Hoverboard Fires: Are Hoverboards Safe to Own?
Hoverboards have earned a bad reputation over the years. There were numerous news reports of boards spontaneously blowing up or catching fire. These incidents involve boards in different states of use, such as being ridden, charging, or just sitting on a shelf.
These self-balancing boards are hot, and the more people that buy them means that more manufacturers make them. The unexpected surge in popularity means that there are a lot of affordable and unregulated brands in the market. The problem with these manufacturers is that they use inferior materials, especially the lithium-ion batteries that they install on the board.
Batteries that catch on fire quickly, coupled with low-quality materials for the hoverboard body means that these transport devices become quick fire hazards.
Hoverboards on Fire
Everyone knows that hoverboards have this tendency to explode. There was even news that it started a full blown house fire. The cause of it all? The lithium-ion batteries. The batteries are an essential part of the board. Without it, you don’t have a functioning device.
You need it to power the motors to move forward, backward, or spin around. Batteries are required to power the internal sensors to balance the board. It is a crucial component in the operation of a hoverboard.
These lithium-ion batteries can catch fire fast. It doesn’t take a lot to get a battery pack to combust. Some of the chief causes of battery fires are as simple as a hard bump or impact, overcharging, or short circuit. The current flowing through the batteries, when not directed properly, can cause temperatures inside to the combustion point of lithium until it starts to burn.
A lot of these hoverboard fires happen during charging because lithium-ion batteries cannot handle overcharging. The only thing that stops this is your charger. Quality chargers feature a mechanism that cuts off the current to the cells once they are full. It stops charging even when you leave it plugged in.
Now you can easily imagine how a board with a charger that’s of low quality can easily overcharge your batteries and catch on fire. When the cut-off mechanism fails to work, that’s where over-charging leads to overheating and ultimately causing a fire.
Preventing Battery Fires
Now that we know the reason at what causes hoverboards to catch on fire. What are the steps we can do to prevent these fires from happening in the first place? The most obvious one is to buy from a reputable manufacturer. The proliferation of low-quality materials and batteries is one of the main reasons for fires.
Another way to prevent fires is to monitor the charging process. Timing the charging process eliminates the chances of over-charging. Use the timer feature on your phone or avoid charging your board overnight to make sure that the battery doesn’t overcharge.
If you’re not sure of your charger, it is also advised to get a high-quality one. Your board will come with one, but you can purchase a charger from a third party supplier that won’t overcharge the batteries.
These steps won’t necessarily prevent fires since a lithium-ion battery can still combust when pierced.
As an additional tip, be careful with your hoverboard. Don’t drop it or hit it with sharp objects as these can pierce the battery and short circuit the cells causing it to catch on fire. A sturdy board that’s well built will surely take this into account and protect your batteries.
Are Hoverboards Safe?
The big question on everyone’s mind right now is, do hoverboards still catch fire? In 2015, when the proliferation of low-quality boards was still rampant, there were a lot of reports about combusting or exploding boards.
In early 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission put a stop to it. They investigated the safety of all boards and recommended that all boards manufactured and imported to the US must be certified safe.
As of early 2016, all of the boards that are available for sale in the US market are deemed safe and have been tested to make sure that batteries are not prone to overcharging and combusting. Compliant boards are less likely to catch on fire.
After all the news of burning boards, there was only one way to solve this problem. It is time to test and certify hoverboards to make sure that they don’t catch fire unexpectedly. That’s where Underwriters Laboratories (UL) come in. They created a new standard for hoverboards and are in charge of testing different brands and models to ensure the safety of consumers.
UL created a certification called the UL 2272 where a hoverboard must pass a series of more than 150 tests. The tests include an overcharge test, water exposure test, crash and shock tests, drop test, short circuit test, and a lot more.
When the certification first came out, manufacturers were committed to improving their designs and quality to reflect the new standards.
Since 2016, new boards that are UL 2272 certified have been deemed reliable. That means that they are no longer a fire hazard and they’re as safe as other devices in your home that use lithium-ion batteries such as your smartphone or laptop.
