When talking about an alternative mobility device, which lies somewhere between roller skates and a bike, a self-balancing scooter undoubtedly comes to mind. Also known as a hoverboard, this personal transporter still holds a humongous craze among children and teenagers all across the globe.
Upon close observation, you may find some features of a hoverboard similar to a skateboard or a standard e-scooter. Still, the two-wheel mobility device offers a lot more that helped to build its credibility.
The self-balancing scooters being en vogue, the manufacturers of this personal mobility device has increased manifold. With a plethora of different brands of hoverboards, each claiming to be unique on its own, it is only natural for you to feel overwhelmed to choose one from the lot.
To make your work a lot less hectic than finding a needle in a haystack, we have compiled everything that you need to know before purchasing a hoverboard. This article is the ultimate hoverboard buying guide in 2020, which aims to provide you with a crystal clear idea of purchasing the best-in-class hoverboard without any confusion.
Read on to find all your hoverboard questions’ answered in a single place.
Hoverboard Buying Guide 2020
What is a Hoverboard?
Before delving right into the technicalities of this wondrous personal-transporter, aren’t you a little curious about knowing, “Who invented the hoverboard?” Well, to quench your curiosity, the answer is Shane Chen. A Chinese-American entrepreneur and inventor, Shane Chen, invented the self-balancing scooter in the year 2013 (yes, it is a recent invention).
A hoverboard is a two-wheeled personal motorized vehicle, resembling the structure of a skateboard, is mounted on 2 wheels, and runs on batteries.
Do you remember those insanely attractive, dumbbell look-alike flying boards in the 1989 movie “Back to the Future”? Well, our real-life hoverboards resemble a similar look and feel apart from having the capability of “hovering” around.
Nevertheless, today’s electric hoverboards come with sturdy tires, comfortable footboard, powerful motors, and runs on the modern self-balancing technology that ensures your safety and fun, both. The UL 2272 certified hoverboards also provide peace of mind as they have the best quality Lithium-ion batteries that work flawlessly.
How do Hoverboards Work?
Today, some of the best hoverboards are designed and manufactured with state-of-the-art self-balancing technology. These electric hoverboards have two wheels connected to its sensors individually. Let’s have a separate look at each of them to have a proper understanding of how an electric hoverboard works.
The built-in Gyroscope sensors in the self-balancing scooters send data to the logic board as soon as you place your feet on the footboard and tilt forwards or backward. This helps you move forward or backward and make turns conveniently, without falling off.
While standing straight on the board, the IR (Infrared) sensor, which is placed right underneath the foot placement, is activated and sends a signal to the logic board to stay still and not to start the motor.
An accelerometer uses variable capacitance to measure position in 3 linear dimensions. One capacitor is used for each of the 3 dimensions, where one of them is kept constant while the others are free to change its position accordingly.
The capacitors are highly sensitive to any position changes. As the distance between the plates of the capacitors change, so does the capacitance. This change further alters the voltage that you can finally monitor and use according to your convenience.
The magnetometer in a self-balancing scooter works on the principle of Hall Effect, by accurately measuring the magnetic field compared to the earth’s magnetic field.
Brushless Electric Motor
In contrast to a brushed DC motor, a brushless electric motor is used in any UL2272 certified hoverboard. The electromagnets are placed on the stator, while the rotor houses the permanent magnets. The electromagnets are then charged in the stator that facilitates a full 360-degrees rotation of the rotor to give the maximum power to the electric hoverboard.
The logic board in a hoverboard is similar to the CPU of a computer. The microprocessor is the most crucial component of any logic board, which helps to receive data from the various sensors and sends processed data to the respective parts for proper functioning. The logic board also prevents the battery from burning out by managing the power efficiently.
Tilt and Speed Sensors
The speed of your hoverboard is controlled with the tilt and speed sensors, which sends the data to logic board and gyroscope by measuring the wheels’ velocity in motion in revolution per minute (RPM).
Are Hoverboards Still Popular in 2020?
