You probably just want to get on a Hoverboard and go, right?
Here’s some advice: Think before you act.
If you want to enjoy hoverboarding, you must get the right one for you, whether that is a beginner’s hoverboard, a hoverboard suitable for kids, a hoverboard best for teenagers, or just one of the best ones overall.
This article will help you make the right decision before you spend your hard-earned money buying a hoverboard, only to realize later on that you got the wrong one for your needs.
1. Think Safety
Safety is first, so that’s why I put safety in the top spot when you’re beginning to wonder how to buy a hoverboard.
So maybe you’ve heard that hoverboards have a tendency to catch fire or even explode. That’s kind of old news, but still, to avoid burning your house down, then you’ll want to avoid buying old and/or used models.
The most important thing to do is to make sure your hoverboard is UL 2272-certified. Learn more about this and how to know which hoverboard models are safe in my detailed guide to hoverboard safety.
2. Buy new
Buying new electric and/or electronic devices is never a great idea. You’ve gotta wonder why that person wants to get rid of it. And even if the device seemed fine, you never know whether it might die on your the next day.
With hoverboards in particular, some older models were so unsafe (see the last point) that they have been recalled from the market. The last hoverboard recall took place in 2017. Since then, most major brands are UL 2272 certified. But safety features are continuing to improve, so the newer model you buy, the better.
3. Buy trusted brands
Again, this goes hand in hand with the last point. Even though you may be able to find some super low prices online from shady brands that manufacture their products who knows where, sticking to trusted household names is always your best bet.
4. Buy from trusted websites
Have you ever been burned by a fake website? I have one. One time I saw a great deal on a Facebook ad. I clicked through to the website and tried to buy the product. And guess what? It was a copycat of the real website, and when I tried to make the purchase, they got all of my personal information. I even had to cancel my credit card as a result.
So the point is, when making a serious purchase like a hoverboard, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a trusted website. Have you heard of the website? If you’re buying directly from the manufacturer, make sure you’re on the manufacturer’s website.
Personally, I do most of my online shopping here on Amazon. The site is trustworthy, plus they have very clear policies about returns, when you will get the product, and so on. You can also read reviews before you buy, and leave them after.
5. Determine your budget
As you might expect, hoverboards have quite a range in price. The cheapest ones go for just under $100, but you’ll have to sacrifice some features to get them that cheap. Spending around 200 or less such as these is your best bet for a decent introductory or children’s board.
At the other end of the spectrum, some of the most expensive hoverboards run up to several hundred dollars (for example, check out the price of this bad boy!) If you’re very serious about hoverboarding, or straight up loaded, then go for it!
For most people, though, you’ll probably want to consider a board in the $180 to $400 range. The ones at the lower end are still great, but you’ll get some added quality and features if you’re willing to spend more.
6. Check the weight limits
This is easily one of the most important tips for purchasing a hoverboard. Every hoverboard comes with a weight limit, and it’s important not to exceed it so that you don’t wreck your board or wipe out and get injured. In fact, it’s not even recommended to get too close to the upper weight limit of your board, as its performance will worsen.
Hoverboards have both minimum and maximum weight limits. Hoverboards for kids usually have a minimum weight of 44 pounds (20 kg), which means kids usually have to be around six years old to start riding. Some of these kids ones can have a fairly high maximum weight limit, too, so it’s possible to get a hoverboard the whole family can use.
Also note that the hoverboards themselves vary quite a bit in weight. Some kids’ hoverboards weigh as little as 17 pounds (8 kg), while the heaviest can be up to 35 pounds (16 kg).
7. Decide what features you want
Nowadays hoverboards come with all kinds of awesome features. Here are some that you may want, need, or decide you can live without:
- LCD display (some show more info than others)
- Bluetooth and speakers (to rock out while hovering around)
- LED lights (straight-up awesomeness, especially at night)
- All terrain compatibility (for riding on rougher surfaces)
- Apps (for monitoring your battery life, range, your effort vs. the motor’s, planning routes, and more)
- Modes (some have different ones for different levels of rider)
- Self balancing mode (enhanced self balancing ability, so that the board can balance even when you aren’t on it!)
8. Determine how much power you need
The spinning power, or “torque”, or your hoverboard is going to affect how fast you can accelerate, what kind of surfaces you can ride on, and how steep of inclines your can go up. This will become even more important the larger the rider is.
