If you’re in the market for an electric bike, you may be wondering what the difference is between 250 watt and 500 watt models. Is one better than the other? The answer to that question depends on a few factors, including how you plan to use your electric bike and how much weight you plan to carry. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between these two types of electric bikes and help you decide which one is right for you!
Essentially, the wattage of an e-bike determines your ability to do things like ride uphill, have enough power to carry extra weight on your e-bike, potentially go faster, or do other things that exert more energy.
- What does wattage mean on an e-bike?
- Do I need a 250 watt or 500 watt e-bike?
- What is the price difference between a 250 watt and 500 watt e-bike?
- What are the different types of wattages available in e-bikes?
- Product Recommendations: 250 watts
- Product Recommendations: 500 watts
- Product Recommendations: 500+ watts
- Final Thoughts
What does wattage mean on an e-bike?
The wattage of an e-bike is a measure of its overall power and performance. The wattage refers to the power of the motor.
Generally speaking, higher wattage models tend to be more powerful and better suited for heavier loads or more challenging terrain, while lower wattage models are less powerful and typically better suited for easier trips.
Everything you need to know about wattage (and more)
Wattage is a unit of power that measures the rate of energy transfer. It is named after Scottish engineer James Watt, who also had huge impacts on the improvement of the steam engine in the 18th century.
One watt is equal to one joule of energy per second. Think of it like miles per hour, only measuring the rate of energy instead of the speed of a car.
Watts are often used to measure the power consumption of electronic devices such as light bulbs, appliances or the output of things like e-bikes, solar panels and wind turbines.
Do I need a 250 watt or 500 watt e-bike?
So now that you had a short history lesson on wattage, let’s chat about what is the best wattage e-bike for you needs.
Pros & Cons of a 250 watt e-bike
If you’re looking for a bike that can handle short, easy trips around town and light commuting, then a 250 watt e-bike may be the better option. We’ve compiled a few pros and cons of this type of bike:
|Tend to weigh less, making them better for urban riding||Less power|
|Often less expensive||More difficult to go uphill or on rough terrain|
|Sufficient for many use cases and riders||Not a great option for heavier riders|
Pros & Cons of a 500 watt e-bike
If you’re looking for a more powerful bike that can handle going uphill or carrying heavier loads, then a 500 watt e-bike may be the better choice. Here are some of the pros and cons:
|Better for uphill||Heavier|
|More power for extra weight, including gear, accessories, baggage, or the weight of the rider||Can be more expensive|
|Can potentially go faster on flat ground than 250 watt bike||Less ideal for urban riding|
What to consider
Here are a few questions to consider as you’re trying to decide between the different wattages:
- How often will I be using my e-bike? Is this just a bike I will use every once in a while to cruise around my neighborhood? Or will this be a main mode of transportation for me?
- Where will I be using my e-bike? Is it mainly flat, or a lot of hills?
- How much extra weight do I plan on carrying? Think about things like groceries, or perhaps gear you’re taking with you (like if you’re taking your e-bike into nature), or perhaps you’re considering making deliveries on your e-bike and need power to carry those items.
- How much do I weigh? Yep, this is a bit of an awkward one. After all, who likes talking about their weight? But the difference between a 120-pound rider vs. a 220-pound rider can be a pretty significant factor when making this buying decision.
What is the price difference between a 250 watt and 500 watt e-bike?
If you’ve spent more than 2 minutes researching e-bikes, you’ve probably noticed that there tend to be a TON of sales on e-bikes. Manufacturers often offer pretty good discounts on first-time purchases, seasonal promotions, or last year’s models.
All of that to say, pricing for e-bikes can vary greatly.
So there isn’t one set price difference between 250 watt and 500 watt bikes, but from our research on the Sixthreezero website, the MSRP of their EVRYjourney 250 watt e-bike is $1,749.99 whereas the MSRP for the EVRYjourney 500 watt e-bike is $1,999.99, so a $250 difference for 250 extra watts.
We also pulled some other e-bike prices to show you the difference if you wanted to upgrade even more:
- RadCity 5 Plus Electric Commuter Bike 750 watt e-bike: $1,999
- Trek Domane+ SLR 9 eTap 250 watt continuous, 300 watt peak: $12,999.99
So as you can see, a lot more goes into the pricing of an e-bike than just the wattage rating of the motor. The Trek Domane+ SLR 9 eTap has a 250 watt continuous max motor, but it’s significantly more expensive than the 750 watt RadCity bike.
So while wattage is certainly an important factor in purchasing an electric bike, it’s not the biggest price driver. Instead, you should pay closer attention to the bike as a whole (what types of components are important to me, does the brand matter to me, styling, etc.).
What are the different types of wattages available in e-bikes?
There are a few different types of wattages that can be found in e-bikes. 250 watt and 500 watt are two of the most common, though you can also find bikes with other wattages on the market, including 750 watt or 1000 watt e-bikes like these ones.
250 watt e-Bikes Product Recommendations
There are many options for 250 watt electric bikes out in the market. We’ve compiled some of our favorite options for you:
500 watt e-Bikes Product Recommendations
Many times, manufacturers will make a 250 watt and a 500 watt version of the same bike, so if there’s a 250 watt bike you love but need the extra power, see if you can find the same bike with the upgraded 500 watt motor.
Here are some of our favorite 500 watt electric bikes on the market right now:
500+ watt e-Bike Product Recommendations
If you need more power, fear not, there are plenty of options for you that have more than 500 watt motor ratings.
At the end of the day, choosing between 250 watt and 500 watt e-bikes is a matter of personal preference.
Both types offer their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it really comes down to how you plan to use your e-bike and what your specific needs are. For more guidance on this topic, be sure to check out our other resources, such as our article What Is the Difference Between A Cheap E-Bike And An Expensive One? and talk to your local bike shop or the manufacturer you’re considering buying an e-bike from.