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The criteria used for this evaluation
When it comes to reviewing self-balancing scooters it’s difficult to find credible sources. Very few of these products are featured on independent review sites like Cnet, Which? Or Consumer Review. We made our shortlist based primarily on sales. After that, we looked at reliable brands like Swagtron to help provide newer products on our list. Finally, we conducted extensive research using Amazon’s confirmed user reviews to assess how well these products performed over time.
Our write ups are based on our expertise in these products and what we thought customers would want to see in a product. The primary features for each hover-board are weight, charge time and engine size. Afterwards we assessed top-speed, weight capacity and price to decide who these products would be suited to. Manufacturing quality was assessed using confirmed user reviews. This gave us a good idea of how each product would fare in the rough and tumble world of hover-boarding.
Children’s toys or commuter scooters?
Self-balancing scooters are manufactured with these two categories in mind. It´s worth mentioning that children are actually better equipped to ride hover-boards than adults. A lower center of gravity combined with less weight makes children the ideal riders of self-balancing scooters. From a parent’s perspective though, there might be a few things to consider before giving your child a 1000W speedster.
If you’re buying a self-balancing scooter as a toy then you’ll likely want to keep costs down a little bit. There’s plenty of scooters available for around $300. These won’t last forever, but they will have enough quality to make a great present. The only warning I’d give to potential buyer’s is to avoid going below $100. The cheapest models on the market are usually manufactured poorly. This can lead to a lot of disappointment if the product stops working or, in some cases, will be just plain dangerous. When you’re buying a scooter always look for the UL22772 certificate which shows a product is compliant with US safety regulations.
Speed and stability
Some scooters go faster than others. If you’re buying for an under 10 you probably want something that is limited below 8mph. 10Mph might not sound like a lot but falling at that speed hurts, trust me. More important than speed though, is stability. A 6mph scooter can be far more dangerous than a 12mph if the handling isn’t right. Some cheaper models won’t calibrate the motors properly which results in a vibrating, in-stable ride. Other scooters will have ultra sensitive handling which won’t be conducive to those just starting out. On our list we’d recommend the Surfus S-series, the Razor Hovertrax and the T1 series as the best children’s scooter in terms of rider stability.
Undoubtedly the primary concern for a children’s toys. Luckily, since 2016 all hover-boards sold through Amazon have to have a UL22772 certificate. That means each product has been put through 159 separate safety checks to ensure the battery systems are safe. If possible, it’s better to opt for a US based manufacturer to avoid a faulty model which may have charging problems.
If you want a reliable commuter scooter then you have to pay a little more. Children’s scooters will really struggle with a higher weight capacity. As an adult you should be looking at an engine size of at least 600W to get around on. These tend to cost more and you should expect to spend at least $500 to get the right model.
When you’re riding to work you’re going to encounter a lot of different surfaces. Some will be smooth, others not so smooth. For that reason, you need to consider the ground clearance. Children’s scooters will usually have 6.5 inch tires. On a commuter scooter you’ll need at least 8 inches with air-filled tires. This means you’ll be able to ride bumps or gravel with minimal fuss.
Distance per charge
Commuter scooters are a lot heavier than children’s toys so you really won’t want to be carrying these under your arm. Look for something with at least ten miles per charge and a charge time of just 2 or 3 hours; that way you can recharge at the office.
A lot of cheap hover-boards will promise a weight capacity of 220llbs. Although they probably can carry that kind of weight, the performance, stability and battery life will all suffer. On our list the best commuter scooters are the Epikgo sport, the Halo rover, the T6 series and the Skque X1.
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Technology & Features
Self-balancing scooters are still in their infancy with the best technology yet to come. Having said that, here’s a few cool features to look out for on modern products.
Now, before you get too excited, almost every self-balancing scooter is equipped with a motherboard. What to look for is a motherboard that is fitted with gyroscopic sensors. Hover-boards are powered by dual motors which distribute power to each wheel. The motherboard regulates that power. With gyroscopic sensors the motherboard is able to distribute power evenly between both wheels. The ability to do that results in a smooth, stable and vibration free ride. If you’re choosing between two similar boards, get the one with gyroscopic sensors.
LEDs, Speakers, Bluetooth, Apps
A lot of products on the market will try to bamboozle you with all kinds of “hi-tech” extra gadgets. Don’t get me wrong, having speakers sure is fun, but it’s primarily an aesthetic quality. The most valuable technology to go for is the technology directly related to performance. Companies know that it’s much cheaper to add Bluetooth speakers than it is to invest in performance enhancing research and technology.
Since the dawn of the electric scooter there’s always been one problem, battery life. On most older products the battery will cut out without prior warning. That means the self-balancing system goes and the wheels grind to halt. If you’re traveling at 10mph that’s going to hurt. It also hurls the board into a maelstrom of scratches and broken plastic. Stopping systems slowly reduce power as the charge enters its final stages and completely negates this problem. The technology tends to be limited to modern vehicles but, if you have the money, it’s well worth investing in.
This is the single most important thing to look out for on the technology front. To get a patent companies have to pay. It also means they’ve invested money into a system they think will put their product above the competition. As a rule of thumb, patented technology is worth the investment, “the latest technology” is not.