Although sellers don’t provide a number that can indicate a hoverboard’s power, you can generally assume that a stronger motor and larger wheels are going to give you more power overall.
More power (combined with larger wheels) also means that you’ll be able to go off-roading. Generally speaking, though, off-road hoverboards like these tend to be quite a bit more expensive.
9. Know your hoverboard parts
It’s better to familiarize yourself with the different parts before you pick your hoverboard. Knowing what each of them do will help to make sure you end up with a board that suits your needs.
Every hoverboard comes with a charger. To see what they look like, here is a typical hoverboard charger. Cheaper hoverboards tend to come with cheaper chargers. These may die early deaths, and they tend to get really hot when charging. If you want to invest in a better one, or if you need to replace the one you have, see my guide to the best hoverboard chargers.
After browsing a few models, you’ll soon see that the wheels come in different sizes. The most common sizes are 6.5”, 8” and 10”, and if you see a size mentioned in the products name, it should be referring to wheel size.
Generally speaking, smaller wheels turn easier and are better for younger riders. Larger wheels are more robust, can handle different surfaces better, and are more suitable for larger riders.
Lights are both for aesthetics and for safety. Children and teens may love the flashing accessories, but these can also keep them visible if they ride at dusk or night. If you know you’ll be riding your hoverboard in the dark sometimes, this could be an essential feature for you.
As I mentioned above, a stronger motor is going to give you a more powerful ride. Most hoverboards have dual motors that are at least 200W (100 watts X 2). Hoverboards with stronger motors, such as 350W or even 400W (for a combined output of 800, such as in this board and this board) are going to give you more power, but also cost more. Generally speaking, kids can opt for less powerful motors, while larger adults will want to go for stronger ones.
It’s also worth noting that a larger motor will also drain your battery faster. Thus larger motors tend to come with larger batteries, but this also results in an increase in cost.
Most hoverboards use lithium ion batteries, the same as those in cell phones and laptops. You’ll want to make sure that the battery is UL2271 certified, which means it is up to safety standards.
Hoverboard batteries come in 24V or 36V. The former are smaller and more cost efficient, and you are likely to see them in hoverboards designed for kids. The 36V are more robust but also pricier. Make sure to only use the kind that your hoverboard was designed to take.
When considering which hoverboard to buy, take note of the amount of time it will take to charge the batteries. This can be 2-6 hours. You’ll want to charge until full, avoid overcharging (which can be dangerous), and never ride until completely empty (try to stop at 5%). Read more in my article on how long it takes to charge a hoverboard battery.
This is the fancy panel inside your hoverboard that regulates how much power go out to the wheels. You don’t need to know much about it when buying a hoverboard except that you definitely wants something that works with fitted with gyroscopic sensors. These are what makes sure that power is distributed evenly to the two wheels, giving you a smoother ride.
10. Decide how fast you want to go
Some children’s hoverboards can only reach a speed of 6 MPH. Faster ones max out around 10 MPH, and the fastest hoverboards in the world reach 12 MPH currently.
For most users, though, the point of these things isn’t really to get them up to maximum speed. You probably won’t be putting the pedal to the metal most of the time. But if you’re a speed junky, go for one with a higher speed capacity.
For more information on factors affecting hoverboard speed, see my detailed article about how fast hoverboards can go.
11. Understand battery life
So now that we’ve covered the importance of power, speed, batteries, your also going to want to consider how much mileage you’re going to get out of your hoverboard after each charge.
Cheaper hoverboards can run out of battery power after about an hour, but better ones last 2 or even 3+ hours. But it’s important to note that various factors will affect how long your battery lasts. These include weight of the rider, type of terrain, incline, weather, and speed (the faster you go, the faster it drains). Read more about this in my article on how long a hoverboard battery lasts.
You can generally expect to cover 8-12 miles in one charge. You can often find this information for individual hoverboards in the product descriptions or reviews.
12. Choose a design you love
Hoverboards range from sleek, all-black designs like this one to wildly colorful ones such as these, not to mention the fun added by colorful LED lights. Some hoverboards are unisex, while some are super girly. And even if you’re bored by your hoverboard’s color (or lack thereof), you can always buy one of these skins to pimp it up!
Hopefully by now you have a pretty good idea of what to look for when purchasing a hoverboard. In the end, you want to be happy with your product, and keeping all of the above in mind when buying is going to go a long way in achieving that!