What is a Hoverboard?

photo collage of blue, pink and green hoverboards

One of the latest and coolest inventions in the world of two-wheeler adventures is hoverboards. A unique twist to the idea of traditional skateboarding, hoverboards take everything to a whole new level of awesomeness and fun.

In this article you will get to know the following:

  • What is a hoverboard? A deeper understanding of this amazing machine.
  • Are hoverboards safe? Common safety practices.
  • How does a hoverboard work?
  • How much is a hoverboard?

Scroll down to get your hands on everything you need to know about hoverboards.

Table of Contents

What is a hoverboard?

Hoverboards, also termed self-balancing scooters are one-of-a-kind two-wheelers that combine functionality with adventure. They are portable machines that run on two wheels and largely entered the markets in the year 2015. Since then, the device has been getting increasing popularity, especially among kids.

More of a recreational vehicle that looks quite similar to a skateboard in terms of its shape and size, a hoverboard doesn’t actually float. Instead, it has got two wheels separated by a footboard and is powered by electricity and a battery. The best part about the device is that it lets you travel without pedaling or pushing the hoverboard off with feet.

Black hoverboard with an LED lights

When did hoverboards come out?

The first Hoverboard was founded by the American businessman Shane Chan in May 2013. He launched a fundraising campaign. In 2014, the Chinese company Chi Robotics released its first Hoverboard in Canton Fair Trade Show, which gained huge popularity in the west quite soon.

Prior to that, hoverboards were popularized by the highly loved film franchise, Back to The Future. The movie depicts a scene with a flying hoverboard that simply lets the rider levitate in mid-air, stealing the attention of the kids and grown-ups alike. Since then, research and development have been going on to develop a hoverboard that actually makes flying happen for real.

A scene from the movie Back to the Future (1985), where Marty McFly rides with a hoverboard.

How Do Hoverboards Work?

A hoverboard comprises a number of components, each of which serves a specific purpose in its functioning.

The main components of a hoverboard are:

  • Wheel sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Main logic board
  • Battery
  • Tilt sensors

Let’s take a closer look at the process that makes the hoverboard work!

The Wheel Sensor

The wheels have the electric motors themselves, as well as a sensor to control the tilt and speed. The sensor detects the rpm (revolutions per minute) of the wheels, further sending it to the gyroscope.

Gyroscope

A gyroscope is a device that measures or maintains orientation and angular velocity. The gyroscope and speed control boards send the information from the sensors to the logic board.

The Main Logic Board

The logic board is where the hoverboard’s processor calculates the status of the board, the ride speed, the tilt of the wheels, and the relative speed in real-time. It also determines if you are in the beginner mode as well as handles the hover board’s power management.

The Battery

While different boards come with different battery packs, most of them feature 36V 4400mAH batteries. This is the part that allows the board to function.

Movement Detection

Hoverboards feature pressure pads sitting on two separate switches.

The front switch is pressed down when the rider leans forward, further sliding a small plastic wall between an infrared sensor and LED. The logic board ensures that the motor is still as long as the sensor detects the light. However, the motor starts spinning in a specific direction when the infrared LED is interrupted.

The Balancing Process

The tilt sensors help the gyroscopes determine how much the rider is leaning forward, which is further sent to the logic board. The logic board tells the motors to spin more when you lean more forward. The whole idea is to allow the rider to control the hoverboard’s speed with their weight.

Here’s a fun video of how to ride a hoverboard:


Are Hoverboards Safe?

There’s no doubt that hoverboards are super fun, but there are also some risks involved.

Fractures and Bruising Because of Falling

It is quite common for children to fall off their hoverboards and end up with injuries to the wrists, head, and forearms. This includes serious bruising, fractures, as well as strains. Some say that falling and getting up is just a part of being a child. That’s how they learn and get experience.

However, there are some easy tips to make riding with a self-balancing scooter safer:

  • Wear the appropriate gear. This includes a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, and elbow pads. It’s good to wear padded shorts made for hoverboarders to ensure extra safety.
  • Get away from traffic. Make sure you don’t let your kids ride in or near traffic.
  • Right falling technique. Enroll your kids in hoverboard lessons if possible. The right falling technique and other tips will prevent injuries and accidents.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s restrictions and limits. Hoverboards usually have age and weight limits.

