An Electric Bicycle, or e-bike, is a fantastic investment for anyone looking for a cleaner way to commute, as well as anyone interested in recreational cycling.
There’s only one problem: they’re pretty darn expensive.
Don’t get us wrong: a quality e-bike is worth every penny. But what if you just don’t have that much to spare right now?
Well, if that’s the case, you’re in luck, because today we’ll be going over a list of budget e-bike picks, all under USD 300!
Budget Bike #1: LEADZM Electric Folding Bike
If you’re on a tight budget, a decent e-bike doesn’t come much cheaper than this at only $269.99 on Amazon.com.
For the price, you’ll get a convenient folding bike that can be ridden to your destination, folded up, and taken inside with you.
The motor is nothing to write home about, but you do get a perfectly functional 250W engine.
Somewhat suspiciously, however, there is no information available as to whether it’s a hub-drive or mid-drive motor.
While the motor isn’t super impressive, the battery capacity is actually pretty good, with a 36V, 6AH battery translating to 216 total Watt-Hours.
The construction seems sturdy enough for a folding bike, but you’ll probably want to be extra vigilant against flats, considering the relatively thin tires.
Budget Bike #2: Jetson Bolt Pro
With a more powerful motor and a slightly lower price tag (at the time of writing), the Jetson Bolt Pro is a lot like the LEADZM folding bike, but slightly better.
The Jetson Bolt Pro is also a folding bike, so you still get all the convenience of being able to ride to your destination and then take your bike inside with you.
This means not only do you save on the bike’s price tag, but you can save on bike locks too, since you can just take it with you instead of locking it up outside.
The Jetson Bolt Pro features a 350W hub-drive motor; we think it’s a rear-mounted hub drive, but the product specifications are unclear.
It appears to have more or less the same battery as the LEADZM folding bike: a 36V lithium-ion.
This means that while it’s slightly more powerful than the aforementioned bike, the battery is also likely to run out a little sooner.
After all, when you increase the power of the motor but do not increase the capacity of the battery, it’s going to be drained faster to sustain that higher power level.
In any case, the Jetson Bolt Pro is a solid budget pick under $300 that’ll get you where you need to go; just mind those thin tires!
Budget Bike #3: Swagtron EB1
Another convenient folding bike, the Swagtron EB1 is a smaller budget offering from Swagtron, a company that makes a variety of e-bikes at various price ranges.
Depending on your retailer of choice and any sales that might be active, you might find this bike slightly above or slightly below $300 at any given time.
Given it’s a solid budget pick overall and can sometimes be found for under $300 depending on the deal of the day, it seemed worth including regardless.
The EB1 has a 250W motor; presumably another hub-drive, but the specifications don’t say.
We were also unable to find exact specs on the battery capacity. However, it’s stated that the battery can take you 7.45 miles on a full charge, assuming normal use.
It’s also a lithium-ion battery, so it has that going for it, vague specifications or not.
On that note, a general rule of thumb, stay away from any non-lithium-ion battery options; the alternatives are cheaper, but they also aren’t nearly as reliable.
Either way, a 7-mile range isn’t huge, but it is more than enough for a short in-city commute.
This makes it a great budget bike for students or anyone who lives within 7 miles of where they work, as long as you have a way to charge it for the return trip when you get there.
Budget Bike #4: Swagtron EB5 Pro Plus
Another entry from Swagtron, this one tends to run closer to $500 or $600, depending on the retailer, but you can potentially snag it for under $300 if you find it on sale.
And along with its slightly higher price tag comes some improved features.
It also features a 250W motor, and once again, we must assume it’s a hub drive, but the frustratingly vague specs we can find don’t actually state this.
And speaking of frustratingly vague specs, we couldn’t find detailed information on the battery either.
What we did find is that on a full charge, the EB5 is projected to have a maximum distance of over 15 miles, about twice as much as the EB1.
What’s more, it also has a slot for a second battery (sold separately), which could double this maximum range to about 30 miles if utilized.
For all these reasons, the Swagtron EB5 Pro Plus is a great folding bike for anyone with a commute under 15 miles; or under 30 if you opt to purchase an extra battery.
It’s also notable that it folds in three places which gives it a particularly small profile when folded up.
This could increase the appeal for students, who could fold it up and put it in a spacious backpack upon arrival at campus, or slide it under their desk.
The same could also be said for taking it into an office job; the compact triple-folding form factor makes the EB5 even more suited to this purpose than any other entry on this list.
You might notice this isn’t a very long list, and there’s a reason for that!
Electric bicycles tend to go for anywhere from $500 to a few thousand; e-bikes under $300 are quite rare.
This is because quality components like powerful, reliable motors and high-capacity li-ion batteries don’t come cheap, and for the most part, you get what you pay for.
As such, it’s worth noting that if you can possibly save up for something slightly more expensive, you might be better off doing so in the long run.
That’s because, even if you can buy one of these sub-$300 bikes right now, the quality of their make isn’t necessarily the best, and they’re more likely to break down in the near future.
If you end up buying a new one every year or two because they don’t last long, you could find yourself in a situation where you actually spend more money overall on cheaper bikes.
After all, if you’re on a budget, the last thing you need is a product that will cost you more in the long run despite initial savings.
If you need an e-bike right now, any of the entries on this list will get you going.
However, if you can afford to wait, and save up a bit at a time, you might not get that instant gratification, but you will get a superior, long-lasting product, eventually.
That being said, the budget picks tend to be folding bikes, which offer their own unique advantages.
So, if all you want is a cheap bike for a short commute that you can fold up and take inside, then this list has you covered!
If, on the other hand, you want a reliable, long-lasting, hard-wearing e-bike that can handle longer commutes and higher speeds, you’ll probably want to save up for something pricier.
You can check out our article about how much electric bikes cost for more information.