I tested multiple best electric bikes under $500 and found the ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike to be the best electric bike under $500.
As an avid biker, I was once skeptical of electric bikes. I worried that they’d take some of the fun out of biking and was hesitant to try them. But after I test rode an electric bike, I changed my tune.
Electric bikes have motors that increase your speed. If you’re riding a bike to commute to school or work, they cut down on your exertion so you don’t start your day exhausted. They make riding so easy that they’ll help cut down on automobile traffic in your area as well.
I chose the ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike as my top pick because it’s affordable, lightweight, and durable. It folds down so you can store it when you get to your destination. It also has a compatible app, making it a smart bike you don’t want to miss out on.
It might seem like finding an electric bike under 500 dollars is an impossible task, but many good options are on the market. In my trials, I found several different bikes that are good for various purposes. Because of that, I broke the list down into titles, like the best overall, best folding electric bikes under 500, and more.
Read on to see what bikes I picked as the cream of the crop. You’re sure to find some of the best electric bikes under $500 to suit your specific needs.
- ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike – Best Overall
- Jetson Folding Electric Bike – Best Budget Bike
- Shaofu Folding Electric Bike – Best Folding Bike
- ECOTRIC Electric Mountain Bike – Best Mountain Bike
- VIVI Electric Mountain Bike – Best Mountain Bike With Multiple Gears
- Sailnovo Electric Bike – Best Long Range Bike
Best Electric Bikes Under $500 Mini-Reviews
I’ve already told you a bit about my top choice for the best electric bikes under $500, but what about the others? In addition to the ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike, I’ve rated five other bikes that are great for specific purposes. But before we get to those, let me further explain my top choice.
ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike – Best Overall electric bike
ANCHEER is a big name in the electric bike industry, so you can’t go wrong with any of their models. However, I chose the folding electric bike because it’s under $500 and has many special features.
The bike frame is aluminum, making it lightweight and portable. An aluminum frame is preferable because it’s a folding bike, so you want to carry it around to store inside. It’s also waterproof, so you can ride in bad weather without worrying that your motor and battery will get ruined.
Speaking of the battery and motor: the 36V 6Ah lithium battery fully charges in less than three hours. The motor is 350 watts, which is standard for electric bikes.
ANCHEER has a compatible app that allows you to lock the motor so no one can turn on your bike when you’re away. You can track your mileage, time, and speed through the app as well. If anything’s going wrong with your ride, the app will alert you about the problem.
- Max speed of 15 to 17 miles per hour
- 15-mile range per battery charge
- Cruise control makes your commute simple
- Battery life depletes within a few months
Jetson Folding Electric Bike – Best Budget Bike
If you’re shopping for an electric bike on a budget, the Jetson Folding Electric Bike is for you. It’s the most affordable bike on the list, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get a hunk of plastic.
The Jetson Folding Electric Bike frame is lightweight aluminum, like most of the bikes I reviewed. The handlebars fold down for easy storage. There’s also an excellent handgrip in the middle of the bike, so you can carry it without a struggle.
When you compare the battery and motor to ANCHEER, you’ll see a difference. The Jetson bike has a 5.2Ah lithium battery and 250-watt hub motor. As a result, your range is close to 17 miles per charge. At such a low price, this bike is worth a try.
- Most affordable bike on the list
- Handgrip on the bike frame for easy carry
- Reaches speeds of 15 miles per hour
- Not as high-quality as more expensive options
Shaofu Folding Electric Bike – Best Folding Bike
When you’re searching through a list of the best folding electric bikes under 500, this option will definitely be at the top. Many bikes have handlebars that you can tuck away to make them less bulky to carry. The frame on the Shaofu is much easier to fold, and the handlebars fold completely, cutting the overall size of the bike in half.
Even though you can fold this bike down, it’s still a sturdy ride. It has a 36V 8Ah lithium battery that charges in about three hours. With a 350-watt motor, you’re able to travel 15 miles per charge.
The Shaofu bike has an LCD screen on the handlebars so you can track your route and speed. A compatible app allows you to lock and unlock the motor with a passcode.
