Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First

By Chris Wilson


Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First 1

Image Source: YouTube / BuleBritish

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably well versed in what happened with hoverboards few years back.

Just in case though, let me just summarize:

The first we really heard of hoverboards (or self balancing scooters) was late 2014 and early 2015. Celebrities and the media went crazy for this new fun method of personal transportation, and by the end of 2015 everyone wanted one.

They quickly became THE must have toy (for both adults and kids alike) for Christmas and millions were sold worldwide.

However there was a problem with hoverboard safety.

Looking for safe hoverboards to buy?

Are Hoverboards Safe? 

Hoverboards are safe if they meet UL certification. A series of 150+ rigorous tests need to be passed to gain this UL 2272 certification.

These tests include an overcharge test, drop test, water exposure test, crash test, shock test, mold stress test, imbalanced charging test, short circuit test, over discharge test, motor overload test and much more.

Hoverboards were mass produced in multiple factories in China and Hong Kong with little to no regulation. They were made using inferior quality materials, and cheap generic lithium batteries which were a major fire risk. After a number of reports of these scooters exploding or going on fire, they were quickly banned from sale on all major retail websites such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart etc.

In early 2016 it looked like the hoverboard market was all but dead. Many companies recalled their hoverboards on advice from the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). Buyers were advised to either seek a refund (which for alot of people was impossible if they bought a generic model, as sellers quickly disappeared) or just dispose of the hoverboard for their safety.

But this wasn't the end.

This brought us the new UL certification for hoverboards.

Unfortunately it was bad news for those who bought the earliest models. However, UL (Underwriter Laboratories) created a new standard for hoverboards in 2016. The goal of UL is to ensure safety of consumer products and if hoverboards had this sooner, a lot of fire damage and personal injuries could have been prevented.

Which Hoverboards are safe?

The following are some of my top picks for 2022 - their features and prices vary, but all are safe and UL certified.

Best Over All

halo rover x

Main Features:

  • Speed
    10mph
  • Weight Allowance
    260lbs
  • Off Road
    Yes

Get $50 Off! Use Code: ORDER50

Over All Rating

Other Great and Safe Options (UL Certified)

Editor's Choice
Hover-1 Helix Electric Hoverboard Scooter
Hover-1 Helix Electric Hoverboard Scooter
Editor's Choice
Hover-1 Helix Electric Hoverboard Scooter
Hover-1 Helix Electric Hoverboard Scooter

Are Hoverboards Still Dangerous? Which Hoverboards Are Catching Fire?

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First

New hoverboards that are UL 2272 certifed ARE fire safe as safe as any other product you might have in your home that uses a lithium battery e.g. your laptop or smartphone.

They are no longer a fire hazard. Of course you should still follow manufacturer's safety guidelines for optimum protection. Just because hoverboards are fire safe, doesn't mean you can't have an accident while riding. Younger kids especially should wear personal protective gear such as helmets and elbow/knee pads.

Also Related:

Are Hoverboards Waterproof? The Truth About Water Resistance!

Legitimate manufacturers committed to improving their design processes, quality and safety, and many have already passed the test and gained the UL 2272 certification. Swagtron was the first, quickly followed by the Segway Minipro, Razor Hovertrax, Jetson, Halo Rover, Gotrax, Hoverheart, Megawheels, and many more. The testing they go through is rigorous to ensure absolutely safety of the product.

Hoverboards have had a topsy-turvy history. But since the introduction of the UL certification system, many hoverboard brands have complied to make their products a lot safer than they used to be since the first hoverboards came out in 2014.

Still, there are some popular models in recent history that are still proving hazardous and have frequently been reported by customers to catch fire or explode. In the past, we had hoverboard brands like Sonic Smart, Go Wheels, and iRover recalled by their respective manufacturers.

On this side of the UL certification, though—while the market is mostly filled with compliant hoverboards—there have still been some recalls. Arguably the most popular recall was the Hovertrax 2.0, a popular hoverboard option from Razor USA. In August 2021, the company recalled over 237,000 hoverboards, citing that they were possible fire risks due to their GLW lithium battery packs.

These recalled hoverboards were manufactured and sold when the UL certification was still in its early days—September 2016 to August 2017. All major hoverboard sellers, including Razor, have since had to step up their game.

Which Hoverboards Are Being Recalled?

