The demand for the segway, also commonly referred to as a hoverboard has spiked in recent times. This has lead to many folks, who were still on the fence, starting to contemplate on getting a segway or hoverboard this time around. The popularity of the hoverboard has caused it to remain in the news for all sorts of reasons. And thanks to many independent manufacturers popping up with their own take on the gizmo, we also get the option to choose between various shapes and sizes.
Hoverboards also come with various features that make them unique and vary from brand to brand. This can get one confused in deciding which shape, size, or hoverboard brand to go for. Keeping that in mind, here’s some important information that you should know before getting a hoverboard.
So, fans of Back to the Future, pay attention.
But first, what is a hoverboard really?
Hoverboards — What’s in a Name
So, why are they even called ‘hoverboards’?
Well, there’s a short answer and a long answer to that question. The answer to why the hoverboards we have in reality are called hoverboards when they don’t actually hover is simply because, if you really think about it, misnomers aren’t all that uncommon.
In fact, you can find quite a few where ever you’re standing right now. Like fireflies?? Why are fireflies called flies? When they’re basically beetles is beyond me. Maybe, the name ‘fire-beetles isn’t as cool.
And what about the ‘driveway’ where we park. Unlike a ‘parkway’ where we drive. So, the short answer is, ‘hoverboard’ sounds cooler.
The hoverboard goes by many names, including, “balance boards”, “glide boards”, “personal mobility devices”, and the more popular, “self-balancing electric scooter.” Another reason that’s given for how the name hoverboard got stuck to the gizmo can be blamed on smart marketing.
The company responsible for manufacturing the first self-balancing scooter rolled their new, never-seen-before product around the same time the movie that made the hoverboard famous, ‘Back to the Future’ was celebrating its 28th anniversary.
So, there you have it, the mystery behind the misnomer has been solved. To avoid confusion, let’s just call it the self-balancing electric scooters from now on.
How the Hoverboard Works?
A Hoverboard has two gyroscopes which are connected to separate motors for each of the wheels. This allows the Hoverboard to balance and move in the direction which the person riding the hoverboard wants to go. The hoverboard or self-balancing electric scooter is split down the middle and is connected by an axle. This is to make the left when turn out of sync with the right wheel. This makes it possible for the rider of the self-balancing electric scooter to spin around.
The Hoverboard got off to a rocky start with some units catching fire spontaneously. But, the good news is the kinks of the self-balancing electric scooter were soon fixed by the manufacturers.
Apart from that, new safety standards were adopted and strictly enforced so there are no more safety concerns surrounding the self-balancing scooter. This is one of the reasons why you can see kids and young people doing extreme hoverboard tricks.
But, it’s always best to practice caution when riding the self-balancing electric scooter. Users should always wear a helmet, along with knee and elbow pads. This is to keep them safe and make sure they do not get injured when riding their scooter.
Buying a Hoverboard..?. Read This
It’s no secret that the Hoverboard has taken the world by storm, and can now be seen almost everywhere. Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing the Hoverboard.
Go with a Reputed Company
The sudden swell in popularity of the Hoverboard has led to many manufacturers jumping on board the hoverboard bandwagon. They’ve come up with their own versions of the self-balancing electric scooter in different shapes and sizes.
With a huge variety to choose from, finding the right Hoverboard for you can get confusing. To stay safe, those who are looking to purchase a Hoverboard for the first time should always try to go with a reputed company. A reputable brand is a company that’s been in the game for a while and has been designing Hoverboard that actually work.
Making a purchase from a reputed company also means that you will have a peace of mind knowing that you’re getting a product that will work well, will be durable, and will have a decent lifespan. Unlike the Hoverboards of other fly-by-night companies that claim to manufacture hoverboards. These will only increase your chances of getting disappointed with what you receive in the mail.
Importance of UL 2272 Certification in Hoverboard
If you’re planning on getting yourself a self-balancing scooter, then you’ll definitely have certain safety concerns based on what you may have heard about previous hoverboards. In fact, the reasons behind countries adopting the new safety standards for hoverboards is the malfunctions that were documented on first-generation hoverboards. This makes the UL 2272 certification all the more useful, and critical to the purchase of your Hoverboard.
A Hoverboard that has the UL 2272 certification basically means that you have purchased a product that isn’t going to go up in smoke. While there are a few self-balancing electric scooter products that are considered to be quality, but still haven’t made the cut to get their UL 2272 certification. There are dozens of other brands who claim to be selling premium quality self-balancing electric scooters, but in reality, do not have a UL 2272 certification. This is proof of them not having a safe product.
