Best Hoverboard of 2021
|Price||$497 List||$250 List|
$229.99 at Amazon
|$300 List||$250 List|
$249.99 at Amazon
$229.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Great off-road, stable||Inexpensive, stable at speed, onboard Bluetooth speakers||Inexpensive, stable, agile||Smooth ride, cool colors, competitive price||Solid customer support, Bluetooth connectivity|
|Cons||Expensive, heavy, poor maneuverability||Limited battery life, long charge time, limited off-pavement capabilities||Sluggish, poor off-road||Underpowered, shows scratches, struggles on soft surfaces||Severely underpowered, short battery life|
|Bottom Line||Great fun off-pavement, but it is big and heavy making it difficult to manage for smaller riders||A fun, decent quality, inexpensive hoverboard that is more on the recreation — opposed to the commuting — end of the spectrum||The stable board is the best in the class for children or those well below 187 lbs||This economy board is great for lighter-weight users that want a long-lasting ride||This budget board fails to deliver a level of performance that would warrant its seemingly modest price|
|Rating Categories||Halo Rover||GoTrax SRX PRO||Swagtron T5||Hover-1 Titan||Swagtron T580|
|Fun Factor (50%)|
|Outdoor Capabilities (20%)|
|Specs||Halo Rover||GoTrax SRX PRO||Swagtron T5||Hover-1 Titan||Swagtron T580|
|Measured Run Time||100 min||50 min||55 min||110 min||50 min|
|Measured Weight||31.9 lbs||28.9 lbs||19.6 lbs||21.8 lbs||20.8 lbs|
|Measured Speed||8.8 mph||9 mph||7.1 mph||8 mph||7.3 mph|
|Measured Range||7.4 mi||4.7 mi||5 mi||10.6||2.6 mi|
|Weight Limit||45 - 260 lbs||220 lbs||187 lbs||265 lbs||220 lbs|
|Bluetooth||Yes; Music||Yes; Music||No||Yes; App & Music||Yes; App & Music|
|Warranty||12 months||3 months limited||12 months limited||90 days||12 months limited|
|Measured Charge Time||2 hours, 40 min||3 hours||1 hour, 20 min||3 hours||1 hour, 10 min|
Best All-Around Hoverboard
The Swagtron T6 is a top-tier hoverboard built for all types of terrain. This burly machine has 10" pneumatic tires and powerful 300-watt motors, allowing it to traverse most surface types and roll over all but the largest obstacles. This model offers one of the more comfortable platforms, and with a top speed of 11.9 mph, it's among the fastest machines we've reviewed. Moreover, when you purchase a T6 you're not just getting premium performance out of the deal but reliable customer support as well.
Wondering what the catch is? We found this board to be somewhat bulky and more difficult to maneuver with precision than some of the smaller contenders we tested. Also, due to its heavier weight, it can be a pain to carry around. However, if you're seeking a serious board for off-road riding, then we'd point you straight to the T6.
Read Full Review: Swagtron T6
Best General-Purpose Board
The Swagtron T380 is an affordable, high-quality, and, most importantly, super fun product for all ages. The T380 garners these accolades due to its zippy, responsive, and agile performance in our obstacle course; especially when cornering and pirouetting. Moreover, this machine is durable and was no worse for wear following our rigorous testing. Also, in the event that something goes wrong, this board comes with some of the better customer service that we've experienced.
While the T380 was super enjoyable for cruising around on smooth parking lots, it suffered compared to its big-wheeled competitors on soft or otherwise uneven surfaces. Additionally, the battery life and, by extension, the travel range are relatively limited. These characteristics restrict this product to parks, driveways, and the streets closer to home.Read Full Review: Swagtron T380
Best for Commuting
Segway Ninebot S
The Segway Ninebot S looks like the black sheep of the hoverboard family. But make no mistake, this machine is all business. The S is nimble, packs tons of power, has a stable platform, and can keep rolling mile after mile. Unlike other models sporting big wheels and claiming off-road prowess, the S has 800 watts of motor power to carry the rider through uneven surfaces at any speed. Segway chose to forgo frills such as onboard speakers; this board is utility-oriented for the commuter with a futuristic bent.
