Back in 2015 when the hoverboard craze was in full swing, there were a number of incidents of hoverboards catching fire causing many companies to have to issue hoverboard recalls. If you watch the video below, from December 1st 2015, there are plenty of examples of this happening.
However, a lot has changed since then. There are stricter rules and regulations that manufacturers have to abide by when designing and building hoverboards. These have not only created better quality hoverboards in general, such as the Halo Rover (use “ORDER50” for $50 off), but also safer hoverboards, such as the hoverboards we’ve recommended in our 7 Best Hoverboards for Kids list.
What to know when buying a hoverboard
The first thing we would recommend is to do your research. We have a long list of hoverboard reviews and recommendations on AltRiders that can point you in the right direction, so that’s a good place to start.
To make sure that you’re buying a safe hoverboard you have to look out for UL certification. UL stands for ‘Underwriters Laboratories’ and has been around for over a century, specifying in product safety testing. They produce among other things safety certifications specifically for hoverboards and self balancing scooters.
There are two types of UL certifications to keep an eye out for: UL2272 and UL2271. A hoverboard having one of these is good, and a hoverboard having both of these is even better.
UL2271:Standard for Batteries for Use In Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) Applications. This represents the safety standard that a hoverboard battery has to meet, this obviously ties in with the fear that a hoverboard will ‘blow up’, so if you see this certification, you won’t need to worry about that!
UL2272:Standard for Electrical Systems for Personal E-Mobility Devices. This certification is a general acknowledgement of the safety of the electrical aspect of the self balancing scooter (hoverboard) in question, including but not limited to the battery.
Almost every single hoverboard now-a-days has at least one UL certification and we recommend that you don’t buy one unless it has both the UL2271 and UL 2272 certificates to ensure maximum safety.
Keep in mind that neither of these certifications evaluates the performance or reliability of the hoverboard, only the safety of the electrical components.
Are Hoverboards Dangerous?
n this section, we’ll look at several factors that could make hoverboards dangerous or unsafe and give you advice on how best to safely work around any issues.
- Fires/Explosions – This is probably the most concerning problem for the majority of people looking to buy a hoverboard. But since 2015 the new rules, regulations and upgraded hoverboards have resulted in a huge reduction in reported fires or explosions. It’s basically a non factor now and if you follow our quick tips you should be absolutely fine.
- Falling off – Like a lot of the products we test on AltRiders, hoverboards have the risk of falling off and injuring yourself. However, hoverboards generally can only reach a maximum speed of around 10 mph, so they aren’t anywhere near as dangerous as some of the electric scooters we’ve reviewed. We would still recommend taking your time when learning and wearing safety gear, which leads us on to the next point.
- Safety Gear – Proper safety gear is a must. The vast majority of people do without safety gear when riding hoverboards but we’d recommend getting yourself at least a helmet and ideally knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. This will lower your risk of fractures, sprains and other injuries if you fall.
- Accidents – Like with any powered personal vehicle there is a risk of getting into a traffic accident or a collision with pedestrians. In December 2015, a 15 year old boy was struck and killed by a bus in London while riding a hoverboard. Please be careful riding a hoverboard in the street, on the sidewalk or near traffic.
- Weight restrictions – Strangely, hoverboards have a minimum weight limit, usually around 45 pounds. This is to ensure that sufficient pressure is applied to the boards when the user is riding them. This allows for the appropriate control to be available and general correct use. They also, obviously, have maximum weight limit (some boards can support up to 300 pounds). These limits are meant to protect the rider and scooter. We highly recommend checking our reviews or the manufacturer’s website to make sure you’re not going to applying unnecessary strain to the hoverboard.
- Don’t overcharge your hoverboard – This can be a direct cause of fire if the battery is overcharged. Not only this but it’s generally good practice not to overcharge any electrical device that has a lithium ion battery. Li-on batteries cannot absorb any overcharge so it is highly recommended to stop charging them when they are fully charged. A lot of hoverboards and other electrical devices include safety precautions built into them to stop overcharging, but it’s still a good idea to stop charging when the battery is full. It’s also worth noting that it’s recommended to use the charger that comes with the hoverboard.
- Beware of knockoffs – With the huge hype that surrounded the hoverboard in 2015 onwards, there have been many cases of people buying unsafe knockoff that have either never worked, have quickly broken, or have even caught fire or exploded. Stick to reputable websites and stores. Amazon stock one of the best range of reputable hoverboards. Below is a list of the current best sellers: