When the first Segway was launched in 2001, it got everyone in the tech industry hyped up. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and legendary venture capitalist John Doerr were early and enthusiastic investors, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs even predicted that cities would be redesigned around the device. This high-tech scooter, with two wheels and complicated electronics and gyroscope enabling it to self-balance, was incredibly fun to ride and it moved like no other personal transportation device until then.
Some time later, in 2013, the new kind of two-wheeled scooters emerged, popularly called ‘hoverboards’. Even though they did not look anything like the Marty McFly’s levitating skateboard from “Back to the future”, they went viral, mostly thanks to the celebrities like Justin Bieber, Janie Foxx and Chris Brown. After some ups and down, controversies like overheating batteries, bursting in flames and product recalls, hoverboards are today one of the most favorite rideable toys.
Easy Page Navigation
- What are the self-balancing scooters?
- Top 6 self balancing scooters compared
- Best Self Balance Scooters (Hoverboards and Unicycles) – Our Picks
- Electric Unicycles
- What to look for in self balanced electric scooter
- How to ride?
- Why buy a self balancing board?
What are the self-balancing scooters?
The term self balancing scooters is most commonly used to describe personal transportation devices, consisting of two (or one) motorized wheels connected to a pair of pads used for control, on which the rider places their feet. By leaning forwards or backwards, rider controls the speed, and direction of travel is controlled by twisting the pads. Most these little motorized boards can usually go at speeds in range of 6 to 15 mph, with a range of up to 12 miles depending on model, terrain, rider weight and other factors.
As the balancing mechanisms and gyroscopes, as well as batteries, become more advanced, we get to see more and more different designs. One of the latest devices that is catching on very fast is the electric unicycle. The major difference between electric unicycles and devices like hoverboards, e-scooters and Segway-type rides is that you cannot stand still on them, so you have to get used to the balancing act. The electric motor built into the wheel hub is powered by rechargeable batteries, and controlled by a smart board that uses an electronic gyroscope to balance the unit front to back.
|Name||Swagtron T1||Swagtron T6||EpikGo||Segway miniPRO||Ninebot One Z10||Xiaomi Ninebot C+|
|Speed||8mph||12 mph||12 mph||10 mph||28 mph||12.5 mph|
|Range||7-12 miles||12 miles||10 miles||12.5 miles||12+ miles||11-13 miles|
Riding these type of scooters is super fun, but choosing the best one for you or your kid might be a little tricky. Just like with anything else, it all comes down to what is the best match for your individual needs and riding preferences. Check out our reviews of the best self balancing scooters, hoverboards and unicycles, divided into categories to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your own transportation gadget. Generally, this type of scooter is small and lightweight, so you can carry it with ease, toss into your car, or take it with you to the public transport.
Best Self Balance Scooters (Hoverboards and Unicycles) – Our Picks
The new Swagtron T1 model is compact, easy to ride, lightweight and fun for all ages and it makes an excellent choice for parents looking to buy a hoverboard for child. A T1 can cruise at over 8mph, covering over 12 miles on a fully charged battery before needing an additional charge. Charging itself is easy and safe with the included battery pack, taking only an hour to reach its full capacity with the built-in high LG lithium battery. When driving you’ll be able to achieve the most speed on even, smooth surfaces, but the Swagtron can climb inclines of up to 30°. It even have a learning mode that helps you pick up the basics before you take the hoverboard on at its top speeds. Its self balancing technology makes it very easy to rest comfortably on while riding and you won’t have to feel tens. And with a modified design, this is a hoverboard that will let you ride in style. They might not have changed much of its appearance but it has gotten a much smoother look. And an attention to safety from the fireproof outer design to the new UL certified battery with sentry shield, means the T1 is a great choice for anyone interested in owning a hoverboard from a brand that has eliminated the concerns of fire and battery malfunction.
Being the first company to release a UL2272 certified hoverboard, Swagtron is a real authority in the hoverboard space. T6 is Swagtron’s first off road hoverboard, the only one of their T series that can travel over a variety of terrains. With rugged 10” tubeless tires, aluminum rims and wider foot-pedals, this board offers all the sturdiness and stability even on demanding surfaces.
With a weight limit of 400lb, this little ride is clearly not made exclusively for kids. It can reach speeds up to 12 miles per hour and can go more than 12 miles on a single battery charge, which are capabilities you won’t find on many similar products. Additional features include LED lights in the front and back, Bluetooth speakers so you can play music from your smartphone, and a Swagtron app. Through a Bluetooth connection, the app can show information about the board’s temperature, battery status, and much more. You can now simply use your mobile device and choose from three different riding mode selections to fit your experience level
EpikGo packs some serious power under the ABS body chassis. It features two 400W motors, totaling in 800W of drive power. This is the main reason behind the ability to climb inclines of up to 15 degrees and stay stable. High-tread tires ensure safe navigation across any ground cover, be it grass, dirt, or pavement, and the scooter’s sturdy design helps push it safely to a maximum speed of 12 mph. EpikGo comes with UL2271 certified LG Smart Lithium-ion battery that provides a range of up to 10 miles. This self-balancing vehicle is also IP54 certified, which means that it is water resistant. All in all, this is a bulky powerful board that makes almost any other hoverboard look like toy.
Ninebot One Z10
With the Z series it seems like the engineers t Ninebot have taken all the best features from the other brands, and then added their own twist to it to make the design stand out even more. The most powerful of the lineup, the Z10, features an 18” wheel equipped with a fat tire, making it suitable even for the rough terrain. However, what’s not so suitable for the off-road riding is the foot pedals that are a bit on the lower side. It is very smooth and maneuverable, especially at lower speeds.
