Hoverboards have become the next big thing when it comes to fun, safety, and even making a statement about personal style. However, one of the biggest concerns about hoverboards is their safety. Many people want to know, are hoverboards dangerous? We discuss the answer in this post.
What Is A Hoverboard?
A hoverboard is a self-balancing scooter with two wheels and is powered by a motor and batteries. They have a non-slip foot pad that the rider presses to increase speed. These are a new fun way to get around town, albeit not the fastest or the safest. They also have a fairly limited range, which makes them useful for short trips only. They can be ridden over a variety of terrain, including cement, gravel, grass, and dirt.
Hoverboards come in a range of sizes, including:
|Tire Diameter||Weight||Indoor / Outdoor||Weight Capacity|
|10 inch||10-15 kg||indoor / outdoor||120 kg|
|9 inch||11 kg||indoor / outdoor||120 kg|
|8 inch||11 kg||indoor / outdoor||100 kg|
|6.5 inch||10 kg||indoor / outdoor||100 kg|
For children 8 years and younger, hoverboards with 6.5 inch wheel diameters are best. This is the most common type of hoverboard available to buy. They come in many different colors and graphical patterns and have a maximum speed of around 12 km/h. They take 2-3 hours to charge and will last up to 20 km distance.
Hoverboards with 8 inch wheel diameters are recommended for children 8 years old and above and have a similar speed of 10-15 km/h. This size can also be used by adults because of its wider wheel base. It takes 2-3 hours to charge the batteries and will last up to 20 km in travel distance.
9 inch hoverboards can carry more weight and are ideal for ages 10 and older, including adults. Like other sizes, it gakes 2-3 to charge and lasts up to 20 km riding distance.
10 inch hoverbaords are perfect for older children, teenagers, and adults to ride. Since they have a wide wheel base, they are very stable. They have a maximum travel distance of 15 km per charge. They come in a wide variety of colors and designs.
Adult hoverboard riders are best suited for the medium to larger sized hoverboards. This also includes off-road hoverboards. The ideal hoverboard sizes for adults have wheel diameters of 8, 9, and 10 inches.
Adult hoverboards come with many benefits over standard versions, including:
Heavy Carry Weight
Large adult hoverboard models can carry a significant ammount of weight, ranging between 300 and 400 pounds. So, even the heaviest rider can enjoy one.
Dual Electric Motor
Some adult hoverboards have very powerful dual electric motors that provide more power for heavier riders and for riding on rough terrain.
30 Degree Inclines
Adult hoverboards can handle inclines of up to 30 degrees, meaning they are able to ride up just about any sloped street or bikeway.
Mobile Device Connection
You can connect your iOS or Android smartphone to the hoverboard via Bluetooth and and listen to music or podcasts. Also, you can track its speed, battery life, and distance with a mobile app.
LED Lights for Riding At Night
Adult hoverboards can also come with very bright LED lights to help you ride at night. It also makes you more visible to drivers on the road or others on the sidewalk.
Flashing Lights On Tires
Other adult hoverboards have wheels with flashing lights. These help light the way at night.
Hoverboards also have GPS that help riders determine where they are going. Then can even record their trip to review later.
Off – Road Hoverboards
Off road hoverboards have larger tires and more powerful motors than other types. Their tires range upwards of 8.5 inches in diameter. They are designed for off-road use and add a bit more fun to the experience. These are recommended for kids 10 years of age and older.
When shopping for a hoverboard for yourself of children, it is important to consider the weight and age of the rider they are intended for.
Hoverboards For Kids
Are Hoverboards Safe For Kids?
Yes, hoverboards are safe for kids. The hoverboard sizes that best fits children are those with 6.5 inch or 8 inch wheel diameters. Children should practice enough on their hoverboard before riding them on the sidewalk or in the park, and always have close supervision. Children should wear safety gear at all times while riding hoverboards.
Are Hoverboards Safe For 7 Year Olds?
Yes, hoverboards with a wheel diameter of 6.5 inches is safe for 7 year olds to ride. However, it may be best to wait for them to get a little bit older and gain more balance before giving them one to ride.
Hoverboard Safety Tips
#1. Know the road laws related to hoverboards in your city and state. It may be illegal to ride a hoverboard on a sidewalk or street, or if the rider is under a certain age.
#2. Practice riding the hoverboard in a driveway or backyard before heading out into the street. The hoverboard’s smart self-balancing mechanism will make it easy to learn.
#3. Do not be distracted by mobile devices while you ride a hoverboard. Just like driving a car, avoid texting and surfing the internet. All your attention should be on the pathway or road ahead of you.
#4. Do not charge your hoverboard batteries overnight, or over charge them. This could lead to them overheating and possibly catching fire.
#5. Do not ride a hoverboard while intoxicated or under the influence of alchohol or other drugs.
#6. Wear the right safety gear, including helmet, knee pads, and wrist braces.
#7. Do not intentionally get your hoverboard wet, and turn it off when it does.
Can You Ride Hoverboard On Sidewalks Safely?
Yes, hoverboards are best when ridden on smoothe surfaces such as sidewalks. However, sidewalks are narrow and have driveway drop downs that can make the ride somewhat unsafe. There may also be people walking or riding bikes on the sidewalk as well.
One of the best places to ride a hoverboard is in a public park on a paved bikeway. This will allow room to ride the hoverboard and keep a good distance from others.
Can You Use A Hoverboard On The Pavement Safely?
Yes, hoverboards are best used on pavement or other smoothe surfaces. Make sure the tires of the hoverboard have the enough grip to prevent slippage. And, always wear the proper safety gear, especially a helmet and pads.
Where Are You Allowed To Ride Hoverboards?
You can ride hoverboards on your own property, if you have the space. You can also ride hoverboards in areas that are deemed legal to ride them. Different cities and states have laws and rules regarding where you allowed to ride hoverboards, and you can check for these on your municipality’s website.
How Fast Is A Hoverboard?
How fast a hoverboard is depends on several factors, include:
- Motor power
- Battery capacity
- The weight of the rider
It also depends on if you try and go as fast as you can, or just ride it at a slower pace. It is safer to ride them at a moderate pace, which may also be more relaxing and enjoyable.
Hoverboard Top Speed
The top speed of a hoverboard varies depending on its size, the terrain its on, and who is riding it. However, some sellers will exaggerate the top speed of their hoverboard, so keep this in mind when looking to buy one.
|Rider Weight||Hoverboard Size||Top Speed|
|60 kg / 132.2 lbs.||6.5 inch||6.5 – 7.5 mph|
|60 kg / 132.2 lbs.||8 inch||7.5 mph – 8.5 mph|
|60 kg / 132.2 lbs.||10 inch||7.5 – 8.5 mph|
Off-road hoverboards are able to handle rougher terrain and more punishment. This means the rider can potentially push them to go faster.
Tilting the hoverboard foot pad will make it go faster. But if you exceed the hoverboard’s top speed, it may start beeping and push back on your foot so that it slows down.
The weight of the rider greatly affects its top speed. The heavier the rider, the slower the hoverboard will go. Different terrain also affects top speed, with riding on grass and bumpy surfaces causing it to decrease.
Regardless, remember to wear the proper protective gear, especially helmets when riding any sized hoverboard.
Some of the fastest hoverboard brands include:
Hoverboard Top Speed App
Many newer hoverboards are equipped with an app function that will monitor your top speed. You can download this onto your mobile phone and use it to track your top speed and total distance in real time.
How Far Can A Hoverboard Go On A Full Charge?
How far can you go on a hoverboard? This depends on the hoverboard’s battery size and how much charge it can store.
The answer is riders who weigh 60 kgs / 132.2 lbs can expect to ride a hoverboard between 8 – 15 miles on one full charge. Make sure to check the make and model for the exact distance.
Just like its top speed, the weight of the rider, terrain, and the battery capacity all affect how far a hoverboard can be ridden before it dies.
Are Hoverboards Easy To Ride?
