safe Certified UL2272 HoverBoard! fire

Cheap Hoverboards Safe to Buy or Not – Are You at Risk?

It seems that literally everyone is riding a hoverboard in 2017, but are they actually safe to buy or not?
The most portable (you can carry it in your backpack!) means of transportation ever created by humans has been a hot gadget since summer 2015. And when we say hot, we mean literally hot.

There have been quite a few incidents of hoverboards catching fire and even causing deaths, prompting manufacturers to recall almost 500,000 items for safety reasons.

If you’re wondering, “Are hoverboards safe to buy or not?” Yes, they are, but only the non-cheap ones. But how do you tell a difference between a cheap, non-safe hoverboard and a high-quality, safe one? Check out the infographic below to learn better.


What Makes a Cheap Hoverboard Cheap?

Public/standard mold:

Manufacturers that aren’t concerned about the safety of their clients use public/standard mold in the making of hoverboards.

What does a public mold meanPublic molds are patent-free and ready-for-use, so manufacturers don’t have to spend tooling charges.

In other words, manufacturers that are eager to cash in on the gaining popularity of hoverboards don’t want to pay extra money to create their own, custom-made molds, which are a much safer, yet more expensive alternative to public molds.

Design:

You can easily spot a cheap hoverboard just by looking at its design. Cheap hoverboards – below $200 price range – usually look all the same: a plastic-looking device that looks as if it will fall apart the moment you put your weight on it.

Manufacturers of cheap hoverboards are not willing to pay more to make them sturdier and safer for use.

Build quality:

Just like a hoverboard’s design, the quality of its components speaks for itself.

The plastic housing of custom-made molds features unique design, it’s durable and doesn’t easily scratch unlike public molds.

More expensive – and safer – hoverboards are usually made of something sturdy such as fire-resistant material.

Using cheap components allows manufacturers to save cost, but it can put your life in danger.

Performance:

A good hoverboard is usually equipped with top-quality motors, such as electric motor manufactured by Hang Hong.

The main logic board, which is basically the brain of a hoverboard that macro- and micro-manages key elements such as speed of each wheel and tilt data, cannot be overlooked when buying a hoverboard.

A smooth, stable and top-notch operation of the main logic board, aka the main control circuit board, can either save or ruin your life. Beware that cheap manufacturers oftentimes refuse to spend much on the main logic board.

If the hoverboard has built-in Bluetooth and you’re able to stream music, it’s a good sign, as it means the manufacturer has gone the extra mile when putting the board together.

Riding range is a surefire way to check if your hoverboard is cheap, and thus not safe for use.

Cheap hoverboards only reach 2-5 miles or slightly more than that even if they claim 9-12 miles which is not true, while good-quality ones have a range of 9-12 miles (15-20 km) and the max speed of around 7.5mph (12km/h).

Batteries:

A low-quality battery is the main reason why hoverboards overheat, catch fire and explode.

When buying devices from unknown manufacturers there’s always a risk of buying a hoverboard equipped with a non-brand or untested battery with only 10 or 12 cells.

In fact, some manufacturers may try to trick you by advertising their hoverboards as 36V with 20 cells, but are actually only 24V with 10-12 cells.

Even if the manufacturer claims the battery is lithium ion battery with Samsung or LG cells, there’s a high chance the company is using a counterfeit battery to save cost.

Keep in mind: a cheap hoverboard cannot cost under $200 and be equipped with Samsung or LG battery cells.

UL2272 certified:

A hoverboard that has never passed safety tests and isn’t UL2272 certified is NOT safe for use and can put your life in critical danger.

Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission introducing the safety requirements in 2016 to be UL2272 certified has dramatically decreased the number of incidents of hoverboards catching fire, you’re still at risk.

The problem is that manufacturers of cheap hoverboards advertise they are UL2272 certified, but in reality they have never passed safety tests and are using a fake UL certification.

You can easily tell the difference between a genuine and fake UL2272 certification just by looking at the holographic label featuring the UL Enhanced Mark.

In some cases, however, it’s not enough, which is why you have to check the UL file number on UL’s Database (later about that).

Keep in mind: even if your hoverboard is UL2272 certified, you should still take all safety precautions when using the device:

  • never modify a hoverboard or let anyone (if it isn’t the company who made the device) do it;
  • only use the original battery charger;
  • recharge away from flammable objects;
  • never leave a charging device unattended;
  • always keep a Class D fire extinguisher handy;
  • step away from the hoverboard and call 911 immediately if you see smoke or smell burning.

Support:

Suspicious and fishy manufacturers of cheap hoverboards never have professional customer support or technical support.

Meaning: you don’t exist for them the moment you give them your money and get your hoverboard.

In fact, many manufacturers don’t even have Facebook pages, phone support or any customer service whatsoever, which means you cannot even hope for after-sales service in case anything happens.

If often happens that companies selling cheap hoverboards close down after several complaints surface on social media, and therefore you can’t even hold them responsible if your hoverboard breaks down, or worse, explodes.

Check out this example of people who bought from a cheap hoverboard company in Christmas season which makes them having troubles.

