How We Tested Electric Skateboards

By:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Wednesday
October 11, 2017

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The lineup of boards we tested  including the discount monowheel board at the bottom that was cut from the test due to its inferior performance  and being consequently pulled from the market.
The lineup of boards we tested, including the discount monowheel board at the bottom that was cut from the test due to its inferior performance, and being consequently pulled from the market.

We bought the highest rated electric skateboards currently available on the market and put them through a punishing array of tests to see which ones took home the top honors. We split our testing plan into six different metrics, and planned series of tests for each metric to assess the performance of each board and to determine their scores. Each board was tested in its most advanced riding mode throughout unless otherwise noted. In addition, the numbers we found are based on the weight of our tester — an average sized, adult male — with smaller testers causing the boards to go faster, and larger testers slowing them down, though the relative ranking will remain the same.

Speed


Nothing can beat that adrenaline rush of zooming down (or up!) a hill on a skateboard….at least for some people. We felt confident that the majority of people that want the best possible electric skateboard out there feel the need for speed, and this aspect of these products made up 25% of the total score. We conducted two different tests for this metric, designed to test the top speed of each board, as well as its maximum acceleration.

To test top speed, our expert skateboard tester accelerated until the board would go no faster, then entered our 200' testing track and timed how long it took each board to cover that distance. Each board got multiple trials, we then calculated the speed for each trial and averaged the data to determine the top speed for each board.


We performed a similar procedure to assess acceleration, the only difference being that each board was stationary at the start of the course, and the course was shortened to 50'. We also had to do some drag races, for science of course.



Some boards had terror-inducing levels of acceleration, while others definitely did not.

Range


Range is almost as important as speed, as all the fun benefits of having an electrified skateboard go out the window when the battery dies. Once again, we conducted two separate tests for this metric. The first was just how far you could expect to actually travel on flat ground with these boards, using either an "Eco" mode or a mode about in the middle if the board lacked that setting. Then we started riding each board around a flat block. Again. And again. And again, until the board died or it as traveling so slow to be unusable.


The second test was how long it took to charge each board from a fully depleted battery. After conveniently depleting them in the previous test, we simply timed how long it took til the board indicated it was fully charged.

Ride


Ride. A smooth one can make all the difference between enjoying your trip, or finding yourself on the ground with a few injuries. This was one of the more qualitative aspects of our testing process, but we still felt that we gained plenty of insight into the ride-ability of these products over the countless miles that we rode with them. This metric breaks down into four parts: comfort, handling bumpy terrain, dealing with unexpected cracks, and which boards we were naturally drawn to.

It was super comfortable to cruise around town on the Evolve  making it one of our favorites.
It was super comfortable to cruise around town on the Evolve, making it one of our favorites.

Comfort was easy to assess, especially after having ridden so many laps around the block on each board to assess the range. We then found a section of poorly maintained asphalt and used it as a torture test, to see how each board did in less than ideal conditions.

We then found one large crack and determined how each board handled it, at as high a speed as our testers felt comfortable with. Some boards high centered, some only felt a momentary bounce…while others threw, or nearly threw, our riders off.

We awarded higher marks to the ones that we were naturally drawn to for the final component of this metric, as, after all this riding, certain boards rapidly became the go-to choice for quick errands from the office, and others were extremely disliked.

Hills


Testing hill performance was easy, as we just found that steepest grade hill we could, and worked down until we established the maximum hill climbing ability of each board.

The Evolve GT Bamboo handled our 23% test slope with ease.
The Evolve GT Bamboo handled our 23% test slope with ease.

Build


For this metric, we looked directly at each skateboard, rather than its performance. We weighed each board, as no one wants to lug around an obscenely heavy skateboard, and awarded more points to the lighter models. We also evaluated the relative build quality of the remote (if there was one) to see if it felt cheap or durable, and the build quality of the board itself, noting if any damage had been sustained during testing. We also compared how responsive the board felt to commands from the remote control. In addition, we awarded bonus points if the board had regenerative braking. Finally, we rated how accessible each company's customer service was, and whether we were able to elicit a response.

Braking


The last metric we tested, but definitely not the least, was the braking capabilities of each board. First, we rode down a little hill, evaluating whether or not the brakes allowed us to stop and if they allowed us to maintain a controlled descent speed. We then rode down subsequently steeper hills, to see at which point the grade was too high for the board.

The Boosted board had the best brakes  completely stopping us on a 23% grade.
The Boosted board had the best brakes, completely stopping us on a 23% grade.

Second, we put each board to the test stopping abruptly on flat ground, simulating if you saw an obstacle or if a car pulled out right in front of you. We compared the runout distance over multiple trials and gave higher marks to the boards that would have effectively stopped us BEFORE plowing into a car.

Interested in how individual models did or deciding if an electric skateboard is a worthy investment for you? take a look at our comprehensive electric skateboard review for detailed information on how each model performed.

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