- Folds down without much effort
- LCD screen to track your rides
- Headlight, taillight, and horn for safety
- Struggles going up any sort of incline
ECOTRIC Electric Mountain Bike – Best Mountain Bike
The ECOTRIC Electric Mountain Bike is the best that I found in my research and trials. You feel like you’re riding a traditional mountain bike because it has seven gears you can manually shift into. The bike has a 36V 12.5Ah battery, which is understandably more powerful than the others on this list.
There are laws in place about where you can ride electric mountain bikes. Before taking your electric mountain bike out in a National Park or across other natural lands, make sure you’re allowed.
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management categorize electric bikes as motor vehicles. You might be able to ride it to the park, but laws could require you to park it and explore the land on foot.
- Seven gears to get the best setting for your ride
- 350-watt motor gives you speeds of 20 miles per hour
- Range of 18 miles per charge
- Battery takes about six hours to charge
VIVI Electric Mountain Bike – Best Mountain Bike With Multiple Gears
The ECOTRIC Electric Mountain Bike is a great basic mountain bike for casual riders. If you like taking your mountain bike out on adventures, then you might prefer to upgrade to the VIVI Electric Mountain Bike.
When you ride the VIVI Electric Mountain Bike, you can change between 21-speed gears. You can alternate between three modes of operation to maximize your speed and efficiency. Throttle mode gives you the chance to control the motor yourself. Pedal-assist mode kicks in when you reach a certain speed. And, as always, you can pedal manually.
The VIVI Electric Mountain bike has a 36V 8Ah battery paired with a 350-watt motor. It’s also incredibly safe since it has both front and rear disc brakes.
- Range of 22 miles per charge
- 21 gears to manually shift into while riding
- Can reach speeds of 22 miles per hour
- Heavier than other bikes on the list
Sailnovo Electric Bike – Best Long Range Bike
Every bike on this list is at the top of its category for one reason or another, but I couldn’t find any other electric bike that came close to having the same range as the Sailnovo Electric Bike. The Sailnovo can take you up to 28 miles per charge.
The 350-watt motor might be standard, but it has a 36V 10.4Ah lithium battery. That battery is closer in specs to the battery on the ECOTRIC, just to give you an idea of its power.
You can choose between three modes to save even more battery power. Choose to bike manually, use pedal-assist, or sit back and relax with the full electric bike treatment.
- Gives you a range of 28 miles per charge
- LCD screen to track speed and rides
- Has the power of a mountain bike in a smaller frame
- Due to the battery, it’s heavier than you’d think
Things to Consider
You’ve learned all about the six best electric bikes under 500, but there’s more you need to know on the subject. Having a foundation of knowledge about electric bikes can help you appreciate everything they offer.
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Benefits of Electric Bikes
Electric bikes are good for the environment. Charging electric bikes is more energy-efficient than charging electric cars. Also, since these bikes use an electric motor, there’s no exhaust polluting the air.
Riding an electric bike keeps you healthy, especially if your only alternative is driving. While you’re able to ride a bike instead of sitting stationary in the car, you’re also not at risk of over-exerting yourself. If you start to get tired, you can let the motor take over while you catch your breath and rest your muscles.
The National Park Service allows electric bikes in some areas because it encourages visitors to explore further into the park. It makes these areas accessible to people who don’t have the stamina to hike or manually bike that far.
It’s worth finding the best electric bikes under £500 because you’ll save so much transportation money in the long run. Even if you still take the bus or subway for part of your commute, you’re not polluting the air by driving your own car. Since many electric bikes are foldable, you can take public transportation for part of your trip and bike the rest.
Electric Bike Maintenance
Regardless of which electric bike you buy, you’ll need to take proper care of it. Even the best electric bikes under 500 need routine maintenance. Otherwise, you’re at risk of damaging your bike beyond repair.
If at all possible, you should only ride your bike when the battery is fully charged. It also helps to charge it before it totally loses power. Charging it like this extends the lifespan of the battery, as well as keeps you from getting stranded on a dead bike mid-commute.
