The Definitive Guide To Hands-Free Scooters

Hands Free Segway

Table of Contents:

1: What is a Hands-Free Scooter?

2: What are the Options?

  • Speed
  • Weight Limit
  • Bluetooth
  • Wheel Diameter
  • Safety
  • Battery Life and Charge Time
  • Extra Features
  • The Mini Swagway

3: How to Ride a Hoverboard

4: Maintenance

5: Safety

6: FAA Plane Restrictions and Other Legalities

7: Recent News: What Can We Expect from Hoverboards in the Future?

8: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I buy a hoverboard?
  • Can I Really Buy It For $200?
  • Where can I find hoverboard parts for sale?
  • Is buying a used hoverboard a good idea?
  • Are hoverboards easy to carry around?
  • How can I take my hoverboard with me if I move or go on vacation?
  • Can hoverboards travel over any type of terrain?

segway hoverboard

1: What is a Hands-Free Scooter?

Hands-free scooters (also known as self balancing scooters, self-balancing two-wheeled boards, mini Segway boards or hoverboards) are portable, battery powered scooters that consist of a platform with two side by side wheels on which the rider can stand. The board is controlled by gyroscopic feet pads with sensors to tell the board which way to go and when to stop.

Hands-free scooters were first offered for sale in 2014 and have become extremely popular since then. Over 2.5 million Segway hoverboards were sold in the United States in 2015 alone and companies selling these netted a total of nearly $1 billion during this time. Some of the many companies that sell these devices include Segway, Phunkee Duck, Airboard, Cyboard, Future Foot and Hovertrax.
2: What are the Options and HoverBoard Reviews?

If you are shopping for a self-balancing scooter and are unsure which option is right for you, it can be a good idea to compare types and features so you can see the pros and cons of different boards.

Most of the boards are (generally speaking) broadly similar in style, with the exception of the Mini Swagway (listed below). For this reason, the following guide will focus more on comparing features and amenities rather than attempting to discern which brand name is the best on the market. Be sure to note, however, that while hands-free hoverboards are frequently called Segways, they are not all made by this particular brand name. Segway is often used as a synonym for hoverboard in addition to being its own brand name of hoverboards.

Speed

You can go anywhere from six to twenty miles an hour, depending on which self- balancing scooter you buy. The Skque 8″ is perhaps one of the slowest regular hands-free hoverboards on the market with a maximum speed of just 6.2 miles per hour. RioRand, Hoverbeats, Skque 10″, Chic Smart C2 Camouflage and Swagway X1 all get up to 10 miles per hour.

A hoverboard with a range of 11 to 15 miles per hour is your best bet if you want a device that is fast but not too fast. There are some pretty good options in this speed range, including the Segway Mini Pro, Spaceboard, ERover, ForTech, YoloDecks and Smart. On the other hand, those who want to see some real action will find the Hoverboost (which gets up to 18 miles per hour) or the Street Saw (which gets up to 20 miles per hour) to be ideal.

Weight Limit

Hoverboards, unlike other means of transportation, have a weight limit that you’ll want to check before making a purchase. The most common options are 220 lbs. and 264/265 lbs.; however, the Spaceboard has a weight limit of up to 325 lbs.




Bluetooth

While Bluetooth is undoubtedly a popular hoverboard feature, be are that not all hoverboards have them. Some that do incorporate Bluetooth speakers are the Skque 8″, Skque 10″, Hoverbeats, Spaceboard and SJF Brand.

Wheel Diameter

Wheel diameter may seem like a small matter, especially since differences are only measured in inches or half-inches. However, it does make a big difference in comfort and enjoyment. The higher your hoverboard is off the ground, the more enjoyable your ride is likely to be, especially if you’re riding on terrain that is not perfectly smooth. On the flip side, young children, those who are getting on in years, people who are using a hoverboard for the first time and those who have a hard time balancing may want to opt for a hoverboard that is at least somewhat close to ground level.

If you want to stay as close to ground as possible, go with a board that has 6.5 inch wheels. Options include the CoolReall, ERover, HoverBoost and YoloDecks. If, on the other hand, you enjoy being high off the ground, the Suoku with its 10.6 inch wheels are likely to suit your fancy. Other wheel diameter options include 6.7 inches, 7 inches, 8 inches and 10 inches.

Safety

Hands-free hoverboard safety is a controversial topic that is covered in depth below. Suffice it to say that these boards by nature can be dangerous, especially if you are using a fast board without a helmet, knee pads and other safety accessories. Many original hoverboards were made with subpar batteries and charges that spontaneously caught fire when the hoverboard was charging.