Yes, it is easy to ride a hoverboard once you get enough experience. If you are a new rider, follow the safety tips above to make sure you are not unnecessarily injured.
It is easiest to ride a hoverboard on smooth terrain, such as pavement and bikeways than on gravel or bumpy dirt paths. Being distracted while riding is also a major cause of accidents, so make sure to always pay attention to where you are going!
Ride A Hoverboard In Traffic – Should You?
You can ride a hoverboard in traffic, but it is not safe. A hoverboard can allow a rider to weave in and out of slow moving or parked cars, but it is best to stay out of traffic when riding one.
Can You Fall Off A Hoverboard?
Yes, you can certainly fall off a hoverboard. In fact, these types of injuries are the most common, especially for beginners. Since most people who ride hoverboards are young and inexperienced, falling off a hoverboard is very likely.
In fact, in 2015-2016, around 30,000 children (~11 years old) were hospitalized due to hoverboard related injuries. These injuries include bone fractures, bruises, and sprains, and were most due to falls.
Is It Easy To Fall Off A Hoverboard?
Hoverboards are easy to fall off of for one simple reason: poor balance.
Hoverboards have a very low center of gravity, with the person’s entire body positioned upright above the base of the board. To ride one, a person needs good core strength to maintain balance.
Watching an experienced person ride a hoverboard makes it look easier than it really is.
To stay safe, it is key to wear protective gear, especially helmets, elbow pads, and kneepads. If you can fall, you probably will, so having safety gear on will help keep you from being injured.
Lose Control Of A Hoverboard – How?
It is easy to lose control of a hoverboard, especially for new riders. If your balance is slightly off and you press down on the pedal too hard, you can lose control of the hoverboard.
This can result in falls and serious injuries, so it is important to be cautious and wear the right protective gear.
It can take some practice for inexperienced riders to be able to handle a hoverboard without losing control. However, even experts lose control sometimes.
Do Hoverboards Catch Fire?
Yes, hoverboards can catch fire. In fact, fires caused by hoverboards have risen as their popularity has increased.
Lithium-Ion Batteries Overheating
The cause of most hoverboards catching fire is the lithium-ion batteries overheating.
The type of battery used in hoverboards is lithium-ion batteries. This is due to a number of reasons:
- Faster charging
- High power-to-weight ratio
- Longer lasting charge
Lithium-ion batteries contain pieces of metal inside that can puncture the outer skin of the battery when damaged or overheating. When the internal contents of the battery are exposed to air, the battery can ignite a fire or even explode.
Most often, the charging of a battery is when overheating occurs. If a hoverboard catches fire inside a home, it can put the family at significant danger and cause major property damage. This is why it is important to never overcharge a hoverboard battery, or charge it over night.
Other reasons why hoverboards catch fire include:
Poor Quality of Production
Manufacturers are also responsible for hoverboard fires, as many are made with cheap components in foreign countries, notably China. Quality of the hoverboard manufacturing process could be low, and left over metal pieces or loose fittings could cause the hoverboard to short circuit.
Even if the lithium-ion battery is functioning properly, the wiring could still cause a fire. If the wires lack insulation or they tangle up in some way, it could lead them to failure or short circuiting.
When riding a hoverboard, you can listen and tell if the wiring is loose inside. If so, consider not riding that hoverboard anymore.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reviews products that have been associated with fire risk. It is important for consumers looking to buy hoverboards to check with the CPSC to determine if they are safe.
Hoverboards have faced recalls in recent years. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued recalls in 2016 and 2017 for over 500,000 hoverboards due to increased fire risk.
Consumers should check with the brand’s recall status if they own a hoverboard from 2017 or earlier. If it is on the recall list, do not attempt to charge the hoverboard or use it. You may be able to recieve a refund from the manufacturer if you contact them.
Sellers and manufacturers associated with hoverboard recalls include:
Most hoverboard fire hazards are due to low quality batteries and faulty wiring. These are most commonly seen in hoverboards made in China that lack enough quality control and are rushed through the manufacturing process. Even quality brands such as Samsung may use low quality battery suppliers and simply attach their logo to them.
