Are hoverboards as dangerous as some people make them out to be? While current hoverboards and personal scooters are less likely to spontaneously combust right under your feet, this wasn’t always the case. Inconsistent manufacturing practices and dubious material quality once made this product category unsafe. Today, you’re more likely to get injured because you lost your balance while riding the best hoverboard. But when the device was first released, a critical design flaw made it a fire hazard and caused serious bodily injury and property damage before regulations and guidelines were implemented.

What are the fire-risks of hoverboards?

Hoverboards still can catch on fire. They rely on lithium-ion battery packs to power them because this type of battery is compact but incredibly powerful. But the one drawback of lithium-ion is that it contains highly flammable fluid. And if a battery isn’t designed to specific standards, normal wear and tear, and even just the process of charging it could encourage surface damage which can lead to overheating, and in worst-case scenarios — explosions and fires.

Have Hoverboards Caused Property Damage?

Between 2016 and 2017, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) — a governing oversight body — logged more than 250 separate incidents that were related to hoverboard malfunctions. This includes fires that led to property damage and, tragically, fatalities too. According to CPSC, hoverboard fires and explosions have caused more than $4 million worth of property damage in the U.S.

What Are the Main Causes of Hoverboard Fires?

While it’s tempting to believe that hoverboards just magically combust for no reason, the opposite is true. United Laboratories (UL) indeed created the UL2272 safety standards which saw improvement in lithium-ion battery quality and reduced the rash of hoverboard fires and explosions.

Is Human Error to Blame?

But human error coupled with inferior battery quality was directly linked to the majority of the incidents. In particular, victims often reported leaving their hoverboards charging overnight or leaving them fully charged but idle for too long — two risk factors that increased the chances of a lithium-ion battery explosion. Instead, hoverboards shouldn’t be charged for more than three hours and fully charged devices should be ridden until at least 10% discharged to prevent the batteries from overheating.

Tip: hoverboards shouldn’t be charged for more than three hours and fully charged devices should be ridden until at least 10% discharged

Sources:

https://www.electrochem.org/exploding-hoverboards-explained

https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/hoverboards

https://www.ul.com/services/personal-e-mobility-testing-and-certification

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianahembree/2017/06/30/exploding-hoverboards-top-consumer-watchdog-blacklist-for-summer-toys/?sh=57ad2b3c60d2

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/e-scooter-hoverboard-e-bike-deaths-41-last-3-years/

https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Micromobility-Products-Related-Deaths-Injuries-and-Hazard-Patterns-2017–2019.pdf?90dOQxCOSzGvGRFGX6UF6Z6zvQhV9R1P

How Many Houses Burnt Down from Hoverboards FAQ

How many hoverboards have exploded?

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 99 reports related to exploding hoverboards as of July 2016.

Are hoverboards a fire hazard?

They can be especially if the lithium-ion battery that powers it overheats and gets damaged. When the battery is damaged it can pose a fire risk.

Has anyone died from a hoverboard?

Sadly, yes. In the U.S., at least four deaths have been linked to hoverboard-related injuries or accidents.

Are hoverboards still dangerous?

Newer hoverboards aren’t as dangerous as earlier models because manufacturers are required to meet the UL2272 standards that outline best practices and durability requirements for creating personal e-mobility devices.

Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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