Hoverboards

Welcome to the Hoverboard Buyers Guide

Hoverboards were a big hit when they first came out. Celebrities, athletes, Youtube influencers, and famous musicians like Skrillex and Justin Bieber all got caught up in the trend. But like every fad in history, this piece of mobility tech quickly glided into oblivion. Or maybe not?

A quick search on Amazon will tell you that the market is still alive. In fact, the hoverboard market is expected to rise by over $2 billion in 2023, according to Market Watch.

After all the controversies, regulatory warnings, massive product recall, and its semi-extinction⁠—are hoverboards still worth buying?

We’ll clear some of the confusion about what a hoverboard really is (but it doesn’t hover!) and if it’s safe to buy one in 2019. Let’s go!

What are Hoverboards?

Hoverboards are self-balancing scooters, similar to a segway sans handlebar (or knee control bar) for steering and balance. Instead, you balance your feet on top of a board with two wheels. These toys don’t really hover and should be aptly called a self-balancing scooter, but that’s a bit of a mouthful.

A lot of people also call it a segway, which is inaccurate because segway is a brand name like Toyota or Ducati. Another difference is that these self-balancing boards are cheaper than the sturdy-built segway.

The first generation hoverboards were introduced in 2014. They were so popular you can easily snatch them anywhere including Walmart, Amazon, Toys ‘R’ Us, Target, and Alibaba, with most brands coming from China.

Shortly after, Segway sued some of the Chinese hoverboard manufacturers for patent infringements, only to be acquired by one of these companies. In 2015, Segway was sold to Ninebot Inc., a Beijing-based startup that recently unveiled a self-driving scooter which is expected to hit the road early next year.

A year after the acquisition, Segway-Ninebot introduced its own hoverboard-like device, the Segway miniPRO (still doesn’t hover!) with an introductory price of $1000.

Hoverboards vs “real” hoverboards

Real hoverboards levitate and move above the ground like Marty McFly’s Mattel hoverboard in the movie Back to the Future II (One our favorites!) Because they float in the air, they don’t have wheels.

Okay, enough talk, where can I buy one?

Actually, we don’t know. Levitating hoverboards haven’t reached the mainstream market yet. And if they exist, they can be extremely limited and cost an arm and a leg. Several companies have already designed their own “real” hoverboards. Though promising, none has been released for consumers.

Hendo hoverboard by Art Pax – the ingenuity of the Kickstarter-backed hoverboard was marred with a few hiccups. First of all, it only functions above a non-ferromagnetic surface or any metal sheet without iron. Second, it is hard to maneuver even by a professional skateboarder like Tony Hawk. Not to mention their rechargeable LiPo batteries can only last for a few minutes.

Flyboard Air by Franky Zapata – this jet-powered hoverboard contains five turbo engines and has set a world record for farthest hoverboard flight in 2016. It has enough power to fly for ten minutes and can reach a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour. Only the French inventor Franky Zapata can ride the Flyboard Air at the time of writing (read: it is not for sale).

Slide by Lexus – Like Hendo, Slide utilized magnetic field system technology to power their hoverboards. While it looks closer to Marty’s machine, it also rides on a magnetic surface. The levitating device is only for demonstration. Also, not for sale.

Hoverboard safety concerns

The year 2015 saw a spike in hoverboard-related accidents from catching fire to fall and finger entrapment. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 26,000 children were brought to an emergency department due to hoverboard injuries between 2015 and 2016.

The most common injuries were fractures, bruises, and strains/sprains. But not only that, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received numerous reports of two-wheeled boards spontaneously overheating, exploding, catching fire, and causing burns and property damage.

Over 500,000 hoverboards were recalled in 2016 alone. More hoverboard brands, including iHoverspeed, Smart Balance Wheel, and Go Wheels, were recalled from different states the following year.

The hoverboard is back and why you should buy one!

There’s no question that a hoverboard is fun to ride. That’s why the demand hasn’t totally died down. The root cause of the hoverboard snafu was not just bad design. Remember that most of the first generation hoverboards were China-made brands that did not meet safety manufacturing standards. Counterfeit boards have also been investigated.

Those machines were most likely powered by poorly manufactured batteries that can explode when charged too much or too fast. A battery explosion is not uncommon among electronic products. Even electric cars, laptops, and an $800 smartphone can suffer from battery failure and combustion.