Buyers should check the hoverboard’s label for UL certification that means they are safe for use.
UL Certified Hoverboards
UL 2272 Certified
New hoverboards sold in the U.S. must be UL 2272 certified, and you can find the logo on the packaging. This means the hoverboard is safe from major hazards, most importantly catching on fire. New hoverboards must pass rigorous tests
Also, only buy a new hoverboard from reputable online merchants and at a non-clearance price. Read product reviews and buyers guides for hoverboards that are not fire risks. It may be best to shop for a high end hoverboard from a manufacturer that cares about a quality manufacturing process.
Are Hoverboards Street Legal?
Hoverboards are generally legal when using them on the street. Initially, California had restricted gas-powered skateboards to only certain surfaces in 1977. However, in 2016 California began allowing hoverboards to be ridden anywhere bycicles can. This includes streets, bike paths, and bike lanes as long as the rider wears a helmet and is atleast 16 years of age.
Since hoverboards are relatively quiet and do not give off exhaust fumes, they are much more eco and community friendly. This has led states to consider allowing them for riding in public spaces. However, the term “legal” means different things in each city.
Many hoverboards have some significant safey issues related to poor manufacturing processes and cheap components. Yet, as these are resolved, cities will likely adjust their rules and regulations to make them more allowable.
In the U.S., sidewalks fall under the jurisdiction of cities and counties, so the laws regarding hoverboards can vary from place to place. In New York City, for example, hoverboards are banned from streets but can be ridden in public parks.
Are Hoverboards Illegal?
Hoverboard Laws in California
The following California laws relate to hoverboards:
California Assembly Bill No. 604, Article 7 – Electrically motorized boards (2015-2016):
21291 – riders to be a minimum of 16 years of age.
21292 – The rider must wear a helmet
21293 – Hoverboard must have a lamp emitting a white light for nighttime riding for a distance of 300 feet, or a red reflector on the rear of the board that is can be seen from a distance of 500 feet, a white or yellow reflector attached to the side visible at 200 feet distance, a lamp attached to the rider visible at a distance of 300 feet in front
21294 – Maximum speed should be 15 mph on a highway, bikeway, sidwalk, or trail, with those marked with a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour.
21296 – Riders of hoverboards cannot be intoxicated or under the influence of alchoholic beverages or other drugs. A fine of $250 shall be issued to the rider that fails a traffic officer’s test.
Hoverboard Laws in New York
New York State Traffic Law 114-d – An electrically powered self-balancing hoverboard must be powered at no more than 750 watts (one horsepower) and reach a maximum speed of less than 12.5 mph for a rider weighing 170 pounds. This applies to riding on paved, level surfaces.
Hoverboard Bans by Airlines and College Campuses
The fire risks associated with hoverboard batteries have led many airlines and college campuses to ban them. Make sure to check with your airline or school rules to see if you can bring on a hoverboard.
Do Hoverboards Explode?
Hoverboards can explode, althought his is not very common. Most often, the hoverboard will spontaneously combust and cause fire damage and injury to anyone nearby. This is usually due to the battery failing or overheating from too much charging.
Some hoverboards have been recalled for this reason, so make sure to check your brand’s recall status before using it.
Do Hoverboards Fly?
Flying hoverboards have been a staple of science fiction films and books for many years. But do hoverboards actually fly?
Hoverboards from popular movies feature a board with electrically charged magnets on the underside that create a magnetic field to lift the board above the ground or roadway.
Today’s hoverboards do not fly, but instead roll on large wheels on either side of the board. In effect, a hoverboard is a self-balancing scooter, rather than a flying board.
They are powered by an electric motor and a battery and moves forwards or backwards by the user pressing down on a foot pedal. Sensors allow the board to stay balanced and can determine which way the rider will lean.
Ride A Hoverboard On Carpet – Is It Safe?
Yes, you can ride a hoverboard on carpet safely. However, some things you must take into consideration, including:
- The type of tires and grip
- The type of carpet
- Your ability to ride the hoverboard
- The layout of the room
If you have tires that do not have grip to them, they can easily slip on smoothe or carpeted surfaces. Perhaps only riding an off-road hoverboard will work best on carpet.
