Best Electric Bike Under $500 – Top Picks

E-Bikes

Today we’re going to be looking at our top picks for the best electric bike under 500 dollars. This list will prove that you can nab yourself a great e-bike without having to shell out thousands. This is a great list for people looking for their first beginner-friendly e-bike or simply for those on a very tight budget.

Since ebikes offer so many benefits that you can’t find elsewhere, more and more people are making the switch from regular bicycles to ebikes these days.

But aren’t ebikes too expensive?

Not anymore.

The great thing about electric bikes is that they come in a huge variety of sizes and modes, and therefore prices as well. Ebikes don’t need to break the bank. Many of them are quite affordable and still maintain a high level of quality, control, and durability.

With all that said, let’s jump into our top 5 list:

1. Swagtron EB5 Folding Electric Bike

Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Lightweight Aluminum Folding Electric Bike with Pedals

First on today’s list of the best ebikes under $500 is the EB5 from Swagtron, one of the biggest names in ebikes today.

As the name implies, this is a folding bike which makes it a fantastic choice for anyone who wants portability more than anything else. When in its folded state, this electric bike is in a much more comfortable state to be both carried and stored away for later.

The Swagtron EB5 has specs that make it beginner friendly but still aim for a nice sweet spot of exhilarating fun. It has a max speed of 15 mph and a max range of 15.5 miles, so it works well for commuting and as a leisure ebike. This increases to 18 mph and a 30-mile max range if you engage pedal-assist mode.

It weighs 42 pounds so it’s heavier than it looks, but it’s still not too heavy to carry and place into a car or bus, especially when it is in its folded state.

Pros:

  • Reliable pedal assist mode
  • Folding mechanism is easy and reliable
  • Quiet motor
  • 7-speed shifter
  • Dual disc brake system is snappy

Cons:

  • Battery recharge time is a bit long

2. Ancheer Folding 350w Electric Bike

ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike 350W Motor Scooter 12 Inch City Commuter Ebike with 15 Mile Range, APP Control

Next up, let’s keep up the momentum with the best ebikes under $500 with another bestselling reliable classic, the Ancheer Folding Ebike.

The Ancheer’s 350w rear hub motor can attain a max speed of 15 mph and has a max range of 15 miles. These are great stats considering the low price point.

For safety, this e-bike under $500 uses dual front and rear disc brakes. Because it’s such a small and compact bike with shorter wheels, it has no issue coming to a full stop whenever the brakes are activated. The bike itself only weighs 26 pounds with its aluminum alloy frame but has a max load capacity of 256 pounds.

As a nice bonus, the Ancheer 350w has an adjustable handlebar and spring suspension fork.

Pros:

  • Great value 
  • Lightweight design
  • Very water resistant
  • Adjustable handlebars
  • High speed brushless motor

Cons:

  • Bad incline climbing rate

3. Shaofu Folding Ebike

shaofu Folding Electric Bike– 350W 36V Electric Bicycle Waterproof E-Bike with 15 Mile Range, Collapsible Frame, and APP Speed Setting

Ancheer and Swagtron are very well-known names in the world of ebikes, so let’s take time to check out one of the great underdogs of the arena: the Shaofu Folding Bike.

If you want a great e-bike under $500 but that is still loaded to the brim with as many features as possible, the Shaofu should be your pick. 

What comes included is a loud horn and bright LEDs. This makes the Shaofu a great option for nighttime rides.

One of the best extra features is that this ebike has an adjustable seat. Raising or lowering it will make for great posture and improved comfort, regardless of whether you are tall or short.

It’s also even more lightweight than the previous Ancheer bike, coming in at only 24 pounds.

Pros:

  • Water-resistant
  • Compatible smartphone app
  • Bright LEDs
  • Fast battery recharge time
  • Adjustable seat
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Virtually none

4. GoPlus Folding Bike

Goplus 20'' Folding Bike, 7 Speed Shimano Gears, Lightweight Iron Frame, Foldable Compact Bicycle with Anti-Skid and Wear-Resistant Tire for Adults

Judging by the size and weight of this next ebike, most wouldn’t guess that it costs under $500. It may be both tall and wide, but the GoPlus Folding Bike is more portable than it seems.