The top-of-the-line Ninebot One Z10 with a maximum engine power of 1800 watts allows you to travel at whooping speeds up to 28 miles per hour. The battery capacity of as much as 1000 Wh is designed for 50-60 miles of driving. Also, an incline up to 25 degrees should not be a problem for this mono-wheeler. The only downside to this ride is that it is very heavy compared to the other devices in this category. It weight almost 53 lbs, which is just ridiculous. But I guess all this extra weight is due to the very robust and sturdy build and all the equipment that makes this self balancing unicycle the best one wheel transportation devices currently available.
Xiaomi One C-plus
The Ninebot brand has become one of the most important players in the field of urban mobility. Both with in the segment of electric unicycles, and in the scooters department. There are several models that the company has launched to the market under a Ninebot One line and all of them have received very good reviews. The Ninebot One C + is one of the latest reviews of the One range of electric unicycles. It is a happy medium between top-of-the-line performance and speed and affordable price. Equipped with 450W motor, it can reach a maximum speed of over 12 mph, while a double lithium battery ensures a top range that varies between 11 and 13 miles. The Ninebot One C+ is the most classic model in the range. It offers good features of autonomy and maximum speed, enough to travel around the city. Also, we should not look past the heritage of quality, reliability and design offered by Ninebot in all its models of electric unicycles.
What to look for in self balanced electric scooter
Self balancing scooters have become a hit very fast, and there millions of these boards have been sold all over the world. It seems like every one want to get their hands on one of these little fun rides. However, before you decide to buy, there are couple of things to consider.
Who is this scooter for?
This is absolutely the first question to ask yourself if you plan to buy a self balancing scooter. Is it a toy that you want to buy for your little cousin, or you need a real, sturdy balanced two-wheeler for taking on dirt paths and gravel? Make sure to take a close look at the specifications and list of features of the models you consider buying to make sure they will fit your needs.
One of most things to look for is the safety standard and safety features of the product. Apart from the riding risk with hoverboards, there have been several incidents of explosion of hoverboards due to batteries overheating or getting overcharged. So when buying a scooter it is paramount to look for models that meet the required safety standards so that you purchase a product that is 100% safe to use.
The design of any hoverboard will tell you how durable it’s going to be. Look at the materials used in designing the sensors, internal motors as well as the wheels, housing material and frame(plastic, aluminum or steel). These are all areas to look at before deciding the overall quality of the ride. If you are buying online, you may not have a first class knowledge of the materials used in the design even though the features may be specified online.
Speed and Range
Speed usually range between 5mph and 10 mph, although there are models that go over 12 mph. Most of the boards come with an app that allows you to control riding mode, so if you are a beginner you can choose to leisurely cruise at speeds of 2mph. Range, in particular, might be a little difficult to measure since so many factors may affect how far and how long you can go. The weight of the rider, speed, incline, and terrain can affect the range of the hoverboard. But most models generally get up to 12 miles or about 3 hours on full charge.
Before purchasing a hoverboard, confirm whether your brand of choice or if this type of personal transportation as a whole are allowed in your jurisdiction. Some states such as New York, for instance, do not allow usage of hoverboards on public roads. Infringing on such laws might see you lose your hard-earned ride and worse even, face legal suits or proceedings.
How to ride?
If you have seen all those ‘hoverboard fail compilations’ you may have been under the impression that these little scooters are very unsafe and difficult to ride. However, that not at all the case. The only thing to do is relaxing and getting your balance. Here is a step-by-step guide to master riding a self balancing hoverboard:
Step 1: Getting on
First, you need to make sure your board is well charged, and turned on. Put the hoverboard on a FLAT ground in front of you, and put one foot (preferably your dominant foot) on it. You should then use this foot to set the board in an upright and level riding position, such that it is not tilting to any side. Lift up your second leg and get fully on the board. Try not to shake, just relax and act naturally. Also, make sure to look front and not down. Just relax and act naturally. Place your feet as wide apart as possible. This means placing them close to the two wheels. This will lead to more stability and an easier control.
Step 2: Get in motion
Moving on a self balancing scooter is very intuitive once you get the hang of it. To get going, lean forward slightly to move forward and lean backwards to slow down or move backwards. The only thing you need to do is to shift your body weight in the direction you want to move in. Most of the movement should be in your ankles, so don’t bend your knees or lean too much, or you will fall.
Step 3: Changing direction
Hoverboard steering is also based on the shifting of your bodyweight. In order to turn left or right, shift your body weight slightly in the direction that you want to go, shifting your weight onto your right foot if you want to turn right, and left foot to turn left. Each side of self-balanced scooter moves independently, so you can twist each side. Start slowly, take controlled turns, and you will master maneuvering in no time.
Why buy a self balancing board?
To put it shortly: It’s hella fun!
If you are looking for a more elaborate list of reasons to buy a self-balancing scooter here it is:
- They are incredibly compact and lightweight, you can pick them up anytime and carry them anywhere.
- If you don’t feel like walking, they are very convenient for travelling short distances, even indoors.
- When you get the hang of it they are pretty easy to ride and maneuver.
- They are cool, look futuristic and your favorite celebrity is probably riding one.
- One of the least expensive personal transportation devices.
- This is effective mode of transportation on the flat, smooth surfaces, most of them can reach the speeds of up to 10 mph.
The electric self balancing scooter provides a fun and a convenient mode of personal transport, and it is very popular among teens and adults. Buying a self balanced scooter may seem like a difficult task at first, but with some research, a little patience, and you will have your new ride ready to take on the rush hour madness in no time. Just make sure that your scooter is suitable for your needs, and safe. Make sure to buy a hoverboard which has FCC, CE, and UL certifications and looks for established brands as they all come with warranties and great options for customer support as well. These scooters are closer to a toy than to a vehicle, so if you need something that is more of an actual transportation look for electric scooters or electric bicycles.