Even though you’re riding an electric bike, some maintenance is the same as what you do for a regular bike. You have to lubricate the wheel and chains, so the metal moves smoothly. If there’s not enough oil on the metal parts, they can grind together and wear out. It’s unsafe to ride a bike if the metal grinds because it might spark or break off completely.
Regularly cleaning your bike is another important aspect of maintenance. Not only does it look nicer when it’s shiny, but you’ll notice any scratches, dents, or dings that could impact the bike’s ability to function.
You might notice a problem with your bike that you’re unable to fix yourself. In that case, make sure you contact the manufacturer for service. If you have a local bike shop that services electric bikes, you could take it there as well. But don’t assume that any shop servicing regular bikes will know what to do with your electric bike.
Type of Bike
Manufacturers classify bikes by type depending on the motor, battery, and terrain on which you can ride it. You’ll want to know the difference between each type, so you know what suits your needs.
Road bikes are the most common type of electric bike. They’re perfect for riding on roads and sidewalks, though some can handle dust or well-trodden paths. These bikes are not only meant to ride on smooth terrain, but they also aren’t built to handle hills or steep inclines. They don’t have the speed or power to manage an ascent.
Though they’re made for riding on smooth roads and relatively flat terrain, these bikes aren’t weak by any means. The most basic electric bike motor gives bikes the power to reach at least 15 miles per hour.
If you want a bike to commute to work, run errands in town, and use as your primary mode of transportation, a road bike is for you. They’re versatile, reliable, and will get you where you need to go.
Mountain bikes can handle rougher terrain than road bikes. They can handle smooth roads as well, so if you think you’ll ride as much off-road as you will on the street, you might want to choose an electric mountain bike.
Because electric mountain bikes can handle rougher terrain, they are also better at going up hills. However, you’ll trade off this power and versatility for speed. Electric mountain bikes can’t go as fast as electric road bikes. They also don’t usually have the same range of mileage as road bikes.
Electric road bikes might also be folding bikes, but not every model is foldable. A folding bike has hinges and adjustable mechanics in various places on the frame so it can fold into a smaller size. That flexibility means you can easily take a folding bike with you on public transportation. You can also bring it inside your home or office instead of chaining it outside.
Since you can fold them up, it’s only natural that folding bikes are also more lightweight than both road and mountain bikes that don’t fold. The frames are aluminum, making them highly portable.
When you unfold the bike, it might not be the same size as a standard electric road or mountain bike. Because they’re so lightweight, some models are slightly smaller than other bikes. Still, they can handle the weight and height of the average adult.
Class of Bike
There are three different classes of electric bikes. These distinctions tell you about the level of motor assistance you get when you ride it. There are Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 bikes.
Class 1 electric bikes have a motor that revs up only when you’re pedaling. It stops running when you hit 20 miles per hour. Class 1 is the bike that most riders start with. It’s the most affordable class of bikes and allows you to ride on both city streets and various bike paths.
Class 2 electric bikes have a pedal-assist mode similar to Class 1 bikes. They help up to 20 miles per hour. But they also have a throttle-powered mode. Throttle is a control on the handlebars that lets you engage it to speed up the bike. When you let go of the throttle, the bike stops.
Class 3 electric bikes are more similar to Class 1 bikes in that they are pedal-assist only, with no throttle control. However, they’re a different class because they help you reach speeds up to 28 miles per hour. Because of this speed, these bikes are better choices for more experienced riders. They’re also more expensive, so you have to make quite an investment for them.
Besides the different classes affecting the bike’s capabilities, there are different laws for each category. You’re not able to take electric bikes anywhere you’d ride a manual bike, and you also can’t ride them everywhere you’d drive an automobile.
There are also regulations regarding the license and registration of electric bikes in some areas. Make sure you know what your state, county, and city require before taking your electric bike out on the road.
If you’re looking for the best electric bikes under 500 in the UK, your results might differ from what I reviewed above. But there are still some things you’ll want to look for when you’re buying an electric bike, regardless of where you live.
Mileage is essential when you’re buying an electric bike for your commute. You don’t want to get stranded on your way to work. Understanding the mileage your bike can handle also gives you an idea of the quality of the motor, as well as how long a charged battery lasts.
