Home Tech & Gear Hoverboards and safety: what you need to know

Hoverboards and safety: what you need to know

Hoverboards can be a lot of fun to ride and use, but it’s important to remember that they are a vehicle and so you need to consider safety precautions. It’s also true that hoverboards came under close scrutiny after a number of models caught fire whilst charging. So is it still safe to buy a hoverboard in the UK? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Do they still catch fire?

Hoverboards got a lot of publicity a couple of years back, but unfortunately it was for entirely the wrong reasons. The devices had been overheating while charging which had caused them to catch fire – in some of the cases bedrooms and even whole homes had been destroyed in the blaze that they created.

Understandably, you might still have some concerns regarding the safety around the devices, so let’s look at whether this is something you need to worry about.

The truth is that while many manufacturers were banned from selling hoverboards in the UK, it has not necessarily completely fixed the problem. The issue in the fires almost exclusively came from issues with charging the boards. When they were left charging for long periods of time, the batteries would overheat. It was notable that this would only occur with fake, cheaply made batteries – never with high quality products.

Unfortunately it’s still the case that hoverboards with fake batteries can be sold in the UK. Read on for how to make sure you are buying a safe model.

How to choose a safe hoverboard

As mentioned above, the past problems with hoverboard safety have all revolved around the use of fake, cheaply-made parts. So to protect yourself, it’s essential that you choose a model from a reputable company that has been in business for a number of years. Take an example like https://bluefintrading.co.uk/. These use genuine, verified Samsung batteries and the products are safety tested to British standards. This means you can be guaranteed that they are completely safe.

Do your research into the company that you are buying from before you make the decision to purchase. Make sure that they are a legitimate operation and not just an importer who has no idea of the quality of the products they are selling.

Hoverboards for children

Hoverboards are most commonly bought for children, but this raises a number of questions. What age is appropriate for a child to own a hoverboard? And what age is it legal for a child to ride a hoverboard, for that matter? The truth is that there are no specific age requirements regarding hoverboards, although there is often a minimum weight restriction for the board to work properly (check the guide from the manufacturer for specific boards).

The choice falls to parents to decide when it is appropriate for their children to be riding hoverboards. Some manufacturers suggest a practical age limit of eight years and up to ride a board, but as each child is different, this shouldn’t be considered steadfast.

Are they legal?

Of course there is another kind of safety that you need to consider, and that’s legal safety. The problems surrounding the early hoverboards catching fire have left many people wondering whether these devices are actually legal to use in the UK. So firstly we should make something clear: hoverboards are completely legal in the UK. There is nothing illegal about owning one.

However, it is not currently legal to ride your hoverboard either on public pavements or public roads. This is because of the Highway Act 1835 which prohibits any form of carriage being ridden on the pavement, as well as modern rules that mean hoverboards do not fit the requirements to be registered as a road legal vehicle.

That means that if you want to use them you have to do so only on private land (and have the permission of the landowner). In effect this means that they can be used at home and at some parks, although you need to check with your council as they may not be allowed in many parks.