually come at a higher price than mopeds.

While it is impossible to give specifics, these methods of two-wheel transportation can cost you from several hundred dollars to a couple thousand.


Final Comparisons…

If you are looking for some great electric transportation methods to get you where you need to go, then you have some wonderful choices.

Mopeds and scooters both offer an environmentally friendly and fun way to get around. But that is about where the exact similarities stop.

Let’s break it down one more time before we move on.


  • These are more closely resemble a bicycle or a small motorcycle.
  • They used to have pedals that could be used in place of the motor, but this is not as common as an option in today’s models.
  • Top speeds are about 30 to 35mph and they are not necessarily street legal in every city.
  • They are often cheaper than scooters.


  • Are wider than mopeds and come in one- or two-seater options. They are often referred to as being a lightweight motorcycle.
  • Commonly require a driver license and insurance to legally operate. These scooters travel on all major roadways, including highways.
  • The cost of scooters is often higher than mopeds. This is usually due to the larger engine sizes available.



Traveling around town on two wheels is always fun. You are cooped up in an automobile – and you aren’t contributing to the damage of our planet.

Mopeds and scooters both offer you a way to travel that far exceeds the capabilities of other electric methods, such as an e-scooter or a hoverboard.

Take your time to compare each based upon your personal needs and lifestyle. And, don’t forget to check your local laws concerning the operation of each.

When it comes to a moped vs. scooter, you are sure to find happiness no matter which one you choose.