Best Hoverboard of 2020
Best Overall Hoverboard
The Epikgo Classic is a sturdy all-terrain board. In addition to being great on dirt and grass, the robust 8 ½ inch tires produce a smooth ride on all surface types, including uneven tarmac, cracks, heaves, and door thresholds. Powering the heavy-duty motors that will comfortably climb and descend steep hills is a battery that is among the longest-lasting in the class.
Unfortunately, with the ability to traverse uneven terrain comes a reduction in maneuverability. This shortcoming is primarily due to the larger deck and tire dimensions. The Classic is a large board and has a powerful motor and battery, making it one of the heavier boards (32.2 lbs) we have tested to date. Thus, the model is less suitable for riders on the smaller side. That said, this board is a real hoot off-pavement, and its travel radius of 7.3 miles makes it a practical commuter.Read Full Review: Epikgo Classic
Best for Commuting
Segway Ninebot S
The Segway Ninebot S looks like the black sheep of the hoverboard family. Although it certainly looks different than its peers, that doesn't mean that it's not performance-oriented. The S packs tons of power and a stable standing platform that can keep rolling mile after mile. Unlike other models sporting big wheels for off-road prowess, the S has 800 watts of motor power to carry the rider across paved or uneven surfaces at most speeds. Foregoing bells and whistles such as onboard speakers, this board is utility-focused for the commuter with a futuristic bent.
Our team has lots of experience testing Segway products, including the predecessor to the S. Accordingly, several testers were disappointed that the Ninebot's designers discontinued its adjustable steering column. This one change was the source of all complaints, particularly from taller testers. In our opinion, Segway should be increasing adjustability in this critical component, not reducing it.
Read Full Review: Segway Ninebot S
Best for Battery Life
The Hover-1 Titan is like the energizer bunny. Seriously, this board's battery lasted so long that it wore us out in the range and run-time tests. This model traversed 10.6 miles on flat ground on a single charge. Additionally, it cruised through our obstacle circuit for 1 hour and 33 minutes, also on a single charge. The large wheels made it possible to smoothly roll over dips and bumps like cracks in the street and door thresholds. The model also has a 3 hour recharge time, and it weighs in at 21.8 lbs, both of which are about average for the class. It comes in 4 unique colors, gunmetal, pink, rose gold, and blue.
While we were quite impressed with this machine's run time, it is underpowered for larger riders. This was obvious on hill climbs, and the Titan's poor performance landed it at the bottom of the class. Moreover, its motors are ill-equipped to handle soft or loose surfaces; shaggy grass proved particularly tricky. Lastly, the glossy paint on the fenders is susceptible to scratching. That said, Hover-1 has relatively good customer service, and the board is competitively priced.
Read Full Review: Hover-1 Titan
Best for Kids
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 in the class. These limitations associated with the T5 don't shout award winner, but this board is a hoot for smaller riders. It's simple yet less capable design keeps the price attractive and keeps the buyer in a good mood through the shopping experience.
Given the T5's limitations in power, it should be no surprise that it lacks off-pavement and hill-climbing capabilities. Frankly, this model can't reliably do either, especially if the rider is close to the weight limit. Moreover, it lacks onboard Bluetooth speakers or the kaleidoscope of color options available in other similar products. Despite these shortfalls, smaller riders with limited funds will likely be content with the T5.
Read Full Review: Swagtron T5
Best Bang for the Buck
The Swagtron T1 offers competitive performance at an approachable price. With a max speed of almost 9 mph, it moves along at a reasonable pace, and with 87 minutes of run time, it can carry you a considerable distance. This board is maneuverable, particularly in corners. Swagtron also offers one of the better customer service programs we have experienced. So, if the board gives you trouble, they can help you get rolling again.
On the flip side, the low cost of this model does not come without some performance limitations. This model is a bit shaky at speed. Additionally, it had marginal responsiveness to the rider's inputs. This deficiency was particularly noticeable in the back and forth a portion of our obstacle course. All in all, this little whip serves up a really fun ride.
Read Full Review: Swagtron T1
Why Should You Trust Us?
To identify the best hoverboards, we initially investigate the specs of all the top brands and models. Then we buy the top models that we believe show the most promise to perform at a high level and then put them through a thorough, comparative testing regiment. Our senior research analyst Austin Palmer and senior review editor David Wise have extensive experience with electric vehicles. Austin has ridden 850 miles, and counting, on hoverboards, electric skateboards, and scooters, which makes him an expert on how they handle and where to look for shortcomings in design or manufacturing. David has a mechanical engineering background that includes building self-balancing skateboards from the ground up. He provides expertise on design, componentry, and powertrain systems, and he's also not shy of mounting a board and logging some miles.
