When buying a self-balancing scooter, commonly known as a Hoverboard, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the many options, vendors, and brands on the market. Not all hoverboards are equal. Just because they look similar on the outside, doesn’t mean they are the same on the inside. Hoverboards can be awesomely different when it comes to the components “under-the-hood.” There are many options to choose from, and special considerations for each. So how do you know if you are getting a deal or getting robbed?
1: Find a Specialist. First and most importantly, hedge your bet by buying from a reputable vendor. When you buy from Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist, you might get a quality product, or you might not. These companies just provide a way for individuals to sell their products to large audiences, so it can be a risky purchase, depending on the nature of the seller. Even if the listing specifies all of the best components, you are relying on the seller’s honesty to get a quality product. In these cases, we strongly recommend you remove the cover upon receipt and at a minimum, inspect the battery. It should have a sticker on it that states the cell-brand and the country of manufacture. If you discover a discrepancy, you may be limited in your ability to get a compensation or replacement from the vendor, as you will be working through a third party and have to deal with the red-tape associated with that. If you buy directly from a store that specializes in hoverboards, however, there is much more accountability, and you can contact the seller directly if there is a problem. As an added bonus, without all those listing fees, the prices are often lower at independent stores as well.
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2: Find out about the Return Policy. A company with solid products will be proud of it, and offer a beefy return policy. 30 days is standard. Any less than that, and buyer beware – you may be at risk of buying a lemon.
3: Get a Good Battery. Require that your hoverboard contains a Samsung or LG battery. The battery is the heart of a hoverboard, and more-so than any other option, you need to make sure you are getting a good one. Lithium Ion batteries are very powerful, and more volatile than other kinds of rechargeable batteries. They do not charge well in extreme heat or cold, and when discharged too much, or overcharged, they can get hot and catch on fire. Samsung has been in the battery and consumer electronics business for decades, and they make a good hoverboard battery with proper circuitry to cut off charging at the proper time and ensure an even charge across all cells. LG batteries are similar in this regard. They are safer batteries, and will stand up to more charge cycles than a generic battery made by a factory that doesn’t have the same quality control guidelines.
4: Wheel size matters. If you use your hoverboard mostly indoors, any of them will suffice, but if you are outdoors, think about how many cracks or bumps you will encounter. The 6.5 inch hub will handle up to quarter inch bumps pretty well, but if they are frequent or larger than that, the larger 8 inch wheels help. If you are using your hoverboard to go larger distances, a 10 inch hub will be even more comfortable yet. So this decision becomes a balance between comfort and portability. For most users, we think the 8 inch wheels are just about perfect.
5: Consider your replacement parts. If something breaks, it helps to have a company with factory connections, that can talk to the engineers to help you troubleshoot the problem. Once the problem is diagnosed, you will probably need replacement parts. If you work with a company that can provide them, you will not have not wasted all of your money on a lemon that can’t be repaired.
6: Know the motor wattage. Typically, the smaller the hoverboard wheel, the smaller the motor inside. This does not affect performance, speed, weight limit, or longevity; it is simply that you want it to be paired properly, or you may have too much or too little torque for your wheels, making it harder to ride. We find that for a responsive, yet easy to control ride, 500 total watts is a good target for the 6.5 inch wheel, 600 is good for the 8 inch, and 700 is ideal for the 10 inch. Divide these numbers by two to get the ideal wattage per wheel. If the seller doesn’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to shop around a bit.