We know, we know. Technically, these boards don’t actually hover, but “hands-free scooter” just doesn’t sound as cool. It’s been a tough few years for the hoverboard industry, as the damn things just won’t stop catching fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hoverboard-related fires between December 201and February were responsible for more than $2 million in property damages nationwide. Some college campuses and airlines have banned self-balancing scooters altogether, and the United Kingdom has completely outlawed their use in any public space.
With all this negative publicity, you might wonder, “why buy a hoverboard?” Uh, because they’re awesome. These motorized, self-balancing devices are easy to pick up and tons of fun to ride, and, honestly, the hardest thing about a hoverboard is trying to look cool while riding it. These puppies can actually be considered an effective mode of transportation, capable of reaching speeds close to 10 mph and “hovering” for nearly 20 miles on a single charge. Best of all, there are finally self-balancing scooters on the market that are guaranteed not to explode violently at your feet! Amazon even rescinded its February decision to cease hoverboard distribution. With that in mind, here are our picks for the best — and least explode-y — hoverboards on the market.
Razor HoverTrax 2.0 ($348)
Remember Razor? Chances are, you’re familiar with the scooter that put them on the map around the turn of the millennium. They haven’t gone anywhere, and now that they’ve received their UL 2722 safety certification, they’re making moves to get into the hoverboard game. The Hovertrax 2.0 — so named because the first edition was pulled from stores after safety concerns arose — is a true rival for the Swagtron series, offering all the same bells and whistles, for the same price, with a more recognizable brand name to boot. The Hovertrax is also capable of supporting 220 pounds for about an hour of riding, and it features a battery pack that automatically shuts off once it reaches a full charge. Razor’s board doesn’t bring anything new to the table, sure, but it’s bringing competition to a market that didn’t have much, if any, which is only a good thing for the future of hoverboarding. Check out our hands-on impressions here.
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Okay, so this guy isn’t exactly what you were expecting. The MiniPro blends the typical self-balancing scooter with the Segway flagship aesthetic to create a hands-free personal transportation device that’s truly one of a kind. The MiniPro’s unique knee steering bar — adjustable from 20 inches up to 34 inches high — allows the rider to turn by simply leaning into the knee pads, and simultaneously provides a sense of stability and balance. The knee bar is detachable for storage and transportation purposes, but the board won’t function without it.
Capable of carrying up to 220 pounds and traveling around 14 miles on a full charge, the MiniPro offers a simpler, safer experience than your average hoverboard. The MiniPro also works in concert with a Bluetooth app that lets you customize the color and pattern of the scooter’s taillights, as well as providing antitheft security and data for your most recent trip. Oh, and you can control the scooter remotely from the app. The MiniPro is also UL 2272 certified, so you won’t need to worry about your personal scooter unexpectedly turning into a personal rocket launcher.
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Kiwano KO-X ($499)
Touted by Kiwano as the “world’s first smart connected scooter,” the KO-X has it all. The water-resistant scooter — which looks like a cross between a hoverboard and an ATV — boasts a Bluetooth speaker, rugged all-terrain tires, and a dedicated mobile app that allows you to track metrics such as speed, distance traveled, and battery life. It’s capable of reaching a whopping 15.5 mph, too, which is surprising given the scooter’s modest price point. Moreover, all KO-X boards come outfitted with high-quality Samsung electronics and batteries, thus ensuring they won’t explode at your feet — or while on the charger. An update posted on the Kiwano website in June confirmed the board’s UL 2272 certification. The only drawback, from our perspective, is the relative size and style of the KO-X; this is a heavy-duty scooter, and it’s not as svelte as the other boards on this list. Check out our full-length preview here.
Update: The Kiwano website appears to be under construction, and supply is limited via Amazon. This post will receive further updates as information becomes available.
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SwagTron T1 ($350) or T3 ($450)
X1, the flagship offering from Indiana-based Swagway, offered an unmatched blend of safety and speed for an extremely reasonable price. Unfortunately, the X1 wasn’t certified safe, making it a risky option for potential ‘boarders out there. Luckily, Swagway went the whole nine yards with their newest scooter, the Swagtron. Working together with Underwriters Laboratories (UL, a safety consultation company approved by OSHA for safety testing and certification), the Swagtron has been certified safe under UL 2272. Capable of reaching speeds of 10 mph and carrying passengers up to 220 pounds, the Swagtron’s battery can last for up to 12 miles on a full charge — though don’t expect to get that much mileage out of it if you’re maxing out the speedometer. The T1, available for $399, is basically a safety-certified version of the X1. The T3, on the other hand, is a little more badass; if you shell out the extra $100, it comes complete with a built-in Bluetooth speaker and an updated, matte finish. Both Swagtron models are now available on Amazon.
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