Also, the layout of the room will play a role. Are their obstacles blocking your path? A hoverboard can move quickly and cover a lot of distance in a short time.
A carpeted room may not be big or clear enough of furniture or other objects to ride safely.
What Does ‘Self Balancing Hoverboard’ Mean?
‘Self-balancing’ technology is actually much older than people realize. It has been inside video game controllers and smartphones for many years. Now hoverboards use this technology to keep the rider balanced while moving.
Gyroscopes Are The Key To Self-balancing
Gyroscopes are the key component to self-balancing hoverboards. This is a wheel or disc mounted device that spins very rapidly around an axis. This creates a stabilizing effect on the hoverboard and are not affected too much by tilting. However, they can redirect to any orientation because of its free axis of rotation.
Are All Hoverboards Self-balancing?
All hoverboards that are safe to ride are self-balancing. It is not advised to use a hoverboard that has a faulty balancing mechanism, because this puts the rider at heightened risk of falling.
How Long Do Hoverboards Take To Charge?
Hoverboards can take awhile to charge, but this depends on they models. Generally, it can take between 3-4 hours for a full charge.
A full charge can provide power for 3-8 hours of riding time. Hoverboards with more powerful motors will drain the battery faster, and larger batteries can provide more energy for longer.
Which Hoverboards Are The Safest?
Which hoverboard is the safest is a question many people ask. However, the answer is not so simple. Much depends on how it is ridden, the terrain it is on, and which safety components are included with the hoverboard.
LED lights for nighttime riding, GPS tracking, and a fully charged battery will help make the ride a bit safer. The rider will also be safer when they wear the proper safety gear, such as helmet, knee pads, and wrist braces.
Generally, larger off-road types are the safest hoverboards because of the different types of terrain they can handle.
Types Of Hoverboards
Hoverboards come in a variety of types. Including:
- Small-wheel hoverboards – ‘Segways’ are mostly of these types.
- Medium-wheel hoverboards – the most popular type.
- Wide-wheel hoverboards – these are also called ‘all-terrain’ hoverboards.
- Central-wheel hoverboards – these are the ‘One-Wheel’ types.
- Single Foot hoverboards – these are also called ‘Hovershoes’.
How Long Do Hoverboard Batteries Last?
Fully-charged hoverboard batteries last 3-8 hours of riding, or roughly 10-20 miles. This also depends on the brand, size of the motors and battery, and the weight of the rider. Be sure to check with the packaging to see how long the hoverbaord will ride on a full charge.
Expected Hoverboard Battery Lifespan
A hoverboard battery should be able to reach 500 charging cycles. This means, that if a rider uses the hoverboard 3 days a week and fully drains the battery each time, then the hoverboard battery will last around 3.5 years.
It is possible to extend the battery life. To do this, do not overdrain the battery, or overcharge it. Storing the battery properly will help to preserve its lifespan. Store the hoverboard in a dry and cool place.
Also, make sure to charge the hoverbaord battery daily as this will keep its charging cycle routine active. A fully charged battery that is not used will last about 50 days before being drained on its own.
Accelerating or stopping rapidly can affect battery lifespan. As can any impacts to the board from bumps or wipeouts.
The brand of the battery and quality of manufacturing also greatly affects the battery’s lifespan. Cheaper batteries will generally not last as long as higher quality ones.
How Long Do Hoverboards Last?
Hoverboards can last a person’s entire lifetime if they are used properly and treated well. However, this is not likely to happen if you use it regularly on terrain and in conditions it is not designed for. Some maintenence and replacement parts may be required if you plan on owning it for a long time.
The battery is more likely to wear out long before the hoverboard itself. The average lifespan of a hoverboard battery is 3-4 years when used several times per week.
Can A Hoverboard Get Wet?
Hoverboards are electrically powered devices, and thus do not get along well with water. However, hoverboards are made to be able to handle being ridden in various terrains and weather conditions.
