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Hoverboards--A Futuristic Way to Get Around

Yehudah Posnick

Unlike Marty McFly’s futuristic skateboard in Back to the Future, Part II, today’s hoverboards don’t actually have the ability to hover. But, nonetheless, hoverboards have gone from being just a popular fad toy to a real means of transportation, even on rough terrain. Most of the popular hoverboards that you’ll see are variations on the Segway, developed by inventor Dean Kamen. When riding on it, you can direct it to speed up or slow down by distributing your body weight, leaning in a particular direction to steer it.

But there is still a lot of variation between the designs. There are off-road hoverboards, which can handle difficult terrain, and simpler models, for just recreational use on the sidewalk or street. There are hoverboard models with two symmetrical wheels and others that manage to travel on a single wheel! We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a hoverboard. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of hoverboard for your preferences,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of hoverboard,

  • Read reviews of different hoverboards, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of hoverboard, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Hoverboards

  • Off-road hoverboards: These are capable of traveling on all types of terrain: not just a sidewalk, but even grass, sand, or a dirt path, at speeds of as much as 12 mph. They can also go up inclines of as much as 30 degrees of slope!

  • One-wheel hoverboards: There are also hoverboards with a single wheel. You ride it pretty much like a skateboard, with one foot in front and one foot behind the wheel. Some have a nice feature of being able to run longer, in a shorter amount of charging time. For example, the Onewheel Off-Road Skateboard by Future Motion charges up in only 20 minutes, and gives as much as 6 hours of travel time!

  • Kids’ hoverboards: These will be more affordable models, since they will have fewer features. They also will be intended for traveling at slower speeds (typically around 6 mph).

What reviewers say

Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

  • Speakers: Many hoverboards also have Bluetooth speakers, to allow you to listen to music while riding. You can send it music by pairing it up with your smartphone.

  • Battery life and charging time: Another important factor is how much you can travel on a single charge. Some can go as far as 10 miles without having to recharge.

  • Colorful design and lights: Many Hover-1 hoverboards have LED headlights, as well as color-changing LED wheel lights.

  • Water and Dust Resistance: Hoverboards contain complex electronics to make them so responsive. But these electronics need protection from the elements. You’ll notice an “IP” number describing the hoverboard’s resistance to dust or water penetrating. “IP” stands for “Ingress Protection”. An IP rating of IPX4 means that it can withstand splashes of water, such as when going through a puddle. The higher the second digit, the more resistant it will be against water seeping in. (The “X” means that the manufacturer didn’t test the device for dust ingress.)

Important Features

    • Wheel size: You’ll see that hoverboards vary in the diameter of the wheels. For example, Xprit makes hoverboards in 6.5” and 8.5” diameters. Hover-1 makes a hoverboard with 10”-diameter wheels, which gives better traction, balance, and stability on any terrain, even grass or sand. But larger wheel sizes usually mean less ability going up inclines. Also, smaller models lend for greater mobility.

    • Tire type: Pneumatic tires that you have to inflate from time to time, are better at adjusting to different terrain than wheels made of solid rubber.

    • Weight capacity: There is a wide variation in the weight capacity of different hoverboards. The Hover-1 Helix Hoverboard has a 160-pound weight limit, so it’s good for kids and most teenagers. But, for adults, you’ll want something like the Hover-1 H1 or Titan, with weight limits of 264 pounds!

    • Safety precautions: It’s highly recommended to use a hoverboard wearing appropriate safety gear, including a bike helmet, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads. This is especially important when first getting adjusted to riding a hoverboard. You’ll find that the more you lean forward, the faster you’ll be propelled forward. Also, pushing with the toes of one foot and the heel of the other will allow you to make sharp turns. But, this also increases the chances of falling—so it’s wise to exercise caution.

    • Don’t leave a hoverboard unattended when charging: There have been incidents where hoverboard batteries have overheated and even exploded. It’s recommended not to charge the device overnight, or even during the day if no one is around to supervise.

Top-Rated Brands

Hover-1 is a manufacturer of hoverboards, electric and kick scooters, electrical bikes, electric skateboards, and more.

Segway are makers of personal transportation devices. The company was founded by Dean Kamen, who wanted to make self-balancing mobility devices that could help people travel smoothly even on uneven surfaces. They merged with the Chinese company Ninebot in 2015. They are famous for electric and kick-scooters and hoverboards that can go up to 45 km/hr!

Uni-Sun Electronics was founded in 2005. They make batteries for laptops and power tools, as well as balance scooters, self-balance hoverboards, skateboards, electric bicycles, and much more.

Xprit is based in Ontario, Canada, and are well-known manufacturers of electric bikes, scooters, hoverboards and carts, and more.

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