What is a self-balancing hoverboard?
Self-balancing hoverboards are a relatively new form of personal transportation. A modern day takes on the futurist hoverboard featured in ‘back to the future’; these personal scooters use the same principles as a segway without all the bulk.
A self-balancing hoverboard determines your direction by how you lean on it. It has refined sensors and a gyroscope that processes your movement and causes the wheels to propel you in that direction. Most self-balancing hoverboards can reach speeds of 8 mph, which is almost 4 times the speed the average person walks.
These unique devices are designed for use on sidewalks and pavement and do not perform well at all on grass or gravel. They won’t be hovering over water anytime soon either, sorry McFly.
The main reason that they are referred to as hoverboards is not that they hover, but that they give you the appearance of hovering. Much like a segway, they move smoothly, with no up and down movement like you have from riding a bike or skating.
They also use the same technology of a segway in their balancing system; the major difference is of course, that there are no handlebars. While this does leave your hand free to high five everyone as you zip past them, it does also put the control solely on your feet. Those that have ridden hoverboards say it is easy to use and that it’s almost like mind-reading with the precision of direction the board has.
How much should I expect to pay for a self-balancing hoverboard?
There is a very wide range of price on the self-balancing hoverboards. In reality, you could be paying anywhere from 250 to 1000 dollars for a hoverboard. This often does not cover accessories you may like for the board, such as skins and colorful wheels to give the self-balancing hoverboard more personality and uniqueness to the rider.
What are the best hoverboards on the market?
As you may have heard, there was a large recall on self-balancing hoverboards after a large amount of them caught fire. Because of this over 501,000 self-balancing hoverboards were recalled off the market. Amazon pulled all hoverboards from their marketplace, and left only accessories and all manufacturers were put to task to make all of their models UL 2272 compliant. This is a new safety compliance that was made specifically for self-balancing hoverboards. The CSPC urged all riders to immediately stop using the hoverboards and return them to the manufacturers.
Because of all this, the market has slimmed dramatically. So dramatically that there is currently only one model that meets this standard.
There is currently only oneself balancing hoverboard that is UL 2272 certified. That is the Swagtron T1. There is a Swagtron T3 in the works, but it is still undergoing production testing. It is the only self-balancing hoverboard that is available on Amazon.com, as well. Other brands are still working to bring their design up to standard so that they can safely be used by the public.
This board has been created with safety in mind, and Swagway, the makers of this board went through a lot of research and development to bring the top of the line safety features to the hoverboard.
This hoverboard has two key safety features. As you can see above, the battery is listed to have a Sentry Shield. This is an aluminum casing that surrounds the lithium ion battery, so that if the battery is overcharged (a common cause of fires in previous models) or fails, it will not catch fire. This is great news considering that there have been over 2 million dollars in property damage and over 100 injuries from batteries catching fire on non-compliant hoverboards.
In addition to the Sentry Shield, Swagway added a Safe Stop feature, aimed at preventing falls and other injuries that can occur when the battery dies. In previous models, the self-balancing hoverboard would just come to an abrupt stop with nearly no warning, throwing passengers and their goods to the ground and causing a lot of personal and property damage. The Swagtron T1 however, does not do this. It has a warning beep sound to notify the rider that the battery level is dropping low. Then, should the rider continue to go, it restricts the top speed that the self-balancing hoverboard can reach, to prevent nasty falls.
Self Balancing Hoverboards are an ingenious development in personal transportation, even more so than skateboards or bicycles. While the industry is suffering a setback due to large scale recalls, it is beginning to bounce back and deliver higher quality, safer hoverboards for the public. As more self-balancing hoverboards get the UL 2272 certification, you will see more diversification in the market and it will once again become a popular mode of transportation on the road.
As for the best one on the market, that is going to have to go to the only one on the market, the Swagtron T1. Its safety features were rigorous tested and it has come through with flying colors, leading the way for other models to follow suit.