How safe is a hoverboard in 2016?
A lot has happened from the time that the hoverboard burst into the United States market. During Christmas 2015, the hoverboard was the most popular Christmas gift of the season. Though hoverboards flew off the shelves, the safety issues also began to emerge with disturbing frequency.
From news about random fires due to overcharging of hoverboards to frequent fire mishaps because of hoverboards, the safety concerns were mounting. It was only a matter of time before the authorities looked into the matter.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) of United States took matters into hand and started to investigate the causes of fire. Soon the United States Government agencies began to confiscate hoverboards that did not meet safety standards. Hoverboards are being confiscated in numbers, sometimes running into tens of thousands.
Recently the US Customs Department seized 16,000 uncertified and counterfeit hoverboards within a few weeks.
Here is an image of the seized hoverboards:
In news that came in a few days back, customs agents seized 42,000 counterfeit hoverboards being shipped from China to the US.
Here is a video of the incident:
Another video of hoverboards seized by US Customs:
By the start of 2016, the fire hazard concerns became too high. Major airlines and Universities banned hoverboards. A leading brand of hoverboards Swagway also came under the scanner of the CPSC. Swagway released a press statement in which they said that their hoverboard had components that were UL certified. Most of the leading hoverboard manufacturers and brands were investigated.
UL Certifications for Hoverboards - Underwriters Laboratories
Then the focus shifted to Underwriters Laboratories, which decided to come out with a specific UL certification for hoverboards. The UL certification was for the category Electrical Systems for Self Balancing Scooters.
Here is a link to the page which gives details about the UL certification - UL Certification Details
Meanwhile Swagway displayed a next generation hoverboard during CES 2016, which they call the SwagTron. The SwagTron is expected to be available in the market by February 2016. According to Johnny Zhu the CEO of Swagway, the SwagTron is specifically designed keeping safety and fire issues in mind.
Amongst a whole host of new safety features, the New Swagway SwagTron offers the following:
The New Swagway SwagTron at CES 2016
Fire-retardant Plastic Chassis – The body of the SwagTron will be fire-retardant, made from poly-carbonate (fire-resistant) hard plastic.
Sentry Shield™ – This technology consists of an aluminum chamber encasing the battery, which will contain any explosion or fire due to the lithium-ion battery.
Fire-retardant coating – The internal components of the SwagTron, including major components like wires and circuit boards have a special fire-retardant coating.
Underwriters Laboratories also came up with a video about safety precautions for hoverboards.
UL has stated that the UL certification which has been given the number UL 2272, will focus on the safety of the battery. It will extensively test for the battery’s safety in case of overcharging and heating up. There will also be drop tests so that they can be tested for safety when there is an impact. Amongst the tests, UL states that the certification will involve short-circuit, over-discharge, vibration, shock, imbalanced charging, dieleltric voltage, crush and mold stress relief tests.
Now all hoverboard manufacturers and sellers will be able to submit their hoverboards for UL certification here - http://contact.ul.com/contact-ul-energy
With the safety of hoverboards being a major concern, Cnet took apart a hoverboard and discussed the reasons why a hoverboard can catch fire. They came up with a very informative video, which you can see below:
In light of all of these developments, this is what we think about hoverboard safety in 2016.
How safe is a hoverboard in 2016 - we believe that hoverboarding will be a much safer and better experience if a simple set of safety guidelines are followed.
Also with the move towards manufacturing safer second generation hoverboards, the US Govt. specifically CPSC investigating the issue, the US Customs seizing all counterfeit hoverboards, the problems are going to reduce drastically.
We feel that in the coming months, only the safe hoverboards with all required certifications, and with the new UL certification for Electrical Systems of Self Balancing Scooters, will be available with reputed sellers.
Our recommendation right now is to buy a hoverboard from the Swagway website. Swagway has always shown a serious commitment to the safety and quality standards of it hoverboards. It has also been in close contact with UL and CPSC for setting the standards for hoverboard safety in the industry.
Most Important Hoverboard Safety Guidelines 2016 – How to buy a safe hoverboard in 2016
1. Always buy hoverboards from reliable online sellers like Amazon or US based hoverboard companies. Amazon has removed all hoverboards from its website now, so our recommendation is to buy directly from the Swagway website.
2. Ensure that the hoverboard you choose has UL certification. In fact check for clear communication from the manufacturer about the UL certification of the hoverboard as well as its valid warranty. The CPSC has stated that hoverboard cannot be sold without being certified with the UL 2272 standard.
3. Completely avoid unbranded generic hoverboards that sell for significantly less than $300.
4. Choose a well known brand such as Swagway, and ideally go in for the enhanced safety second generation hoverboards like the Swagway SwagTron, which will come into the market soon.
5. When you are choosing a hoverboard or even if you have already bought a hoverboard, try to follow these 30 Hoverboard Safety and Buying Tips.
To know more about the Swagway SwagTron, read our detailed article here – New Swagway Hoverboard the SwagTron Review