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What is the Difference Between a Moped and a Scooter?

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 8/17/2021

Two girls taking a picture on a moped

Riding a moped or scooter is a great way to cut down on your gas consumption while running short errands around town. Often times, these two terms are used interchangeably, but in reality, mopeds and scooters are actually quite different. Today we'll be discussing the differences between mopeds and scooters and how they compare in terms of design, engine size and speed. Plus, we'll take a look at what kind of batteries they rely on.

What are the Design Differences Between Mopeds and Scooters?

At first glance, mopeds and scooters look very similar. Both are lightweight, two-wheeled vehicles that are much smaller than a motorcycle. Look closer though and you'll begin to see differences. A moped looks a lot like a bicycle. In fact, mopeds originally had fully functional pedals, although those have been largely phased out in modern mopeds.

When we mention scooters here, we're not talking about electronic or kick scooters like the kind made by Razor. The scooters we're discussing are two-wheeled and feature a "step-through" chassis with a gap between the handlebars and seat. Over the years, many mopeds have also adopted this step-through design, which often times makes it difficult to tell mopeds and scooters apart. Scooters also typically have a platform for your feet and feature smaller diameter wheels than a moped.

How Fast Do Mopeds and Scooters Go?

The biggest difference between mopeds and scooters is the size of their engines. Mopeds typically have engines that are 50cc (cubic centimeters) or smaller, while scooters are equipped with more powerful engines that range between 50cc to 250cc.

This difference in engine size corresponds to a sizable difference in the vehicles' top speeds. Mopeds top out at 40mph, although most models feature a maximum speed of between 28 and 30mph. Scooters can go much faster. For instance, a model with a 150cc engine can reach speeds between 50 and 60mph.

Where Can You Drive Mopeds and Scooters?

Mopeds and scooters also differ in where you can drive them. Because of their smaller engines and slower speeds, mopeds aren't allowed on highways. Scooters are a bit more versatile when it comes to roadways. Some places do allow them on highways, although this will vary from state to state and will often depend on your scooter's engine size or minimum horsepower.

What Type of Batteries Do Mopeds and Scooters Use?

Batteries are one of the area's where mopeds and scooters are very similar. Because of the cold cranking amps needed for these vehicles, both mopeds and scooters utilize powersport batteries.

When selecting a battery for your moped or scooter you have two different options: lead acid or lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). Lead acid will cost you less upfront, however an LiFePO4 battery offers a number of advantages over lead acid. LiFePO4 batteries are lighter, recharge faster and provide a longer lifespan. If you have the extra money, a LiFePO4 battery is well worth the investment.

How To Maintain Moped and Scooter Batteries

Powersport batteries will typically last between two and four years, provided that you're maintaining them properly. If you want to get the maximum life out of your battery, proper charging is key. That means finding a charger that fits your battery's voltage and chemistry.

Here are some additional maintenance tips:

  • Monitor the charging process to avoid overcharging the battery, or pick up an automatic charger that will switch off once your battery reaches its maximum capacity
  • Store your scooter with the battery charged around 75 percent
  • Don't operate your scooter in temperatures below 32 degrees F or above 114 degrees F
  • When storing your scooter for long periods of time, periodically charge up the battery

Trust Batteries Plus for Your Battery and Charging Needs

Batteries Plus can provide you with everything you need to keep your moped or scooter running smoothly. Have you been experiencing issues with your battery's performance? Bring it to your nearest Batteries Plus and we'll test it for you, free of charge. Need a replacement? Shop our selection of scooter and moped batteries.

If you're in the market for a new charger, visit our motorcycle chargers page. Since motorcycles also run on powersport batteries, the chargers featured there will work with your moped or scooter.

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