Everyone is crazy about hoverboards now. This means that every electronics and athletics brand is attempting to make their own version of the hoverboard.
They’re all getting sent out onto the market, and some of them cost upwards of a thousand dollars. At the end of the day, what is the difference between a low priced hoverboard, and a high priced hoverboard? In short – a lot.
Every brand is going to tell you they make the best hoverboard, because every business is looking to turn a profit. Some brands market themselves as budget brands when in reality, they’re simply cheaply made hoverboards that are going to fall apart before you even get the chance to fully try them out.
Other brands market themselves as premium, luxury hoverboard brands only for reviewers to mention that the plastic cracks and the wheels get jammed.
It can be hard to determine who to trust and how to buy a hoverboard. Since these are relatively new things, it’s not as clear as buying a car or a bicycle, where there’s already an established quality standard and a long list of things to look for.
New kinds of hoverboards are still being invented, and the industry is full of innovation. Some hoverboards became obsolete before they ever got popular.
Use this as your guide while you’re clicking around on market. We’ll go over specifications, needs, and classifications of hoverboards.
Whether you’re buying one for yourself or as a gift to someone important to you, keeping a few core things in mind will help you narrow down the list, leading you right to the hoverboard you’ve always wanted.
What is a Hoverboard?
When you hear “hoverboard”, you may be envisioning something from movies like Back to the Future.
Despite the images the name may conjure, hoverboards are a little more mundane in reality. They don’t technically hover – they’re essentially intuitively controlled electric scooters without handlebars.
Think of a turbo version of a skateboard, or a sportier version of a Segway.
Hoverboards have lithium ion batteries inside, which are charged with a wall plug. Most of them charge within two hours, and the battery life generally depends on the distance and speed that you travel between charges.
Some hoverboards cap out at around five miles per hour, while others have been known to go as fast as fifteen miles per hour.
The controls on these are a little tricky. Some boards are self-balancing, which means they attempt to distribute the weight on their own, and others leave the heavy lifting up to you.
Since these don’t have any kind of handle or steering wheel, the controls are all on your intuition.
The board is separated for two feet. The middle has a strong swiveling joint, and each side has a foot sensor. You control the board by positioning your feet in the center of the sensors, and the board will follow your body movement.
By treating it like an extension of your body, you can turn, pivot, and lean to drive the board in the direction you want to go. Most of the control is as simple as pretending you’re going in a certain direction.
How Safe Are They?
In terms of safety, hoverboards follow along the same lines as electric scooters, mopeds, and electric bicycles.
They’re not quite as heavy duty as motorcycles, but they’ll certainly get you around a lot better than rollerskates or a bicycle will.
If you’re looking to maximize the safety of your hoverboard experience, there are a few things you should make note of.
- Don’t leave your hoverboard on the charger for longer than the instructions recommend. This can cause the battery to overheat, damaging the board or ruining the battery.
- Never take your hoverboard further than the distance the manufacturer suggests on one charge.
- Always ride your hoverboard on smooth terrain, free from large rocks and debris.
- If riding your hoverboard through traffic, always use crosswalk signals and interact safely with motorists.
- Wear proper safety equipment such as a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads.
- Never attempt to modify or tamper with the internal mechanisms of the hoverboard. Register the warranty and allow the manufacturer to service the machine.
- Never ride the hoverboard around large obstacles, such as furniture.
- Practice tricks and stunts responsibly in wide open spaces.
Ultimately, a large portion of the safety factors rely on the user. Younger children or people with balancing problems may not be able to fully enjoy a hoverboard.
Riders shouldn’t attempt to do stunts with the hoverboard or take it into potentially dangerous areas unless they’re comfortable with their ability to ride the hoverboard. You should always make sure your hoverboard is in working order before taking it out.
Do They Really Explode?
You may have seen or heard some things in the news that involve anecdotes of exploding hoverboards. This is due to some imported brands using generic battery packs that could not handle the capabilities of the hoverboard, which included an additional feature.