Our test team has lots of experience testing Segway products, including the predecessor of the S. Accordingly, several testers were disappointed that Ninebot's design team discontinued the adjustable steering column. This one decision was the source of all complaints, particularly from taller testers. In our view, Segway should be adding more adjustability to this critical component, not limiting it.
Read Full Review: Segway Ninebot S
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 happens to give 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. At speed, this model is a bit shaky. Additionally, it had marginal responsiveness to the rider's pedal inputs. This deficiency was particularly noticeable in the back and forth exercise in our obstacle course. Despite these limitations, this little pony offers users a really fun ride at a manageable price.
Read Full Review: Swagtron T1
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. This model has a 3 hour recharge time and weighs in at 21.8 lbs, about average for the class. It's also available in some unique and fun colors.
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 Hover-1 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, Titan has relatively good customer service and the board is competitively priced.
Read Full Review: Hover-1 Titan
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. Having ridden over 850 miles (and counting) on hoverboards, electric skateboards, and scooters, Austin is 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 battery 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.
When scoring the performance of products in our reviews, we do not consider the price. We remove cost from the equation because we want the best products to receive the top scores no matter what their price tag says. However, having said that, 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 on most consumers. A value purchase, however, doesn't equate to the cheapest product on the market. Instead, it's the product that supplies more performance than the others for the same dollar amount or offers similar performance for even less money. Case in point, the Swagtron T1: this little shredder of a 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.
To no surprise, 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. The board's ability 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 itself 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 is 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. Right on their heels is the Segway Ninebot S, overlapping the previous cohort in several tests.
Hitting a measured maximum of 11.9 mph in our tests, the T6 is a speedy little thing. 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, with a staggering weight of 31.7 lbs, it's a bit on the heavier side.
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 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 two colors, white or black. However, weighing about 20 lbs, it is quite light, and it's compatible with most commonly found accessories, such as protective skins, go-kart conversion seats, and handlebar options.
In our analysis, we found 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, the max speed generated from these boards is similar, at 8-10 mph. Although these speeds are above average for the class, it was reported by our testers that stability decreased as the speed increased. 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, which compromised 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 consistent with all the larger boards in our review. These boards are stable and powerful, and they excelled at doing quick back and forth circuits. They are, however, 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. To start, 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.
We rode over plenty of dirt, sand, and grass to gather data about the outdoor capability of each model. 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 make up a small portion of the market, although they are increasing in popularity quite a bit. 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. Zipping over cracks and bumps and rallying over grass and dirt, the S crushed the outdoor capabilities sub-metric. This model also excels at steep inclines, so if you live in an area with lots of hills, this would be a great pick for you.
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 remaining large-wheel boards in the class, the Halo Rover and the Epikgo Classic didn't perform as well as the S on cracks and thresholds. However, when it came to steep hills and traveling over dirt and sand, they nearly matched the S. While these boards lagged slightly behind the Segway in terms of performance, our testers found them to be 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 types of terrain. So, if your 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 T6 or 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 get in contact with 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. For many people, these boards are not a trivial investment, and it can be disappointing to hand over your hard-earned cash to a company that will be difficult to contact if a problem were to occur. And, problems do occur. During our testing, we broke one board, 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 and included a statement about their warranty program. Swagtron's response time and helpfulness varied — there are a number of their products in this review, 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 middle 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.
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 recharge each unit completely. 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 real world. 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 remarkable 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 drained. 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. At 1 hour 10 minutes, our tests indicate the fastest charging board is the Swagtron T580. 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.
Given the voluminous amount of hoverboards on the market, it can be challenging to pick one without reservations. That's where we come in. We bought all the best boards and took them to their limits with our testing regimen. Our analyses render an accurate comparative breakdown of the different types of boards on the market with details such as the terrain and activity that each board is best suited to, as well as the travel radius of each model. With this information, you can choose your board with confidence and know you're getting the best product for your needs and budget.
— Nick Miley, David Wise and Austin Palmer