However, today’s hoverboards have made significant advancements. The CPSC now requires all hoverboard brands to get a UL 2272 certification to be eligible to be imported in the US. These brands are less likely to catch fire. UL certified hoverboards are now available at Amazon, Target, Walmart, and eBay. Plus, they are rather affordable now. You can get one for under $150.

What to look for when buying a hoverboard?

Since many of the available models work the same, with minor differences in style and feature, you can’t go wrong with any of the popular brands. Safety should be the biggest factor to consider when buying a new hoverboard. Prices range from $120 to $800.

Look for a UL 2270 certified brand – the UL safety standards indicate that a product must go through dozens of tests, such as vibration testing, overcharge test, short-circuit test, and temperature cycling, in order to be certified as safe to use.

Check the list of recalled brands from CPSC – the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website has a list of hoverboard brands that have been recalled due to fire hazard or manufacturing defects.

Choose your preferred type and features – there are different types of hoverboards, some with attractive features to boot. Standard boards are great for beginners and amateurs. Off-road or commuter is designed for more experienced riders; their large tires can easily cross difficult terrains. Notable features to look for:

  • Bluetooth speaker
  • LED lights
  • Smartphone app
  • Water resistance
  • Riding modes
  • Carrying bag
  • Replacement bumper

Buy from a reputable seller – although Amazon is a comprehensive and generally trusted marketplace, things can still go wrong. Just because a product is on Amazon doesn’t mean it is being sold by Amazon itself. When buying from third-party sellers, always look for the seller’s feedback and product reviews from verified purchases.

Hoverboards safety precautions and tips

Check the minimum age and weight requirements.
Do not leave the device unattended while charging.
Always wear protective gear while riding.
Do not put your hands on the moving parts of the device even while at rest.
Only use the charging cord that came with the hoverboard.
Check your local laws to know where to ride.
Learn the proper way of getting on and off the device.
Learn how to maintain posture and balance by doing the practice/training mode.

Legal places to ride a hoverboard

Hoverboards were banned in public places like airports, malls, business establishments, pavements, and roads. Cities such as Dubai have completely banned them. So where can you ride your hoverboard?

It’s legal to ride a hoverboard on private property with permission from the owner. In California, hoverboards and other motorized wheeled devices are allowed on bike lanes and everywhere a bicycle can go.

Hoverboards FAQ

Q: Can hoverboards catch fire?
A: Old hoverboards were reported to cause spark, fire, and explosion. Newer UL certified hoverboards are safe to ride because they passed a series of safety testing and construction evaluation before they are released in the market.

Q: How do hoverboards self-balance?
A: Inside a hoverboard are different components that work together to maintain balance. The logic board (motherboard) receives data from all the sensors, hub motors, and gyroscope and computes tilt angle, speed, and incline in real-time.

Q: Why is my hoverboard shaking?
A: Sometimes a hoverboard shakes when it is not properly calibrated. If the rider is too light it might also cause the device to shake. Check the minimum weight requirement of your hoverboard.

Q: Are hoverboards safe for kids?
A: Most hoverboards are recommended for children aged 13 years and older, but it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Check if your hoverboard has a specific age requirement. To keep your kids safe, make sure they wear protective gear like helmet, wrist guards, and knee guards.

Q: Why does my hoverboard keep on beeping?
A: There are many reasons why a hoverboard beeps non-stop from a faulty motherboard to low batteries. A beeping device is letting you know that something is wrong. Sometimes it just needs calibration. Follow these steps to calibrate your hoverboard:

  • Power off the device
  • Adjust the foot pedals, making sure they are level with the ground
  • Press and hold the power button for a few seconds until you hear a beep
  • Flashing LED lights mean the calibration has begun
  • Power off the device
  • Press the power button to turn on and test
Our full list of Hoverboards for 2019

Sort: Editor’s Choice

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Our full list of Hoverboards for 2019

#1 SISIGAD Hoverboard

Overview

Pros

  • Unique LED and Bluetooth features
  • Equipped with a self-balancing system
  • Makes a perfect gift to your friends and loved ones

Cons

  • May have a defective changing port and may not work at all
  • May lose charge in as little as 10 minutes

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The SISIGAD Hoverboard doesn’t quite deliver on their promises but compared to every other company and their hoverboards, SISIGAD makes the least mistakes, has very few issues and can provide a safe ride on their products. Hopefully, they take on board the feedback from their customers so that they can continuously improve their products and give us more ways to have fun with our friends and family. 

