The best electric bikes under $500 was a price point that simply didn’t exist just a few years ago. It used to be that even an affordable e-bike would set you back a few thousand dollars. But with improving battery and e-bike motor technology, those prices have come down, creeping below (or at least close to) the $500 mark. Though e-bikes at this price point may not offer the range and features of those higher-end models, they still offer a surprising amount of power and range.
Many of these e-bikes are smaller in size, with 14-inch wheels and foldable compact frame sizes that allow you to stow them in a closet or the trunk of a car. E-bikes at this price range come equipped with 250- to 350-watt motors that can reach speeds of around 15 miles per hour with a range of about 15 miles. There are even some models that can go longer, or go off-road if you’re willing to compromise weight.
If you’re looking for an e-bike for recreation or the daily commute that won’t break the bank, then read on to learn more about the best electric bikes for under $500.
— Best Overall: Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5
— Best Folding: Jetson Bolt Up Adult Electric Ride On
— Best Cheap: Ancheer Folding Electric Bike
— Best Range: Sailnovo 14-inch Electric Bike
— Best E-Mountain Bike: Hyper Bicycles Electric Mountain Bike
How We Picked the Best Electric Bikes Under $500
E-bikes that fall under the $500 mark are the most affordable e-bikes one can buy. While you won’t find the range and features of a full-sized bike, they do offer tremendous value. Keeping that in mind, we chose models that still offer enough range — at least 13 miles — to make them serviceable commuter or recreational bikes. We also included models that have motors with between 250 and 350 watts of power, which is enough to reach power assist or power-only speeds of around 15 miles per hour. Since bikes at this price range do not have the range of higher end models, we chose mainly those that can be easily stowed in the trunk of a car with weights under or around 40 pounds and foldable designs.
Best Electric Bikes Under 500: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5
Why It Made The Cut: The EB-5 manages to be lightweight while still being able to offer a fast pedal assist speed and good range.
— Top Speed: 15 mph
— Max Range: 15.5 miles
— Weight: 37 pounds
— Folds up into compact size
— Lightweight enough to carry
— Adjustable handlebar and seat post height
— Low top speed
Swagtron’s Swagcycle combines a compact design with a longer than average range and a manageable weight to make it the best all-around e-bike for around $500. It weighs a very carryable 37 pounds thanks to an aluminum alloy frame and smaller 14-inch wheels, and folds down to just a third of its total size. Swagtron smartly designed a handle into the top bar that makes it easy to pick up and carry after folding it in half via the hinge on the top bar.
The EB-5 has a surprising amount of power for its small compact size. Though it lacks multiple gears and only has a single power assist speed, its 250-watt rear mounted motor is capable of reaching brisk top speeds of 15 miles per hour while ascending inclines of up to 30 degrees, far greater than any other bike you’re likely to encounter.
Its 36-volt 7.5 amp hours (Ah) lithium-ion battery will allow you to travel up to 15.5 miles on a single charge and is also removable, making it easy to charge while at the office. The Swagtron will also fit most riders, thanks to a wide range of adjustment for both the seat and handlebars.
Best Folding: Jetson Bolt Up Adult Electric Ride On
Why It Made The Cut: The Jetson is a slick looking e-bike that manages to stay lightweight and portable despite housing a large 350-watt motor.
— Top Speed: 15.5 mph
— Max Range: 13 miles
— Weight: 41 pounds
— Light overall weight
— Sleek look
— Powerful 350-watt motor
— Doesn't fold to as compact a size as some e-bikes
— Shorter range than other e-bikes at this price range
Jetson sets their Bolt Up Electric Ride On apart from the competition with an attractive design, powerful motor, and surprisingly light weight overall. The Jetson manages to remain light thanks to an aluminum alloy frame and smaller 14-inch wheels, and still sports an energetic 350-watt motor. With its all-black finish and curved frame, the Jetson is one of the sleeker e-bikes you can buy for under $500.
The bike weighs just over 40 pounds, has a set of handlebars that fold down, and includes a convenient built-in carrying handle, making it one of the more portable e-bikes on the market. However, it is important to note that only the handlebars will fold down, which makes it less compact than e-bikes that fold at the top bar.
The Jetson can reach a max speed of 15.5 miles per hour and offers multiple speed options, which are easy to control via a twist throttle on the handlebars. It’s powered by a 6 Ah battery that gives it a maximum range of 13 miles, which is a bit on the low end for bikes at this price point. Other notable features include large disk brakes on both wheels for plenty of stopping power, a large bike seat, and a bell for alerting pedestrians.
