Best Ranked Electric Unicycles 2016Segway One S1
This is a top of the line unit. If you want quality, this is a good choice. See our full review of the Segway One S1. (coming)
Solowheel has a strong following of fans, and the wheel is a quality product that is well worth the price. See our full review of the Solowheel. (coming)
This is a decent choice as an entry level unit or for someone who plans to use it more as a toy than a transportation device. See our full review of the Airwheel X8. (coming)
Given the price point and high speed capabilities, this is most definitely not an entry level unicycle. Probably a good idea to start with a friendlier model and work your way up to this bad boy. See you full review of the Gotway ACM v2. (coming)
If you are looking for an entry-level unit to use as a toy or to learn on, this is a contender. See our full review of the Monorover R3. (coming)
So what is an Electric Unicycle?
Much like the hover board, the electric unicycle came to the market around 2014, specifically as the Solowheel, and boomed in 2015.
The parallel development is interesting, especially since no one is entirely clear on who first invented each device. What is clear is that both drew from the work of Dean Kaman and his original Segway personal transporter.
How does it work?
It’s a self-balancing scooter, so the technology is similar to that of the hover board. Gyroscopes and sensors balance the unicycle in the forward-backward dimension. It’s up to the rider to balance from side to side.
How to Use
Like a Segway, the device is controlled using weight distribution. The rider stands on the platform and leans forward to move forward. To turn left, the rider leans left and so forth. It’s an intuitive process and most people learn it quickly.
There are variations between brands and models. The entry-level units are well balanced and most people can learn to use them within five minutes. More powerful models designed for greater performance flexibility are more difficult to master.
Probably the hardest part to master is getting on the unit, since there’s only one wheel. It’s not drastically different from getting on a skateboard, but it does take some practice. Because of that, the electric unicycle is a little more difficult to learn than a hover board.
How much does an electric unicycle cost?
The cost for an electric unicycle varies widely. The lower cost units run as little as $300, with the high end models topping out over $2000. Like with most electronic personal mobility devices, you get what you pay for. You don’t have to shell out thousands to get a decent unit, but the cheapest ones aren’t known for performance or durability.
What is the electric unicycle’s top speed and range?
Different models have slightly different specs, but on average, the electric unicycle can travel up to 12 miles at a speed of up to 10 mph. In reality, the results you get will vary even with the same unit, based on the rider’s weight and the terrain being traveled. Going up a steep incline will use more battery power than a flat, smooth ride. Heavier riders will find their range shorter than lighter riders.
Given the variation in conditions in real life use, it’s a good idea to get to know your electric unicycle for a few weeks before pushing the envelope of the range or speed. You don’t want to end up stranded miles from home with a dead battery.
What is the maximum weight it can hold?
Each model is different, but most can hold up a rider up to 225 lbs. Check the specs of the unit you are interested in before purchasing to make sure you are comfortable below the maximum weight limit.
Surprisingly, electric unicycles seem to built to handle a greater rider weight than hover boards. More and more of the unicycles are specified to hold up to 250 lbs.
What comes with an electric unicycle?
In general, the box contains the unit and a charger. Some electric unicycles also come with accessories, including a downloadable bluetooth app that tells you things like speed, distance traveled, and expected range.
Some units require assembly before they can be used. Accessories can include skins and carrying bags.
Safety gear is generally not included with an electric unicycle, but it is recommended. Helmet and pads, just like for a skateboard, are in order.
Conclusions before buying an electric unicycle
These can be purchased as a toy or as a personal mobility device. They aren’t appropriate for children under thirteen and children should be closely supervised.
Using an electric unicycle for commuting is subject to the same limitations as the other personal mobility devices on the market. They work well for short trips on relatively flat terrain without too much pedestrian traffic.
Like hover boards, they are subject to local laws, so get to know your area’s codes before purchasing.