Hoverboard is an electro-mechanical transportation device. This fancy name is short for “it can fail in either the mechanical aspect or the electrical aspect”. We should all be concerned about safety, and get to know the certifications that independent laboratories give to the best hoverboards. The bigger concern of the two is the electronics failing on your board, especially because of the Lithium-ion battery the board has inside its shell.

What is a Lithium-ion Battery?

Lithium-ion batteries are one the greatest discoveries of the century and every handheld electronic has them. Most notably, your trusty smartphone has one, but electric shavers, coffee-makers, electric drills and many other household and industrial appliances. They can keep a lot of energy in a very small package, charge fast enough and are generally regarded as very safe. Like our favorite comic book uncle said “with great power comes great responsibility”, and the benefits of the Lithium-ion battery may have one big drawback; if punctured, they will explode. Explode violently and melt.

That’s not where the trouble ends; faulty chargers can make them ignite or explode as well. This could very well light your house ablaze and put your property and life at risk. That is why you should make sure to properly charge the Lithium-ion battery of your hoverboard, and each and every board should be certified by a Certificate Authority.

Hoverboard Safety Concerns 1 Ride Two Wheels

The Mechanical Issues that can Happen

Let’s not forget the mechanical part of the hoverboard; the motors, the pedals, the shells, the main axle, and even the wheels can fail, and they can even fail spectacularly. When they fail, they usually launch the rider forward, often injuring the rider. Please wear a scooter helmet while riding, because even a certified hoverboard might fail due to wear and tear.

It’s best to be safe than sorry. Small cracks will develop with enough use, and the independent laboratories check these out too. Sometimes a catastrophe can happen, a hoverboard breaking in two, or some kind of debris or a piece of the broken shell can puncture the unprotected battery. This will cause the battery to explode, potentially burning the rider.

Who is the Certificate Authority on Hoverboards?

That’s why the UL, known as the Underwriters Laboratories, have been working hard since 2016, making sure hoverboards pass their tests and giving out certificates to the ones that do. The UL and many other laboratories now run extensive and rigorous tests on the hoverboards, covering both the mechanical and electrical components of the board.

Their “European brother in arms” are the Intertek Group, headquartered in London. Both of these companies have been operating since the 1890s, and have since made everything we use safer; if you find their certificates on an item you want to buy, you can be sure it passed the hardest tests in the industry. A quick way to tell if the hoverboard is certified is to check for their safety stickers on the packaging or the device itself.

Hoverboard Safety Concerns 2 Ride Two Wheels

Tests like the chemical composition of the materials used in the hoverboard (and if these materials can be toxic to children or adults), dropping the board from a height, jumping on it, hitting it, overcharging, discharging and other ways to torture the battery and even software tests. These tests will practically guarantee that a hoverboard is a quality one that will not harm you or your property.

Is This an Issue in 2020?

As with the first wave of many other products, we’ve seen many faulty, unlicensed and uncertified hoverboards on the market. There were many reports of hoverboard fires in the US. Amazon, and many other big retailers have caught wind and quickly discarded many of these low-quality hoverboards.

It’s important that an independent Certificate Authority gives the final OK to a product before it’s shipped off to a customer, or else Amazon (and any other retailer) will be held accountable for any damages and liabilities that the customer suffers. The hit to the retailer’s credibility is huge too.

The biggest reason that the big retailers have seriously raised their standards is that the CSPC (The Consumer Product Safety Commission) had released new mandatory regulation for all electric scooters, back in 2016. This new regulation covers the manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and the US has seen low-quality hoverboards disappear overnight.

This means that anything you’ll find on Amazon today is most likely a good, certified hoverboard that won’t give you any trouble.

Are the Certified Hoverboards Unbreakable?

No, it just means that a hoverboard sent for testing has passed the very rigorous tests the Certificate Authority set. This doesn’t mean you can’t get a faulty one directly from the factory, or that your heavy-duty off-road hoverboard will never break no matter how much you abuse it.

riding hoverboard safely

Be sure to read the manual and follow its rules; doing this will make your hoverboard live longer, be safer to use, and in the event of a catastrophic failure like the battery exploding or melting, you might save your life or property. The chance is 1 in 10 million for a Lithium-ion battery failing, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry. Best to not leave the device charging overnight.

Are They Worth the Trouble?

In short, they are. But let’s remind ourselves, that with great power comes great responsibility. They’re a lot of fun, they have the new cool factor, and can have many cool gadgets and accessories (like the Hoverkart).

They don’t require any special maintenance beyond a quick clean and plugging it in an hour after you ride one, and unplugging it after it’s charged. Pay attention to any damages and the wear and tear, and take it to a certified maintenance shop if you notice it starts acting weird.

With great power comes a lot of fun, too.