If you are planning to purchase an en vogue hoverboard in 2020, then being a little skeptical at first is only apparent. The humongous popularity that some of the best-in-class self-balancing scooters have gained in a short time has happened for a couple of good reasons.
Are you still wondering about, “why to get a hoverboard” or “is it worth buying a hoverboard?” If so, then the following 3 reasons will wipe away your doubts forever:
Eco-friendly transportation: If you are a nature-loving person, then the fact that the hoverboards are absolutely environmentally-friendly, should be your biggest reason to get one today! The electric hoverboards are powered by strong Lithium-ion UL2272 certified batteries, making the two-wheeled hands-free scooters eco-friendly.
Save your fuel money: Instead of driving your car or motorbike across the few blocks in the neighborhood, you can now ride a hoverboard instead. The self-balancing scooters run on batteries, and hence, riding them would save a lot of fuel money. Simply invest one-time on a good electric hoverboard and save hundreds of bucks of fuel money every month!
Burns calories: Riding a hoverboard has been known to burn calories, provided you have the correct posture, and are consistent. If you ride a hoverboard for half an hour daily, you can burn up to 300 calories per ride. The self-balancing scooters have made losing fat a lot easier and fun!
Are Hoverboards Safe?
If a list of the trendiest personal riders is made, then the hoverboards are sure to come in the top three. While some consider hoverboards to be still dangerous, there are plenty more reasons for state hoverboards to be a safe ride, provided you rode it the proper way.
For a kid who is 10 years old, the safest hoverboards would be the ones that have a maximum speed range between 5 mph to 7 mph. You should not consider buying a new self-balancing scooter in 2020 that has a higher speed limit of 13 mph or 15 mph for any 10 years old.
You must make sure that the footboard of the hoverboard that you are purchasing for your kid is non-slippery. The right footboard of any hoverboard will provide a good grip and traction that enhances the rider’s safety.
The other factor that the safest hoverboards boast is an excellent tire grip. Providing a good grip and tread is crucial for safely maneuvering with your hoverboard, either on-road or off-road. Also, the new models in 2020 are all UL 2272 certified hoverboards that are meticulously checked and certified by the commission before they hit the market.
Keep an eye on the factors mentioned here, and you are good to go.
How to Buy the Right Hoverboard?
With the market being flooded with a plethora of hoverboards, it gets overwhelming at times to choose the one that would be perfectly suitable for you.
We are unique in terms of our needs and demands, and not even the coolest hoverboards in the world come with a whole package. Therefore, it is imperative for you to analyze your requirements before purchasing one.
On the other hand, the good news is that in terms of safety, you no longer need to worry about thinking, “How to know which hoverboard to buy?” This has been made possible after the Consumer Product Safety Company started monitoring and providing UL certification only to those self-balancing scooters that are safe and secure.
In order to purchase a top-rated hoverboard, you need to consider the following factors:
Know your Rider
Whether you are purchasing a hoverboard for the first time or want to upgrade to a newer model, the two most imperative factors for you to determine are the rider’s age and weight. If you want a hoverboard for your child, then it is recommended that you look for kids’ hoverboards with a safe maximum speed limit of 5 to 7 mph.
On the other hand, if you are willing to get a self-balancing scooter for yourself, then go for the boards the adult hoverboards. Some of the fastest hoverboards for adults offer excellent traction while reaching a whooping speed of around 15 mph. The adult hoverboards also provide more significant weight distribution and can seamlessly carry up to 180 lbs to 200 lbs.
It would be best if you avoid the cheapest hoverboards in the market. Not only are they made from inferior materials, but they also do not have UL certification, which is mandatory for your safety. Remember, you would trade money for your safety while choosing a cheap hoverboard.
It would be of interest to note that there are a couple of well-renowned brands that manufacture off-road electric hoverboards. If you like to ride your board on rough terrain, opting for an all-terrain self-balancing scooter would be ideal.
These off-road hoverboards come equipped with premium quality tires that provide an excellent grip irrespective of the terrain you ride on. Therefore, if you are an off-road rider, you won’t have a problem riding your board on dirt, soil, or gravel.