Safe and Certified Hoverboards
There are a lot of different hoverboards in the market. There are a lot of brands and models that can make it difficult for you to find the best one for your needs. Everyone is looking for a safe and certified board. The good news is that all of the boards in the market today are all UL 2272 certified. That means they are not fire hazards and won’t unexpectedly catch on fire.
Although you still want to find the safest hoverboard that you can fully enjoy. If you’re ready to start shopping for a trusted board that’s safe, then here are the best ones that we have compiled for you. We have done the research, and these are the most reliable self-balancing scooters available in the market today.
Retail Price: $199
The Swagtron Swagboard T5 Classic is branded as a beginner hoverboard but it’s still considered a masterpiece. The build is solid, which is important in terms of safety and is perfect for both experienced and beginner riders.
The T5 is UL 2272 certified, which means that it has passed all of the tests required by Underwriters Laboratories to be allowed for sale in the US. These tests include those for electrical and fire safety so that it doesn’t catch on fire in use or when charging.
One of the more important safety features of the T5 and other Swagtron boards is their SentryShield battery system. This patented technology principally focuses on battery safety, where they encase their lithium-ion cells inside a special fire retardant box, this serves as an added layer of security should the batteries catch fire unexpectedly.
The certification and focus on reliability make the T5 an excellent hoverboard for everyone. For added safety, the T5 comes with non-slip footpads that allow you to ride with confidence. It also comes with a learning mode that caps the maximum speed, when enabled, this is especially useful for beginners learning to ride a self-balancing scooter.
Being a safe hoverboard does not mean that the T5 is slow and dull. It is powered by two 200W motors that push you along up to 7 miles per hour for up to 7 miles. These motors also enable you to climb hills and slopes up to 30 degrees.
High-quality materials and industry-leading safety features make this a board that easily exceeds the UL 2272 requirements for fire safety. The body focuses on protecting the batteries, motors, and all the other components.
Retail Price: $199
Tomoloo, an electric hoverboard brand based in China, that’s breaking a lot of barriers in the US market. When boards were catching fire left and right, the initial culprit, was the influx of manufacturers from abroad. Tomoloo is working to change the stigma by producing high-quality boards that are accredited and certified safe by US authorities.
The Q2-C is a hoverboard that is precisely that. One of the most significant aspects of this board is that it has passed the strict requirements for a UL 2272 certification. Safety has been at the forefront for Tomoloo, where they include explosion-proof batteries and a fire-retardant shell around the lithium-ion cells.
Technology for overcurrent, short circuit, overcharge, and temperature protection has been improved to make the Q2-C a safe and reliable transport device for everyone.
The Q2-C is not only a safe board that doesn’t catch on fire, but it also does not skimp on performance. It has a maximum speed of up to 7.5 miles per hour and can ride up slopes of up to 10 degrees.
As an added safety feature the board is lit up so that other commuters can spot you in the dark. It also comes equipped with Bluetooth speakers to discourage you from using your headphones so you can easily hear signals and horns as you’re traveling down the road.
The Q2-C also comes with its smartphone app that allows you to track your riding behavior, like overall and your current ride mileage. You can also activate learning mode to make it easier for you to adjust riding on a self-balancing scooter. Learning mode also allows you to cap your maximum speed and make it safer for beginner riders.
The Tomoloo Q2-C hoverboard undoubtedly proves its critics wrong that a brand from abroad can be as safe and reliable compared to homegrown ones. The makers also made sure to pump performance enhancing features to make it a fun and exciting personal transport device that you can use for your daily commutes or entertainment.
Retail Price: $299
The Gyroor Warrior All Terrain, Off Road Hoverboard is a solidly built device that’s suited to ride on any surface. It’s fast and powerful that gives the rider the confidence to explore the outdoors.
An essential feature of this hoverboard is that it’s made of 90% aluminum to make sure that it doesn’t unexpectedly combust when you’re out for a ride. Couple the board’s robust build and its UL 2272 certification, this board passes strict safety standards effortlessly.
