If you are looking to purchase a hoverboard for yourself, your kids, or a friend but you aren’t sure where to start, we want to help. If you are reading this, then we assume you have already googled hoverboard and some less favorable links have come up like “hoverboard wipeouts” and “hoverboard explosion.” So, let’s address that now. Hoverboards are not inherently dangerous, stuff can go wrong with any toy or mode of transportation resulting in weird accidents or injury. Luckily, since the first hoverboard came out in late 2014, they have become more reliable, safe, and efficient. You won’t really have to worry about any freak accidents but stumbles and falls still occur so ride carefully and at your own risk.
We mentioned briefly before that there were cases of early Chinese road hover boards spontaneously combusting, but those days are over. Nowadays if you’re equipped with the proper safety gear, then riding your hoverboard is about as safe as skateboarding or learning how to ride a bike. As for external safety equipment we will discuss that more later, because for now we will discuss the safety features hoverboards have built into them. Since there are no brand-name hoverboards many varieties have been issued a UL safety rating. The UL 2272 safety standard evaluates electrical and fire-safety based on a series of tests, but it is important to remember that this doesn’t cover rider safety, performance, or reliability.
To benefit the safety of the rider some hoverboards include a learning mode that may restrict or control speed allowing you to better focus on balancing. Other boards feature easy-stop technology for when the battery gets drained, rather than stopping abruptly some will roll to a stop to avoid flinging the rider off. Every hoverboard will have cautions on the package or board itself recommending supervision, helmets, or other padding. Remember that learning how to use a hoverboard or balancing scooters will come with time and practice so it is important to be careful and realistic, you will probably have at least a few stumbles.
Every hoverboard is different and so is every manufacturers definition of waterproof. Water-resistant is not waterproof, water resistant can withstand a specified amount of water without breaking. Waterproof can often be submerged and currently there aren’t any hoverboards that are truly waterproof, so keep that board away from the pool, bathtub, or any other standing water. Most hoverboards will say what amount of water they can withstand so ensure that you are reading carefully especially if you intend to use the hoverboard for transportation instead of just play. Most of the time a hoverboard that gets wet will stop working without creating a potential hazard, but it is still important to look for safety certifications to avoid any accidents. IP ratings are given to most products that can be advertised as water resistant but ensure that you know what each rating means. Light rain, mist, and sprays should be okay but don’t go cruising through deep puddles.
If you are riding the hoverboard for transportation purposes, you need to read about where the manufacturer says you can take it. Larger wheels typically mean your board will still be maneuverable on uneven surfaces, grass patches, or sand. The length of your board will affect it maneuverability, so you must select a shorter boarding if you’re on sidewalks with sharp turns and corners. These factors will be less important if your hoverboard is just for play not transport but you must keep in mind what the board is made of. Typically, frames will be plastic or metal but either way you’ll want to make sure its durable enough to withstand the scrapes and scratches it may sustain while the rider is learning.
Hoverboards are electric, hands-free, self-balancing scooters that people stand on and ride. It’s like a mini-segway without a handle. It’s the first toy we’ve ever seen in modern-day life that most resembles Marty McFly’s skateboard from “Back to the Future” or something we would have watched on the “Jetsons” and dreamed about owning someday.
While the name hoverboard gives the perception of flying, riders stand on a board with two wheels, balance on them, and shift their weight slightly to move forward, reverse, or spin around in circles. The speed of a hoverboard ranges depending upon the brand. Most move at speeds from 6 mph to 15 mph.
Hoverboards come in a variety of prices ranging from one hundred dollars to about eight hundred dollars. When purchasing a hoverboard, it is important to remember that you’ll probably be buying additional accessories with your purchase as well so save room in your budget. Make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality for a low price or else your board may not last as long it should. In no way are we saying you should go buy the most expensive board on the list but make sure you decide what you want your board to have since additional features will typically drive the cost.
There isn’t much variation when it comes to what a hoverboard can be equipped with, however, some will have extra lights or music capabilities that can give you a better overall experience but be warned, these boards can occasionally cut corners elsewhere. On some hoverboards you can control and modify the lights with your phone to improve the overall aesthetics. Fully loaded hoverboards can have built-in USB speakers that will play music as you ride. All these added features will drive costs so make sure you decide what is important to you before making a purchase based on bells and whistles.
