hoverboardsA few short years ago, hoverboards were nothing but a potential concept, a Back to the Future reference or the punchline to a joke. While visions of Michael J. Fox danced in our heads, the idea of a real, affordable and working hoverboard was nothing more than a pipe dream.

Fast forward a few years! We DO almost have self-tying shoes (Nike is about to release their HyperAdapt shoes in late 2016) but we’re not quite at the point where the boards propel themselves off the ground. Still, the hoverboards we DO have are still pretty darn cool. They’re a fun and easy way to get from Point A to Point B and remain ridiculously popular. So much so, in fact, that they’re definitely going to be one of the more popular gifts this holiday season.


Why Hoverboards?

There are little things about hoverboards that make them great outside of the “cool” factor. They’re smaller, lighter weight and cheaper than electric bikes. While eBikes are still gaining in popularity, they’re still fairly unaffordable on many counts. Most hoverboards are also ready out of the box, needing no installation and nothing more than a charge. Some hoverboards nowadays even have self-balancing features to help make the riding experience easier.


What’s made them so popular?

After the Segway gave us a less than stellar motorized option a decade ago, we all must have been fairly skeptical when the first generation of hoverboards came out. Since those early days, hoverboards have gotten better. They’ve gotten lighter, have much better battery life and can go faster. Everybody’s been happy to jump on hoverboards to give them a try too. I’m pretty sure I even saw Martha Stewart photographed on one of these at one point. There is now industry-wide safety certification too which I’ll discuss at the end of the blog.

Above all, we probably just flock to these things because they’re so darn cool. Whether we’re early adopters, tech geeks or late to the party, all eyes have been on these things for the last couple years. Many of us have jumped on these for a ride or two out of nothing but curiosity. Earlier this summer, even our very own Stacey hopped on board to catch a ride on a Swagtron T3.

There are a lot more features to be aware of and to keep in mind. For those, we’ll take a look at the types of hoverboards Best Buy has to offer.


Razor Hoverboards

30071517512_2f8d48751d_cRazor is a pretty familiar name to portable travel. Many years ago, Razor cornered the portable scooter market and were the leading name in that industry from start to finish. As most people over the age of 8 have moved onto new things, Razor has kept pace and are now one of the largest manufacturers of these hoverboards.

Take the Razor Hovertrax 2.0, which is their current offering. This, in my opinion is one of the neatest of the bunch because of it’s self-balancing feature. That’s just the beginning. A 60 minute ride time, speeds of up to 10 km/h and multiple ride modes (for beginners and more experienced riders) are supported by things like ride mode and battery life indicators  . Best of all, it features a shatter-resistant polymer body with bumper protection. This is a crucial feature to people like me who have a tendency to break, scratch or scuff new technology. There’s probably a good reason I haven’t been called upon to things like drones lately and a better reason I just spectate them from afar at weddings and events. You can even coordinate since it comes in different colors

Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Electric Hoverboard – Green
Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Electric Hoverboard – Red
Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Electric Hoverboard – Black
Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Electric Hoverboard – White

Swagtron Hoverboards

Another commonly known player in town is Swagtron. Swagtron are the hoverboards you tend to see most associated in celebrity sightings, be it the wide base and flashy exterior or just the name. There’s something catchy about the name Swagtron, I suppose.

However, Swagtron’s not just a flashy name with no substance. A wider foot base and larger surface area make it easier for you to learn the difficult task of learning to balance and move on a hoverboard. The internal gyroscopic technology and dynamic equilibrium work to help keep you balanced at all times too. Silicon coating on the important joints and connectors form a protective seal around to ensure safety from heat and moisture. Battery life is mitigated by an internal management system that ensures you have the smartest battery usage possible. A level indicator also tells you how much battery life you have left.

There is a bit of flash to the substance though. Swagtron T3s also come armed with bluetooth speakers so that you can sync up your phone to your ride and listen to your tunes while you’re on the move. Here are the Swagtron T3s currently available in a wide range of different colours:

Swagtron T3 Electric Hoverboard with Bluetooth App – Black
Swagtron T3 Electric Hoverboard with Bluetooth App – Red
Swagtron T3 Electric Hoverboard with Bluetooth App – Blue
Swagtron T3 Electric Hoverboard with Bluetooth App – White
Swagtron T3 Electric Hoverboard with Bluetooth App – Gold
Swagtron T3 Electric Hoverboard with Bluetooth App – Pink


Segway joins the party too

Not to be outdone, Segway is joining the party at Best Buy really soon, so keep an eye out. Segway’s entry into the category hybridizes their models of old with the hoverboards of new. With models like the Ninebot, you have the benefits of a self balancing system with a removable knee control bar. If speed is your thing, you’re in for a treat. This moves faster than Razor and Swagtron’s contributions, topping out at a max speed of around 16 km/h.


What makes these hoverboards safe?

Realistically, all vehicles are risky. Whether it’s your car, a skateboard, bicycle or one of these, you’ve still got to be safe. All Hoverboards carried by Best Buy are UL2272 certified. This is certification that in itself is for nothing but these self-balancing hoverboards. All models must undergo rigorous testing for the safety of its components. To learn more about UL2272 and why this certification is crucial to your personal safety, click here for more information.

There are more hoverboards available than I’ve just mentioned and the category is constantly growing. Steer toward a hoverboard as a great gift idea for yourself, your kids or whomever the adventurer is in your life this holiday season.

Matt Paligaru
Emerging Technology
A technology nut at heart, I'm always interested in what makes our lives easier and helps us tick day to day. Whether Home Automation, toys, games (board and video) or everything in between, I'm always looking around the corner to see what drives us in today's day and age.