The mileage you get from an electric bike can vary depending on what operating mode you use. It might be worth choosing a different mode to get you to your destination. Then you charge the bike and can tackle more miles on your way home.
Most bikes on this list have a 15-mile range, which is common in many electric bikes. However, the Sailnovo Electric Bike has a long-range, topping out at 28 miles per charge.
Assist mode – like what you find on the ECOTRIC Electric Mountain Bike, VIVI Electric Mountain Bike, and Sailnovo Electric Bike – also increases mileage. You can pedal during the easy parts of your ride and let the motor take over when you need a break. The combination of effort makes your battery last longer, so you get more mileage per charge.
If you’re getting an electric bike for fun rides, then mileage might not be as important to you. It’s still something you want to look at, as good mileage might set one bike apart from the crowd.
Electric bikes either have mid-drive motors or hub-drive motors. Mid-drive motors attach to the bottom bracket of your bike, where the pedals attach to the frame. They take over with pedal assist, so it only makes sense that they’re centrally located. The low position of the motor also helps you feel balanced on your bike.
Hub-drive motors attach to the hub of either the front or rear wheel. When a hub-drive engine is on the rear wheel, you’ll feel the power back there pushing you forward. Bikes with front hub-drive motors might take some getting used to. You’ll feel like you’re getting pulled along, and it might make you feel like you have to overcompensate with your steering.
Changing a tire on an electric bike with a hub-drive motor is more complicated than the normal process. You have to carefully work around the motor when you’re removing the frame and wheel.
It might seem like a given that you’d want the most powerful motor on your electric bike. After all, a strong engine will increase your speed and help you keep up with traffic.
However, you also have to consider how the motor drains the battery. While you might enjoy reaching your destination quickly, you’ll most likely have to charge your electric bike more often than if you had a smaller motor.
The battery size helps boost the motor and mileage of your electric bike. A bigger battery can hold more charge, which gives you more mileage so you can ride farther. Or you can use the bigger battery to increase the speed your motor helps you achieve.
Basically, the motor and battery work hand in hand. The battery capacity is watt-hours (Wh), which tells you how long the bike can withhold one watt of power before it’s drained. Therefore, the larger motor will empty the battery charge quickly.
It’s better to have a bigger battery than a bigger motor. For example, a Class 3 bike has a 500-watt motor and a 500 Wh battery. A bigger motor makes you go faster because the motor assists you up to 28 miles per hour. But it drains the battery quicker as a result.
A Class 1 bike, on the other hand, has a 250-watt motor and a 500 Wh battery. Since the battery is bigger than the motor, it lasts twice as long as a Class 3 bike. Of course, the trade-off is that the motor of a Class 1 bike only assists you up to 20 miles per hour. So you’re trading maximum speed for longer battery life.
Other factors can also impact your electric bike’s battery life. You can use the Bosch eBike Range Calculator to figure out how many miles you can get from your electric bike’s charge.
On average, any electric bike’s battery will take about three to five hours to fully charge from a completely empty battery. If you ride your bike to work and have a place to charge it, you’ll have your commutes both to and from work covered.
Some electric bikes have space for two batteries. When one dies, the bike automatically switches over to the other battery. Two batteries give you a longer range for your rides, so you don’t have to charge them as frequently.
Brakes are crucial on any mode of transportation, but especially electric bikes. So many cyclists are in complete control of a bike they manually pedal, so riding an electric bike can be quite the adjustment. Knowing that you have sturdy brakes makes the transition feel more comfortable.
Most electric bikes have disc brakes, which are precisely what you want on a bike. They hold up well over time and don’t slip if you’re riding in the rain, sleet, or snow. Test brakes out on a straight, low-traffic road before you commute. You’ll find that the disc brakes are easy to use even if you’re going at top speed and need to slow down or stop quickly.
All of the bikes on this list have disc brakes because it’s so common and safest. But if you’re only going to ride your electric bike in dry weather, you could find a bike with rim brakes and stay safe.
Not all electric bikes need light, but it helps increase your visibility. Think of how modern cars all have daytime running lights to make sure people see them. Most electric bikes have built-in lights, like all six on this list. Pretty much any city or commuter bike will have a light, but these days, many mountain bikes do as well.