Hoverboards can attain a wide range of speeds that is affected by their motor, weight, and what other modes or features it has. Every hoverboard has a different top speed since each motor is a little different. When you are learning, you will want to avoid running the board at top speeds because taking a spill at 2 miles per hour hurts a lot less than falling at 8 miles per hour. Learning how to control the speed while balancing is a challenge for some individuals which is why certain boards include a learning mode that will handle the speed for you. Overall if you’re purchasing a hoverboard to get somewhere, you may prefer higher speeds than someone who is purchasing it as a gift for their child.
How much the hoverboard weighs will greatly impact the way you use it. If you live on the third-floor apartment, you may not want to lug your 36-pound hoverboard downstairs every day to ride it to class. Boards that are too light and petite may feel less stable to the rider or could compromise the hoverboard’s maneuverability. The weight of the board isn’t the only thing you need to consider, but rider weight is very important to who can use the board. Many boards have a weight limit, so it is important to get one that will hold enough weight to function properly no matter who the rider is on it. Exceeding the weight limit can damage the boards frame, function, and could greatly decrease its lifespan.
They Are Expensive
Depending upon the features of the board and the brand, the prices of hoverboards can vary. You can buy Hoverboards ranging from $400 to $1000. They are not inexpensive and quite an investment.
It is important to ignore those great deals from overseas, knock-off models. These are the brands being investigated for faulty parts.
Most List the Recommended Ages at 13+
Most hoverboards are not recommended for use for children under the age of 13. However, there are many parents who have not followed this warning. Kids are young and spontaneous; their judgment and decision-making skills aren’t fully developed. Do not trust them to be in control of a board that can drive at a speed of up to 15 mph.
Your Child Could Get Seriously Injured
There are already serious reports of hoverboard injuries that include falls, fractures, brain injuries, and broken bones from riders not only falling off their hoverboard because they were not wearing protective helmets or pads. In warm weather climates, there may be an urge to hop on without shoes, or while wearing flip-flops.
If you decide that you will allow a hoverboard in your home, or that your child is capable of using one, protective gear and good, supportive shoes must be a requirement at all times.
They Are Best on Smooth Flat Surfaces
Hoverboards don’t have air-filled tires like bicycles. Just like traditional scooters aren’t safe to jump curbs or transverse uneven ground, neither are hoverboards. They are best used on smooth flat surfaces.
Some cities have exposed roots on the sidewalks, cobblestone areas and steep hills so look at your neighborhood. Think about the area you live in and where your child or even teenager may want to ride, it’s possible they just aren’t a great match.
How Do They Work?
There are four main components that allow a hoverboard to function:
- A gyroscope
- A battery
- A motor
The gyroscope helps maintain balance by adjusting the hoverboard’s tilt. The motor aids in balance, as well, by providing power to the wheels, allowing the board to propel forward or backward.
Microprocessors are in charge of regulating the power output to the wheels, and the battery stores the electrical power necessary to make the scooter do its thing.
All these elements work together to let the user balance on the hoverboard while it moves. To change direction, riders simply adjust their feet. Placing the weight forward causes the electric scooter to drive forward while placing the weight in the heels will cause it to reverse.
Turning is accomplished by pressing the weight on one foot forward and the other backward.
Do you prefer a slow, leisurely pace or are you a wannabe speedster?
Speeds vary depending on the model, but some scooters can reach up to 7 or 8 miles per hour. That might sound slow compared to a motorized vehicle, but it won’t feel so sluggish when you’re actually riding it.
Reviews indicate the best hoverboards are in the six to eight-mile-per-hour range. This is also the best type for anyone under 18.
Before buying, consider who it’s for and the speeds it can handle. While it might be funny to watch your friend run into a tree-like George of the Jungle, we want to avoid injuries.
How far do you want to go? Consider if you’ll be using the hoverboard for commutes or fun. This can be vital in determining which hoverboard is right for you.
Many hoverboards can reach 3 to 7 miles on a full charge, but always check this important feature to ensure the gadget will take you from A to B without delay.
Rider’s Height and Weight
In addition to the hoverboard’s features, the rider’s bulk must also be considered. Those who weigh more, are broader, or are taller may find certain models work better than others. Additionally, weight impacts the longevity of the battery and range.
If you plan to lug your hoverboard around, you might want to consider weight as a purchasing factor. Many boards can weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.
There is a security feature we’ll discuss shortly, but chances are you won’t want to leave that fashionable mode of transportation just sitting outside.
Are Hoverboards Easy to Ride?
You’ve had your eye on a shiny new hoverboard, either for yourself or a loved one. But you’re a little skeptical because it’s a new experience for you. You’ve never ridden one before. Are hoverboards easy to ride?
Fortunately, learning to ride a hoverboard is just like learning to ride a bicycle. If you were challenged or nervous at how you would handle your bicycle the first time, learning to ride a hoverboard might evoke similar feelings. The most important steps in riding a hoverboard are the first and last steps you take to get on and off it.
Getting On. Getting Off.
To get on the hoverboard, step on the board using your dominant foot. If you are left-handed, use your left foot and vice versa. Then, put your non-dominant foot on the board. You are now on the hoverboard. Pretty easy, right?
When you are on the hoverboard, make sure that both your feet are laid flat on the hoverboard footpads to give you maximum control over the hoverboard. Having good non-slip footpads is crucial to give riders the grip required for maximum maneuverability.
Make sure that your feet are at least level with your shoulders and as close as possible to the wheel. This position balances your center of gravity better, giving you greater stability.
When standing on the hoverboard, remember to relax. Doing so will allow you to sway your body back and forth on the hoverboard with ease. If you find that you simply don’t trust your balance yet, try holding onto a table or wall while getting on your hoverboard. This will help boost your confidence in your balance.
Remember when you used training wheels on your bicycle as a kid to practice your balance? Here, you are using the same technique. Once you are comfortable standing on the hoverboard, it’s time to start your hovering!
When it’s time to step off, make sure the hoverboard has completely stopped. Step back with your dominant foot, then quickly step off with the other foot.
Baby, Make Your Move
Moving your hoverboard back and forth is as easy as getting on it. A hoverboard moves through what’s called dynamic equilibrium, which is generated by the shifting of your body weight. An internal gyroscope with acceleration sensors moves the board based on your center of gravity.
To move forward, just lean forward slightly. The hoverboard will start moving in the direction you are leaning. To go backward, do the same but in opposite direction.
Though hoverboards are easy to ride, don’t be tempted to move fast. At least when you first start. You can lose your balance if you move too fast. Start by riding the hoverboard slowly; you will master it in no time.
It’s Your Turn
It is normal that after every uphill, there is always a downhill. With regenerative braking, the battery’s life can be extended when going downhill Turning your hoverboard is also easy. But different hoverboards use different methods. The first and the most commonly used technique is by twisting your body in the direction you want your hoverboard to go.
The other way is to swing one of your feet forward so the hoverboard rotates. However, you will rotate opposite to which foot you swung. For example, in order to go right, you have to pivot your left foot forward. We would recommend you use the first technique as it’s straightforward and easier to master.
hoverboards use a lean-to-move method, so turning is even easier. Want to turn left? Then lean slightly to the left and slightly shift your weight off the right pedal. Need to go right? Lean slightly to the right and slightly shift your weight off the right pedal. It’s that simple.
Always check the user manual for your hoverboard for the proper way to turn before you start riding.
Take it Slow
While hoverboards are easy to ride, some are easier to control than others. One major factor that determines the difficulty of riding a hoverboard is its speed. Slower hoverboards are easier to ride and control. As the speed increases, the difficulty increases.
That said, the basic riding principles remain the same, whether it is a standard hoverboard, off-road hoverboard, or a professional sport hoverboard
Turn on the Lights
When you’re having fun, you can lose track of time. Sometimes the sun will start to go down in the middle of your riding adventure. When that happens, you’ll want a hoverboard with LED lights.
Automatic headlights use ambient lighting sensors to automatically turn on the headlight in low-light situations. Notification lights give you information vital info such as the battery levels, so you’re never caught off-guard.
More importantly, get a hoverboard with integrated movement indicators, or turn signals. This will let passers-by know when you’re on the move, braking or turning.