If you are the sort to keep up with technology news, you most certainly have heard the reports of Hoverboards exploding and injuries and fires resulting from this. It got to the point that Amazon.com even pulled the hoverboards from their marketplace, only allowing for accessories to be sold. New regulations were put into place and any hoverboards not fitting those regulations would not be available for sale.
So, to answer the question is yes, but no.
You see, the hoverboards were not actually exploding in the sense of a huge fireball and shrapnel everywhere. What is actually happening is that the ion batteries would burst into flames on the interior of the hoverboard and cause a serious fire. These fires have burned down houses and seriously injured riders.
Why are the hoverboards catching fire?
There were some flaws in the construction of the hoverboards that made the battery vulnerable to both overheating during charging and being struck when ridden. Lithium Ion batteries cannot handle being overcharged, it results in a short internally that will cause a fire. Most charger cords have a sensor that allows a cut-off mechanism to stop the charge before it becomes overcharged, but many of the hoverboard chargers onboard cut off function failed. This resulted in fires and other damages.
The second reason, which was being struck while riding often, happened on rougher terrain, where the rider may take the board over a large rock. Many of the hoverboards did not have a frame around the battery, and just had plastic protecting it. If a large rock or object struck the board, or if the board hit the sidewalk, it would cause a short in the hoverboard, causing a fire to happen quickly under the rider’s feet. This is where a lot of the injuries from hoverboards came from.
Does this mean that all hoverboards are unsafe?
No. After the strain of the hoverboard issues, many companies recalled their hoverboards and went back to redesigning them to be safer and compliant with the new UL 2272 certification that was created specifically for these devices.
So far there is only one hoverboard currently on the market that is compliant, with more and more seeking certification and testing their products as time progresses. If you are looking for the safest hoverboard, you are going to want to take a look at the Swagtron T1.
The Swagtron T1 has undergone rigorous testing and abuse to make sure that it is safe for the riders. The hoverboards now come with a fireproof casing around the batteries and high quality cut off feature, to prevent the occurrence of fires caused by overcharging. The Swagtron has also undergone a serious amount of abuse, being thrown, dropped, smashed and squashed in labs to ensure that if the battery casing is struck that it will not pose a threat to the rider. It is called stress testing. This is currently the safest hoverboard on the market. Since it meets the UL 2272 certification standards, it is also available on Amazon.com for purchase, the only hoverboard they currently carry.
That of course, is bound to change as more companies get their models approved.
I have an older hoverboard, how do I prevent it catching fire?
First of all, make sure that your board was purchased from a company and manufacturer that uses high-quality parts. Thinner plastic will give even less protection to an already vulnerable hoverboard.
Another important thing to do is monitor your hoverboard while it is charging and limit the amount of time you charge it. You manual should tell you how much time it should take to charge your board, and you should shoot to charge at least a half hour less than that.
Do not ever charge your board overnight, always charge it during the day where you can detect if it is catching fire long before it turns into a serious issue.
If you are worried that your charger is still overcharging your board, you can look into getting a universal charger with a high-quality cut-off function. Make sure you get one that is compatible with your hoverboard.
Lastly, take care of your hoverboard. Don’t drop it, kick it, or damage it in any way. Ride it only on smooth sidewalks and pavement and be incredibly cautious when moving off the curb. Avoid riding over rocks or on uneven terrain and be aware of your surroundings.
While taking all these actions will help prevent a fire, they are not 100% effective and it might be best to wait until you can afford to get a new UL 2272 complaint hoverboard for your safety and the safety of your home.
There is an additional option you can take in order to ensure your safety. A handful of companies are offering fire safes for hoverboards, giving you some place to store your hoverboard that will prevent any fire from overcharging and extinguish it before it becomes an issue. This is an expensive option, but if you are absolutely in love with your current hoverboard, it could give you some peace of mind.
Which hoverboards are the safest then?
Currently, we only recommend that you purchase a hoverboard that has UL 2272 certification such as the Swagtron T1. These are the safest hoverboards on the market right now. There is no way to ensure any other hoverboard will perform safely and that you and your home will be safe from the risks posed by an overcharging battery. If you are absolutely set on purchasing a hoverboard that is not UL 2272 complaint, please ensure that you take every precaution to ensure your safety.