Safety Concerns UL 2272 Certification
As a self-balancing scooter rider, hoverboard safety concerns are a mandate, and this has been taking into account seriously by all those brands that manufacture UL certified hoverboard. A hoverboard being UL 2272 certified means that UL (Underwriter Laboratories) has meticulously tested it and has testified it to meet all the UL 2272 standards requirements.
The chances are that you have heard various hoverboards catching fire, which has instilled a fear in you from riding the “pleasure board.” If you keep the following 2 things in mind before purchasing one, you won’t have to worry about your safety:
- Check whether the hoverboard is UL 2272 certified. Having this certification ensures that the self-balancing scooter has met all the safety standards and has also achieved appreciable safety ratings during its testing.
- Stay away from cheap hoverboards because they house the cheapest batteries in the market in their devices. You must inquire about the battery quality and certification before purchasing any hoverboard.
- If you have been wondering, “Why do hoverboards explode?” then the answer lies in its defectively built batteries. Some companies install shoddy batteries in their devices to cut down the cost of the self-balancing scooters, which do not even pass the standard safety tests. Those battery cells are poorly wrapped in thin plastic and hence run the risk of exploding from minor punctures or sparks.
Wheel Size Matters
The hoverboard wheel size makes a massive difference in regards to whether you can ride your board indoors or outdoors. While comparing the features of a hoverboard, the general specifications remain the same, but the size of their wheels makes a big difference.
There are a couple of different sizes of wheels available in the market for the hoverboards, and the 2 most popular ones are the 10-inch and 6.5-inch wheels. Let’s have a look at how they are different.
A 10-inch hoverboard is specifically designed to roll seamlessly on off-road terrains. Whether you need to go on a short tour around the block or go on a long off-road ride, the bigger tires of a 10-inch hoverboard vastly impact your ride’s quality.
From cement pavements to steep hills, the big inflatable tires on these self-balancing scooters give you a smooth and bump-free ride on all terrains.
Since the inception of hoverboards in 2013, the classic style has always been a 6.5” hoverboard. The 6.5-inch can be called a one-size-fits-all as far as hoverboards are concerned. These wheels have puncture-proof tires that are built from pure rubber and do not have a tube.
The 6.5” hoverboards having a smaller surface area are specifically built to maneuver indoors on smooth and flat surfaces. These hoverboards have a low ground clearance, which makes them not suitable for off-road rides.
If you are wondering about “What is the weight limit for a hoverboard?” then you might get a little disappointed to know that there is no one right answer. The weight capacities in hoverboards differ, both inter-brands as well as intra-brand models.
While purchasing a hoverboard for your kid, the self-balancing scooter should be capable of carrying a weight of around 130 lbs. This is for the smaller 4.5” and 6.5” hoverboards.
On the other hand, if you want to ride an adult hoverboard, then it is recommended to opt for an 8” or 10” hoverboard that supports a weight limit of up to 265 lbs. Not only do these bigger hoverboards have the maximum weight limit, but they are also well-built to run on any terrain seamlessly.
You should keep in mind that whether you need to purchase a hoverboard for your kid or yourself, always select one that corresponds to the rider’s weight. It would be best for you to purchase a hoverboard with an extra weight limit has compared to the rider’s weight for a safe and comfortable ride.
Before purchasing any self-balancing scooter, it is imperative for you to check the material from which the hoverboard is made. All the best brands of hoverboard offers a premium build quality for their customers, which is why they are tagged at a higher price point.
The best-in-class electric hoverboards’ chassis are generally built from superior-grade plastic that screams premium from every angle. The footboards have rubber padding with texture to provide better grip and tread.
The best brands of hoverboards also lay emphasis on manufacturing premium-grade, solid rubber wheels that provide greater traction while riding the board on any terrain.
Speed and Range
It is needless to say how cool it looks to dash down the lane on your hoverboard, but then you should also pay heed to your safety. Some of the brands the manufactures fast hoverboards offer a high speed limit of around 15 mph.
