Best Hoverboard of 2020
Best Overall Hoverboard
The Epikgo Classic is a burly 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 relatively large size of the board combined with the robust motors and battery means the Classic is one of the heavier boards (32.2 lbs) we've tested. 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 puts it right up the commuting ally.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 is fleet, with 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 almost any speed. 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 no less than 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 most evident on hills where 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 difficult. Finally, the shiny paint coating the fenders is vulnerable 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. Considering these shortcomings, the T5 might not strike you as a candidate for an award. This board, however, is a hoot for smaller riders, and its attractive price keeps the buyer in a good mood before the rubber hits the road.
Given the T5's limitations in power, it should come as 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 packs a lot of performance into an affordable board. With a max speed of almost 9 mph, it moves along at a reasonable clip, and with 87 minutes of run time, it can carry you a considerable distance. This board is maneuverable, particularly in corners. To top things off, Swagtron has some of the better customer service that 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 isn't especially snappy in its response to rider inputs. This deficiency was particularly noticeable in the back and forth 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 find out which hoverboards are the best, we investigate the specs of all the top brands and models. 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
Although many hoverboards look alike, they can roughly be divided into two groups: small and large. Small boards are more toy-like and are best kept on flat, firm surfaces. Big boards, in contrast, 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. What the large boards gain in all-terrain performance, they lose in maneuverability. The larger 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. These standards have also been endorsed by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. 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. To address the disparity between our rating system and the influence of price to most consumers, we grant value awards to the products that provide the best value within different gear categories. However, a value purchase isn't simply the cheapest product on the market. Rather, it's the product that supplies more performance than the others for the same dollar amount. Or, approximately the same performance for 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. There are exceptions, however, such as the Segway Ninebot S, that are designed as general-purpose or commuter vehicles. 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. Next, we mustered our crack team of testers to ride each board through our obstacle course, while evaluating maneuverability, acceleration, and stability.
Obstacle course outcomes 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 has a snappy feel that produces a sense of responsiveness. 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. The answer is that 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. The power and responsiveness of the motors comes into play for beginners as well as those seeking to push their limits because it allows the board to more readily rebalance itself.
As far as style is concerned, the T1 and T380 have three and four color options respectively. The T380, however, 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 number of boards in our review fall into the middling fun factor ranks with 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, it suffered as a result 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 so they are the best at doing rapid, 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 pushed back 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. Riders of the S alter their direction of travel by engaging a padded bar between the legs, pushing it towards one wheel or the other with the inside of their 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, the outdoor capabilities metric analyzes the performance of these products when we take them away from the flats and off the road.
To assess outdoor capabilities we measured the performance of these boards as they traversed grass, dirt, and sand. We also looked at their performance on inclines. For the incline sub-metric we took the boards up a 14-percent grade for 750 vertical feet, turned around, and descended the same grade. This test allowed us to assess both their hill-climbing power and their 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 broad standing platforms. Boards of this type are growing in popularity, but they still occupy a limited 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. Having fully recharged 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