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What is a Hoverboard? Explanation, Types & Where To Buy

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While its name may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, the hoverboard does not use any futuristic technology.

For those asking what is a hoverboard, it is a device that people use for mobility, like bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or roller skates.

They are two-wheeled devices with a platform for their user, and lithium-ion batteries power them.

There is a little more to these devices than their strange name and appearance, and if you are considering buying a hoverboard, there are some more things you will want to know about this latest rage in self-mobility.

What Is a Hoverboard?

If you are wondering what hoverboards are for, they are generally used for transportation.

The hoverboard is the popular term for self-balance scooters, which these devices are, as they function as scooters just without handles or other means of balance beyond their gyroscope.

They work by having the rider apply pressure with their feet to control the speed and movement.

How Do Hoverboards Work?

Hoverboards have four parts that help them move and keep their riders standing: a gyroscope, microprocessors, a battery, and motors.

The gyroscope keeps the rider standing and adjusts the tilt to keep the board balanced as it moves.

Its high-wattage battery stores the power to keep it moving and gets the power to the wheels through the board’s microprocessors, which supply the power to the wheel’s motors and interpret commands from the user.

Can Hoverboards Go Uphill?

Most hoverboards’ gyroscopes allow them to go uphill with their incline assist function.

Therefore, practiced hoverboard riders need only apply their weight forward, and the board will balance them and get them uphill.

This scooter can also function just the same on a downhill slope, making this possible to use for most terrain.

Most hoverboards will travel between six and ten miles per hour, with their speed reaching a ceiling of around 12 miles per hour.

What Is a Hoverboard Made Out Of?

Hoverboards consist of boards, wheels, motors, microprocessors, gyroscopes, and batteries.

As mentioned already, the batteries are composed of Lithium and located in the center of the board.

The board—the platform the rider stands on—is made out of metal or plastic.

The material they use for the platform is lightweight so that the motors can move the board and so they do not lose significant energy on account of the weight.

The wheels are metal at their core but covered in rubber to give them traction.

The microprocessors, also known as the logic board, that process the user’s commands are made of silicon, as are many microchips and logic boards.

Related: How heavy is a hoverboard?

How Are Hoverboards Powered?

Hoverboards are powered by large chargeable batteries.

High-watt lithium (between 36 and 42 volts) batteries store electrical charge and distribute that charge through wires and microprocessors to the board’s two motors, which power the wheels and move the board forward.

These batteries distribute their charge slowly, making it possible to ride a hoverboard for a long time.  

Where Are Hoverboards Legal?

Hoverboards are legal in private spaces and roads across the United States, but only one state has passed legislation to regulate them.

California remains alone among the United States territories in legislating hoverboards and allowing them to operate in trafficked areas under the law.

Most other states have no legislation or law dictating the proper use of hoverboards other than New York City, which has banned their sale and use within the city.

Other countries regulate hoverboards and allow them for use under safety provisions: the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Mecca, Australia, and Toronto, Canada.

Are Hoverboards Easy To Operate?

The ease of hoverboard operation depends on speed.

If a hoverboard is slower, then it will be easier to operate for a beginner and someone with decent balance.

As speed increases, controlling turns, speed, and movement will require more caution as it will become difficult.  

What Ages are Hoverboards Safe For?

Hoverboard companies only recommend a hoverboard for ages eight and older.

Before this age, a child has not developed the requisite motor skills to stay safe on a hoverboard.

Most parents who get a hoverboard for their children also do not do so until their children are a little older.

Do Hoverboards Still Explode?

The idea that self-balance scooters explode is an urban myth and no longer happens.

Very early models tended to overheat and combust due to poorly regulated manufacturing.

Hoverboards now undergo strict supervision and testing in their manufacturing process.

Hoverboard Comparisons

While hoverboards are used for transportation and fun, they are not the only devices used for these two things.

So, let’s compare the hoverboard to some other scooters and boards.

What’s the Difference Between a Hoverboard and a Boost Board?

Hoverboards and boost boards differ in their fundamental design. Hoverboards are scooters instead of boost boards, a form of skateboard.

Boost boards have four wheels, while hoverboards have two.

While they have similar power mechanisms, their steering mechanisms differ as boost boards steer like skateboards, and hoverboards steer by applying more pressure with one foot.  

However, both have rubber wheels allowing them to travel on several different types of terrain.

What’s the Difference Between Hovershoes and a Hoverboard?

Hovershoes and hoverboards have one main difference.

A hoverboard is one piece, while hovershoes are not.

Hoverboards have a central shaft that connects their two sides. Hovershoes have no central shaft, coming in two pieces rather than one.

Both propel forward and turn by shifting your weight according to the direction you want to go.

Hoverboards vs. Skateboards

Hoverboards have two main differences from skateboards.

Hoverboards are electric, and skateboards are not.

One is powered by a battery, the other by a rider.

The other difference is the shape and steering.

Hoverboards have two wheels at the sides of the rider’s feet, while skateboards have four wheels at the front and back of the board, like the boost board.

Motor Skateboards vs. Hoverboards

The difference between hoverboards and motor skateboards is the same difference hoverboards have with boosted boards, save one aspect.

While boosted boards have rubber wheels that look like tires, many motorized skateboards do not, opting for more traditional skateboard wheels.

Consequently, motorized skateboards cannot handle diverse terrain or inclines.

