Searching for the self-balancing scooter that reigns supreme or on the hunt for the hottest new hoverboard? Over the past year, we have evaluated and researched dozens and dozens of these products, then bought the 16 most promising products on the market to test head-to-head and see which board really bested them all. We put each of these hoverboards through a comprehensive testing protocol, rating everything from their speed to their stability. Check out the complete review below to find out which self-balancing scooter is the most suitable for your needs and budget, whether you are looking for a reliable commuting vehicle, trying to take your board off-roading, or if you are looking for a hoverboard that doesn't cost a hefty amount of cash.
Best Hoverboards and Self-Balancing Scooters of 2018
For this summer update, we added a board from a new manufacturer: the GOTRAX Hoverfly Eco. This self-balancing scooter is available in a wide array of colors, but didn't really score that well overall, finishing quite low in the group. This board does have solid customer support, but has a less than stellar battery life and is a little underpowered for most adult riders. Additionally, it also struggles with any sort of inclined or off-road terrain. However, if you only ever plan on taking your hoverboard on smooth, flat pavement and the main person riding the board weighs less than 150 lbs., then the Hoverfly Eco is an alright option.
Best All-Around Hoverboard
Read Full Review: Swagtron T3
Best Performance Hoverboard
Read Full Review: Swagtron T6
Best Bang for the Buck
Read Full Review: Swagtron T1
Best on a Tight Budget
Read Full Review: Hoverheart
Best Value for Kids and Lightweights
The Swagtron T5 is a smaller, lighter, and less powerful board with a maximum weight limit of 187 lbs, 30-40 lbs less than other models. While this might not immediately strike you as an award winner, this board is tons of fun to ride around and has a very attractive list price, making this a great choice for a rider on the smaller side. However, this model is lacking in its ability to head off pavement or climb steep hills, but you can't go wrong with this model for those smaller riders shopping on a budget. It's only available in a reduced set of colors compared to the T3 or T1 and lacks a Bluetooth speaker.Read Full Review: Swagtron T5
Best for Commuting
Read Full Review: Segway miniPro
Analysis and Test Results
Hoverboards are here. While these two-wheeled self-balancing scooters may not actually leave the ground, these items have exploded in popularity in the past few years. While you may have seen them featured by various celebrities, you may also recall some troubling news stories about them catching fire.
Given the past history of earlier vintage 2015-2016 (non-UL-certified) hoverboards lighting on fire , you may be wondering whether every board on the market is simply too risky to consider. We understand your caution, but there is good news here with the advent of a UL safety testing standard for these products,UL 2272, which the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has endorsed. All the products we include in this review passed this new UL-certification safety test.
We spent countless hours researching these products, analyzing user experiences, comparing the specifications from the manufacturers, and evaluating their marketing claims to determining what someone looks for in a hoverboard, and what it would take for a product to be crowned the best. We then took all of this knowledge and designed a comprehensive testing procedure to see which of these hoverboards are truly the best of them all.
These overall scores were based on the performance of each product in our weighted rating metrics: Fun Factor, Outdoor Capabilities, Support, and Battery. We completed a series of tests for each board in each metric and detailed the results in the sections below.
If you are shopping on a budget and are looking for one of the burlier models, then you may be disappointed. The Segway and the T6 are the best at the off-road terrain, but are some of the most expensive boards out there. The T3 is another premium priced board for those that want top-notch performance. However, there are a few value options if you are shopping on a tight budget. Both the Hoverheart and the T5 are good options, with the T5 being preferable for petite riders or kids and teens. If you are willing to pay a little bit more to upgrade from either of these two boards, then the Swagtron T1 is the clear choice.
Essentially the most important aspect of these products, fun factor is the highest purchasing motivation for many people. While these can be used as a commuter vehicle or an effective method of transportation, these products thrive at hanging out and having fun on a large, smooth surface. For anyone who is not planning on using this solely as a method of transport, the fun factor is of paramount importance and constitutes 55 percent of the overall score.
To assess this, we looked at the top speed of each model and had a test panel ride them through an obstacle course while evaluating their maneuverability, acceleration, stability, and overall confidence on each board. You can see how we ranked the boards in the following chart.
While the obstacle course score made up the majority of the score, we also looked at fun extras, such as the availability of colors for each board, Bluetooth connectivity and integrated speakers, compatibility with third-party accessories, and the weight of each board — a board that is awful to carry isn't fun for anyone.