 

In the end, the SISIGAD Hoverboard is truly an excellent gift for anyone (provided that it is one of their glowing units rather than some of their defective ones) and is a mile above the competition. Whether you’re a student or a professional, an amateur or a pro, SISIGAD has the best hoverboard available to the market now. So don’t miss out on your chance to get on a hoverboard without the pain, get a SISIGAD Hoverboard now! 

#2 Swagtron Swagboard Twist T881 Lithium-Free and Ul2272 Certified Hoverboard

Overview

Pros

  • Product is focused on the safety of its riders 
  • Takes riders up to 200 pounds
  • Comes with self-balancing capabilities

Cons

  • Battery life only lasts 10 minutes
  • Defective units only go in circles

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The Swagtron Swagboard Twist gives us an excellent product that not only delivers on the fun factor but also tries to address safety issues. While it may still need improvements in the latter areas, it is still one of the top hoverboards out in the market now. While it may not be at the top of the hierarchy at the moment, we feel as though they only need to improve on what they already have and make changes to their safety features to give the other brands a run for their money. 

 

In the end, the Swagtron Swagboard Twist deserves the right to stay within the top ranks of the best hoverboards of 2019, since it delivers both with speed and power as well as the fact that it's so fun to use. While it may not have the seal of approval for kids just yet, us adults are more than welcome to give it a go: take it to parks, on outings, on road trips, and pretty much anywhere we please. And for the affordable price tag that comes with it, there’s really nothing to stop us from roaming around on this stylish and robust hoverboard. 

#3 GOTRAX SRX Mini Hoverboard

Overview

Pros

  • Can support up to 132lbs  
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Comes with self-balancing capabilities

Cons

  • May stop working prematurely

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In the end, the GOTRAX SRX Mini Hoverboard can give us many checks throughout different areas when it comes to considering the best hoverboard for 2019. However, because of its lack of quality — both on the side of the product and the company itself, it isn't able to take the top spot this time. 

 

Overall, though, the GOTRAX SRX Mini Hoverboard has enough to offer for it to be considered among the top competitors, especially since it has a lot of neat features. Its powerful motor, compact design, ease of use, and impressive self-balancing mode coupled with its affordable price is more than enough for it to make an excellent gift for birthdays, Christmas, or any occasion. So if you're in the market for your child's first hoverboard, look no further than the GOTRAX SRX Mini Hoverboard.

#4 VEVELINE Hoverboard

Overview

Pros

  • LED lights are installed to keep riders safe 
  • This hoverboard meets UL2272 standards
  • Comes with self-balancing capabilities

Cons

  • May give off a smell of electrical burning 
  • May not be able to hold a charge for long

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In the end, the VEVELINE Hoverboard has some great features to offer both kids and adults alike. It's a great way to teach beginners and amateurs of any age and its excellent safety features, make it an ideal ride during night time. Despite the issues that surround it, such as the strong smell and its charging problems, the VEVELINE Hoverboard is still one of the best performing hoverboards out in the market now. 

 

Overall, it may not take the top spot, but it is still among some of the best hoverboards available now and will make a fantastic gift to anyone who enjoys a smooth ride during the day or night. With its self-balancing feature, kids will be able to learn how to use it much quicker, and that means you'll be able to ride with them too! So for a great gift this coming Christmas season, look no further than the VEVELINE Hoverboard!

#5 FLYING-ANT Hoverboard

Overview

Pros

  • Safety guarantee: meets UL2272 standards  
  • Has LED lights that make it stylish, even in the dark
  • Makes for a perfect gift in the coming Christmas season

Cons

  • Has battery issues and may run low after just 15 minutes 
  • Defective units may stop working after only 6 hours

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The FLYING-ANT Hoverboard provides users with many useful and exciting features that include its promise to safety, colorful designs, wireless capabilities, and its LED lights that make it fun to ride during the day and night! It also makes the perfect gift for kids and adults alike and is an excellent gift for any occasion, whether it's for a birthday or Christmas. 

 

Despite its shortcomings, the FLYING-ANT Hoverboard still shows enough promise and potential to make it into our list of top hoverboards for this year. Kids are sure to love its wireless Bluetooth connection so that they can listen to their favorite music without the need for headphones so that they can have twice the fun! So don't hesitate to gift this to yourself and loved ones, because you might get the best ride of your life with the FLYING-ANT Hoverboard!