Furthermore, all hoverboard manufacturers from 2015 onward are now required to get their products certified and get a UL 2272 certification. So any self-balancing electric scooter which does not have a UL 2272 certification is probably not worth the risk of investing in. As a rule of thumb, those who are looking forward to getting themselves a self-balancing electric scooter should never go for a brand that has not have a UL 2272 certification.
To ensure user safety, the US Govt. Customer Products Safety Commission or CPSC mandates that no self-balancing electric scooter that hasn’t been UL 2272 certified can be sold or marketed within the US.
Consider the Person’s Age
If you are buying the Hoverboard for someone else then it will be a good idea to consider their age. Especially if you are buying a Hoverboard for small children. It is important to point out that some hoverboard models have the capability to hit speeds of 10 to 15 mph, which is quite fast.
Needless to say, moving at such speed also easily increases the chances of accidents. This is truer for small kids who may have a hard time controlling the hoverboard at such speeds.
Most manufacturers of Hoverboard recommend that you get the product for kids who are older than 12 years and above. Another important aspect to factor when purchasing a self-balancing electric scooter for children is their weight.
Most Hoverboard are going to have a specific weight limit, since weight has an impact on the speed and the range of the hoverboard. Not to mention, weight also hinders the ability to maneuver while on a hoverboard.
Range and Speed of the Self-Balancing Electric Scooter
To ensure the safety of the riders of a Hoverboard, there are many manufacturers who now design hoverboards that are able to operate at lowered speeds of around 2 to 10 mph.
This range is considered to be easily manageable for small kids who are under the age of 12. That said, you will have to teach your child how to regulate the speed and how to maneuver the hoverboard at different speeds while they ride. In some hoverboards, the rider can reach speeds of up to 12 mph. They may not like this much, but this is the average sprinting speed of a human being. So, it’s pretty fast when you think about it.
While deciding on the speed limit of the Hoverboard you want to purchase for someone can be tricky, the easy way to get around it is by going with the hoverboard that has the lowest speed limit if you are purchasing it for a kid that’s 12 years and younger. As far as purchasing a self-balancing electric scooter for an adult, go with a hoverboard that reaches between speeds of 10 to 15 mph on flat surfaces. Such a board should be easy to balance and maneuver.
No matter what you’re purchasing, the cost is always going to be one of the main deciding factors when purchasing anything. This is especially the case when buying a Hoverboard. When purchasing a hoverboard, it is best to always go for better quality over the price tag.
This means choosing a Hoverboard that has a sturdy frame, strong tires and has a decent battery life, along with a manufacturer’s warranty. Keeping that in mind, the quality of a hoverboard usually corresponds with the fancier price tag, as in, hoverboards that are strong and sturdy normally are more expensive as compared to those that aren’t. That said, it is possible for you to find a Hoverboard that’s well built, and is the owner of a decent battery life and price tag to go.
Normally, those who want to purchase a Hoverboard but have a shoe-string budget can go with a $200 to $550 model. so that they are able to enjoy owning their very own hoverboard without having to break the bank. For those lucky few, who have been blessed with deep pockets (or daddy’s credit card), the choices are going to be endless.
A quick visit to the typical mall will introduce you to many fancy hoverboards of all shapes and sizes with even fancier price tags. Self-balancing scooters that are on the expensive side can range anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the brand.
Wheel Size of the Hoverboard
One factor that often gets neglected by those who are looking to purchase a Hoverboard is something as simple as the size of the hoverboard’s wheel. Considering the size of the wheel is important since it will have a direct influence on your maneuverability, along with the size and weight of the user of course.
Once scoping for a Hoverboard you will notice that most generic hoverboards have wheels that are relatively small as compared to products from big name brands. The wheel span on normal hoverboards range between 6.5 to 7 inches in size. One of the reasons for the smaller wheel size is because it makes the hoverboard more efficient and easier to maneuver. This is debatable, especially for larger hoverboards that have not problems with efficiency and maneuverability, regardless of their bulkier size.
It is important to note that the hoverboards that feature smaller wheels are mostly used on flat surfaces such as offices, or indoors.
It is also important to note that a Hoverboard that has small wheels will be harder to maneuver around corners, and will not be able to make sharp turns when required. Apart from that, a Hoverboard that has small wheels will also find it difficult to manage any kind of ups or downs.
On the other side of the size spectrum is the larger, bulkier hoverboards that have wheels according to their size. The larger and heavier hoverboards usually have larger wheels that are between 8 to 10 inches in diameter to support the bulkiness of the hoverboard.
