Hoverboards made their entry in the market during the early 2015s. In a short time, it became booming popular with inspiration from the celebrities and media. Come-on let’s embrace the fact that it’s actually a cool thing to have. Moreover, it was a new technology then, quite easy to ride and somewhat trendy. In short, hoverboards started selling like a hotcake.
But soon this booming trend was slammed by some safety incidents relating the hoverboards. Seemed like it was prone to catch fire randomly out of the blue. Therefore, the authorities stepped in and things like banning hoverboards, recalling faulty products and setting standards took place. So all this raised a big question, are hoverboards safe?
What Was Wrong With The Hoverboards
Now before continuing this let’s have a crash course on why the hoverboards caught fire. I’m sure you know that hoverboards are an electrical ride and have batteries in it. Batteries mean moderately big batteries. It’s bigger than the one you have in your cell phone or laptop but smaller than the one you have in your car.
There are mainly two types of batteries in our daily life products. One is lead acid, the classic fat one and another is lithium ion, the modern sleek one. For instance, lead-acid is the fat battery in your car sitting under the hood. Whereas lithium ions are everywhere now, starting from your cell phone, laptop to electric cars. Lithium ions are far more efficient than lead acid batteries and I’m sure you don’t want me to discuss it here why.
Now let’s talk about why the lithium-ion batteries catch fire. Well truth to be said the ones that catch fire is a design flaw or manufacturing flaw, it’s not a technical flaw. However, not all such batteries catch fire. You are having it in your cell phone, laptop, and a lot of other devices. Not all catch fire out of the sudden, right? But few out of the many do as well and you might not hear them about. If you remember one popular Samsung phone was recalled due to its battery explosion. I’m sure some similar incident happened with some laptops or other devices as well which didn’t come to the limelight.
Elementary science says in a battery there should be a positive terminal and a negative terminal. These terminals are well separated by a separator in the battery. You connect your device to those terminals to power things up. But if somehow the terminals get connected beneath the battery (short circuit) then it heats up and eventually ends up in fire or explosion. Now the question arises how a short circuit could happen within a battery. Simply put if the terminal separators wore off or there is a breach then there is a short circuit and you know the rest. Some cheap manufacturers cut corners and use poor quality separators. Their batteries are the one which is prone to accident.
Enough geek talk on batteries. Now let’s get back on how to make hoverboards safe.
Every wheeled ride has some risk associated with it. You ride a bike or a skateboard or anything similar you are risking yourself of falling off and hurting yourself. Hoverboards are no different here. You could get bruises, strains, sprains, and even fractures from riding it. There are some preventive measurements you could take. Don’t miss to check our blog on that. Surprisingly these measurements are exactly those which you would take when you ride a bike, skate or skateboard. Yes I know I don’t need to tell you about this. But no harm in going through them again right?
- Use protective gear like helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads & knee pads.
- Follow manufacturer safety guidelines properly. Like age or weight restrictions and other warnings.
- One best thing to do is riding in a safe zone avoiding traffic. Come on its common sense. No one will ride something in a freeway, right? I know you get my point.
- Don’t over speed just because the thing allows you to.
Here comes the safety of the hoverboard itself. You would know better if you have an idea of how it works. We already talked about why hoverboards catch fire and not be safe. It’s time to get on what to do about it and how to prevent it. It’s quite obvious now that cheap hoverboards are more prone to fire. So it’s good to avoid the cheap ones & get one from reputable manufacturers. You may check our Top 10 Reviews to get an idea. But still just getting a reputable hoverboard from a reputable store is not a good enough safety check, is it? There are some other safety checks you need to make.
A cheap hoverboard is most likely to be equipped with a counterfeit plug compromising safety. You might need to check it for:
- A BSI (British Standard Institution) certified marking in the plug body.
- A small fuse within the plug.
You can check the details of how to identify a counterfeit unsafe plug here in bsigroup.com.
Most of the cheap low-quality hoverboards have weird packaging. You’ll see a brand name or specific manufacturer name label is missing there. Besides misspellings will be there in the package, product itself or the user manual. Look out for this when you pick one.
A certification mark which I’m sure you are familiar with. A lot of devices are out there which have this marking ensuring the CE standard. The CE check stands for the reliability of your hoverboard. Cheap ones will have no CE marking or something which doesn’t match with the real one.
UL (Underwriter Laboratories) Certification
As I said earlier, after the fire incidences in the early hoverboard days, authorities stepped in. So finally in February 2016 UL2272 certification was set specially for hoverboards. Thanks to the UL guys to help out all the hoverboard fans out there. Moreover, the good news is UL2272 certification complies with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as well!
UL2272 certified hoverboards had to go through more than 100 severe tests to get this. These tests include the complete electrical system test including tests for battery safety.
So the bottom line is hoverboards that are UL2272 certified, are free from any electrical fire risk and thus are safe.
Now it’s obvious now that UL uncertified hoverboards possess a fire risk and you know what to do and what not to!
Yes, you are wrong if you are thinking a certification is there and you don’t need to be cautious anymore. Every lithium-ion device advises to use the supplied charger, discharge the battery time to time and not to overcharge it. The same applies to our hoverboards here.
- Always use the supplied charger & avoid using any other chargers, even if it appears to charge the hoverboard. You never know what damage you are causing in the long run.
- Don’t overcharge it. A big mistake is putting in charge for a longer time than it is required.
- Try to charge your hoverboard only when it’s discharged or in a low battery. That way you can keep the battery healthy.
- Make sure your batteries don’t get any physical shock. Usually, this comes from dropping the hoverboard or a hard hit.
Unsafe hoverboards are long gone and It’s quite safe now. People around you are having it, riding it and most importantly enjoying it. But still being cautious never can harm you right? Rather you might get the advantage of it someday.