Recently Nick Miley was added to the review team. Nick has spent years in university laboratories posing research questions, designing experiments, refining protocols, and writing up the results. Additionally, he has a long history of reviewing consumer products.
Related: How We Tested Hoverboards
Analysis and Test Results
While many hoverboards look similar, they can be divided into two different categories: small and large. Small boards are more toy-like and are best kept on flat, firm surfaces. In contrast, big boards are designed for more serious riders that want to go cruising, perhaps with some off-roading in the mix. Small boards are highly maneuverable machines that can usually be identified by their small wheels, low clearance, and bright colors. Large boards have longer battery life, bigger wheels, higher clearance, and broader standing platforms. Each sector has its trade-offs; large boards offer better all-terrain performance at the expense of maneuverability. The higher demands placed on the larger boards require high-end components, especially the motors and batteries cells. As one might imagine, these upgrades come with higher prices.
Related: Buying Advice for Hoverboards
Given the not too distant history of non-UL-certified hoverboards lighting on fire , you may be wondering whether these products are safe. We understand these concerns. However, the introduction of a UL safety testing standard for these products, UL 2272, should hopefully put those concerns to rest. The Consumer Products Safety Commission has also endorsed these standards. In keeping with these standards, we have not, and will not, review any boards that do not pass the UL-certification safety test.
The overall evaluation for each board is based on its performance in each of four rating metrics: Fun Factor, Outdoor Capabilities, Support, and Battery. Each board reviewed here was run through the same series of tests that comprise each metric.
We do not consider the price point when scoring the performance of products in our reviews. We remove cost from the equation because we want the best products to receive the top scores no matter what their price tag says. That said, we recognize that price is an important thing to consider before making a purchase. We grant value awards to the products that provide the best value within different gear categories to address the disparity between our rating system and the influence of price to most consumers. However, a value purchase isn't merely the cheapest product on the market. Instead, it's the product that supplies more performance than the others for the same dollar amount or even offers similar performance for even less money. Case in point, the Swagtron T1, this little shred machine earned average scores across the board, yet it costs significantly less than several of its peers with similar test results.
By and large, hoverboards are designed to be fun. As the market has grown, exceptions have arisen, such as the Segway Ninebot S which is designed for commuting and utility. These practical models comprise a small portion of the market and are still fun to ride. Therefore, the fun factor of these products constitutes 50 percent of a board's overall score.
Although we can't say for sure if one model or another will make you more stoked, we can say that a product that performs well at specific tasks will give you more versatility of movement and self-expression when riding. Accordingly, we ran time trials to assess the top speed of each model. Then we gathered a team of testers to ride each board through our obstacle course designed to evaluate maneuverability, stability and acceleration.
The conclusions for the obstacle course make up 55 percent of the fun factor score, but we also considered maximum speed, add-ons such as color options, Bluetooth connectivity, integrated speakers, compatibility with third-party accessories, and the weight of each board. Why weight? Well, eventually, you'll have to carry your board, and we think many will agree that carrying heavy things isn't particularly fun.
Not surprisingly, the Swagtron T380 did well in this category. This model was a favorite among our testers, scoring top marks in every fun factor area, except those dealing with color options and aftermarket accessories. This board was great at doing spins, turns, and rapid back-and-forth maneuvers. Testers report that the T380 is quite responsive and has a snappy feel. However, some worried that this responsiveness bordered on twitchiness.
You might be wondering why all this back and forth business in our obstacle course test matters to the average rider. Well, the ability of the board to power through rapid and repeated direction changes reveals whether there is sufficient pickup in the motors to re-center the board underneath the rider when momentum is working against them. A more powerful and responsive motor allows the board to rebalance its self quicker and easier which both beginners and advanced riders will appreciate.
As far as style is concerned, the T1 and T380 have three and four color options, respectively. However, the T380 has Bluetooth enabled onboard speakers while the T1 does not. Both T models have a nifty backpack/roller bag available from the manufacturer.
A large quantity of the fleet ranked in the middle of our fun factor ranking sheet. The Swagtron T5, the Halo Rover, the Epikgo Classic, and the GOTRAX SRX PRO all offering comparable, albeit average fun potential. The Segway Ninebot S is right on their heels, overlapping the previous cohort in several tests.
The T6 is a speedy little thing, hitting a measured maximum of 11.9 mph in our tests. Although this result confirms the manufacturer's claims, it 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 with a staggering weight of 31.7 lbs.