Unsurprisingly, our pick for Best Overall Hoverboard, the Swagtron T3 dominated this category, winning handily with an 8 out of 10. This model was a favorite among most of our panel, scoring it first or second in every metric they were evaluating. This board was great at doing spins and turns and felt like it had the power necessary to keep us upright if we were fully committing to rocking back and forth on it.
This model was also exceptionally comfortable to ride, a feature we greatly appreciated as we were riding these more and more. In addition, the T3 comes in six colors and features an integrated Bluetooth speaker, but the third-party carrying case and skin were bursting at the seam when we tried them with the T3.
Following the T3, the Hoverzon XLS and the Swagtron T1 tied for the second place spot, earning a 7 out of 10. While the Hoverzon looks astonishingly similar to the T3, riders were much more prone to rapidly dismounting (crashing) it in our tests, and most of our panel noted that both of these boards felt a little more sluggish and had less pickup than the T3 in our back and forth testing. This can actually make a significant impact on fun factor, as a board that doesn't have sufficient pickup can force you to jump off the board when switching directions rapidly, as the board lacks the power to re-center itself underneath you. The T1 comes in six colors compared to the five of the Hoverzon XLS. The Hoverzon was just a little too chunky to fit the carrying case, but the T1 was just lean enough to squeeze in.
A large group of boards all came next, with the Swagtron T5, the T6, the Hoverheart, the Halo Rover, the Epikgo Classic, the Epikgo Premier, and the XtremePowerUS all meriting a 6 out of 10 for their above average fun factor.
The T6 is an extremely speedy for a hoverboard — one of the fastest out of the entire group, hitting a measured top speed of 11.9 mph in our tests. This aligns right with the manufacturer's claims of a maximum speed of 12 mph. However, this is only possible if you enable the advanced riding mode through the companion app. This model includes a Bluetooth speaker and is available in three colors. Unfortunately, it's a bit on the heavier side compared to the other models, weighing in at a hulking 31.7 lbs.
This larger board won't be compatible with many third-party accessories, but it is quite fun to ride around, though it can't match the agility of some of the smaller boards, like the Swagtron T5.
The T5 is very nimble when cornering, but it is a bit underpowered, struggling with back-and-forths with larger riders and having a much slower measured top speed of 7.1 mph. It lacks an internal Bluetooth speaker and is only available in white or black, but it is very light, weighing in at about 20 lbs. and is compatible with most commonly found accessories, such as protective skins or go-kart conversion seats.
Another smaller hoverboard, the XtremePowerUS was just a tiny bit faster than the T5 in our tests, clocking in at 7.5 mph, but it is just a tiny bit heavier, weighing in at 21.6 lbs. This board does have a built-in Bluetooth speaker — a bit of a rarity for the smaller discount boards, with similar boards like the T5, T1, or the Razor lacking it. The XtremePowerUS is reasonable fun to ride around, though it feels slightly underpowered. In addition, it also feels a little wobbly and unstable at top speed. It's also available in three colors and is usually compatible with third-party add-ons.
Having the most lights out of any board that we have seen to date and an internal Bluetooth speaker, the Hoverheart definitely makes a statement. It is one of the faster standard boards, clocking in at 8.3 mph in our tests and weighs about 22 lbs. It is also available in a whopping 22 different colors and should work with most third-party protective skins.
The remaining off-road boards, the Epikgo, the Epikgo Premier, and the Halo Rover are all essentially identical as far as we could tell in terms of fun, riding very similarly. as well as receiving similar comments from our test riders. These three boards are all very close in speed, measuring in between 8-10 mph in our tests, putting them in the upper half of the group.
The burly, off-road boards are exceptionally stable and were rated the best at doing rapid, back and forth circuits. However, these boards are significantly wider than other boards, making these feel less maneuverable in cornering and carving, and gave our panel a little grief in the slalom and spin sections of our obstacle course. We also noticed that these boards seemed to fight you when trying to drive at max speed for any length of time, with the board rotating back and causing our toes to point skyward. We coined this phenomenon "pushback," which ends up being exceptionally painful after enduring it for more than 20 minutes or so.
Next up was the Segway miniPro and the Skque X1L10, both earning a 5 out of 10. The Segway model is distinctively different than the other products that we looked at it, utilizing a completely different steering mechanism with a kneebar, in direct contrast to the two-part pivoting system in every other board. This makes it much more difficult for this board to execute complete spins and sharp corners. It was also slightly less fun doing the back and forths. In essence, the Segway is a comfy, cushy ride with its pneumatic tires and wide footpads, and seems to be suited more for actual travel or commuting, rather than playing around in a parking lot or similar area. This performance aptly earned it our Best for Commuting Award.
