Detailed Guide to Choose the Best Electric Trike for Adult and Seniors
Reviewed & Compared
by Daniel Atlas
Electric tricycles make it extremely easy to get around by combining the stability of an adult tricycle with the speed and ease of a motor-assisted drivetrain.
Electric tricycles are dramatically increasing in popularity thanks to the advantages they offer over traditional bicycles and tricycles and even electric-assisted bicycles.
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What is an Electric Tricycle?
Tricycles are ordinarily quite heavy, which can make pedaling them quickly using just your leg power or climbing hills difficult.
Electric tricycles modify the traditional tricycle design by adding an electric motor to the drivetrain. That means that with each stroke of the pedals, the motor kicks in to give an added burst of power to your pedal stroke. You can also choose to ride the tricycle without pedaling at all, allowing the motor to do the work much like an electric scooter.
Electric tricycles are increasingly popular because they make it easy to get from point A to point B quickly even if your trike is loaded down with groceries or gear and regardless of whether there are small hills along the way.
Plus, the feeling of the electric motor on a tricycle is quite natural. In contrast to electric bicycles, which may have the motor attached to either the front wheel, the rear wheel, or the drivetrain, most electric tricycles have the motor attached to the drivetrain only. This means that you won’t feel as if you are being pulled or pushed forward by the motor, but rather just moving at a faster speed than you would under leg power alone.
What to Consider when Choosing an Electric Tricycle
You may be familiar with the features that are important to look at when choosing a standard adult tricycle, but several additional considerations go into finding the best electric tricycle.
Here, we’ll explain some of the important electric-specific features that go into choosing the right electric trike for you.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing an electric tricycle is the battery. The batteries on most electric trikes are attached directly behind the seat, which allows them to be quite large, but battery life can still be a limiting factor in your ride. While some electric trikes offer ranges of up to 45 miles on a single charge in pedal-assist mode, others are limited to less than 20 miles per charge.
It is important to note that how you ride your trike will dramatically affect how long your battery will last. Using your trike as a scooter in fully electric mode will suck up much more battery power than using your electric motor to assist your pedaling.
Motor and Speed
The size of motors on electric tricycles can vary widely and, in conjunction with the weight of the tricycle, is the main determinant of each tricycle’s top speed.
Most electric tricycles incorporate either 600-watt or 750-watt brushless motors, which are more quiet and efficient than older brushed motors and offer top speeds of 10-20 miles per hour. However, some tricycles come with more powerful motors up to 1200 watts that are capable of speeds in the range of 20-30 mph.
Most electric tricycles do not have preset electric assistance levels like electric bicycles often do but rather use either a thumb-driven throttle or a twist-throttle built into the handlebar. Some riders find that the twist throttle is easier to control, especially when moving fast on bumpy roads.
High-end electric tricycles may feature an LCD to provide information about your speed, battery usage, and remaining battery life. While this can be a helpful feature for monitoring and metering your battery use, especially during longer rides, it is not strictly necessary, and displays are not found on most electric tricycles.
When evaluating electric tricycles, it’s important to think about how you plan to use your tricycle – and whether you’ll need a significant amount of cargo space.
For many riders, the advantage of switching to an electric adult tricycle is that it is easier to pedal quickly while carrying loads of groceries or other items around town. In that case, having one or more large cargo baskets to carry all of those items can make a big difference in whether your tricycle will be useful from day to day.
5 Best Electric Tricycles for Adults
Best All-Road Electric Tricycle
Addmotor Motan Electric Tricycle
This high-end electric trike from Addmotor is designed to match the capabilities of electric-assisted mountain bikes, but with an added wheel for stability.
The most immediately noticeable feature of the trike is the set of oversized wheels, which are four inches wide for extremely stable handling and the ability to bound over potholes and trails without flatting or slipping. All three wheels feature a high spoke count to improve their durability, and the front wheel is equipped with a disc brake to improve stopping power.
The trike is further prepared for rough road and off-road travel thanks to a full suspension system on the front fork and spring below the seat, both of which serve to reduce vibrations. The frame itself is made from durable 6061 aluminum alloy to keep weight to a minimum while maximizing durability. The trike includes two hard plastic cargo boxes, one in front of the handlebars and the other on the rear of the frame, although neither is particularly large.
The trike features a 750-watt motor and a large, removable 48-volt battery that together provide it with a top speed of 23 miles per hour and a range of up to 55 miles in pedal assist mode. You can monitor the battery life, and your speed with a bright five-inch LED display built into the handlebars, and the twist-throttle is easy to control even when bumping down trails.
Urban Electric Tricycle
Emojo Caddy Pro/Caddy Electric Tricycle 48V 500W Best Electric Trike 24 Inch Fat Tire 3 Wheel Ebike Electric Bike
This stylish and capable electric trike for adults is ideal for urban commutes or moving groceries and other supplies around town.
The motor and battery on this trike are somewhat small, limiting the tricycle to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and an average range of only about 15 miles. That can be problematic for riders looking to commute from the suburbs into the city, but shouldn’t be a problem for interurban riders or trips to the store.