Thankfully, in early 2016 Underwriter Laboratories introduced a safety standard for hoverboards called UL2272. To achieve full certification, a hoverboard must undergo a rigorous testing process so it is not surprising that few hoverboards have full UL2272 certification. Some that are fully certified include the Swagtron T1, Swagtron T3, Skque 10 ” Smart and the Segway Mini Pro. Some, such as the Monorover R2, have a UL certified battery and charger but do not have full certification.

Battery Life and Charge Time

Battery life naturally depends on how you use your hoverboard. Starting, stopping and starting again or traveling at varying speeds and/or over different types of terrain will all have an impact on battery life, as will the use of the inbuilt Bluetooth speakers. However, some models have a much longer battery life than others. The Swagway X1 and Razor Hovertrax, for instance, have a driving range of up to 20 miles, while the Skque 10″ Smart can get up to 24 miles per hour on a single charge.  Other models get anywhere from 8 to 18 miles per charge.

Charge time is yet another factor to consider. Many hoverboards take anywhere from one to two hours to fully charge; however, some may take up to three hours to charge. However, the Two-wheel Smart Self Balancing Scooter Drifting Board with LED Light in Red can charge up to 80% of the battery in only half an hour.

Extra Features

The most important features are listed above; however, there are many extra ones that are worth mentioning. These include:

  • Remote activation
  • Incline power
  • Various riding modes (learner, standard and advanced or just learner or standard)
  • Low battery warning
  • LED lights that make a board safe to use at night

The Mini Swagway

Generally speaking, hoverboards are not safe for children under the age of 12; however, the Mini Swagway is an exception to this particular rule. This board has been specifically made for young children and its 4.5 inch wheels and low speed make it safe for young kids who want to join the action but can’t ride a regular mini Segway yet.

3: How to Ride a Hoverboard

Learning to ride a hoverboard is not hard, especially if you buy one that has a beginner mode and low wheels.

Before you start, make sure your board is fully charged. If you have protective gear, put it on now. Next, carefully place your feet on the self- balancing scooter as close to the wheels as possible. This helps you remain balanced as you ride.

Lean very slightly in the direction you want to go. If you move your center of gravity forward, your board will move forward; if you lean backwards, you will move backwards. To turn the board, twist the opposite foot forward. For example, a rider who wants to turn right should push his or her left foot forward. Do this gently when starting off; when you get good at turning you can also push back on the heel of the other foot while you press one foot forward in order to turn sharply.

To dismount your hoverboard, step backward, putting your non-dominant foot on the ground first. Never jump off the hoverboard with both feet as you can get hurt and/or scratch your board if you do so.
More Models

4: Maintenance

Hands-free scooters are not cheap so you will want to be sure to take good care of your board so that it lasts a long time.

Always charge the battery before using the scooter for the first time. Make sure the room where the battery is charged is not too hot and never over-charge your battery as doing so can shorten its life span.

Check the wheels periodically. Make sure the tires have sufficient air and check the screws on the wheels to make sure they aren’t loose.

Clean the scooter with a dry cloth on a daily basis, but never do so when the scooter is charging. Never use water to clean your hoverboard.



5: Safety

When you first get your hoverboard, spin the wheels in mid-air to make sure they spin straight. If they wobble, the board will need to be calibrated before you use it. This should be done even if the hoverboard is new but it is especially important to do if you bought a used hoverboard. You will also want to check the board for dirt, grime and defects.

Always use proper safety equipment when riding the board, including a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.

Don’t ride a self- balancing scooter at dusk or at night unless it has LED lights and you are wearing light colored clothing.

If you are riding the board in a small or crowded area, adjust the settings so that you aren’t going fast enough to hurt yourself or other people. Better yet, stick to open areas that aren’t overly crowded, especially if you are still learning how to balance on the board.

It is a natural instinct to look down when riding a hands-free hoverboard, especially if you are still learning how to balance or turn. However, it is important that you always look ahead instead of at your feet. Looking down will cause you to lose your balance and fall off the board. It can also cause an accident or collision if you aren’t looking where you are going and something or someone crosses your path.

Don’t get distracted. If music makes it hard to focus on where you are going, avoid listening to music as you ride your hands-free hoverboard. The same goes for talking on your phone.

Check your hoverboard while it is charging to make sure it does not overheat. If your hoverboard feels hot, unplug it immediately and have it checked by a professional.

6: FAA Plane Restrictions and Other Legalities

Taking your mini Segway with you on vacation or when visiting family or friends may sound like a fun idea. However, be aware that most airlines do not allow hoverboards to be brought on board a plane at all. This means you can’t bring a mini Segway as either carry on or as part of your check-in luggage. The reason for the total ban is the fact that that the batteries have been known to spontaneously combust and airlines naturally want to avoid small explosions while the plane is mid-air.