The Skque was reasonably fun, the higher foot platform making it less confidence inspiring in the turns than other models. It felt similar to the Segway even with the different steering mechanism. The balance and turning just felt less refined than other boards, with the smaller footpads making it very easy to accidentally disengage the motors while riding.
Rounding out the Fun Factor metric, the GOTRAX Hoverfly, the Powerboard, the Swagtron T580, and the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 all were subpar in terms of fun factor, scoring a 4, 4, 4, and a 3, respectively. Our main issue with all four of these boards is they felt significantly underpowered for full-grown riders, though they might be fine for kids or extremely petite adults.
The Powerboard felt exceptionally sluggish to our testers, both inhibiting them from reaching the speeds of the other boards, and practically causing them to faceplant on our back-and-forth tests.
The T580 suffered from similar issues, also feeling very underpowered when maneuvering. On top of that, it also is much slower, only achieving an average tested top speed of 7.3 mph in our tests. However, it is on the lighter side and has a built-in speaker.
The Razor (along with the Segway) are the only boards that we tested that self-balance, meaning that they will maintain their balance without a rider on them. The rest of the products will only begin to balance and engage the motors when a pressure sensitive switch under the footpad is engaged. We noticed that this potentially made the Razor the most sensitive — but not necessarily in a good way. This board felt twitchy and extremely difficult to steer in a straight line. This twitchiness also made it very unsettling to ride this board in reverse, and coupled with a lack of power similar to the Powerboard, made for some extremely cautious testers when doing back and forth maneuvers. The nerve-wracking and unsettling ride on these boards makes for a tense experience, not a fun one.
The Hoverfly had a measured top speed of about 6 mph, making it one of the slowest boards of the bunch, but it is also one of the lightest boards, making it a breeze to carry. It lacks a built-in speaker, but it available in a ton of colors and fits most protective skins or carrying case. However, our biggest gripe with this board is it felt extremely underpowered, making it less fun to maneuver through the obstacle course, and almost always seemed to be beeping and pushing back when being ridden, as our riders always hit the top speed.
While we did conduct much of our fun factor testing outside, we did it on ideal surfaces — flat and smooth, with no debris, bumps or cracks to trip up our boards. Unfortunately, the world is not entirely comprised of ideal hoverboarding surfaces. In this metric, we looked at what happens when everything is not perfect and how these products handled the various curve balls we threw at them. You can see the outdoor capabilities ranking in the following graphic.
In this metric, we analyzed the performance of these boards as they traversed grass, dirt, and sand, as well as how well they went up and down steep inclines. We also looked at how stable they were when crossing cracks and bumps, crossing thresholds, and driving over rough roads. Only a few of the boards we looked at are really designed to cope with these sorts of challenges, with their larger knobby tires, or pneumatic ones.
The top performer in this category was the Segway miniPro, earning an exceptional 9 out of 10 and redeeming itself for its lackluster performance in our fun factor testing. This model has the largest tires, and is the only board with pneumatic ones, affording its rider the smoothest and most comfortable ride. This model did the best in every category of this metric, zipping over cracks and bumps, and not faltering for a second when going over dirt or grass. This model also excels at the steepest inclines and would be a great pick for someone who lives around steep hills.
Finishing in a close second to the miniPro, the Swagtron T6 earned an 8 out of 10 for its awesome off-road performance. This board matched or was just behind the Segway in each of our tests in this metric. Starting with the incline test, the T6 made it to the top of the hill easily, without any noticeable signs of a struggle, but the Segway was just a little easier to ride.
The T6 matched the performance of the Segway on packed dirt and sand, but was jarred by cracks and bumps slightly more. This model did struggle a tiny bit on the grass, being outperformed by the other off-road models, but still beat every other model in the group.
Next were the remaining larger wheel boards, the Halo Rover, Epikgo Premier, Skque X1L10, and the Epikgo Classic, all scoring a 7 out of 10 in this metric. The Halo Rover, Epikgo Classic, and the Epikgo Premier didn't do quite as well as the Segway on cracks and thresholds, lagging it by a few points, but closely followed it when it came to steep hills and traveling over dirt or sand. While these boards slightly lagged the Segway, they were substantially more fun.
The Skque did very well at covering off-road terrain and rough roads but it didn't inspire confidence when heading up or down steep hills.
The Hoverzon XLS, XtremePowerUS, Hoverheart, and the Swagtron T3 earned a mediocre 5 out of 10. The XtremePowerUS did the best of the "standard" hoverboards on the steep incline, feeling alright but a little shaky.