Overheating Problems

Speaking of some first models, the batteries can malfunction and lead to fires. Most boards feature lithium-ion batteries as they are compact yet store great power. However, those batteries are at a risk of explosions and overheating, which can further lead to mishappenings.

Although, there are some tips you can follow to reduce the risk of your hoverboard catching a fire.

How to eliminate fire risks of a hoverboard?

Buy a UL-Certified product

UL2272 is a certification, which is given to electrical mobility devices that are gone through safety tests and met all the standards.

Make sure to never go for a hoverboard that’s not UL2272 certified. There are many budget-friendly yet safe hoverboards out there.

UL-certification sticker
The sticker indicating UL certification.

Avoid overcharging

Make sure you don’t leave your machine totally unattended while it’s charging and don’t overcharge it ever. Overcharging the battery can explode it even for a high-end machine. When the battery is full, unplug it.

It is even recommended to take your hoverboard for a short ride after charging. So the battery level wouldn’t be 100% when you store it for a longer time.

Be gentle with your hoverboard

Be careful and don’t kick or drop your hoverboard to avoid damaging the separator sheets in the battery as it can cause a fire.

Don’t store your hoverboard under the sun

Most hoverboard batteries can explode when getting too hot. So never leave it in a room with direct sunlight for several hours. Keep it at a cool spot away from flammable objects.

Direct sunlight
Leaving your hoverboard under direct sunlight for several hours might lead to overheating.

How Much is a Hoverboard?

Nowadays, hoverboards are much more affordable than they used to be a while back. How much does a hoverboard costs in 2021 entirely depends on the specific features and size of the machine.

Typically an off-road hoverboard starts at as pocket-friendly as $100 while the price keeps increasing as the specifications get better. For $200-$300 you should get a pretty decent hoverboard. However, some high-end hoverboards can cost even over 1,000 bucks.

A hoverboard that’s priced around 1,000 dollars will usually come with a powerful and bigger motor, thereby delivering faster and smoother riding experiences even on rough surfaces.

Some of the most costly models such as the Halo Rover Hoverboard feature a very strong aluminum frame. It lasts much longer than a regular plastic frame while being less likely to damage.

Halo Rover X Black edition off-road hoverboard
Halo Rover X hoverboard. Image source: haloboard.com

Top-rated hoverboards mostly come with an app, Bluetooth speakers, and the ability to carry more weight than the standard 6-inch hoverboards. Hoverboards with good safety features are more expensive.

What determines the price of a hoverboard?

As mentioned above, the price of a hoverboard can vary quite a lot. Let’s take a look at those factors and considerations that determines the cost of a self-balancing scooter.

Speed

The top speeds largely vary from one hoverboard model to another, usually ranging between 6mph – 10mph. Speeds higher than that can be risky for newbies and kids, but the specified range is perfect for a great riding experience.

Range

The range that your hoverboard delivers depends on its motor, battery, and speed. Models that can go up to 10 miles when fully charged are usually more expensive.

Motor

Most models deliver 400 watts to 800 watts of power, while the cheap ones go only up to 600 watts. However, a hoverboard becomes more efficient with more power – it can go more miles, ride faster, climb slopes easily and carry more weight.

Battery Life

One of the most significant considerations is to go for a hoverboard with good battery life. Most models ride around 2 hours in one full charge, but the expensive ones can travel more without being powered down.

girl riding with a hover board
The better the battery of your hoverboard is, the longer you can enjoy riding with it.

Safety Certifications

No matter how cool a model looks or what features it has got, safety remains the most important consideration when buying a hoverboard.

The market is loaded with so many cheap hoverboards that often compromise the rider’s safety. Make sure to go for a model that has UL certification and comes from a trusted manufacturer.

The certificate means the hoverboard is thoroughly tested and is completely free from explosions, fires, and electric failures.

Charging Time

Not only is it essential for a good hoverboard to charge quickly, but also performs in a single charge for a good duration.

Most good options out there allow the rider to go 6-12 miles with a fully charged hoverboard while taking 1-3 hours to charge. Make sure you pay attention to the charging time and the time it takes for a model to drain the battery.

Weight and Weight Capacity

Most hoverboards can carry 44 lbs to 220 lbs, while certain models are designed for heavy riders. Go for a self-balancing scooter that suits your specific weight.