Laws regarding where and when you can ride your mini Segway vary depending on geographic location but you should realize that there are many, many places where you are not allowed to ride a hoverboard in public at all. Many universities and colleges have banned them, as have a number of shopping malls and sports stadiums. Disney Theme parks around the world have a universal policy banning the use of hands-free scooters on the park grounds. Large cities and even whole countries such as the UK do not permit anyone to ride hands-free scooters on any type of public property. California has a unique law that allows you to ride a hands-free hoverboard down certain streets if you and your hoverboard meet certain requirements.

Please note that while the links in the paragraph above contain up to date information on places that have banned hoverboard use, laws and regulations change on a regular basis. If you aren’t sure whether or not you can use a hoverboard in a certain area, call the place in advance to find out the current policy. If you research online, check the date of the article you are looking at. You can be charged a hefty fine if you are caught riding a hands-free hoverboard in an area where hoverboards have been banned.

7: Recent News: What Can We Expect from Hoverboards in the Future?

At present, hoverboard news is dominated by the fact that the United States government has just issued a recall of over half a million hoverboards due to the fact that the batteries in the hoverboards have a tendency to burst into flames without warning. The United Sates Consumer Product Safety Commission, in conjunction with ten hoverboard manufacturers and sellers, is calling on the public to return all hoverboards that do not have UL certification. This recall affects some of the best known hands-free hoverboard brand names and those who return a hoverboard may receive a full refund, free repairs or even a replacement hoverboard that meets current safety standards.

As was noted above, Underwriter Laboratories has developed a safety standard for hoverboards, making the entire industry a lot safer than it has been in years past. After the negative publicity resulting from hoverboard batteries exploding both in private and in public, companies are actively ensuring that their new hoverboards meet safety standards. If you buy a new hoverboard now or in the future and it has full UL certification, you can rest assured that it can be charged and ridden without posing a fire hazard to yourself and those around you.

Some are predicting that mini Segways are in fact the future of transportation. While it remains to be seen if such predictions come true, there are some valid reasons why this device could in fact revolutionize the way we travel. Mini Segways are growing in popularity and, at the same time, are becoming cheaper than they were when first released onto the market. The technology is improving as well, making these devices safer and easier to use than ever before. These same improvements helped to put computers into the hands of ordinary people all over the world, so it is conceivable that hands-free scooters could become a common form of transportation among young and old alike.

At the same time, the hoverboard industry is looking past the present problems and into the future. One particularly exciting development involves the creation of hoverboard that (as the name implies) actually hover. Omni Hoverboard recently built a functional propeller-based mini Segway that you can stand on and fly and the company hopes to make these available to the public by 2017. French inventor Franky Zapata has invented and publicly demonstrated a hoverboard that can travel at over 90 miles per hour; however, he has only stated that he wants to make the technology behind his new board available to the French military and has not spoken of plans to offer his new device.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy a hoverboard?

While many stores have stopped selling hoverboards due to safety concerns, it is not too hard to find a hoverboard for sale online. Amazon still sells hoverboards by various brand names and manufacturers such as Phunkee Duck, Swagtron and Hoverboard have their own online retail sites. Alternatively, you can find used hoverboards for sale on eBay.

Can I Really Buy It For $200?
Yes, you actually can. You can even get it for under $200 (*before shipping) if you look very carefully on Alibaba, AliExpress etc.

Where can I find hoverboard parts for sale? 

The same sites that sell hoverboards also sell hoverboard parts and you can find parts for sale on eBay as well.

Is buying a used hoverboard a good idea?

You can save a lot of money buying a used hoverboard instead of a new one; however, it is almost always better to buy these devices new instead of used. Used hoverboards most likely will not have UL certification, which means that there is a risk of combustion when using or charging the hoverboard. What is more, a used hands-free hoverboard will not by covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. This warranty, which typically lasts for a full year, can save you a lot of money should your hoverboard experience mechanical problems.

Are hoverboards easy to carry around?

Some self-balancing scooters are heavier than others, a factor you will want to consider when shopping for your scooter. At the same time, there are special tote bags on the market for these devices. You simply need to pack the hoverboard, swing the bag over your shoulder and head off to the destination of your choice.

How can I take my hoverboard with me if I move or go on vacation?

If you’re intent on taking your hoverboard with you when you move or go on vacation, your best bet is to ship it to your destination or travel by car or train if possible.

Can hoverboards travel over any type of terrain?

Most hoverboards should not be used on sand, gravel or rough terrain, but there are some that are made for off-road use.

Hands-free scooters are great devices that can easily be used for travel or personal enjoyment. They are available in so many price points, colors, styles and sizes that it is not hard to find one that suits your fancy and your budget. Just be sure to pay attention to the points outlined above in order to get the best possible deal, stay safe while riding and keep your hoverboard clean and working well.