Not only does this ebike under $500 fold into a far more compact form, but it also has an adjustable seat. This makes it a great choice for riders who want a lot of portability.

Because of the size of this bike and the quality of its tires, this is actually a good choice for some off-road biking. Most people who get the GoPlus will engage in urban commuting, but don’t let that stop you from getting a little adventurous and taking this thing for a true ride from time to time.

Pros:

  • Up to 30-mile max range
  • Tires perform great in wet road conditions
  • 7-speed gear shifting
  • 12-month warranty
  • Adjustable seat
  • Folding frame design

Cons:

  • Manual pedaling has too much resistance

5. Samebike 250w E-Bike

best electric bike under 500

Another great ebike under $500 is the Samebike 250w. It may be a little weaker than the previous ebikes on this list but it still has a lot to offer.

The LCD display is a nice bonus that fits really well with the LED headlamp. You can monitor your remaining battery life and current speed from here.

One of the most convenient features the Samebike has is the phone charging capability via the USB port. This allows you to keep your mp3 player or smartphone charged on the go, and only at very little expense of the bike’s own battery.

There are also 3 different working speed modes so you have a good deal of freedom over deciding how fast the bike will operate.

And even though the electric motor only has 250 watts of juice, this bike can still attain a max speed of 15.5 mph.

Pros:

  • USB charging function
  • Useful LCD screen
  • Removable lithium-ion battery
  • Several working speed modes

Cons:

  • Virtually none

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Electric Bike Under 500

Now that I’ve shown you several wonderful examples of great and affordable 2022 electric bikes, it’s time to go over the criteria of what makes an e-bike worth purchasing in the first place at this price point.

It’s one thing to be told what a good bike is, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to figure out for yourself how to spot a high-quality folding e-bike for a low price. 

Purpose and frequency of use

The first thing you should always keep in mind is why you want an electric bike. Is it meant to be a replacement for your regular bike? Are you going to be using it for commuting to the store or to work? Will it be mainly for leisure or for exercise? 

You should also think about how often you plan on using the bike, whether that’s just once or twice on the weekend or every single day. Even ebikes that cost under $500 can have the longevity and durability to be used on a daily basis.

Different electric bikes will have different properties be the wheels or the batteries and some of them will be better suited for urban commuting whereas others will be the better pick for mountain biking or downhill cruising. Once you know why you want an electric bike, this will instantly narrow down your choices to one that truly fits your needs.

Battery

Now let’s discuss the properties of the bike itself. One of the most important things to keep in mind is the battery.

The general view is that you want a battery that is at least as good as a lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries are durable and rarely leak, plus they have a longer shelf life than many other batteries, giving you at least 5 years of use.

If you really want an e-bike that has a lot of juice then you will have to shell out more cash to get either a more powerful battery or one that supports more than one lithium-ion battery. Keep in mind that these can really raise the price of the bike substantially

As a bonus, you may want to get an e-bike that uses a removable battery. This gives you the freedom to store the bike wherever you want, such as in a garage, and charge the battery alone in the comfort of your home or bedroom. Admittedly, this feature can be harder to attain at a lower price range, but it’s not impossible.

electric bike battery

Range

After considering the battery you should think about the range you want your e-bike to have. An e-bike’s range is dependent on many things but the battery is the most important one. One good tip is to get an electric bike whose range is a little higher than what you may actually want. This is because an e-bike’s range will decrease over time due to its use.

For example, if you commute daily for 15 miles, you should aim for a bike that has a max range of 18 or 20 miles per battery charge. You may also want a bike that isn’t too heavy so it can be pedaled manually should the battery run out of juice. Most ebikes under $500 won’t have a range longer than this, so keep that in mind.

Motor

The more power the ebike motor has, the better it’s the ability to tackle steeper hills and gain speed. If you have a budget of $500, you’ll find that most bikes in this range have at most, a 350W motor. This is enough for general commutes but not enough for hill gradients of over 10′ using the pedal assist function.

Wheels and tires

A rear wheel drive ebike provides more traction and grip when riding off-road than a front wheel drive. The standard ebike wheel size is 26 inch which is best for prolonging battery life.

