Whether you already own a hoverboard or are looking to acquire one, this hoverboard safety guide will help you understand the concerns around hoverboards and how to own and use them safely.
Before we dig into the fine details, a short history recap is necessary to establish the importance of safety when using a hoverboard.
Hoverboards had their first real breakthrough back in mid-2015.
They quickly became a popular new gift for kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, safety wasn’t the manufacturer’s primary concern, and most of the available hoverboards were lacking in battery and assembly quality.
This caused a problem with hoverboards catching fire. Those fires led to damaged property of an estimated value of 4 million dollars up to this day.
Luckily, this isn’t such a big concern any more thanks to CPSC’s recommendation to recall thousands of hoverboards due to their lack of safety.
That led to Amazon shutting down the sales of hoverboards in late 2015 and they were banned from the platform until mid-2016.
It also paved the way for new UL certificates, mainly UL 2272 and 2271 certificates, among plenty of other certifications specifically taken forth to ensure a specific electric rides’ safety standard was met.
List of the dangers with hoverboards
- 1. The risk of falling due to a problem with the hoverboard itself or user error. Which can lead to both minor and major injuries if the right safety gear is not used.
- 2. Unsafe battery cells or assembly can cause the hoverboard to overheat and risk catching fire.
- 3. Missing UL certification, meaning the hoverboard has not gone through rigorous testing in a US Laboratory to assure it’s a safe product for consumers.
- 4. The lack of safety gear being used by not only adults but many kids too. This is highly concerning as a simple thing such as a helmet might be the only thing that stands between you from having a well-functioning brain or not. This comes from someone who’s hit his head more than once.
Charging your hoverboard
My take on safely charging a hoverboard has changed throughout the years.
In the beginning, I always recommended using a timer so that the power cut automatically when 3 hrs had passed.
Today’s UL-certified hoverboards have overcharge protection in place, which means that they do this themselves when the battery reaches 100% charge.
Nonetheless, I tend to recommend that still today. To give owners some extra peace of mind.
- Never leave your hoverboard in the charger overnight or when you’re not present.
- Make sure the connectors are clean and dry before charging.
- If you want to be on the safe side, get a DC timer that shuts off automatically. How many times have you gone out and said: “Did I shut off the coffee machine?”
- Only use the brand name charger that followed with your hoverboard. If broken or lost, buy a new one from the same brand.
- To begin with, don’t buy a cheap non-UL-certified hoverboard.
Hoverboard Safety standards – UL Certification & CPSC
So I’ve been talking a lot about the UL certification and its importance. But what is it really?
UL stands for the underwriter’s laboratories and has been around for over 100 years. They provide safety testing and certification for all sorts of products.
The two main safety certifications that apply to hoverboards are as follows, UL 2272 and 2271. UL 2272 is a safety test for battery malfunction.
It is aimed at ensuring that the entire hoverboard is fire safe.
The hoverboard has to go through strict testing and comply with the over 100-point test to get the certificate.
UL 2271 is aimed specifically at Lithium-ion battery packs used in light personal electric vehicles.
This certificate ensures that the battery is safe from catching fire and that the assembly process is correct.
How do you ensure hoverboard usage safety?
- Make sure the hoverboard is UL 2272 Certified. There are a great number of hoverboards still being sold that have not been approved by the Underwriters Laboratory.
- Buy from reputable sources like Amazon which require all brands to have UL approval for their hoverboard in order to sell them in their marketplace.
- Check the specifics so that you know it has the extra features you need to stay safe. Such as lights etc.
- Do not overcharge your hoverboard. The UL hoverboards have implementations to prevent overcharging, but we recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Ensure you either buy an extra warranty or that a sufficient warranty is offered on the product by the brand.
- Only use the correct charger that followed with your hoverboard.
- Don’t let your hoverboard stand close to flammable products, nor have it in the cold. The cold will deplete the battery rendering your hoverboard useless.
- Use proper safety gear for your age/experience level.
- Be vigilant when kids are riding the hoverboard.
- Do not operate the hoverboard in traffic.
Use safety gear
If you ride a hoverboard, you know that there is always an overhanging risk that something might not go the way you planned. When things do not go as planned, it’s best not to be ill-prepared. That’s why you should always use proper safety gear while riding.
Sure, as an adult, you can always survive a few bruises and abrasions. Unfortunately, the head isn’t as forgiving nor self-healing as the rest of our body.
So if you are to pick one safety gear, you should always go for the helmet first.
However, if you ride something serious, I urge you to use knee and elbow pads. That’s coming from someone who has fallen in low 5 mph and high 40 mph speeds and badly hurt himself.
Water rating: IPX
The water rating shows how resistant the hoverboard is to water. This is shown using different IPX ratings.
X will then be replaced by a number to show exactly what amount of water the hoverboard can handle.
For example, most hoverboards have an IP54 rating.
That means they are splash resistant from all angles. This means it can take on some light water splashes without damaging the hoverboard entirely.
But it’s always best not to get your electric vehicle wet, it tends to shorten its lifespan drastically, and one drop in the wrong place could leave you stranded.
Are hoverboards safe for kids?
Hoverboards today are as safe as a self-balancing device can be. Initially, many problems caused accidents, and fires, and they could just shut off mid-ride.
These problems were occurring due to the lack of safety standards and manufacturers trying to cut costs by using low-quality parts.
This is now fixed, and kids can now ride as safely as they can on a hoverboard. Just make sure you get a UL-certified hoverboard.
If you are unsure what hoverboard to buy for your kids, feel free to check out our recommendations on hoverboards for kids.
Sometimes the hoverboard can shake a lot, especially when lighter users are riding it. When that happens, it is time to calibrate your hoverboard.
How to ride a hoverboard safely
When you ride a hoverboard, there are a few key things you want to consider.
Depending on your experience level, you want to make sure the surface you ride on is flat and without any gravel or pebbles that might cause you to get stuck while riding.
You put one foot on the standing plate. I prefer to start with my left foot.
Then put some pressure on it so that you can feel the hoverboard working.
Find your balance, and then smoothly lift your other foot and put it on the other side of the hoverboard’s pressure pad.
Now that you are up and running, you want to make sure you are relaxed. The worst thing you can do is tense up and get stiff.
You want to be loose in your body and make small adjustments using your feet and body weight.
Lean forward to go forward and backward to go reverse.
The more you lean in, the faster you will go.
Don’t lean in too much as the hoverboard might not be able to hold your weight if you go too fast and lean too far.
This can give you a one-on-one date with the floor or whatever surface you’re riding on. Not a great idea, trust me, I’ve been there.
When you want to stop, find your balance in the middle and start putting more weight on your left foot.
When you have found some balance on your left foot, you can lift your right foot and put it down on the ground again. Then you want to release the left pressure pad.
Do this indistinctly so that you don’t accidentally push forward or backward, which can lead to the hoverboard getting a few scrapes or damages to its plastic outer.
Here is a quick guide I made on teaching your kid to ride a hoverboard safely. A great read for parents buying their kids their very first hoverboard.
Owning a hoverboard isn’t complicated at all. Sure there are a few things you want to know but overall it’s just plug-and-play.
If you make sure to follow our best practice safety guidelines above and use your device with care, you will have a problem-free hoverboard experience throughout your product’s lifetime.