On the other hand, the kids’ hoverboards are specifically designed to have a lower speed limit of around 3 mph to 4 mph. The max speed in these hoverboards is intentionally kept low to ensure the safety of the children.
While riding a hoverboard for the first time, it is recommended that you use the default training mode as you work up from a slow to high speed. As you get comfortable riding the board after days of practice, you can gear up the hoverboard speed to a whopping 15 mph!
As far as the range of a fast hoverboard is concerned, there is a myriad of factors that need to be considered, making it difficult to measure. Depending on the weight of the rider, terrain, incline, and the speed, some of the fastest hoverboards offer up to a 20-mile range.
Although all state-of-the-art hoverboards boast of comparatively longer battery life, you can expect to get about an hour of juice from any mid-range hoverboard as well. One hour of battery life is decent enough to give you an uninterrupted performance whether you cruise through the park or take your hoverboard on a joyride around your neighborhood.
Every UL certified hoverboard battery is tested meticulously to ensure the Lithium-ion battery’s safety and efficiency. All the renowned brands of hoverboards install only those batteries that are UL certified, along with bundling fast hoverboard chargers with the board, which significantly reduces the charging time.
A word of caution: You must also be aware of the fact that continuous stops and starts might shorten the life of your hoverboard’s battery.
Hoverboards are portable personal vehicles that weigh somewhere between 20 to 30 pounds. Some of the manufacturers provide a portable hoverboard carrying bag that snuggly fits the self-balancing scooter, with enough space to add some small accessories.
Carrying your hoverboard around for brief periods doesn’t seem much of a task, but it might feel like a burden for a longer distance. You also need to carry the charger with your portable hoverboard if you plan to take to use it outdoors and run it for a longer period of time.
The price factor of any product has a humongous take on whether you finally purchase it or not. Keeping all the other factors on one side of the scale and just the price on the other side, it has often been found that the pricing factor outweighs the rest.
When it comes to purchasing a hoverboard, the pricing should not be your only criteria. Here, the rider’s safety is the biggest concern, and therefore, saving some money by buying a cheap hoverboard can cost you a lot more afterward.
In other words, while deciding to purchase a self-balancing scooter, your decision should have more weightage on the safety and features of the board, rather than only the price.
The hoverboard prices range from as low as $200 to as high as $1,000. However, it is not always necessary to buy the most expensive hoverboard in the market, as there are quite a few affordable hoverboards in the market that offer a premium user experience.
Apart from the general significant features of a hoverboard, there are a few more features that add flair to this personal transporter’s popularity. Hoverboards are not merely a board put on two wheels, but a lot more.
From being Bluetooth enabled to showcasing attractive hoverboard LED lights, these world-class self-balancing scooters have a lot more to offer. Let’s have a glance at the most alluring features that have made this vehicle a sensation among the youth.
Hoverboard with Speakers
Previously hoverboards with Bluetooth and LED lights only used to be an envious feature of the most expensive hoverboards. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, such things have changed.
Today, almost every good quality hoverboard boasts a Bluetooth speaker, which seamlessly connects to your smartphone and plays your favorite songs on the go.
Hoverboard with LED lights
You might get every hoverboard flashing LED lights today, but the functionality of these lights is not merely to increase the attractiveness of this vehicle (which sadly some of the cheap hoverboard manufacturers do).
The LED lights are strategically placed on the sides (both front and rear) of the hoverboard, which acts as the head and tail lights of a vehicle. These lights are especially useful when you ride your hoverboard in the dark as they not only act as differently-colored indicator lights but also help to illuminate the road in front of you.
How to Ride a Hoverboard?
Over the years, hoverboards have become a “thing” of the era. Thanks to the futuristic look and feel that this personal transporter provides, a hoverboard is also one of the most lovable Christmas gifts all around the world.
Nowadays, teenagers have started to ride the hoverboards as a fashion statement without proper knowledge of how to ride them. On the downside of looking fresh and trendy, you must have enough practice to ride a self-balancing scooter before taking it out in the streets. There are a couple of things to keep in mind while riding a hoverboard safely.