Hoverboards have wires, a motherboard, batteries, electric motors, and LED lights. This means, that it is not a good idea to submerge the hoverboard in water or get it too wet. If you do, it may stop working altogether and need repair or replacement.
Hoverboard IP Ratings
A hoverboard IP rating measures its ability to withstand water and dust without breaking. This code is made up of four digits, with ‘IP’ always first. The next two digits represent intrusion protection and moisture protection.
Common IP ratings for hoverboards are:
IPX4 – Tested for splashes of water (not fully waterproof), but not tested for dust/dirt/debris intrusion. The ‘X’ means that a test has not been performed.
IP52 – Some dust protection, and from dripping water at 15° (light rainfall).
IP65 – Full protection from dust for 8 hours, protection from projected water stream by a nozzle 6.3 mm in size from any direction.
Hoverboards do have some amount of water resistance, so a small amount of water or droplets will likely not break them. You can tell the level of water resistance by its IP rating on the package.
If your hoverboard does get wet, turn it off immediately and let it completely dry.
Do Hoverboards Break Easily?
Hoverboards are made to be bumped and get dirty, and not just to leave hanging on the wall to look at. This means, they should not be too easy to break. However, if you ride them on terrain they are not designed for, or drench them in water, they can definately break.
Yet like all electronic equipment, they do not last forever so at some point they will stop functioning. This also depends much on how they are treated.
Can A Hoverboard Go On Grass?
Hoverboards can go on grass. However, make sure the grass is not wet. If it recently rained or the sprinklers ran, let the grass dry. Even so, riding a hoverboard on grass will likely get it a bit wet and dirty.
Riding a hoverboard on grass will also drain the battery faster.
The best hoverboards for riding on grass are the larger adult sized and off-road types. Regular hoverboards are only intended for use on smooth pavement, not rough terrain such as tall grass or rocky trails.
Make sure the hoverboard you are riding is atleast IPX4 rated. This means it is somewhat waterproof and dustproof, so this should not cause too much of an issue.
Hoverboard Tire Size
The sizes of the hoverboard tires makes a big difference in terms of which terrain it can handle. If you want to ride over dirt, grass, or gravel, then the right tires are important. Larger tires are better suited for “off-road” activities.
For riding a hoverboard on rougher terrain, tires that are 8.5 inches in diameter are recommended.
Are Hoverboards Waterproof?
Hoverboards are water resistant, but not entirely waterproof. You can see what level of water resistance your hoverboard has by checking its IP rating on the packaging or label. This will tell you what level of protection from water and dust your hoverboard has.
An IP65 rating is recommended for riders worried about water damage to their hoverboard.
Are Hoverboard Batteries Replaceable?
Many hoverboard models have the option of replacing worn out batteries. You can even charge on battery while using another and swap them out. The type of battery most commonly used for hoverboards is Lithium-ion batteries
Depending on the model, replacing a battery may be as easy as opening a compartment, while others require more DIY effort. Some hoverboards cannot have a new battery replacement without opening the entire machine and soldering wires. In this case, it maybe better to hire a professional repairman or purchase a new hoverboard with a battery swapping capability.
Is It Safe To Charge A Hoverboard Overnight?
No, it is not safe to charge a hoverboard overnight.
Even though it is convenient after a long day riding to just plug in the board and leave it overnight until charged, the result could be catastrophic for your safety.
The hoverboard can overcharge, resulting in the battery overheating or exploding. You should never overcharge the hoverboard’s batteries.
At most a hoverboard should be left charging no more than 4-5 hours. It should only take between 2-4 hours to get a full charge. High quality batteries will usually stop charging when they reach 100% charge.
Check the manual of the hoverboard for the manufacturer’s recommended charging time. Make sure to set a timer for this time and do not leave the hoverboard plugged in while you are away from the house.
Are Hoverboards Safe?
Hoverboards are not fully safe, but can be ridden and charged safely if you follow certain guidelines. When riding one, always wear the proper protective gear and keep your eyes on the path ahead of you. If you do, you can get the most enjoyment out of your experience riding one.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.