However, if you choose a bike without a wired light, you can buy an external battery-powered light and put it on your bike. It’s nice to have a way to ensure drivers, other bikers, and pedestrians see you, so it’s worth ensuring your electric bike has a light.
When you’re considering an electric bike, the frame is a crucial part of the puzzle. You want a sturdy frame, so you feel comfortable riding the bicycle to and from work and commuting on city streets. But you also want a lightweight frame, so you’re not losing mileage due to the bike’s weight.
Most electric bikes have hollow aluminum frames that are durable but streamlined. A sleek design makes them easy to carry around in case you want a portable bike. Since many of the models on this list are folding electric bikes, having a light frame is critical.
Choosing a folding electric bike can also ensure the frame lasts longer and stays in good shape. Instead of parking your bike somewhere it could get bent or dinged, you can fold it up and store it safely out of the way. Many electric bikes even fold down so you can bring them inside your home and office to keep an eye on them.
The size of the frame will also impact its mileage and weight. You want a frame sized for an adult, but you don’t want it to be bigger than necessary. Look for bikes that have adjustable seats and handlebars. Flexibility like this allows you to make the bike the perfect size for you, which prevents you from feeling strained during your ride.
While the frame’s durability and material are critical features, you also want to know that the bike can handle your weight. When you’re searching for electric bikes, some results are either electric scooters or bikes sized for kids. It’s not hard to find an electric bike for adults, but you need to read the listing carefully to make sure it can handle your weight.
Ensuring that the electric bike can handle your weight is crucial for your safety. You have to know what your bike is capable of in terms of the weight it can hold, the speed it can go, and the miles it can travel. If you try to push your bike beyond the limits, you might get hurt. And even if you stay safe, you might void your warranty because you’re not using the bike as it’s intended.
Other safety features to check out before buying an electric bike include the previously mentioned lights and brakes. You might also want a horn or bell to make other commuters aware of your presence.
Choose tires that work for the terrain you’re riding on. Most electric bikes are city and commuter bikes, which can handle regular cement or asphalt roads and sidewalks. Electric mountain bikes can handle rockier terrain. Be careful when taking your electric bike out on unfamiliar terrain.
If you’re investing in an electric bike, you might want additional features beyond the basics. While an electric bike is convenient for commuting, you might want something more, thanks to the speed you can achieve and the relative lack of exertion.
An LCD screen mounted to the handlebars helps you see everything going on with your electric bike. You can check the status of your battery life so you know when it’s time to recharge. These displays will also show your speed, how many miles you’ve ridden, and if or when pedal-assist mode can kick in.
Electric bikes can handle more technology than an LCD screen, though. Several electric bikes have compatible apps that allow you to use your phone to set the speed and lock your bike safely when you’re not around. You can also access GPS and mileage tracking. Others also have a feature that tells you when you need to service your electric bike.
Some electric bikes, like cargo bikes, have racks over the back tire. You can tether your bag or small belongings here, so you don’t have to carry things while you ride. If you love one of the bikes on this list that doesn’t have a rack, it’s possible to buy one and install it yourself. Check that your bike can handle a rack, and know that it might impact your speed.
You might prefer to install a basket on the front of your bike as opposed to a rack on the back. A basket can hold more items since it has higher sides, while a rack is flat. However, since it’s more box-shaped, it will further impact your speed and battery life. On the other hand, a rack is relatively streamlined, depending on what you tether to it.
The ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike is the best choice on this list because it’s affordable but offers all you’d want from an electric bike. It has a 15-mile range and a compatible app to set your speed and forget about it. Though looks don’t really matter, it’s nice that you can choose from a black or white finish to suit your style.
If you need a budget option, the Jetson Folding Electric Bike is the runner-up. It’s the most affordable on the list and can still hold its ground with some more expensive options.
You’ve learned about six of the best electric bikes under 500, but it’s ok if none of those struck your fancy. You know what types of bikes are available and what to look for when buying an electric bike. If you agree with my top pick, you can buy the ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike now.