Best Cheap: Ancheer Folding Electric Bike
Why It Made The Cut: This pedal-less bike is capable of reaching top speeds of 20 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest e-bikes under $500.
— Top Speed: 20 mph
— Max Range: 15 miles
— Weight: 38 pounds
— Reaches high top speed
— Lightweight enough to carry
— Powerful 350-watt motor
— Short range
This folding powered e-bike from Ancheer is characterized by the arc shape of its top bar and lower bar, which Ancheer says was inspired by the shape of dolphins. In addition to its marine mammal looks, it also happens to be one of the faster e-bikes at this price point. With its 350-watt motor, it can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour which puts the Ancheer a significant step up from the 15 mph speeds most e-bikes under $500 are capable of reaching. Its small 12-inch wheels also make it one of the more compact e-bikes on the market, though you should expect to feel more of the road than you would on an e-bike with larger wheels.
Its 36-volt 6 amp hour battery gets a maximum range of 15 miles, which is about average for an e-bike at this price. Just keep in mind that it’s designed for mainly flat terrain. Ancheer says it can climb moderate slopes over short distances.
In addition to its high top speed, the Ancheer comes with cool smart features not found on all bikes. When you connect it to an app, you can set speeds, lock the motor for security, track mileage and travel time, and run a diagnostic test.
Best Long-Range: Sailnovo 14-inch Electric Bike
Why It Made The Cut: This e-bike can cover up to 45 miles of distance and comes equipped with a cushioned seat and shock absorber
— Top Speed: 18.6 mph
— Max Range: 45 miles
— Weight: 50 pounds
— Longer range than other under $500 e-bikes
— Comfortable seat with shock absorber
— Three speed options
— Heavy total weight
With its large 10.4 Ah battery, this e-bike from Sailnovo has a longer range than most under $500 e-bikes. It’s capable of covering 28 miles in full e-bike mode or up to 45 miles with pedal assist, which is far greater than the 15-mile average of other budget e-bikes. It’s also one of the more comfortable under $500 e-bikes. The Sailnovo comes equipped with a large cushioned seat that’s designed with a high-density foam sponge in the middle for better shock absorption.
The Sailnovo e-bike comes equipped with a 450-watt motor that allows you to reach speeds up to 18.6 miles per hour. This e-bike also has three riding speeds, giving it more versatility than other sub-$500 e-bikes. Speed controls are located conveniently on the right handlebar along with an LCD display that shows your current speed, battery life, and trip information. A headlight and horn can be operated from the left side of the handlebars.
While the Sailnovo is faster and has a longer range than most e-bikes that cost under $500, its larger battery and more powerful motor make it a heavier bike with a total weight of about 50 pounds.
Best for Mountain Biking: Hyper Bicycles Electric Mountain Bike
Why It Made The Cut: We couldn’t find a well-equipped e-mountain bike at a lower price than this model from Hyper Bicycles.
— Top Speed: 20 mph
— Max Range: 20 miles
— Weight: N/A
— Affordable e-mountain bike
— Front fork shocks
— Max pedal assist speed of 20 miles per hour
— Shorter range than other e-mountain bikes
Technically the Electric Mountain Bike from Hyper Bikes is slightly more than $500, but you won’t find a cheaper e-mountain bike on the market. Given what you get, it’s a heck of a deal. The bike provides pedal assist for up to 20 miles per hour, helping to carry you up those steep off-road trails. There’s a front fork suspension that absorbs shock for off-road terrain, while knobby 26-inch tires provide traction for riding on unpaved surfaces.
While it may lack the long range of more expensive e-mountain bikes, its 20 miles is suitable for most trail rides. The drivetrain consists of Shimano components with a single front chain ring and a six-speed rear cog set that is controlled through a twist shift on the handlebars. The Hyper Bikes e-mountain bike is also designed with a flush mount battery that stays out of the way, allowing for more aggressive off-road riding.
While Hyper Bike doesn’t publish the weight of its mountain bike, expect it to weigh considerably more than other e-bikes at the $500 price point. Other handy features include an aluminum frame and alloy wheels.
Things to Consider Before Buying The Best Electric Bike Under $500
Powered vs. Pedal Assist: E-bikes break down into three categories: powered, pedal assist, and those that do both. A powered e-bike differs the most from a traditional bike. It doesn’t have pedals or a drivetrain, relying entirely on a battery-powered electric motor to provide power to the bike’s rear wheel. A powered bike at the under $500 price range usually has a shorter range than a pedal-assist bike and does not produce enough torque to handle steeper claims, making it suitable for mostly level terrain.
Pedal-assist bikes combine the pedals and drivetrain of a traditional bike with a motor that provides supplemental power. A pedal-assist bike typically has different levels of power assist and will provide power for speeds up to 20 miles per hour. Since the rider is contributing some of the power to move the bike forward, this type of bike has a longer range than a powered e-bike, like the Cero One. Some e-bikes can supply power assist or provide all power for the bike.
Motor and Speed: E-bikes that cost less than $500 have a motor located on the hub of the rear wheel that ranges in power from 250 to 350 watts. The greater the power of the motor, the higher its top speed, and the better able it is to produce the necessary torque to climb hills. E-bikes in this price range provide assistance for speeds between 15 and 20 miles per hour.
While a larger motor may make the bike faster and more powerful, it will also add more weight to the bike than a smaller motor and require more power to operate, draining the battery more quickly.
Portability: While many full-size e-bikes weigh upwards of 60 pounds, making them very difficult to transport in a vehicle or tote into an apartment or office, most e-bikes that are under $500 price range are comparatively compact and lightweight. Many under $500 e-bikes are foldable, weigh around 40 pounds and have small 14-inch wheels. Some of these bikes even have handles designed into the top bar that makes it easier to carry them. This design makes them small enough and light enough to fit in a car trunk or even tote into the office for safe keeping once you arrive at your destination.
Battery and Range: The size of the battery determines how far the e-bike can travel before requiring a recharge. How much electricity a battery can store is determined by the number of amp hours it has. The higher the amp hours (Ah), the greater the storage capacity of the battery. Most e-bikes under $500 have 7.5 Ah batteries, which is enough to provide a range of up to 15 miles for powered e-bikes and 30 miles for power-assist bikes. There are some e-bikes in this price range with larger 10.4 Ah batteries that offer a pedal-assist range of up to 45 miles. Keep in mind that a higher capacity battery also weighs more, adding to the overall weight of the bike.
Q: What is the most dependable electric bike?
Ancheer makes some of the most dependable electric bikes at the sub-$500 price point. The company is one of the more established e-bike manufacturers, having launched back in 2008 in Los Angeles.
Q: Is an electric bike worth buying?
Electric bikes have come down in price with improvements in motor and battery technology in recent years, making them an excellent option for commuting as well as recreation. These lower prices make them a great option for commuters who want to use a bike as an alternative to a car, thereby saving money on gasoline, aiding your health, and benefiting the environment.
Q: What should you know before buying an e-bike?
Before buying an e-bike, it’s important to understand the costs of maintenance and the potential restrictions for use of some e-bikes. Although e-bikes can allow you to save a considerable amount of money on fuel costs should you choose to use it for commuting, the battery will need to be replaced every few years, adding to the cost of the bike. Also, it’s important to understand that different states and municipalities have different regulations regarding e-bikes. For example, some will not allow e-bikes on bike paths or mountain biking trails, so it’s important to check local e-bike regulations before purchasing one.
Q: Are e-bikes good for seniors?
Since e-bikes provide power assistance, making it easier to pedal the bike on flat surfaces and up hills, while maintaining a decent speed with less exertion, they make a great option for seniors. Many e-bikes also have step-through frame designs, eliminating the need to throw one’s leg over a high top bar, which can be difficult for those with limited mobility.
Q: How long do electric bike batteries last?
You can expect an electric bike battery to last between three and five years. Over time the lithium inside the battery will slowly lose its ability to hold a charge, even when it isn’t used. You can prolong the life of your e-bike’s battery by storing the battery in a cool dry place. Also, avoid keeping the battery on the charger for long periods after it's fully charged, and don’t fully discharge the battery on a regular basis. When it comes time to replace the battery, ensure you recycle the old one where possible.
Q: Are electric bikes good for your health?
Although e-bikes may not require the same exertion, and hence won’t provide the same aerobic exercise as a regular bike, most do require pedaling. As with regular bikes, pedaling increases the heart rate, contributing to cardiovascular health and improving brain function while allowing one to maintain a healthy weight.
Q: How far can an electric bike go?
How far an electric bike can go depends on the battery capacity. Bikes that are under $500 have a range of about 15 miles, though there are some that can go as far as 45 miles on a single charge. An e-bike’s range depends on the battery size and whether the bike is providing all the power or pedal assistance. Keep in mind that most e-bikes have removable batteries, which means you can purchase an extra battery to increase its range.
Final Thoughts on Electric Bikes Under $500
When choosing an electric bike under $500 it’s important to consider the range, portability, and motor assistance that the bike offers. With its 30-mile range, foldable design and light total weight, the Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 is the best under- $500 e-bike on the market. Those looking for a full-size mountain bike should consider the Hyper Bicycles Electric Mountain Bike.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.