Hoverboard Model

Recall Date

No. of Units Recalled

Recall Solution

6 July, 2016

1300

Customers were refunded

6 July, 2016

800

Customers were refunded

6 July, 2016

267,000

Hoverboards were repaired

6 July, 2016

16,000

Customers were refunded

14 November, 2017

700

Customers were refunded

March 23, 2017

500

Hoverboards were either replaced or repaired

December 13, 2017

1900

Hoverboards were replaced

November 14, 2017

900

Hoverboards were replaced

November 14, 2017

8700

Hoverboards were replaced

Are Hoverboards Safe for Kids?

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First

Generally speaking, there are safe hoverboards for kids. Every major hoverboard manufacturer takes safety seriously for their kids' lineup of self-balancing scooters. These self-balancing scooters or hoverboards are designed to meet different performance and build metrics that are more kid-friendly.

You'll also need to do your part to educate your child on the dangers of riding a self-balancing two-wheeler that can hit 15 mph. Ensure they are always in full safety gear when riding, and that they are at least 13 years old. Typically, kids younger than this tend to have erratic decision-making abilities that put them in situations where they could hurt themselves (lead them to an injury.)

At the end of the day, riding a two-wheeler is always going to carry some risk. But with proper hoverboard safety education and implementation, your kids should be safe while having fun on their hoverboard.

Also Related:

How Long Does A Hoverboard Last? Expectations vs. Reality

Are Hoverboard Chargers Safe?

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First

While the certification required to introduce a hoverboard into the market has helped boost the quality of batteries these vehicles come with, using an unsafe charger to refill the battery could still constitute a real problem.

It's essential that you only use chargers that are compatible with your hoverboard's battery. For instance, a charging pack that has a different voltage reading than the hoverboard's battery could either ruin your battery's ability to recharge or cause it to catch fire or explode. No one wants that.

If you're buying a new charger, make sure it has the same voltage and amps readings as the original charger, and ensure to employ best charging practices. These include plugging your charger into the appropriate power outlets and making sure the outlet is turned off when you plug the charger into the hoverboard.

With older hoverboards, you have to be careful not to overcharge them and to unplug the charger as soon as the hoverboard light turns solid green (which means the battery is full), etc. Thankfully, this isn't an issue with newer, UL-certified models that come with an overcharge protection feature.

Employ these practices with the right charger, and you shouldn't have any problems with your hoverboard.

What Does UL Certification Mean?

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First

After the chaos experienced during the first few years of the hoverboard's prominence, the certification introduced by Underwriter Laboratories has since allayed the public's fears about the risks of riding these self-balancing scooters.

In 2016, UL introduced UL2272, a safety standard for reducing the electrical risks in hoverboards to the barest possible minimum. This standard only allows hoverboards that have passed over 20 preset individual tests to enter the market. These tests are related to vibration, circuitry, leakage, etc. Every new and modern hoverboard must pass every single test to be marked as certified.

The UL2272 certification is so thorough that it doesn't just test the quality and safety of hoverboards; it also checks the facilities of the manufacturer over a span of several years to ensure manufacturing standards are as good as they need to be.

Bear in mind that riding safety is not one of the considerations of this certification. So whenever you're riding your e-scooter make sure you have on all the necessary protective gear — helmet, knee, and elbow protective pads, etc — to protect you from sustaining any injuries.

Also Related:

How Much Does a Hoverboard Weight? Definitely Not Thinner Than Air

How Do I Keep My Hoverboard From Exploding?

Simply put, you keep your hoverboard from exploding by not misusing it.

Don't ride your hoverboard near water or any wet area. If water seeps into it and wets the battery or board, open it up, use towels or tissues and carefully clean up the water, then leave it outside to dry for a few hours. Do not try to speed up the process with a dryer; this may heat up the battery and create an even bigger problem.

Don't leave the hoverboard plugged in for unnecessarily long periods. You never know when there'll be an electrical surge or if the wall outlet will develop a fault.

There could also be instances where the plug's fuse is burnt or your charger becomes defective. While the engineering of today's hoverboards largely insulate them from damage in these kinds of situations, it doesn't hurt to be careful.

There's still a chance, though, that you could ruin your battery's ability to recharge or damage the battery such that a full charge starts lasting for shorter periods. For older lithium-ion batteries (found in pre-certification hoverboards), the consequences may be worse—think overheating or fire incidents. 

If you're using an older hoverboard, chances are that it has an old battery; one that's not as protected from extreme temperatures as UL-certified hoverboards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 250 fire and overheating incidents related to hoverboards since 2015 resulting in about $4 million in property damage.

Do not ride such hoverboards too long under very hot conditions or in the rain; these extreme conditions could adversely affect the battery, leading to a fire incident or the battery short-circuiting. Also, store the hoverboard in a cool dry area when you're not riding it—preferably under a shade. Ideally, though, the best thing to do would be to stop riding it altogether.