Special features

You should also try to get an electric bike that has a nice number of special features, as these are often what makes or breaks ebikes these days. For example, an e-bike with a pedal-assist versus a bike that uses a throttle function is two very different riding modes. Whether you like some exercise or some cruising, this is a crucial category to keep in mind.

Price

Lastly, let’s discuss the price. While you don’t need to buy the most expensive electric bike on the market, it is still a good idea to spend decent money so you can get a great bike that will be comfortable, have a good battery, and provide many years of use.

Luckily, many great e-bikes, like the ones discussed above, don’t need to cost exactly $500 to be great choices. But like with any big spending decision it’s necessary to take stock of your budget so you can get the best bike possible for yourself. 

In other words, it is much better to buy a great electric bike that costs several hundred dollars and will provide many years of high-quality service, than it is to buy a cheap one that won’t last very long and probably won’t be as comfortable or as useful either.

best electric bike under 500

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of owning an electric bike?

There are many reasons why ebikes are becoming more and more popular. One of them is that they are easier and more fun to use. Many ebikes use a throttle start system instead of a pedal assist, which means the bike does pretty much all of the work. This can come in handy if you have long commutes to make or are simply a fan of leisurely cruises.

Another reason ebikes are great is that you can still use them to lose weight. Many bikes can be used manually as well as electrically. It’s a bit of a misconception that electric bikes can only be used from an electric standpoint.

Ebikes are also more versatile than their non-electric counterparts. Because they use a motor, this makes them more likely to be capable of pushing through more intense terrain, be it mud or snow. This also makes them more effective choices for dealing with large uphill situations or bumpy off-road trails with lots of debris.

Ebikes are also very energy efficient, energy conscious, and therefore an eco-friendly option. They can be a great alternative to taking a car when all you need to do is a quick trip to the mall or grocery store.

What are the different classes of ebikes?

Because ebikes are essentially motorized vehicles with an attached battery, they come in different classes like other motorized vehicles such as ATVs. Each class is based on the max range and the max speed of the bicycle, as well as whether the e-bike itself relies on pedal-assist modes or full-throttle modes to accelerate.

There are three classes of ebikes in total. Class 1 is the slowest and class 3 is the fastest.

  • Class 1 is defined as a low-speed electric bike that uses pedal-assist mode only. Class 1 ebikes can only go up to 20 mph, including when the pedal-assist mode is active.
  • Class 2 is defined as low-speed electric bikes that use throttle assistance instead of pedal-assist modes. Keep in mind that some bikes feature both modes, in which case they would default to class 2. Like with class 1, they can only achieve a max speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 3 is defined as a higher-speed ebike that only uses pedal assist and no throttle. It also has to attain a max speed of 28 mph instead of 20 mph to be considered a class 3 bike.

Because class 3 ebikes tend to be a bit more expensive, the majority of electric bikes under $500 will be either class 1 or class 2 types.

best electric bike under 500

Is buying an electric bike really worth it?

Getting an electric bike truly is worth it because it ends up being something that you will want to use every day. This is true regardless of whether you pay $300 or $3000.

The great thing about ebikes is that they offer so much fun, so much utility and so much convenience all in one package. They’re fun to ride, they make commutes feel extremely efficient and they require little effort to operate and little maintenance to keep intact over the years.

Ebikes can also be a fantastic substitute for people who are not as limber as they used to be. People with foot, leg, or back injuries can still operate an electric bike easily.

With all of this in mind, if you plan on using an electric bike very often then yes, it is absolutely worth the money.

What are the downsides to owning an e-bike?

While ebikes have a lot of upsides to them, there are admittedly a few downsides to keep in mind as well.

More expensive

The most obvious downside to owning an e-bike is that they are considerably more expensive than regular bicycles. Even if you buy an e-bike for under $500, it is still going to be more expensive than your average non-electric bike.

They need to be charged

Another common downside to ebikes is that they need to be recharged pretty much on a daily basis. Often times the battery charge time for an e-bike is actually even longer than the amount of time you can even spend on the bike for a single charge. For example, if an e-bike will last you 2 hours at max speed, it will often take 3 or 4 hours to fully replenish.