The T3 was next, but in no way was it an enjoyable experience. When heading down steep inclines, this board felt like it lost power, but still was applying some resistance to the wheels. This is in direct contrast to the Hoverzon, which went into a completely free-wheeling mode, thoroughly terrifying our testers and making them hesitant to repeat the test. The Hoverheart is a little squirrely going up or down steep hills, but does better than the Hoverzon. However, the Hoverheart is self-balancing even without a rider, causing it to drive around quite erratically if you step off or fall off while riding it on a steep hill.The XtremePowerUS and the Hoverheart did about average for a standard model on grass and packed sand, roughly on par with the T3. The Hoverzon XLS redeemed itself slightly, doing the best job of clearing cracks and cruising over dirt and sand, just barely edging out the T3, Hoverheart, and the XtremePowerUS.
In summary, XtremePowerUS and the Hoverheart did a decent job across the board with the Hoverzon XLS and the T3 did better at cracks, rough roads, and dirt, but worse on the hills.
The Swagtron T1 and T580 ranked next, both meriting a 4 out of 10 for their performance outdoors. These boards both struggles substantially ascending the steep hill, but did a decent job of maintaining control on the way down.
When it came to driving offroad, the T1 has a slight edge to the T580, stalling much less frequently. These boards both have 6.5" wheels and perform about equally well at crossing cracks or clearing thresholds.Finishing at the back of the pack, the GOTRAX Hoverfly, the Hovertrax 2.0, the Powerboard, and the Swagtron T5 all earned a 3 out of 10 for their poor showings. The Swagtron T5 and the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 were acceptable going downhill, only feeling a little squirrely, but both caused us to stumble on the uphill. Literally. These boards pushed back when attempting to go full speed up the hill, knocking our testers off. The Hoverfly didn't really do well going up or down any incline, meaning it is best suited for flat ground. Surprisingly, the Powerboard did quite well compared to the other three boards, and while it certainly wasn't fast going up or down hills, it didn't knock us off — a clear case of slow and steady winning the race.
Unfortunately, this board couldn't maintain its performance trend, and the Powerboard did relatively poorly at comfortably crossing cracks and thresholds. The T5 did a little better, but definitely left much to be desired and the Hoverfly did about average.
The worst performance on cracks was the Razor, which actually broke when going over a crack that every other board made it over, forcing us to send it back and get a replacement (Razor did this free of charge). This should all be taken with a grain of salt, as almost all of these standard boards (6.5" wheel size) struggle with this terrain and it would be easy to take a fall on any of them.If you are looking at primarily going on this sort of terrain, your best bet is the Swagtron T6, one of our Editors' Choice award winners, or the Segway, our Best for Commuting award winner — if you are willing to spend the extra cash.
This metric mainly evaluates the manufacturers of these products, rather than the products themselves. These boards aren't a trivial investment for many people, and it can be unsettling to spend that much of your hard-earned cash with a company that you will never be able to contact in the event of a problem. And problems do occur. As mentioned above, we completely disabled one board in the course of our testing and had to consult the manufacturers of several other boards with questions or concerns. We also evaluated the relative durability of the products by rating how well they stood up to our testing process. Hoverboards lack the extensive repair network of more common products, and a broken hoverboard that has poor support may just become an expensive doorstop, collecting dust. Reinforcing the point that support is critical, hoverboards break OFTEN. You can see the support score for each board in the following chart.
Three different manufacturers tied for the top score in this metric, all earning a 7 out of 10. We received the best customer support from the makers of the Swagtron T3, Swagtron T1, Swagtron T5, Swagtron T6, T580, Powerboard, and the Segway miniPro. We sent a minor question to the Segway technical support team, asking how to fix a flat tire. Their team responded quickly, with detailed instructions on how to fix it, as well as stating that we could follow their instructions if we thought it was severe enough to send back under their warranty program. Powerboard responded within a day to our inquiries, giving helpful instructions on how to calibrate the board and what steps to follow if that did not work. Swagtron responded quickly, but it wasn't the most helpful response compared to the Powerboard or Segway team. The Epikgo Classic and Epikgo Premier actually had our favorite customer support experience of the bunch. Unfortunately, this board showed some of the most damage throughout our testing, even though all the boards were put through the same tests. This knocked the Epikgo models down to a 6 out of 10, solidifying their spots in the second tier in this category.
The Razor Hovertrax 2.0 earned the same score as the Epikgos. This board broke when we tested its abilities to roll over cracks, and initially, we received a malfunctioning charger with the unit. In spite of this, we received very good support from Razor and were able to exchange the broken unit for a new one, as well as a new charger.