Another key element is the weight of the hoverboard. If the hoverboard is very lightweight, it is more convenient to transport it. Lightweight materials can be more expensive.

Wheel Size and Used Materials

Make sure to always go for a hoverboard with the right wheel size and material.

The wheel size may vary between 6.5, 7, 8.5, and 10 inches, and the selection depends on the type of terrain you’ll ride on. Hoverboards with a wheel size above 8 inches work best for rough terrains, while any size works fine for smooth surfaces.

Speaking of material, you must go for durability and ensure that the wheels can withstand different surfaces.

Brand

Always purchase a reliable, branded model that comes with a UL certification. This not only ensures safety but also good quality material, durability, and a smooth-riding experience.

On the other hand, you must take into account that quality brand products may cost a little more than some no-name brands.

Additional Features

High-end hoverboards boast numerous amazing features like Bluetooth connectivity, LED lights, cool wheel designs, etc. Some allow you to connect them with a smartphone app, while others also offer a training mode for learners.


Conclusion

While going for a hoverboard, it’s always good to follow a few safety measures, especially with kids. Being a little cautious not only minimizes the risk of hoverboard fires but also makes the whole riding experience much more joyous.

Get a board that comes with the official UL certification stamp, while making sure you don’t overcharge the battery and store it in a cool area. All it takes is to treat the board well at the time of riding and to keep it away from high traffic zones.

The safety requirements have improved so much in a very short span of time. And that’s why getting your kid or yourself a self-balancing scooter that meets the essential standards will keep things absolutely fine!


FAQs

How long does it take to charge a hoverboard?

The battery is one of the most expensive parts of the hoverboard. So, the more you pay, the better battery you get.

In most cases, hoverboard charging time is as follows:

  • Cheap hoverboards: 4-6 hours
  • Mid-range hoverboards: 2-3 hours
  • High-end hoverboards: 1.5-2 hours

How fast does a hoverboard go?

High-end hoverboards usually go up to 10 miles per hour, while average mid-range models go around 6-8 mph. Here is a list of the fastest hoverboards.

How long does a hoverboard battery last?

An average hoverboard battery can last up to 2 hours. The real battery life depends on several factors:

  • Type of terrain
  • Weight of the rider
  • Weather conditions

Can I leave my hoverboard plugged in overnight?

No!

One of the main safety considerations is not to leave your hoverboard totally unattended when it’s charging. A hoverboard can explode when you overcharge it. Always unplug when the battery is full.

Can you ride a hoverboard on grass?

Of course. For off-road riding, your hoverboard should have at least 8″ wide wheels. Then you can ride easily on the grass, as well as on gravel and dirt. Check out our list of Best Off-Road Hoverboards.

What is the weight limit for a hoverboard?

It really depends on the hoverboard type. Is the hoverboard meant for kids or adults? How big are hoverboard wheels? What materials are used?

The weight limit of the hoverboard usually varies from 120 lbs for children’s models to 420 lbs for adults models. Read more about hoverboard weight limits.

Are there different types of hoverboards?

If you hear the word ‘hoverboard’, then most likely it is meant a two-wheeled vehicle, where you have to stand on both legs next to each other. In reality, there are different types of hoverboards. They can be with 1 wheel, 2 wheels, 4 wheels, with or without the handle. Read more about all types of hoverboards.

What kind of accessories are there for hoverboards?

The most popular accessory for hoverboards is a hoverboard seat. It’s like a conversion kit that transforms your hoverboard into a hoverkart. Additionally, there are different hoverboard carry bags, covers, skin decals, and more. Read more about the best hoverboard accessories.

Can I buy hoverboards from Amazon?

Amazon is one of the most popular places to buy a hoverboard. There are a wide variety of brands available at different prices. Here is the list of best selling hoverboards on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “What is a Hoverboard?”

  1. How difficult is it to ride a hoverboard?

    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.

    Floating Feet

  2. How fast can a self-balancing electric scooter go?
    The HovertraxDLX2.0, specifically, can reach a maximum speed of 9 mph with the Hovertrax 2.0 and Hovertrax1.5 not far behind at 8 mph and 6 mph, respectively.
    Floating Feet

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