The T6 is what we've defined as a larger board. It has plus-sized wheels and tires, higher clearance, and an ample standing platform. These characteristics limit its agility and, despite being quite stable off-road, as a result it suffered in our on-pavement maneuverability tests.
The T5 is very nimble when cornering, but it is a bit underpowered, struggling to execute rapid back-and-forths with larger riders and achieving a relatively slow top speed of 7.1 mph. It also lacks an internal Bluetooth speaker and is only available in white or black. However, it is quite light, weighing about 20 lbs, and it's compatible with most commonly found accessories, such as protective skins, go-kart conversion seats, and handlebar options.
Our analysis showed that the Epikgo and the Halo Rover are virtually identical in terms of maneuverability. They have a wide, stable standing platform that makes them fun in corners. These same characteristics, however, reduce their agility. Additionally, these boards generate similar max speeds of 8-10 mph. Although these speeds are above average for the class, testers reported that stability decreases as speed increases, and the Halo, in particular, seemed to fight them when trying to cruise near its max speed. They observed the standing platform rotating away from the direction of travel, causing their toes to point skyward, and compromising their balance on the board. Testers dubbed this phenomenon "pushback," and described it as quite uncomfortable even for short periods.
The performance pros and cons that were apparent in the Epikgo and the Halo Rover are congruent with all the larger boards in our review. These boards are stable and powerful, and they excelled at doing quick back and forth circuits. However, they are significantly wider than the other boards in the review and correspondingly less maneuverable. Our panel of testers reported difficulties in the slalom and spin sections of our obstacle course. The pushback from the board also negatively impacted the fun factor score for most of these boards.
Although the Segway Ninebot S shares the same pushback issue as some other large boards, it has a few unique features that set it apart. First off, the Segway employs a unique steering mechanism. The S has a padded bar situated between the legs. Riders of the S can change directions by pushing it toward one wheel or the other with the inside of the knees. This is in contrast to the foot-pivoting system utilized on every other board in the class. The S's steering mechanism makes it difficult to navigate sharp corners or make rapid changes in direction because the steering column is narrow and shifts out of place while the board is suffering pushback at speed. Steering issues aside, the Segway offers a capable and cushy ride with its pneumatic tires and ample footpads. As such, it seems best suited to covering lots of ground as one would do during a commute.
We conducted the majority of our fun factor testing on ideal surfaces — smooth and flat, with no debris, bumps or cracks. Unfortunately for hoverboard enthusiasts, the world isn't covered in perfect pavement. Accordingly, we focus on the products' ability to perform on hills, push through cracks, thresholds and other obstacles that users may encounter when riding.
To gather data about the outdoor capability of each model we rode over plenty of dirt, sand and grass. We also looked at their performance on inclines. We rode each board up a 14-percent grade for 750 vertical feet, turned around, and descended. This test allowed us to assess the hill-climbing power and the electronic motors' ability to control speed on steep descents. We then looked at how stable they were when crossing cracks, bumps, and threshold weather strips. Only a few of the boards are designed to handle these obstacles — they stand out with their large, knobby tires and generous standing platforms. Large, all-terrain boards are increasing in popularity but make up a small portion of the market. Consequently, this metric makes up just 20 percent of the overall score of each product.
The top performer in this category is the Segway Ninebot S with its pneumatic tires and the largest wheels (10.5") in the class. The S crushed the outdoor capabilities sub-metric, zipping over cracks and bumps, and rallying over grass and dirt. This model also excels at steep inclines, making it an excellent pick for folks that live in hilly areas.
Finishing a close second to the S is the Swagtron T6, which delivers impressive off-road performance. This board matched or was just behind the S in each of our outdoor capabilities tests. In the incline test, the T6 made it to the top of the hill without any noticeable signs of struggle, though the S was a little easier to pilot. The T6 also matched the performance of the S on packed dirt and sand, but it issued some feedback from cracks and bumps.
The Halo Rover and the Epikgo Classic, the remaining large-wheel boards in the class, didn't do quite as well as the S on cracks and thresholds. However, they nearly matched the S when it came to steep hills and traveling over dirt and sand. While these boards lagged slightly behind the Segway in terms of performance, our testers think they're substantially more fun.
There are several other boards in this class that don't warrant discussion in this section — they all feature small, solid tires and motors that aren't appropriate for these terrain types. So, if you're primary goal is to head off the beaten path on your board, and you're willing to spend the extra cash to do so, your best bet is the Swagtron T6or the Segway.
