How safe is a hoverboard in 2018?
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.
In 2016 the US Customs Department seized 16,000 uncertified and counterfeit hoverboards within a few weeks.
Here is an image of the seized hoverboards:
Customs agents also 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.
With the safety of hoverboards being a major concern, C|net 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 2018.
How safe is a hoverboard in 2018 - well it has become a complete non issue now. The reason is very simple, every single hoverboard being sold on major retail websites like Amzon.com and other top retailers is now UL 2272 certified.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of hoverboards available on Amazon itself, and each and every one is UL 2272. What does that imply? It implies that Chinese manufacturers have shifted from low quality unsafe hoverboards to UL 2272 hoverboards.
When the root of the problem, which was unsafe hoverboards being manufactured in China is being tackled, the repercussions will be very positive. We can see that today non UL 2272 certified hoverboards are hardly seen int eh market.
As a community Americans only need to be aware of the UL standards of safety, namely UL 2272, that a hoverboard must be certified with. If that is taken care of, the hoverboard is safe.
In the last year, there have been almost no cases of fires due to hoverboards. That is telling a lot, as the number of fire related incidents was almost one a week during 2015 and 2016.
We feel that he hoverboards market has evolved from unsafe to UL 2272 certified. The main reason people were buying unsafe hoverboards was because they were comparatively cheaper, but today, UL 2272 certified hoverboards range from $150 to $700. So, there is no question of getting cheaper unsafe hoverboards.
So, you can safely buy a hoverboard today from Amazon, and know that you have bought a safe product that will not put anyone in harms way (other than of course a fall if you lose your balance while riding the hoverboard).
Also with the move towards retailing safer hoverboards, the US Govt. specifically CPSC investigating the issue, the US Customs seizing all counterfeit hoverboards, things are already much more regulated.
Most Important Hoverboard Safety Guidelines 2018
1. Always buy hoverboards from reliable online sellers like Amazon or US based hoverboard companies.
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 wihtout UL 2272 certification.
4. Choose a well known brands like SwagTron, EpikGo, Razor Hovertrax etc.
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