The Warrior uses either an LG or Samsung lithium-ion cells that are certified fire safe to ensure that it doesn’t combust when charging. These batteries have passed their own electrical and fire safety tests to make sure that all bases are covered.
The board does not skimp on performance either. It comes equipped with two 350W motors that enable it to reach a maximum speed of up to 10 miles per hour and climb steep hills up to 30 degrees. It also comes with an 8.5-inch solid all rubber shock absorbing tires that allow it to tackle any terrain safely.
Out of the box, it comes with a battery charger and power cord with overcharge and overcurrent protection to minimize the risk of the device catching fire if ever you leave it plugged in overnight.
For additional safety, the Warrior comes with an app where you can adjust the maximum speeds. The app is particularly helpful for kids who want to ride the board so you can set a safe speed for them.
It also comes with Bluetooth speakers that you can pair with your smartphone so you can listen to your favorite music whenever you’re riding the hoverboard.
The Gyroor Warrior is a powerful hoverboard that you can use virtually on any surface. It also passes strict safety certifications. If you want a reliable and affordable board, then this model has your needs covered.
Retail Price: $247
One of the things that the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 can boast is its history of safety. Razor is the first US brand to receive the UL 2272 certification for safety. That means that the Hovertrax 2.0, given the history of the brand, meets and even exceeds these different electrical and fire safety standards.
The Hovertrax 2.0 has also elevated its game apart from all the safety certifications it has passed. It’s not just a safe board, but it’s also one of the smartest self-balancing scooters in the market. It comes with its EverBalance technology that levels off automatically to ensure a safer and smoother ride every single time. This technology makes this board perfect for beginners and experts alike. It does all the hard work for you, so all you need to do is enjoy and concentrate on extracting the maximum performance of the board.
The Hovertrax 2.0 comes with twin motors that deliver up to 350W at peak power. Its electric motors enable the board to accelerate up to 8 miles per hour, and its authentic LG battery pack can provide power for up to an hour of travel. An attractive feature of this hoverboard is that the batteries are easily swappable so you can always carry a spare pack with you.
The Razor Hovertrax 2.0 offers quality, safety, and style in a single package. It’s fast and can provide you with the ultimate ride, whether it’s commuting to school or work or riding around the neighborhood with friends.
Retail Price: $489
The Segway Ninebot S is the latest in self-balancing transporter technology. It’s stylish lightweight and equipped with air-filled tires that give you a smooth ride every time. One of the more significant aspects when it comes to improving safety, especially minimizing battery fires, is the build. The Ninebot S is made using aviation grade magnesium alloy that can contain fires.
This hoverboard comes with a high-performance lithium-ion power cell and Segway’s proprietary intelligent Battery Management System (BMS). This system monitors real-time voltage, current, temperature, and usage to make sure that there is no risk of an overload or short circuit that will cause a fire. This monitoring mechanism enables you to ride in safety and comfort.
Segway has made safety a priority for the company and all its devices. It comes with its UL 2272 certification and meets the highest standards when it comes to fire and electrical safety. The body is also rated IP54 waterproof and makes sure that no water comes in contact with the battery, which can cause a lot of problems that can eventually cause a hoverboard fire.
When it comes to performance, the Ninebot S does not shy away. It comes with two motors that can provide 800W of continuous power and up to 1600W when needed. It’s powerful, but it’s quiet and reliable and can propel you to maximum speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. The motors allow you to climb slopes and hills of up to 15 degrees. The range for this hoverboard is up to 13.7 miles on a single charge.
This board is one of the most rider-friendly in the market, and it comes with a New Rider Tutorial that comes with its built-in smartphone app. The app provides training and limits your maximum speed to 4.3 miles per hour until you complete the entire tutorial unlocking the rest of the power.
The Segway Ninebot S is a board that’s easy to learn and is perfect for beginners or experts alike. It rides smooth and has the necessary power whenever you need it.
Hoverboard fires a thing of the past. The UL 2272 safety certification ensures that all the boards you’re going to buy are safe and they won’t catch fire. Batteries are more reliable and are built to withstand higher temperatures before they ignite.
All of those past incidents have contributed to the safety we enjoy today.