The support metric primarily evaluates the behavior of hoverboard manufacturers rather than the products they produce. We wanted to know how easy it was to contact these companies, how long it took for them to respond to our inquiries, and how helpful they were in their responses. Moreover, we wanted to assess what their warranties will cover and the duration of coverage. These boards are not a trivial investment for many people, and it can be disappointing to hand over your hard-earned cash to a company that will be difficult to contact when a problem occurs. And, problems do occur. We broke one board in the course of our testing, and several other products required us to contact the manufacturer with questions and concerns.
To test the response time as well as the quality of the response we sent a basic, though technical question to each manufacturer. Segway, Swagtron and Epikgo were all standouts in their timing and/or their responses. The Segway team responded quickly with detailed instructions on how to resolve our issue as well as a statement about their warranty program. Swagtron's response time and helpfulness varied — there are a number of their products in this review, and so we ran this test more than once. Sometimes they were prompt with their response but not particularly helpful. Other times they took several days to get back to us, but the response was detailed and accurate. Although we only ran this test on Epikgo once, they provided the best customer support of the bunch. Their team replied to our inquiry in an hour and a half and had accurate, helpful advice to resolve our problem. The Epikgo Classic, however, incurred an inordinate amount of body damage throughout our testing. This damage knocked the Epikgo down to the middling tier of this metric.
The Razor Hovertrax 2.0 earned the same score as the Epikgo. However, we initially received a malfunctioning charger with the unit, and the board broke when we were testing its ability to pass over cracks. Despite this, we received very good support from Razor and were able to exchange the broken unit and malfunctioning chargers for new ones.
The GOTRAX customer support team is quite helpful, responding promptly to our technical inquiries and providing accurate and useful information via email. There is also a contact phone number (which is not the case with all manufacturers). Their boards held up reasonably well to our testing process, exhibiting only minor scrapes and scuffs, though the SRX PRO raised questions about durability. Unfortunately, GOTRAX only offers a limited, 90-day warranty and that shortcoming prevents their products from earning a top spot in this metric.
The Halo Rover had about average support — we received a quick reply but it wasn't helpful. It was a generic email requesting that we send them a video for analysis.
The results of this analysis make up 10 percent of the final score. Unlike an electric skateboard, scooter, or bicycle, these boards are unrideable when they run out of power. And, as discussed in the fun factor section, some models are pretty heavy and unpleasant to carry.
Be careful when your board's low battery indicator sounds an alarm. When the battery does die, these boards immediately stop self-balancing and tip over, which can buck a heedless rider.
To test the batteries, we split the category into three separate sub-metrics: range, run time, and charge time. For range, we fully charge each model's battery and then ride them on our flat ground test course until their batteries die. We then tallied the laps completed to determine the total distance traveled. This is a rough estimate of how many miles these boards can traverse in ideal conditions. With the batteries completely drained by this test, we then measured the time needed to completely recharge each unit. With full batteries, we proceeded to the obstacle course. In this final test, each board was asked to start, stop, spin, and change directions frequently. These maneuvers are more practical representations of how these boards will be used out in the wild. We recorded the amount of time these boards could continue the obstacle course rather than the number of miles traversed. We refer to this sub-metric as run time.
The Swagtron T6 dominated the competition in this metric, lasting for two hours in our obstacle course. This was 70 minutes longer than poor-performing models like the Hoverfly. Surprisingly, the dark horse Titan came in just 10 minutes after the Swagtron T6 which is saying a lot considering that it's less than half the price!
A rankings pattern similar to that of run time emerged in our range tests. The T6 once again led the pack, cruising for 12 miles before the battery was finally depleted. The Segway came in a distant second with 9.8 effective miles (this excludes the 1.5 very jerky and somewhat scary miles that the board supplied while the battery wound down). The Epikgo Classic and the Halo Rover were neck and neck, traveling 7.2 and 7.4 miles, respectively. The Razor and Hoverfly rounded out the bottom with paltry 3-4 mile ranges.
The final aspect we look at in this metric is charging time. Experience has taught us that we can't regularly rely on the manufacturers' claims, and charging time is no exception. Our tests indicate the fastest charging board is the Swagtron T580 at 1 hour 10 minutes. Several other models take slightly longer, such as the Swagtron's T1 and T5 at approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum is the GOTRAX SRX PRO at 3 hours. Interestingly, the GOTRAX and the T580 offer the same run time.
With the myriad of self-balancing scooters and hoverboards on the market, it can be difficult to pick one without some reservations. That's where we come in. We bought all the best boards and took them to their limits with our testing regimen. The result is an accurate breakdown of the different types of boards on the market, the terrain that each board is best suited to, and the strengths and weaknesses of each model. You can now choose your board with confidence and know you're getting the best product for your needs.
— Nick Miley, David Wise and Austin Palmer