Don't charge the hoverboard frequently as this can weaken the battery. In fact, it's recommended to only charge the battery when it is lower than 50%. If you currently don't ride it frequently, ensure to keep the battery charged so its lifespan isn't affected.

Is a Hoverboard a Fire Hazard?

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First 4

In general, hoverboards pose a risk of catching on fire (they are electronic devices after all). However, the answer to this question has more to do with how carefully or carelessly you use your hoverboard than whether it is a fire hazard or not.

While hoverboards without a UL 2272 certification still exist on the market, it is important to do proper research on a board before paying for it. Generally, if it doesn't have the necessary certification and you notice a pattern of bad reviews about it, move on to another hoverboard.

What Hoverboard Should I Not Buy?

It's safest to stick to better-known hoverboard brands when shopping for your next hoverboard. Sure, they may not be cheap hoverboards like many unknown names on the market, however, you'll be spared a great deal of headaches if you opt for a known and trusted brand.

Unknown and generic manufacturers are a risk likely to come with long-term problems. Established manufacturers should fully meet UL's certifications and have a good track record as proven by customer reviews and other avenues of social proof.

Safe UL 2272 Certified Hover boards On Amazon

Amazon ONLY allows the sale of UL 2272 certified boards that have been fully tested and meet the recommended safety standards. Many other retailers are now starting to follow suit and require this certification for hoverboards sold on their site, which is good news for the customer. 

Hoverboarding Made a Massive Comeback

Many major retailers who banned the sale of hoverboards, now sell hoverboards that are UL 2272 certified.

For example, to sell on Amazon in 2019, sellers must prove they have passed the tests and gained the certification before they are allowed to list a hoverboard brand. So if you buy a UL certified self balancing scooter today it will NOT be a fire risk like those that went before.

How to Ensure Hoverboard Safety

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First
  • Only buy a hoverboard that is UL 2272 certified. There are still plenty for sale online that DON’T yet have this certification and those should be avoided.
  • Buy from a retailer that requires UL certification as standard – Amazon is one such retailer. All hoverboards sold on Amazon will have this certification. Buying from a large and trusted ecommerce store also means that you’ll have a good return policy and more likely to have a proper warranty. Plus you can check out the user reviews before you buy!
  • When you receive your hoverboard check for the UL Mark on the packaging and look for the UL holographic certification label (this should usually be on the bottom of your product).
  • Don’t overcharge it. Although new hoverboards have included  technology to prevent overcharging, it is still advisable to follow recommended charging times (read the manufacturer’s manual).
  • Only use the charger that comes with the hoverboard.
  • Keep your hoverboard away from flammable items while charging.
  • Although many manufacturer’s say that hoverboards are suitable from the age of 8+, there is usually a minimum weight that you need to adhere to if you want your child to be able to control the hoverboard safely – check this out before buying for a younger child. Some scooters are better suited to kids of 12+.
  • Beware of knockoffs – so you’ve found a good brand product with UL certification but it costs a lot less than on Amazon or on the official website? It might not be the real thing. Always check seller feedback and customer reviews, and cross check prices on different sites before you buy.

What to Expect From Next Generation Models

Which Hoverboards Are Safe? Don’t Buy Without Reading This First

Hoverboard manufacturers have learned from their mistakes with earlier products and have for the most part improved the scooter on almost every level.

  • UL 2272 certification – don’t buy a hoverboard without it. If you do, make sure that at the very least the battery is UL approved.
  • Hoverboards are now made with a harder more durable outer body shell. They were very susceptible to scratches, and easily damaged in the past.
  • Some hoverboards now come with different modes – the most popular being the learning mode (a slower, easier to control mode that can be switched up to normal mode and full speed once you’ve found your balance). This reduces risk of falls and accidents when learning how to use the scooter.
  • Most now have larger, non slip footpads to prevent accidents.
  • New hoverboards only include UL certified branded lithium batteries.
  • There are now brands like Swagtron, Halo Rover, Segway Minipro and more that are all terrain should you want to use your self balancing scooter somewhere other than on a sidewalk. They have bigger wheels and stronger design to withstand travelling over rougher ground such as sand, gravel, grass etc.

As you can see on BestElectricRides.com we love our rideables, particularly hoverboard/self balancing scooters. We only recommend brands that we trust, and that we believe are absolutely safe.

About the author 

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson, long time fan of personal electric transportation. Chris is not easily impressed when it comes to the latest technologies, however, when he is, nothing can stop him from wanting to share his knowledge with our readers here at ElectricRideLab.com