What are you looking for in a hoverboard, otherwise known as a self-balancing hoverboard?
Choosing a hoverboard is not as easy as choosing an electric car or e-bike. For one, an influx of fake self-balancing hoverboards from China has made its way to our stores.
Just how many fake hoverboards are being sold in the US is actually hard to pin down, and most department stores and online shops cannot tell whether they are selling the real thing.
Moreover, what was supposed to be a safe smart electric hoverboard is actually a hazard waiting to happen. Have you heard the news about hoverboards catching fire while in use or exploding and causing fire in family homes? Blame it on the fakes.
But let not such news discourage you from buying a self-balancing hoverboard. With careful research and meticulous attention to detail, you can score for yourself a real and safe hoverboard. Here are 10 things to look for when you are in the market for a smart hoverboard:
The first thing you should think about is your need for a hoverboard? What will you use it for? To ride to work or school? For your grocery shopping? For sport and adventure or just to show off? Do you need it as a personal transporter or to catch up with friends who happen to own one?
Differentiate your real needs from imaginary ones. While looking into that, you may realize you never need one at all or that your reason for owning a smart hoverboard is plain foolish. You might think that you need it to go to the gym which is a few kilometers away, but in reality, you do not often workout, but you might use it to walk with your dog. Find out your real need, and with that in mind, you can find find a hoverboard with features that will help fulfill it.
2. Features and accessories
Like ebikes and electric cars, hoverboards come with GPS, Bluetooth speakers, smartphone connectivity, battery power indicator, speed indicator, LED lights, anti-theft lock, etc. Some hoverboards even offer waterproof protection. What features do you want to see in your hoverboard? Are you willing to pay extra money for features you will never use? Feature-rich self-balancing hoverboards are the priciest. Check and test use different brands, and you might find the hoverboard that has the features you really want.
3. Size and appearance
Self-balancing hoverboards are generally smooth and silent, and they come in different colors and specifications. If size and appearance matter to you, you will want to look into the ground clearance (the space underneath the hoverboard) and the wheel diameter of your desired smart electric hoverboard. If you want a higher up riding position, then opt for a larger wheel. But if you want a hoverboard that you can carry, smaller wheels are better. At the end of the day, this is simply a case of personal preference.
When it comes to your smart electric hoverboard‘s wheels, they should be durable, smooth-rolling, and resistant to dents, scratches, and accelerated damage. They can either be metal or plastic wheels.
Wheel size is also an important matter to consider. Most self-balancing hoverboards have quite small wheels, varying between 6.5 through 8 inches. Hoverboards with smaller wheel size are efficient and easy to operate on smooth surfaces. However, they do not perform well on uneven surface or against curbs and any other slightly elevated surface. For stability, increased safety, greater mileage, and better control and balance, opt for a hoverboard with 10-inch wheels.
Safety is the most important matter to consider when choosing a hoverboard. The risk of falling is great, though it seems easy to learn and use a hoverboard. And with the proliferation of fakes in the market, so is the risk of fire and explosion.
Quick tips to ensure hoverboard safety:
- Check the manufacturer or the brand. Are they associated with the hoverboard disasters that took place?
- Consider US-based brands because they generally offer customer support and warranties. Avoid China-based brands.
- Read customer reviews of the smart hoverboard you are planning to buy.
- Don’t leave it unattended while it is charging. Don’t overcharge and don’t leave it plugged overnight.
- Look for safety standards and conformity marks or symbols on the hoverboard, battery, charger, and even on the box.
- Don’t buy self-balancing hoverboards for younger children. Such personal transportation equipment is recommended for kids age 12 and up.
- Check with local laws. Are you allow to operate a hoverboard on sidewalks or
While it is true that retailers are doing their very best to determine and sell only the originals, safety is the sole responsibility of users like you, and the integrity and usability of a hover board depends on how you operate and maintain it.
Choosing a hover board concerns weight: The weight of the device itself, the battery’s weight, and your own. Standard hoverboards weigh around 10 kg (22 lbs) and can support a maximum load of up to 100 kg (220 lbs). If you weigh more than that, consider a hoverboard with 10-inch wheels and extra durable board. You need a smart electric hoverboard that can support your weight and which you can carry around.
The battery in most self-balancing hover boards are as the same as in electric cars, e-bikes, and mobile gadgets: They use lithium-ion batteries. However, the lithium-ion in hoverboards are more susceptible to safety risks brought by overcharging. Unlike other devices that use lithium-ion, hoverboards lack the mechanism that shuts off the flow of electricity after achieving full charge, which is why you should never leave your hoverboard unattended and overcharged.
You may want to avoid brands with low quality batteries because they have low power capacity, thus shorter range. Substandard batteries are known to suddenly cut out while the hoverboard is in motion, potentially throwing the rider forward and causing injuries in the process. Batteries of fake hoverboards have been known to be behind most hoverboard disasters.
When choosing a hoverboard, go for brands that use a branded battery, like Samsung and LG. Avoid China-based brands because they often have weak batteries.
How fast do you want your smart electric hoverboard to go? Most brands offer a similar range, from 2mph to 10mph. Keep in mind that your own weight may factor in your hoverboard’s speed. The heavier you are, the slower your self-balancing hoverboard goes.
How far do you want your smart electric hoverboard to go? Standard hoverboards have an average of 12-14 miles, while premium brands go between 13-17 miles. However, like speed, range is tough to measure as there are factors that can affect travel time and range: the weight of the rider, type of terrain, the incline, speed of travel, and quality of battery. Self-balancing hoverboards with low quality batteries have limited range, due to the low power capacity.
A good smart electric hoverboard will have a minimum range of 10 miles. Quick tip: Check if the battery has a high ampere hour (AH) rating. The higher the AH rating, the better the range.
10. Charging time
Most self-balancing hoverboards have an average charge time of 1-2 hours. It is important to refer to your manual for the required charging duration so you can keep track of the time while your hoverboard is charging.
Now that you know what to look for in a smart electric hoverboard, it is expected that you will make an informed purchase decision. Take time to discern and test ride every brand that you come across.