The GOTRAX customer support team is actually quite helpful, responding promptly to our technical inquiries and providing accurate and helpful information via email. There is also a contact phone number and the board held up reasonably well to our testing process, exhibiting only minor scrapes and scuffs that were barely noticeable due to the crazy color scheme on our test board.
However, these may have been more noticeable on a solid color model. Unfortunately, it is the rather limited warranty (90-day) that precludes this board from earning one of the top spots in this metric.
The Halo Rover had about average support, where we received a response quickly that wasn't helpful. It was a generic email requesting that we upload a video to them for analysis. The Hoverheart has a customer support team that responded quite quickly and helpfully, but this product has one of the shortest warranty periods out of all the products. Both of these boards earned a 5 out of 10.
Next was the Skque and the XtremePowerUS, both earning a 4 out of 10. We found the Skque support team to not be terribly helpful, though the board held up well in our testing process. The XtremePowerUS support team could not be reached the first time by phone, but answered in subsequent calls. Their support was alright and they sent us an electronic version of their manual, but they didn't seem terribly excited to help and this board had the shortest warranty of the entire group.
Rounding out the bottom of the pack is the Hoverzon XLS, scoring a dismal 1 out of 10. The only method of contacting the manufacturer was by phone. When we attempted to contact them, we were routed through an automated message system and never successfully contacted them. While the Hoverzon did state that it had a warranty, we felt this was somewhat negated by the fact that they were impossible to contact.
The final aspect of these products that we looked at was the battery performance, making up 10 percent of the final score. This metric boils down to one basic premise: Which of these boards can you ride the most? This is an important measure of these products, as unlike an electric skateboard, scooter, or bicycle, these boards become exceptionally large and awkward paperweights the moment their battery dies.
Be careful when you hear the low battery indicators on your board. When the battery dies, these boards instantly stop, usually immediately tip over, and can definitely startle an unsuspecting rider.
To test this, we split this metric into three separate components: range, runtime, and charge time. For range, we rode each model on our test course — a flat, smooth parking lot — until the battery died, tallying the laps as we went to determine total distance traveled. This is essentially how far you could get on one of these boards in ideal circumstances. Our next test was the obstacle course, where each board was forced to spin, start, stop, and change directions frequently, compared to simply driving forward in the previous test. We timed how long each board lasted throughout this to determine scores. Finally, we checked how long it took for each board to fully charge after it was completely depleted.
The Segway and the Swagtron T6 dominated the competition in this metric, both earning an exceptional 9 out of 10. The Segway lasted for 2:25 in our obstacle course, followed by the 2:00 that the T6 lasted for. These both were double and over double the runtime of the worst performing model, the Hoverfly. This board only lasted for around 50 minutes in our obstacle course, meaning you can plan on recharging this board quite frequently.
A similar pattern continued for our range test, or maximum distance traveled. The Segway once again led the pack, this time with an even larger discrepancy between it and the next closest finisher. Lasting an incredible 14.7 miles, followed by the 12 miles of the Swagtron T6. The Epikgo Classic, Skque, Halo Rover, and the Powerboard all had similar results, traveling 7.2, 7.2, 7.4, and 7 miles respectively. The Hoverheart came next, with a range of 6.6 miles. We ranked the Hoverzon, XtremePowerUS, and the Swagtron T3 about average for their approximately 5-6 miles of travel, and the Razor and Hoverfly rounded out the bottom with their paltry 3 to 4-mile range.
The final aspect we looked at was charging time, conducting our own test rather than relying on manufacturers' claimed time. The three fastest boards were the Hoverzon, T3, and T1, all taking between 1:15 and 1:20 to fully charge. The slowest is the Segway, at around 3 hours to completely charge — understandable, as this board has such a massive battery when compared to the others. The off-road models (Epikgo Classic, Epikgo Premier, Swagtron T6, and Halo Rover) took about 2.5 hours to recharge. We were a little disappointed that the Powerboard and the Razor both took about 2:40 and the XtremePowerUS and Hoverheart took three hours or more to charge — especially when these boards did not have the exceptional range or runtime to compensate for taking so long to charge. The Hoverfly did redeem itself from its prior poor performances in our battery test, charging quite expeditiously in about 2 hours.
With all of the different types of self-balancing scooter and hoverboards on the market, it is impossible to definitively say that one model is the absolute perfect fit for everyone, balancing their desired uses and their budget. Hopefully, this review has provided a more complete breakdown of the different types of boards available, their strengths and weaknesses, and the terrain and uses each board is suited for, allowing you to find the perfect board for you.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for tips.