Buyer’s Guide to Understanding Hoverboards

We know it’s August. But, hey – it never hurts to get a head start on Christmas shopping. So, now that we have you thinking about the Big Day, why not get your loved one a hoverboard? However, that’s a task that’s easier said than done – the number of models, colors, and styles make it hard to pick a specific unit.

That’s where we come into play. Below, we’ll walk you through the buying process from start to finish. Let’s get started.

What Is A Hoverboard?

A hoverboard is a battery-powered, handle-less scooter.  It emerged in 2015 – the same year Marty McFly visited in Back To The Future II. In that movie, hoverboards were essentially floating skateboards.

Sadly, we haven’t mastered anti-gravity technology (yet). But, our hoverboard’s inventor did the next best thing – they made Segway-style transport accessible to the masses.

How Does A Hoverboard Work?

Like its bigger, pricier ancestor, hoverboards use a gyroscope to propel its riders backwards and forward, and to initiate turns. But, how exactly do they work, and how would you go about piloting one?

After powering up your unit, step onto the board. As long as you remain centered, your hoverboard will remain (relatively) still. Lean forward ever so slightly, though, and everything changes. Sensing a shift in weight, the gyroscope will send this data to the logic board. This circuit then sends a message to the wheels to move forward.

The same applies when you lean in other directions. Lean back and your hoverboard will go backwards. Lean to the right or left, and the wheels will turn accordingly.

Which Hoverboard Should I Buy?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? As you can probably guess, there is no one-size-fits-all hoverboard. The hoverboard you should buy is the one that fits its rider and their preferences best.

Below, we’ll address each factor, and leave you to sort out the details.

User Considerations

When it comes to the rider, consider two things – weight and maturity.

Most hoverboard manufacturers create units that can handle riders up to 220 pounds. Obviously, this poses problems for anyone heavier than that. Most consumers pay no mind to weight restrictions when buying. Consequently, many end up breaking their board shortly after that.

Fortunately, you can find hoverboards that can take up to 400 pounds of weight – so keep looking.

Secondly, consider whether your recipient is capable of driving a hoverboard safely. These units come with a recommended age of eight and up. However, if the kid you’re buying for has a hard time keeping their balance, you may want to reconsider.


The fanciest, most feature-rich hoverboard in existence will get returned if your recipient hates its appearance.

This isn’t an issue if you’re shopping for yourself – you like what you like. But, if you’re buying a hoverboard as a gift, style matters.

Err on the conservative side of things. For instance, for boys, blue hoverboards are a popular choice. You could just ask your recipient what they want, but what if you want it to be a surprise? Befriend one of their peers, and have them bring up hoverboards in casual conversation. Use what you learn to make your buying decision.


Hoverboards, especially higher-end models, offer more than balance-powered locomotion.

They can come with features that greatly enhance your hovering experience. Mid-range models come with LED lighting – often in a wide range of colors. Pricier boards offer Bluetooth connectivity – this can power speakers and give you the ability to move your hoverboard remotely.


Lots of tech toys chew up battery power like there’s no tomorrow.

Hoverboards are no different – between its electric motors and glowing lights, you’ll be charging them often. If you aren’t careful, you may end up with a board that has limited range.

Forty-five minutes was the worst we saw, and that was for a mainstream hoverboard. Generally speaking, the average hoverboard lasts 1-2 hours. Get a fuel-efficient model, and you could get up to four hours of battery life.

Are Hoverboards Safe?

If you search for hoverboards online, it’s unavoidable. Soon after their emergence, they became the hottest gift of 2016. Manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand, so corners got cut. Their circuitry had flaws, leading to malfunctions.

Even worse, cheap Chinese batteries got subbed for more reliable (but pricier) brands. This choice contributed to the hoverboard’s nastiest habit – catching fire and exploding.

Four years later, though, the hoverboard “fad” has died down. Today, leading manufacturers take pride in crafting, reliable, safe hoverboards. Stick to buying boards on these sites, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Surprise Your Loved One With A Memorable Gift

Whether for Christmas or someone’s birthday, hoverboards make brilliant gifts. In this post, you’ve learned all the info you need to make the best possible purchase. Soon, your loved one will be cruising their neighborhood in style!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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