They are heavier than regular bikes

Another big issue with ebikes is that they are, well, big. Ebikes are always going to be heavier than their non-electric counterparts. This is because the motor and the battery are guaranteed to add an extra 15-20 pounds to the overall unit.

As a result, this makes ebikes much more annoying to carry around and to ride manually in the event that the battery runs out of juice during a ride. Even if you’re dealing with a folding portable bike, it might still weigh 45 pounds which doesn’t make it the easiest thing in the world to lug around.

Some states prohibit ebikes from being ridden on roads

Though what’s probably the worst part about owning an e-bike is when the law gets involved. As one example, some cities or states won’t allow electric bikes on the road because of their speed range or class. Another example is that some mountain biking roads or trails won’t allow electric or motorized bikes either in order to keep the roads as safe as possible.

best electric bike under 500

How long will an electric bike last?

Electric bikes have a shelf life that lasts just as long as regular bikes. They are made out of almost the exact same components and materials, after all.

The only thing to really keep an eye on when it comes to ebike longevity is the battery. Many batteries will only last a few years before they require a replacement. Lithium-ion batteries will last about 5 years on average before they die out.

Depending on the quality of the bike and the quality of the motor and battery, you can expect an electric bike to last about 15,000 to 30,000 miles before something needs replacing. 

How powerful should my e-bike’s motor be?

Many newcomers to the world of electric bikes often ask how much wattage the motor should have. Some people have this idea that an electric bike just won’t be “electric” enough if the motor isn’t powerful enough.

The good news is that you shouldn’t have to fret about your bike’s motor’s power too much. This is especially true if you’re dealing with an e-bike budget of $500 or less since you’ll be lucky to find a bike that has 500w at this price range.

Most of the best ebikes in this price range will have a motor of around 300w or 350w, which is more than enough to give you what you’re looking for. It is more than possible for an e-bike to still have a decent max speed of 12 – 15 mph. Even ebikes with 250w should still have enough juice for these speeds as well.

Anything below 250w might be a little weak, but as long as it is in the 250 – 500w range, your ebike’s motor should get the job done.

best electric bike under 500

How many kinds of ebikes are there?

One of the great joys about the world of electric bicycles is that they come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. There is so much variety among ebikes that it is very important to know which ones are out there so you can know which one you want for yourself.

Standard bikes

First are the more standard road bikes. These are popular choices among commuters. They best operate on smooth asphalt or paved roads and bike paths.

Folding bikes

Next are folding bikes. These are bikes that prioritize portability above all else. They can be folded into a compact shape so they can be placed in a car trunk or away in a closet for storage. It is not unusual to see a folding bike that also has an adjustable seat or adjustable handlebars as well.

Mountain bikes

Then you have mountain bikes, which are probably one of the most popular forms of electric bikes these days. While they tend to be more expensive, an electric mountain bike is perfect for hills with lots of ground debris, forests, or off-road trails. Mountain bikes tend to be heavier, have fatter, thicker tires for more stability, and have superior front suspension for better resistance to bumps.

Hybrid bikes

Next, there are hybrid bikes. As a rule of thumb, these are a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes. They are meant for people who enjoy riding in both urban and wild environments. The riding position for these bikes is usually very upright.

Fat Tire bikes

As you can imagine, these bikes have extra fat tires. This gives them stability and extra traction and grip on rough terrain.

Cruiser bikes

Next up are cruiser bikes. These tend to be thinner, longer bikes with a more vintage look or feel to them. They tend to have pedal-assist more than throttle modes and prioritize longer rides and max range over top speed. Also, they prioritize leisurely rides alongside beaches or parks.

Commuter bikes

Then you have commuter ebikes. They are very similar to the aforementioned road bikes, except they tend to have flatter handlebars and a more upright position.

Gravel bikes

Lastly, we have what’s known as gravel bikes. These are similar to hybrid bikes but with a less upright position and are designed with tires better suited to dirt and gravel as opposed to grass or mud.

Good luck on your journey to find the best new e-bike. Choose one from our list above with confidence and enjoy! 

Last update on 2022-12-03 at 20:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.