Hoverboards vs. Segways

Hoverboards and segways differ in size and design.

While hoverboards have no handlebar and rely on feet and weight for steering and navigation, segways use handlebars to steer and navigate.

Segways also have much bigger wheels and more powerful motors that can enable them to handle rough off-road terrain, whereas the smaller hoverboard is not capable of this.

Segways can also travel faster than hoverboards by a few miles per hour on average.

How Much Does a Hoverboard Cost?

You can expect to pay $100 for the lower-end price of this product, while $700 seems to be its ceiling.

What is the Ideal Hoverboard Price Range?

The hoverboards you can rely on for durability and long-term use fall between $300 and $600.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Hoverboard?

This answer depends on whether or not you can do DIY repairs or have to bring the hoverboard in for repair.

If you can do DIY repairs, expect the repair/replacement costs to be:

  • $30-$70 for the motherboard
  • $20-$50 for the Gyroscopes
  • $80-$120 for the motors
  • $20-$90 for the frame

If you are not capable of DIY repairs, expect repairs to cost:

  • $150 for the logic board
  • $120 for the gyroscopes
  • $180 for the motor
  • $160 for the frame

Is a Hoverboard Worth Buying?

If you are wondering whether a hoverboard is a worthy purchase, these are the pros and cons to consider:

Pros of Buying a Hoverboard

  • Efficient (no emissions)
  • Charge quickly
  • Generally Affordable
  • Portable
  • Convenient

Cons of Buying a Hoverboard

  • Learning curve (increasing difficulty of use with speed)
  • Cannot travel long distances
  • In some cases, it can be slower than walking.
  • Risk of falling
  • Low shock absorption (cracks in the pavement can pose a danger to beginners)

Conclusion: Are Hoverboards Worth Buying?

Of course, this answer depends on you.

If you or your child want to travel short distances without walking, or would like to use a fun, efficient device to get between places at an affordable cost, then the hoverboard may be for you.

Just keep learning to navigate it in mind and keep the ground in front of you in mind as you begin using it.

What Factors Do You Consider When Buying a Hoverboard?

If a hoverboard is for you, here is what to consider before you make the purchase.

1. Safety

All electric-powered devices pose a risk of some kind.

While hoverboards no longer pose the fire risk they once died, it is better to get a higher-end hoverboard that has undergone strict regulation and can navigate easier than other models.

2. Kinds of Hoverboards

There are three types of hoverboards you can consider using.

They are the classic, off-road, and smart-balance models.

Classic hoverboards are for use in mostly level, urban or rural areas, while off-road hoverboards are equipped with special wheels and motors to handle rougher terrain.

Smart-balance models only differ in their advanced gyroscope, which keeps the rider balanced.

3. Charging Times

Most hoverboards will only take about an hour to an hour and a half to charge because Lithium batteries work efficiently, so this quick charging time is a plus.

4. Speed Range

Hoverboards travel about six to 10 miles per hour, while faster hoverboards can reach up to 12 miles per hour.

5. Rider’s Height and Weight

Most hoverboards have a weight limit of 220-250 lbs, meaning you will have to find a specialty hoverboard if you are over this weight.

Children should have no problem finding a hoverboard for their size, as they are typically nowhere near the weight limit and their shorter height makes it easier for them to steer.

6. Hoverboard’s Weight

Hoverboards range from 20 to 30 pounds, with the lighter models more geared toward smaller people and the heavier models geared toward adults.

This weight is designed to keep the board moving quickly while supporting the rider’s weight.

If you are an adult, you will want a hoverboard that is around 25 pounds.

7. Terrain

Classic hoverboards will handle most concrete and asphalt just fine, but if you want a hardier model that will pose no problem with rougher terrain, the off-road model is a more versatile option.

8. Local Laws

See if your local laws have any provisions preventing the use of hoverboards before buying one.

If there are no laws, interpret that as you will, but it would be unwise to buy one and find out that they are not legal in your area.

9. Additional Features

Consider the actual type of battery and the material the frame is composed of.

If its frame is metal, you can expect it to be more durable and reliable.

Where to Buy a Hoverboard

You can acquire several hoverboard models at chain stores around the United States.

Amazon offers a wide selection and recommendations, as does Best Buy.

Target and Walmart also offer hoverboards for purchase, in addition to Jet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s some additional information on hoverboards.

Do hoverboards hover?

Simply put, no. This term became popular in 2015 concerning “Back to the Future.”

Hoverboards are simply scooters without a handlebar that run on wheels rather than air.

What is so special about a hoverboard?

The lightweight and convenience of the hoverboard have skyrocketed it to popularity.

Riders cannot expend any effort to travel and can simply stand on the board to move.

This sets hoverboards aside from many other self-propelled mobility options.

Why are hoverboards so popular now?

Hoverboards are popular because they are eco-friendly, affordable, and fun, and they rose to fame because of celebrities riding them and because of the infamous combustion incidents.

Wrapping Up

To answer the question of what is a hoverboard, it is a desirable product for some people and an undesirable one for others.

We hope we have helped you see whichever it is for you, but feel free to comment if you still have questions.

In the simplest terms, these self-balanced and propelled scooters offer a unique, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to transport yourself.

If you would like to use one, be sure it is legal in your state.

There are several factors to consider before buying one, and you should expect to pay between 300 and 600 for a high-quality hoverboard.

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