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Self Balancing Scooter FAQ – Everything You Need To Know

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red self balancing scooterThe self balancing scooter (or hoverboards as they’re also known) is still pretty new to the market people have a lot of questions about the product and how it works.

I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions that should cover most of the important specifics. This isn’t about a particular brand, although you’ll find that most of these scooters are virtually the same.

If you have a question about a specific product e.g. the Swagway, visit our review of that product (see the links on the right hand side of the page) and if you still have questions just click through to the actual  sales page to find out more.

So let’s get started!

1. Are they safe – will my self balancing scooter explode or go on fire?

I’m sure you’ll have noticed that hoverboards have had their fair share of bad press over the last few months. Online sales exploded in late 2015 and everyone wanted to get their hands on these for Christmas. It was THE no.1 tech trend in 2015, until all of a sudden Amazon withdrew the sale of all scooters from their site. Many other merchants followed suit. Why was this? Supply was outstripping demand and many Chinese manufacturers started making scooters with cheap, shoddy and unsafe materials. This led to a few cases where scooters exploded or went on fire and unfortunately a few badly made products ended up giving these scooters  a bad name. This really just was a few isolated cases – for the most part this product has been awesome for the majority of buyers.

Fast forward to 2016, most of these dodgy products are off the market. Self balancing scooters aren’t as easy to find as they were (banned on eBay, Amazon, Overstock, Walmart etc.) However, manufacturers that are still in business are now following much more stringent safety guidelines in the manufacturing of their products. We make it clear in our product reviews exactly WHICH hoverboards meet the required safety standards so that you purchase a product that is 100% safe to use. If it doesn’t have the proper safety certification, we won’t be recommending it.

UPDATE June 11th 2016: Hoverboards are back on Amazon and eBay! You can now buy Swagway’s newest model and the world’s 1st UL2272 approved scooter, the Swagtron T1, on both Amazon and eBay as well as other online marketplaces such as Modells and Best Buy. This scooter is UL certified and fire safe.

2. What certification should a self balancing scooter have to be deemed safe?

The following link is an article available at UL (Underwriter Laboratories), the global independent safety science company about hoverboard certification. Very few scooters currently are UL certified – read our reviews to see the safest hoverboards that meet all the current safety guidelines.

3. What is the warranty like for these products?

MOST offer a 1 year warranty (some are only 30 days though so make sure you shop around). Most sellers value their reputation enough to at least replace any product that arrives at your home damaged or defective. A 1 year warranty offers you better long term protection though.

4. Why are some scooters so much more expensive than others if they’re all the same?

First of all, they’re not all EXACTLY the same (although some of them are). Some are made with cheaper materials (not as durable, potentially dangerous), use non branded batteries (that aren’t as powerful) etc. Different companies offer different warranties and after sales service. I don’t recommend buying high end models that cost $1500+ though unless the name is really important to you. You should be able to get a good quality scooter for about $400-$500.

5. Can I ride a self balancing scooter on grass?

You can, but it’s not recommended – it depends how flat the ground is. The most suitable terrain is smooth roads/pavements. Avoid riding it on rocky ground/gravel etc. for best results.

6. Is this suitable for kids?

The self balancing scooter is recommended for age 14 up, but if your younger child can control it safely (with some guidance in the beginning) then it may be suitable. Many children from the age of around 10+ ride scooters successfully. You have to remember that these do travel quite fast so they can be dangerous if used incorrectly – kids (and adults) have fallen off and injured themselves. Always read the manual before letting your child use a hoverboard so that you an instruct them on how to use it safely.

7. How long is shipping?

This depends on where you’re located, mode of shipping, and where the item is being shipped from. Also whether or not it’s in stock at the time. Many are shipped direct from China or Hong Kong so can take 7-21 days to arrive in the US. When buying online you may be given a rough estimate as to when your scooter will arrive. Sometimes the system default date is up to a month or more, but you can check with the seller before buying (most arrive a lot sooner). We recommend buying from a US based seller if you want to get the best shipping times and most reliable service.

8. How far does the scooter travel on a full charge?

Approximately 15-25km and about 1-2 hours of use

9. Is the product durable?

Most of these scooters are very durable however it has been suggested that they do get scratched quite easily, even with careful use. Be prepared for it to look ‘well used’ pretty quickly. Durability is can vary alot from manufacturer to manufacturer depending on the materials used. Make sure you buy a reputable product from a reputable seller.

10. What is the weight limit for users?

Approximately 100kg/220lbs – some models advertise a slightly higher weight limit but this is the average.

11. Is it safe to use in the rain?

For light rain it is okay to use but shouldn’t be used in heavy rain, riding through floods of water etc. If it falls in a pool there’s no guarantee it will continue working!

12. Does the scooter come with a charger?

Yes, all scooters should come with a charger. Remember the charger must be UL certified if you want to make sure it’s safety tested and certified safe to use.

13. How fast does it travel?

Approximately 15km per hour.

14. Can the tyres break?

These tyres can’t go flat as they are made from pure rubber. It would be very hard to break them.

15. Do they come with a remote/key lock?

Some do, but most don’t. This is something you have to check when deciding which model you want to buy.

16. Do they come with carrying bags?

No – you have to buy a scooter bag separately. These cost about $10-$15 and are also available on sites such as Amazon or eBay.

17. Which self balancing scooter do you recommend?

Mine is the Swagway X1 so I can definitely recommend that (Swagway are just about to release an even better newer model in the near future), however there are some other good ones too. I also recommend the Streetsaw brand as they are US sellers of safe, durable scooters. Although I’m sure the IO Hawk and Phunkeeduck are good products IMHO they’re way too expensive for what they are.

The specs of most of these self balancing scooters are pretty similar but if there’s something you specifically want e.g. a 1 year warranty, a remote etc. you should definitely shop around. Always make sure any brand you’re considering has the proper safety certification.

UPDATE June 11th 2016: Swagway have now released their new model the Swagtron T1 – read our review here to find out more. This is now our #1 rated hoverboard as it is currently the safest on the market.

If you have any questions that aren’t answered here please just post a comment below and I’ll try and answer asap.

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