Contrary to popular belief, the large hoverboards that have larger bulky wheels do not necessarily mean that they are going to have low battery life. Since the companies that manufacturer larger hoverboards, usually fit their products with batteries that have a sufficient lifespan. And can operate for a decent amount of time after every charge.
Furthermore, hoverboard manufacturers are constantly looking to improve their machines by introducing new features that makes it easier to maneuver the self-balancing electric scooter on all terrains. On top of this, they improve battery life so that the self-balancing electric scooter is able to work for longer periods of time after each charge.
Besides that, if you are overweight, then it would be wise to go with the larger option that will be able to take the weight.
Is the Hoverboard Water Proof?
Although, you can still read the fine print on the box to find out whether or not the Hoverboard you’ve purchased in waterproof or not. While the waterproof feature on various hoverboards is debatable, there are many big-name hoverboard brands who do offer (or at least market) their products as being waterproof. These hoverboards usually come along with a IP54 rating, which is considered to be an indicator of the unit being waterproof.
But, in reality, hoverboards that have got a IP54 rating only means that the hoverboard can take a few splashes of water from time to time, and nothing more. Although, many manufactures who are selling hoverboards that have a IP54 rating will tell you that their products are actually waterproof. That said, it’s advised not to take your self-balancing scooter for a swim the next time you head out to the beach.
Double Check the Return Policy
Normally, checking the return policy of anything you purchase online (or otherwise) is a given. When it comes to the Hoverboard, most big name manufacturers have no qualms offering their product with a sound return policy, with no hidden charges or unpleasant surprises if you find yourself having trouble with the hoverboard, or have just discovered that the hoverboard you purchased was in pieces right out the box.
In any case, purchasing your hoverboard from a reputed manufacturer who has a good track record will ensure that they are going to keep customer satisfaction a top priority. In which case, you will easily get at least a 30-day return policy that’s standard for hoverboards. That said, going for a Hoverboard that’s anything less than that is not going to be a wise decision on your part.
Compatibility and Replacement Parts
If you have decided to purchase a Hoverboard, it will be wise to choose a hoverboard brand that has compatible accessories and add-ons, that can enhance the user experience. Purchasing a Hoverboard that can be accessorized means you get to have more fun whenever you hop on board hoverboard. Besides that, another factor to keep in mind when purchasing a self-balancing scooter is the availability of replacement parts for the hoverboards, and whether or not they are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase.
Most big-name hoverboard manufacturers make it easy for their customers to purchase any replacement parts if needed. The replacement parts are also sometimes covered in a warranty that comes along with the product you’ve purchased. But, if you find that the warranty of the self-balancing scooter you’ve purchased has expired, then making sure you have access to easily acquired replacement parts, means you won’t have to wait too long before you can enjoy a ride on your hoverboard.
Making sure that there are replacement parts for the brand and model of the hoverboard you choose is also extremely crucial since it will make the difference between you getting the part required to fix your hoverboard, and having to scrap your old hoverboard for a new one if the hoverboard breaks down.
What’s the Wattage?
Needless to say, a small sized Hoverboard that has smaller wheels will usually also feature a smaller motor. The only reason the motor of a hoverboard is so useful is because it provides the unit with the right amount of torque that it needs to push forward. What this means is, if you end up purchasing a Hoverboard that has less or more torque than what is required, it will not make for an easy ride.
To make sure you’re not making a wrong decision by choosing a sub-par Hoverboard, keep this in mind. A small size Hoverboard that features a wheel span of up to 6.5 inches, will need a 500w motor to function properly, while a large Hoverboard that has 10 inch wheels will require a motor capacity of 700w in order to function properly and provide you with a smooth ride.
Check the Battery
And before we forget, another pro-tip to keep in mind when looking to purchase a Hoverboard is to always check the battery. The reason for this is simple, if you don’t have a sufficient power source, you aren’t really going to get too far on your hoverboard. So, lastly, if you want to explore the lands beyond your backyard, you better check the battery life of your hoverboard, and more importantly, make sure you choose brand that has a battery with a reputable name to ensure it goes the distance.
The Hoverboard scooter is being touted as the hottest new gizmo in personal transportation. So, it’s no surprise why the Hoverboard is being increasingly spotted everywhere from streets to shopping malls, with many hipsters choosing the Hoverboard as the ideal way to get from Point A to Point B, (and getting six-pack abs in the process).
The aforementioned information should give you a good idea of what you’re getting into (or onto, in this case) when you decide to purchase a Hoverboard.