For a while, Bluetooth enabled hoverboards were regarded as dangerous because of the extra pressure that the feature put on the battery.
Now, Bluetooth enabled hoverboards are harder to come by, though the safety issue wasn’t necessarily solely on the Bluetooth feature. Generic batteries are a little risky, and most manufacturers recognize that. That’s why most of them have switched to reliable branded batteries that are capable of standing up to the job.
While it’s always good practice to treat your battery well and not allow your hoverboard to charge unattended for long periods of time, explosions were mostly isolated to one manufacturer because of a poor decision.
The vast majority of brands never encountered similar issues, and all of the negatively affected boards are off the market.
What Kind of Hoverboard Should I Buy?
This is a big question, but it entails a lot. To keep things short, everyone uses hoverboards. Kids use them for different reasons than adults, and the environment counts for a lot. It really depends on who the board is for, and how they intend on using it.
They’re great for riding the sidewalks in quiet neighborhoods, playing at the park, or exploring the back yard.
Children aren’t going to need heavy duty hoverboards for light playing – especially if you don’t think the child will use it outside of as a toy.
Brands like Powerboard make boards that are great for kids and teens, perfect for light and responsible wear and tear.
People who intend on taking up hoverboarding as a hobby will probably prefer brands like Swagway, who market their hoverboards to people who want to get a little rough with them.
They’re designed for steep inclines and tricks. Unfortunately, scratching the paint on a hoverboard is somewhat inevitable, so you’ll have to get used to the idea of some minor cosmetic damage.
Outside of that, those boards are designed to perform like tricked out skateboards.
For trick boards, you ideally want to look for something with a high top speed and a long battery life. Durable construction is just as important – you want a board with as many metal parts as possible. Plastic can crack on a rough landing or a side scrape. In this case, it may be worth investing a little extra money in a heavier weight board that’s meant to handle anything you can throw at it.
Some people simply enjoy using their boards for a greener, more eco-friendly commute. If you live in an urban area and want to avoid paying cab fare, riding a bike, or taking the bus, a hoverboard is an alternative that’s friendly to the environment. Outside of being conscious of your carbon footprint, relying on a hoverboard for short trips can save you money over time.
If you plan on using your board as an alternate form of transportation, there are plenty of middle-of-the-line boards that will do everything you need them to. If that’s what you’re shopping for, look for boards that have long battery lives.
Top speed won’t be as important if you plan on riding them gently, because they’ll still get you around faster than your feet will. If you’re mostly looking to ride the sidewalk or take some back streets, a standard board will get the job done.
For the casual enthusiast, Leray, Urban Magic, and Hovertech make some great hoverboards that are perfect for everyday use, as long as the rider isn’t reckless and maintains their hoverboard responsibly.
Who Makes The Best Hoverboards?
More than anything else, the answer to this question revolves around opinion and what you intend on using your board for. There are several noteworthy hoverboard manufacturers who have been in the business for a long time.
The board you choose depends on whether you want it for casual use or sports, and there’s no shortage of boards in both categories.
Best Casual Hoverboards
Urban Magic is a newer brand, and their boards are some of the least expensive you’ll find. Because of this, a lot of people who don’t take hoverboarding too seriously tend to pick from their modest selection first.
These are great starter boards, so they’re perfect for people who are new to the art of the hoverboard. They’re inexpensive enough that you won’t have to worry about damaging them while learning. You can always upgrade to a higher tech, more expensive board once you’re comfortable.
HoverTech makes a starter board you won’t be so quick to give up. They’re build a little more durable, and intended to last a lot longer than other starter boards. These hoverboards are easy to learn on, but they’re not necessarily basic in their features.
They can get knocked around a little bit, so the occasional pothole in the road or scrape against the curb shouldn’t do any real damage to a HoverTech board. They pride themselves on being a USA run company, offering UL safety certified hoverboards that you can feel secure in purchasing. Families with children will be able to rest easy knowing their children will be fine playing with this hoverboard.
LeRay is a little fancier than all the rest. This board packs a big punch, but it also comes with a steeper price tag. If you only want to buy one board for casual use and be done with it, you’ll want to turn to LeRay.
This board can handle up to 220 pounds of rider weight, climb fifteen degree inclines, and is capable of angle-free circling. The top speed is a little higher than similar boards in the same price range. If you want a reliable board you can ride a few miles a day, LeRay’s hoverboards are worth the investment.
Best Heavy Duty Hoverboards
Swagway hoverboards are both fast and lightweight. Their durable construction is meant for daring riders who want to use their boards to perform cool stunts.
While this board can also be used as a normal transporter board, you’re getting some added features in the construction and joints of the board that will allow you to ride ramps better and tackle obstacles.
If you want a hoverboard that can take you to the store to buy a gallon of milk, and then tear up the skate park, this one is the best of both worlds.
Powerboard doesn’t specifically design their boards for stunts, though you will be able to get away with doing a few neat tricks on this hoverboard. These are heavy duty, optimized for a smooth, safe ride, and built to outlast competitors.
Powerboard takes their battery packs and safety features very seriously, providing you with a board that’s guaranteed to last.
Children and adults will both appreciate this hoverboard, which serves as both an excellent personal transporter and a pretty neat toy to play around with.
For specific information relating to brands and models, you should always check with the manufacturer.
Many of them place the specifics on their product pages, where they’re available to answer customer questions and concerns. In general, most hoverboards are similar in a lot of ways, and there are some things that will apply to all of them equally.
Q: Should I get a warranty on my hoverboard?
A: Absolutely. Most hoverboards come with a one year warranty through the manufacturer that will cover the wear and tear on a hoverboard that’s been used responsibly. Always make sure to investigate the warranty information. If you need to register your warranty, do that before you start riding to make sure you won’t run into any problems in the event that you need to get your hoverboard fixed or replaced.
Q: Is there any way to protect my hoverboard from scratches?
A: Unfortunately, hoverboards are prone to scratches the same way skateboards and bikes are. Riding hoverboards outside will inevitably lead to scratches from hitting small rocks and sticks on the ground. If you’re very concerned about how your hoverboard looks, many companies offer skins to customize your hoverboard with. If it gets too scratched up, you can always cover the cosmetic damage with a skin.
Q: How long do hoverboards last?
A: Hoverboards will last years as long as you’re taking care of them properly. Maintaining the battery and opting not to ride the hoverboard if it’s damaged or needs repair will help ensure a long life. After a while, the battery pack may need to be replaced. Make sure you’re charging it under your supervision and not attempting to push the board past its limits. Depending on the amount of use, a hoverboard can last years without needing any replacement parts.
Q: How fast do hoverboards go?
A: This depends on the board and the way it’s designed, but most hoverboards can go between five and twelve miles per hour. Slower boards will generally have longer battery life, and faster boards will need to be recharged on a more frequent basis. Regardless of the top speed, most boards will go slower when riding up an incline because of the amount of pressure placed on their motors. Slower boards work better for children and learners, whereas faster boards are better for adults and people who have already mastered riding a hoverboard.
Q: Are hoverboards dangerous?
A: Anything is dangerous if the user doesn’t take the right safety precautions. Always heed manufacturer warnings and instructions on how to use and handle your hoverboard. Wear proper safety gear, and avoid riding your hoverboard in dangerous environments. As long as you’re prioritizing your personal safety, nothing about a hoverboard is inherently dangerous to the rider.
Q: Are hoverboards good for kids and teens?
A: Kids and teens love hoverboards. A lot of youngsters find them a lot more fun than regular scooters or skateboards. Make sure you’re getting a hoverboard that’s safe, with a certified battery pack and a reasonable top speed. Encourage kids and teens to wear helmets and safety pads when riding their hoverboards, and supervise them until they get the hang of it. They’re safe, fun, and a great way to get kids away from their video games and exploring the outdoors.