Hoverboard Safety Tips
Irrespective of how dorky it might seem at first to wear a helmet while riding a hoverboard, it is of utmost importance that you wear proper safety gear. Whether you are a beginner or an expert in riding hoverboards, wearing safety gear is mandated to ensure your safety and security.
A good quality safety gear for riding a hoverboard comprises a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, wrist pads, and a tailbone protector. Having protective equipment in place reduces the risk of getting hurt, especially if you’re riding it for the first time and gives you peace of mind.
Getting on the Hoverboard
If you are beginner, who is keen to learn to ride a hoverboard like a pro, then it is imperative for you to follow these instructions step by step to ensure you master the art without falling:
- Begin by placing the hoverboard on a plain surface in a position where you face it directly
- Switch on the hoverboard
- Put your dominant foot forward and place it on the board first
- Then with your other foot, slowly step onto the board
- Keep an erect posture while you are on the board and standstill
Riding the Hoverboard
Once you have mastered the art of balancing yourself by standing still on the hoverboard, it is time for you to learn how to ride this futuristic vehicle like a pro. Remember – Do not hurry while you are starting out. Simply follow the step by step procedures mentioned here:
- Moving forward and backward: Lean and move your ankles slightly towards the direction you wish to ride the hoverboard. Lean forward or backward gently with your ankles by keeping your waist straight all the time.
- Turning right: To turn right, you need to push your left toes forward in order to shift your body weight in the opposite direction to which you want to go. Keep the right foot horizontal.
- Turning left: To turn left, follow the same procedure as while turning right, but this time with your right toes. Keep your left foot horizontal.
- Spinning a circle: To spin right, push your right ankle down along with your left toes. To spin left, push down your left ankle along with your right toes.
How Hard is it to Ride a Hoverboard?
Riding a hoverboard isn’t difficult, but the experience does vary from person to person. Mastering the art of balancing yourself, along with taking desirable turns, does demand a little practice, but it is nothing that anyone cannot do.
Kids and teenagers learn to ride the board comparatively faster than grown-up adults because of their body flexibility. If you can dedicate 15 minutes to practicing to ride the hoverboard daily, then it won’t take you long to ride the board like a pro safely.
Listing the Top 5 Hoverboards
With a plethora of diverse models, SwagTron is one such brand that has been among the top 3 right since its inception. The SwagTron T1, being a premium model, boasts of being a safe and durable hoverboard with a UL 2272 certification.
Known among the leaders of the hoverboard industry, Tomoloo is a brand that manufactures high-quality minimalistic hoverboards that scream premium from every angle. The Tomoloo V1 is one of those few boards in the market that runs on-road and off-road with equal efficiency.
The Rover X hoverboard from Halo is an all-terrain vehicle that is manufactured with the best-in-class material. From the big all-terrain tires to the stylish wings made of high-density aluminum, Rover X is both the beauty and the beast!
The ever-increasing popularity of hoverboards right since its inception made Razor expand its territory from making regular scooters to manufacturing electric self-balancing scooters. The Razor Hovertrax has proved to be an excellent companion for long commutes because it offers the latest features and ultimate rider comfort.
Compared to the other kings of the hoverboard industry, GoTrax is a novice, but the features and quality have earned a place among the top 5 hoverboards.
Available in a wide spectrum of colors, GoTrax Hoverfly ECO is the perfect choice for any teenager. Its super-fast charging time and the right balance between max speed and max range are the main USPs of this hoverboard.
Congratulations! You have made it till the end!
This article had the sole purpose of providing a one-stop comprehensive hoverboard buying guide in 2020. By now, you must have understood the various technicalities, features, as well as learn how to ride a hoverboard safely.
In a nutshell, if you keep in mind the age and weight of the rider along with the UL 2272 certification before purchasing a hoverboard, then you will never run the risk of buying a defective product. Always remember that the requirements and features of a self-balancing scooter vary from person to person. Hence, proper understanding is crucial.
So, wear your safety gear, switch on your hoverboard, and ride through your neighborhood like a pro.