To make up for the low range, RMB put a lot of thought into the pedal assist mechanism on this trike. The handlebars are outfitted with a twist-throttle mechanism that makes it easy to add or remove motor power with each pedal stroke. Also, the trike features only a single gear in a medium power range, and the ability to use the motor to get the tricycle moving makes this gearing choice comfortable for the majority of riders while keeping maintenance to a minimum.
The tricycle features hybrid wheels that are highly durable on potholed urban roads, although the small 20-inch size of the front wheel means that the trike can be somewhat swallowed by larger potholes. The front wheel does feature a disc brake to help with stopping the rather heavy frame of the trike. Another nice design feature is that the frame uses a step-through design, which makes it easy to get on and off the trike at stops. The trike also offers a massive wireframe cargo rack that is very difficult to fill up.
Folding Electric Tricycle
This folding electric trike from Liberty delivers on both mobility and portability. The foldable design allows the front half of the trike – including the stem, handlebars, and front fork – to be folded down under the rear of the frame. While the trike remains large, this fold goes a long way towards being able to load this tricycle into the rear of a car or to use it for commutes that involve public transit in addition to riding.
The tricycle itself features a 750-watt motor with a 36-volt battery to offer a long range over 30 miles when the pedal assist is activated. However, the motor is locked so that the trike can only reach a top speed of 10.5 miles per hour because it is located on the front wheel, in contrast to most electric trikes that locate the motor on the drivetrain. This can also make using the electric assist feel as if you are being pulled forward.
One of the downsides to the compact, foldable design of this trike is that all three wheels are relatively small at just 16 inches. While you may not notice the small wheel diameter on a smooth road, on bumpy or potholed roads having small wheels, can make riding extremely uncomfortable and impair the trike’s handling. However, the front fork does have a partial suspension system to reduce vibrations.
The tricycle has a modestly sized wireframe cargo box on the rear of the frame.
Budget Electric Tricycle
Worksman Lightning Electric Tricycle
For riders on a tight budget, this moderately priced electric tricycle from Workman is an ideal choice.
The trike cuts costs by using a 600-watt motor instead of the 750-watt motor found on most other electric tricycles, which limits it to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. Thankfully, the trike doesn’t sacrifice on the battery – it includes a removable 36-volt battery that gives you a range of up to 30 miles on a single charge when pedal assist is active. Note that the motor is located on the front wheel rather than on the drivetrain, which can result in a pulling feeling when the electric assist is activated.
The trike also cuts costs by opting for a thumb throttle rather than the more controllable twist-throttle and features a caliper brake on the front wheel rather than a disc brake. This latter change may be extremely important for riders who live in a hilly area or ride in the rain frequently since the caliper brake lacks the intensive stopping power of a disc brake. That said, the trike does feature a large 20-inch front wheel and hybrid tires that are ideal for urban and suburban riding.
The trike is also foldable, which is a major advantage for riders who want to be able to load it into a car or onto public transit. There is also a large wireframe cargo basket on the back for carrying groceries and other items.
Electric Trike for Seniors
Fat Tire Electric Recumbent Tricycle
This unique electric recumbent tricycle from Fat Tire is perfect for seniors who prefer the recumbent design to the standard tricycle because it puts less pressure on their knee joints when pedaling.
The trike is set up for speed – in addition to the standard 750-watt motor, there is an optional 1,200-watt model that offers speeds well above 20 miles per hour on smooth roads. The battery is quite large at 48 volts, but because of the large motor and heavy design of this trike, it is still limited to a range of fewer than 30 miles on a single charge when the pedal assist is activated.
The tricycle has massive, studded four-inch wide wheels that are perfect for blowing past potholes or taking the trike off-road. Both front wheels are equipped with disc brakes, giving this trike impressive stopping power. The seat is also extremely comfortable, albeit without any holes it can be quite warm in the summer months. Mirrors on both handlebars improve safety on this bike, especially since it may be hard for drivers to see it as it is so low to the ground.
Perhaps the biggest downside to this trike is that it is relatively short on cargo space. It lacks the cargo box found on most electric tricycles and instead has just a small rack on the rear of the frame for hanging pannier bags.
An electric tricycle is an excellent option for commuting, getting around town, or simply riding thanks to the ability to modulate an electric motor in conjunction with standard pedaling.
While the best electric trike for you depends on your needs, we feel the overall best adult electric tricycle is the Addmotor Motan Electric Tricycle. This motorized trike features a large 750-watt motor capable of speeds up to 23 miles per hour and offers an impressive range of up to 55 miles on a single battery charge.
The four-inch-wide tires allow this trike to comfortably travel on any roads or trails you would take a mountain bike on while ensuring that you’ll have excellent handling the entire time.
The trike is equipped with a full front suspension and a spring-loaded seat so you won’t suffer from extreme vibrations when heading off-road. We also appreciated the dual cargo boxes – although neither is particularly large, this gives you options for carrying your gear or groceries around town.
Overall, we felt that these features warranted the significant price of this trike and made it the best electric tricycle for adults on the market today.
Read our foldable adult tricycle guide.