One among this year’s hottest gifts is the hoverboard, also known as the less enticing but better name of an “electric hands-free scooter.” If you’re brave enough to try to grab one of these elusive people-movers, then you probably have a few pre-shopping questions. We've got answers.
Where Can I Buy One?
It’s already this late in the year and you want to buy one now? It’s not impossible, but it won’t be easy. Several major retailers are sold out already or don’t desire to stock them in any respect (liability issues are extremely real)-so getting one before the holidays is going to be an issue. Going directly to one with the manufacturer’s websites is your best choice (some links below), or create an Amazon alert first of the better-known brands. Sure, research online for “hoverboard” on Amazon describes a lot of options, but a lot of they're knock-offs that are going to break, or worse.
How Much Is it Going to Cost?
A great way to tell if your board is worthwhile is cost. Under $300? You probably want to back away quickly. Some of the best-reviewed boards are well over $1,000, though one particular without celebrity reputations attached can be obtained for between $500-$900. TL;DR: There really isn’t an ordinary price yet, however you should budget to pay at least $500.
Which Ones Include the Safest?
A better question to ask might be, “Which hoverboard won’t explode and kill me, providing a death so embarrassing it may sound like an Onion headline?” Fantastic and wise query. There are a few reports about cheap type of the devices being sold with low quality battery packs that overheat. Then, you know, explode. Unfortunately, these reports have got all declined to name names-but most information shows that units coming straight from China are the culprits. But, um, that’s a lot of them. A good bet is to opt for one of the popular manufacturers: PhunkeeDunk, Hovertrax, IO Hawk, Ninebot, and Swagway are all (relatively) big names with this market.
Really, though, possibly an ultra-cheap deal or some Groupon-type steep discount, please take a hard look at those specs. And possibly just don’t get it. Safer to be safe than turn out the butt of the saddest joke ever. If the deal seems too helpful to be true… it is.
Can one Ride This Thing Outside?
This will depend where you live. The U.K. says you can’t ride your hands-free scooter on sidewalks or road, so twenty-four hours a day wheel around indoors or directly looking at your driveway. They may be also-maybe-not allowed in Nyc, depending on how fast yours can go. If it can go faster than 15 mph (and not that many can), leave it at home. In California, a fresh law that passes at the start of the year will make it perfectly Okay to ride your board in bike lanes and pathways (helmets required!). Still, some individual malls, schools, and other spaces are taking measures to ban these from other hallways and premises, so bear in mind that the rules may not often be on your side.
OK, Therefore I Can Ride This Outside, Which One’s Perfect for Outdoors?
If you’re using this thing out on concrete or pavement, then almost all of the major brands will work fine. If you’re looking for something to take on rougher terrain, the Solowheel Extreme from Hovertrax is a good option. In general, the main Hovertrax board is a fantastic selection for all-around rideability-check out this video extracting some of the other famous labels and comparing their strengths (and weaknesses). Something to consider: These are electric, so riding them around while it's raining isn’t the best idea ever. Somewhat water on the road won’t cause a blast at the, but that’s as much as you must risk.
Are These Little Kid-Friendly?
How dextrous can be your child? If you are buying this thing for a kid, maybe check out a model that includes a handle. It’s basically a Segway for small people, but it’s certainly safer. If that’s just not going to cut it, then pick a device with a lower max speed; 5 MPH is most likely enough. Devices with bigger tires another little easier to maneuver. The Ninebot’s middle knee rest feature might also help with balance.
Wait, Precisely what are These Even Called?
LOL nobody knows! Technically, what you are trying to buy is not a hoverboard-those do actually exist, only in prototype form, so you won’t be acquiring one this holiday shopping season. Names that folks have been calling them: glideboard, hands-free Segway, electric scooter, or perhaps “rideable” (ugh). If you want to speak which of the people, just keep with hoverboard (though maybe use air quotes around “hover” because that is not actually what’s happening).