Logistically, figuring out how to buy a hoverboard isn’t exactly rocket science. By contrast, choosing the right hoverboard to suit your requirements and expectations is a slightly different matter. With literally thousands of devices to choose from and dozens of manufacturers competing for your business, it can be tricky to know where to start.
Thankfully, making sense of the various self-balancing scooter options available can be surprisingly easy. As with most things, it’s simply a case of establishing your priorities ahead of time. Choosing the right hoverboard is all about pairing your personal preferences with a quality two-wheeled scooter you can count on. Not to mention, a self-balancing scooter that represents good value for money.
How to Buy a Hoverboard: Key Considerations
It can seem as if there’s a lot to take into account when buying a two-wheel electric scooter of any kind. In reality, there are just eight key considerations to factor in. Just as long as you give careful thought to each of the following, you’re almost guaranteed to walk (or ride) away with a superior scooter at a price, you can afford:
1) Hoverboard Size
For the most part, self-balancing scooters are split into three size categories 6.5-inch, 8-inch and 10- inch. This refers to the diameter of the wheels and can have a significant impact on the riding experience. For example, smaller wheels make for smaller and lighter boards in general.
Scooters with 6.5-inch wheels tend to be the smallest and lightest available, and can also be great for performing tricks. However, boards with 8-inch and 10-inch wheels almost always perform better off-road. You could also say that while 6.5-inch hoverboards are mostly about fun and enjoyment, 10-inch boards are the better choice for use as serious transportations tools.
2) Quality and Performance of the Hoverboard
The importance of quality is relatively self-explanatory. The good news is that choosing a board of quality simply means ensuring it comes from a reputable and reliable brand you can count on. Customer reviews and recommendations should also be used to guide your decision.
In terms of performance, it’s also worth looking at how much power is delivered by the board’s dual motors. Depending on the make and model of the device, you could be looking at anything from 400W up to 900W or more. The more powerful the board, the greater it’s capacity to carry heavier riders and deal with everyday inclines.
How long does a hoverboard battery last? Again, it varies significantly from one board to the next. While some boards are capable of delivering a top range of more than 12km, others will only carry you 6km before the battery needs to be charged.
In terms of how to charge a hoverboard, it’s the same with most mainstream devices. You simply hook the board up to the mains, after which the battery will need the amount of time indicated by the manufacturer to charge. Anything from 90 minutes to 5 hours, depending on the hoverboard you buy.
4) Buy from a Reputed Place
You’ve decided on the type of board you want, but where do you buy hoverboards to ensure you get a good deal? As with most things, the best deals can almost always be found online. That said, it’s important to stick with reputable sellers you know you can trust.
Major marketplaces like Amazon are great, as the product listings also feature customer reviews. Buying online also means being able to compare deals from various sellers, to get a great deal.
5) UL Safety Certification
Under no circumstances should you buy, charge or ride a hoverboard that doesn’t have UL 2272 safety certification. This indicates that the board has been put through a series of rigorous safety tests, primarily concerning the rechargeable battery and related components.
UL 2272 safety certification guarantees that a board is safe to charge, and use is done so in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. When a board doesn’t carry UL 2272 safety certification, there’s an elevated risk of the device overheating, catching fire, or short-circuiting.
Of course, the million-dollar question is also the hardest to answer:
It’s almost impossible to single out just a single hoverboard as the best overall device for the price. At one end of the market, you have the latest Segway and Razor devices. Which, despite being quite pricey, are nonetheless technologically superior to most other boards.
At the other, you have the boards you can pick up from Target for less than $100. Value for money is determined by three things, which should be considered carefully. The extent to which your expectations are met, the overall quality of the board, and its price.
If you simply want a toy to play with, you’ll get plenty of value out of a $150 board. If planning on commuting 10 miles to work in all weather conditions, you’ll need to spend at least $300 or so.
7) Weight Limit
A board’s maximum weight capacity is about more than its ability to carry heavier riders. It also gives you an indication of the strength and quality of the chassis, along with the power and performance of the engines. Some entry-level boards (and scooters for kids) have a maximum weight capacity of around 120lbs.
There are also some high- performance boards that are capable of carrying riders up to 400lbs in weight. Power isn’t everything but nonetheless makes a big difference. Particularly with heavier riders, it’s essential to pick a board with a suitable weight limit and more than enough power under the hood.
Last but not least, hoverboard speed is technically an optional consideration, but can again make a big difference. At least, in terms of both enjoyment and how quickly you can travel from place to place. Entry-level hoverboards often have a top speed of approximately 6kmh. At the top end of the market, it isn’t unusual for a premium hoverboard to have a top speed closer to 15kmh.
For obvious reasons, hoverboards designed with kids and newcomers in mind tend to have slower top speeds. However, it’s worth noting that the actual speed of any given hoverboard will vary in accordance with multiple factors. Examples of which include the weight of the rider, the smoothness of the surface, riding on inclines/slopes, and so on.
Are Hoverboards Safe?
It’s natural to be concerned about the potential safety (or otherwise) of hoverboards. If you’ve been keeping up with things over recent years, you may have a few important questions in mind:
- Why do hoverboards explode?
- Why do hoverboards catch fire?
- Which hoverboards explode?
- Which hoverboards are safe?
Health and safety should be the number-one priority for anyone looking to pick up a hoverboard. The good news being that from a 2020 perspective, the vast majority of concerns are no longer relevant.
This is because a scooter with UL 2272 safety certification (see above) is safe to charge and to ride. UL 2272 safety certification is now considered a mandatory prerequisite for any board worth buying.
Just as long as a UL 2272 safety certified board is charged and used as recommended, it is 100% safe. Still, it’s not uncommon to come across low-grade boards from questionable manufacturers, which lack UL 2272 safety certification. Hence, it’s something that isn’t to be taken for granted.
Always prioritize health and safety, check that the board is UL 2272 certified and ask as many questions as necessary. Just as long as the board is UL certified and comes from a reputable brand, there’s nothing to worry about.