How We Tested Hoverboards

By:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Monday
November 20, 2017

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Our expert testing panel  ready to see what these boards can do!
Our expert testing panel, ready to see what these boards can do!
We bought 11 of the highest rated hoverboards currently available and put them through a battery of tests (and battered them a little in the process!) to evaluate which board is the best. To see which specific models ranked the highest, take a glance at our comprehensive hoverboard review.

Fun Factor


Inherently, these are fun products and based on our research of existing reviews, this is the primary reason many people will purchase one. While we admit that it is hard to quantify fun, we think our method of aggregating the individual scores of our panel of testers while they assessed overall fun and ride-ability is effective. The majority of this metric is based on the speed of the board and how it performed in our obstacle course test, but we also looked at the weight of each board, Bluetooth connectivity functions, available accessories, and the spread of color options that each board came in.

How do you measure fun? We looked at speed and maneuverability to start.
How do you measure fun? We looked at speed and maneuverability to start.

The most important test in this metric is somewhat self-explanatory: an obstacle course. We had a panel of testers ride our test course, making notes on what boards they did or didn't like, and why. We also had each tester switch boards after each lap, to ensure testers of all sizes rode each board.

The GPS track of one of our testers taken while completing the obstacle course.
The GPS track of one of our testers taken while completing the obstacle course.

We then timed each board on our straightaway track to calculate the top speed, giving each board three trials and averaging the results. We also weighed each board, rather than relying on the spec sheet. Next up, we picked out a generic third-party protective silicone skin, and a hoverboard case from Amazon, and evaluated how well (if at all!) they fit each board. While many manufacturers' do make a case specific to their board, we wanted to test overall compatibility. Finally, we checked which boards had Bluetooth connectivity, and what you could do with it, as well as the spread of colors available for each board.

Outdoor Capabilities


Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads…is a complete and utter falsehood when it comes to these hoverboards. While all of the models we tested performed admirably on smooth, flat surfaces, performance for many of them dropped off dramatically as the terrain became more difficult.

The burly  off-road tires of the Epikgo rode over cracks like they weren't even there.
The burly, off-road tires of the Epikgo rode over cracks like they weren't even there.

We looked at how each board did on the steepest incline we could find, both up and down, how they traversed rough pavement, cracks, and whether or not they could safely and comfortably clear a threshold.

While the T3 did all right on the ascent  it didn't exactly inspire confidence on the descent.
While the T3 did all right on the ascent, it didn't exactly inspire confidence on the descent.

Finally, for the more adventurous riders out there, we looked at how each board did on grass, as well as on dirt and sand. Multiple testers rode the boards throughout the testing, and we averaged their scores and opinions to make the final determination.

Support


As we learned in our testing, these products can break when pushed to their limits. It's important to know that the manufacturer stands behind their product, or that you can at the very least get in contact with them about an issue or a warranty claim.

The Epikgo suffered a little during our testing and came out worse for the wear.
The Epikgo suffered a little during our testing and came out worse for the wear.

Throughout testing, these products underwent a variety of crashes and collisions and some boards definitely handled them better than others. We rated how each board had stood up to our testing, and the level of damage it had received. Next, we contacted the manufacturer of each board with a technical question via email and rated their response…if there was one. We also looked at if there was a valid customer support phone number, and the level of warranty each board came with.

Battery


Our final metric that we analyzed was the battery life of each board. The scoring for this metric was split three ways, with runtime comprising the largest component. We timed how long each board lasted in our obstacle course, switching boards after every lap to ensure that no board was unfairly penalized for having exclusively larger riders.

Scores were based on how long each board ran for, giving you an idea of how long each board would last when playing — doing spins, turns, and rapid direction changes.

In direct comparison, our range test was to see how far each board would travel. Measuring out a test lap in a flat, smooth parking lot, we ran each board until it died, tallying laps as we went and switching testers after each one as before. Each tester ran the board as fast as they could, usually triggering the high-speed warning on each board. We compared results and scored based on which board went the furthest.

Last, we timed how long it took each board to charge completely after being fully depleted. We judged fully depleted to be when there was no longer enough power to stand on the board.

Conclusion


Curious how the results came out? Want to see which boards survived these challenges? take a look at our comprehensive hoverboard review to see which board stood up the best to this testing regime, or take a read through our Buying Advice article for a more in-depth look at why you would even buy one of these in the first place, whether or not they are safe, and which style might be the best suited for your specific needs.

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