Do Hoverboards Still Catch Fire in 2017?

It’s only natural to wonder if cheap hoverboards available for sale in 2017 still catch fire and explode.

Unfortunately, plenty of them still do. There have been at least 100 cheap hoverboards fire incidents over the past 2 years.

In fact, just recently an exploded hoverboard burned down a multi-million mansion in California. In a separate incident miles away, a teen had to escape a burning house after his brother’s hoverboard went up in flames.

In fact, 10 of the incidents took place in nine states of the U.S. in December 2015 alone, which prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate if hoverboards pose a life-threatening risk for buyers.

Months later, the CPSC recalled half a million hoverboards in the U.S., stating “overheating lithium-ion batteries” as the cause.

The organization also introduced safety test requirements and the UL2272 certification for the revolutionary gadgets.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, so if a cheap hoverboard says it’s UL2272 certified, then it’s safe to use.” Well, wrong.

As we’ve mentioned above, cheap hoverboards under $200 are never guaranteed safe, because the vast majority of them is equipped with counterfeit ‘brand’ batteries and have no real UL2272 certification.

If you’re buying a cheap hoverboard, be warned that the device may potentially catch fire and explode.

Why Do Cheap Hoverboards Have a Potential Fire Risk?

If you’re considering buying a hoverboard under $200, do keep in mind that they are cheap for a reason.

Most cheap hoverboards minimize manufacturing cost by using non-brand, untested or counterfeit lithium ion battery packs with Samsung/LG cells.

The problem with cheaper batteries is that they do NOT meet safety standards and never actually pass safety tests before entering the market.

You can easily tell a difference between a safe, good-quality battery and a dangerous, cheap battery. A good-quality battery with Samsung/LG cells will clarify they are genuine Samsung/LG cells, while the price for such batteries cannot normally be lower than $200.

So if you’re buying a hoverboard under $200 and its battery doesn’t say anything about using genuine Samsung/LG cells, it’s probably because the battery was made in China and with low safety.

Most hoverboard manufacturers use lithium-ion batteries, which do have huge advantages over their counterparts.

However, lithium has a tendency to heat up and expand during charging of the device. Although lithium ions are environment-friendly, they may leak and build up on a battery’s surface, according to Electronic Design.

When a lithium-ion battery overheats or is damaged, it can potentially catch fire or even explode.

Using cheap battery chargers or non-original chargers also creates a potential fire risk.

Cheap and non-original chargers usually lack proper protection to the battery cell, which means the charger might be defective. Defective battery chargers can severely overcharge and overheat, and, as a result, burst into flames and explode.

Things to Consider When Buying a Hoverboard to Prevent Fire Risks

When shopping for a hoverboard in 2017, do keep in mind the following factors to prevent fire risks:

  • UL2272 certified. The hoverboard must be UL2272 certified and have a holographic label to prove it. Another way to check if the certification is not fake is by asking for the UL FILE number and run it through the UL Database.
  • Genuine battery. Make sure the hoverboard’s battery is with genuine Samsung or LG cells, and isn’t a counterfeit Good-quality batteries come with a control board that prevents overcharging and overheating.
  • Charger. Like everything else in a safe hoverboard, the charger must be UL2272 certified and equipped with a fully operational cut-off switch.
  • Specs. A hoverboard that meets safety standards must be made of private mold, have a decent build quality and smooth performance (scroll up to the “What Makes a Cheap Hoverboard Cheap?” section).
  • S.-based brand. It is suspected that most hoverboards produced in China might not use original and batteries with genuine Samsung/LG cells. That’s why it would be a good idea to buy from reputable U.S.-based brands with local warehouses, such as AlienBoard.
  • Background check. Do a background check on the company selling hoverboards. Read reviews written by customers online, check the policy of the vendor (take a closer look at the warranty, after-sales service and customer service).

Reputable brands maintain presence on social media, which is why it’d be a good idea to check if the company has a Facebook page.

What Makes a Safe Hoverboard Safe?

So what makes a safe hoverboard safe?

Best price range: $200-$400 (a safe hoverboard cannot cost less than $200 and be UL2272 certified and feature a battery with genuine Samsung/LG cells).

 Certification: UL2272 (make sure you check it’s not fake!).

Battery: Genuine battery pack by a known brand such as Samsung or LG (make sure it’s not counterfeit!).

Buy from: U.S.-based brand with good customer service, cancellation and return policies, social media presence as well as 1 year+ warranty.

Recommend:AlienBoard BatWings Hoverboard (meets all safety standards, UL2272 certified, from a U.S.-based brand with local warehouses, genuine Samsung/LG battery, private mold, good price for your own safety).

Conclusion

If you buy a public mold, cheap hoverboard you’re putting your life in danger even if the manufacturer claims to have a UL2272 certification and a ‘high quality’ battery.

Many manufacturers in the below $200 price range usually have fake UL2272 certifications and equip their hoverboards with non-brand untested or counterfeit Samsung/LG batteries to save cost.

A thorough background check on the company and quality check of the product are vital when shopping for a hoverboard.

0 Comments

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *