Micro-mobility’s become quite a thing, and while not everyone can or wants to scooter or hoverboard to work, more and more people are joining the movement. But which last-mile transporter works better for most people, hoverboards or electric scooters?
Each device represent a set of advantages, and it may not be easy for everyone to choose between the two. This post examines the differences between these devices to help you make up your mind about which one would be the more sensible buy for you.
Electric Skateboard versus Hoverboard
Segway vs Self-balancing Scooter
Electric scooters vs Hoverboards: Which Scooter Wins?
Ultimately, electric scooters are the better personal transporter compared to hoverboards. While both scooters are tons of fun for kids and adults, electric scooters win the superiority war on many fronts. Electric scooters have been around for over 100 years versus not even a decade for hoverboards. The e-scooter technology has evolved dramatically over the years, and e-scooter laws in the US and many other places are way less restrictive than hoverboard laws.
Besides, electric scooters are easier to ride, feel more stable, offer more range, are sturdier, more durable, and climb hills better. Also, e-scooters are better suited to heavier riders. However, e-scooters are more expensive than hoverboards.
What’s the Difference Between an Electric Scooter and a Hoverboard?
Electric scooters are essentially motorized kick scooters with a hand-operated throttle and don’t have any self-balancing ability while hoverboards are motorized boards on wheels and use a sensor-based internal system to stay balanced.
Another difference is that the wheels on an electric scooter are in-line (one in the front and the other one in the rear) while the wheels on a hoverboard are positioned parallel to each other.
Also, the brakes on an e-scooter are integrated into an intuitive handlebar while hoverboards have rider body-controlled brakes. Additionally, the motors in a hoverboard are found inside the wheels which isn’t the case with e-scooter motors.
Finally, e-scooters are more expensive and can be ridden in all kinds of places while hoverboards are allowed only on private property in many countries and cities.
Ease of Use: Electric Scooters Are Easier to Learn
Electric scooters are easier to learn on compared to hoverboards. The foot platform stays close enough to the ground, making pushing off the scooter a less intimidating affair. Besides, there’s a rider-steadying handlebar on all e-scooters that supports user-weight, helping them avoid slipping and falling off.
Also, since scooters are easier to navigate around bumps and rocks and other obstacles, the rider gets a feeling of having greater control and safety.
And because many e-scooters these days offer really good suspension, the rides are way smoother than typical hoverboard rides. Hoverboards by design come without suspension, and if the tires on the board aren’t pneumatic (air-filled), you’ll endure really rough rides. All these things add up to easier, smoother rides on electric scooters.
Who Wins in the Speed and Range Departments?
Electric scooters travel at a decent speed of 15mph on average, and some models have a maximum speed limit of 20mph. Hoverboards, on the other hand, travel at an average speed of 6-7 mph, and the slowest ones aren’t much better than walking.
In terms of range, even the best hoverboards don’t last longer than 10 miles while good e-scooters have a range of 20 miles. It’s possible to ride your e-scooter through your work week without needing to plug the device into a charger.
Product Price: Electric Scooters Are More Expensive Than Hoverboards
It’s a fact of life: electric scooters cost a whole lot more compared to hoverboards. But this is because they’re made of better-quality materials, which makes them sturdier and more durable than their self-balancing counterparts.
A decent adult scooter for commuting to work or running errands in town sets you back at least $1,000. By comparison, the best of most powerful hoverboards live in the $600-$800 price range.
What’s more, e-scooters are a real last-mile personal transportation device. I mean, you can ride your e-scooter pretty much everywhere you can ride your bike, but where else can you legally ride a hoverboard aside from private property, your backyard, driveway, and a limited number of local parks?
Hoverboards Are More Portable, But E-scooters Are More Durable
Even though some e-scooters are foldable, hoverboards have a more compact design and are more portable. They’re lighter than electric scooters, and most feature a carry handle, which means they’re easier to carry.
However, electric scooters tend to outlast hoverboards. This is mainly because manufacturers use better-grade construction materials when making e-scooters versus when building hoverboards. If you choose a decent e-scooter, you’ll likely own and ride it for years.
Electric Scooters Have a Greater Maximum Weight Limit
The weight limit for most hoverboards is 44lbs to 220lbs versus 220lbs to 352lbs weight limit for electric scooters. This makes e-scooters the better personal transporter for those on the heavier side. But you can easily heavy-duty hoverboards that heavy riders can ride without a problem.
Who Climbs Hills Better, Hoverboards vs Electric Scooters?
How easily a hoverboard or electric scooter climbs hills depends on its motor capacity, how steep the hill is, the general condition of the riding surface, and rider weight. But many people have found e-scooters are better hill climbers compared to hoverboards. Riding a hoverboard up a steep slope tends to throw the self-balancing feature off kilter. And this slows down or even stops forward movement.
If you’re a little heavier than most people and live in a hilly location, be sure to pick out a or heavy-duty e-scooter for your last-mile commutes. Because most entry-level e-scooters just don’t make the cut if you’re a big rider.
Device Safety: Are Electric Scooters Really Safer than Hoverboards?
Many people believe electric scooters are safer than hoverboards. And yes, the design of e-scooters does help boost rider safety. Take the handlebars this scooter offers, for example. If the rider feels like they’re losing balance, the handlebars are always there to steady them as they try to regain their balance.
E-scooters Are More Maneuverable vs Hoverboards
Also, the design of electric scooters helps these devices easier to maneuver, which means it’s easier to avoid potholes, rocks, bumpy spots, cars, and whatnot. And if you can avoid these obstacles more easily, doesn’t that (at least theoretically) make the e-scooter safer than hoverboards?
Integrated Braking System of E-Scooters vs Brake-by-leaning in Hoverboards
Then there’s the braking system each device uses. When you’re riding a hoverboard and need to stop or slow down, you have to shift your weight accurately, or you’ll face-plant. Or hit the back of your head on hard pavement. Or break a wrist.
By comparison, the braking system on an electric scooter is fully integrated into the intuitive handlebars. And this makes it easier to slow down or stop when scootering around.
E-scooters Feel More Stable vs Hoverboards
Finally, scooter rides tend to feel more stable compared to a hoverboard’s. Maybe that’s more of a perception than reality since hoverboards self-balance and stay upright and stable for the most part.
That said, you can easily put a foot down and push off an e-scooter or control the ride in some other way or even jump off the scooter in an emergency. Maybe this element of increased control that makes people perceive scooter rides as safer.
Scooter and Hoverboard Accident Statistics
Enough of perceptions and assumptions; let’s look at accident numbers around hoverboards and electric scooters. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, micro-mobility accidents have been rising lately. In fact, between 2017 and 2020, North Americans made 190,000 Emergency Room trips.
Year 2017 saw 34,000 ER visits versus 44,000 in the following year (2018), 54,800 in 2019, and 57,800 in 2020. Yes, that’s 70 percent increase in micro-mobility-related mishaps that necessitated a visit to the emergency department. And these numbers relate to the United States alone.
The majority of the reported injuries affected the neck, arms, legs, and head. And yes, there were fatalities, too. The CPSC revealed that 71 deaths happened over this period.
Here’s another fact you need to know: most of the injuries/accidents seen in the U.S. between 2017-2020 stemmed from scooter rides. But this could be because there’s way more people who ride scooters than do ride hoverboards. However, e-scooter accidents grew 52 percent over this period versus 70 percent combined growth (e-bikes, hoverboards, and e-scooters). Source of data.
The CPSC recommends that hoverboard and e-electric scooter riders wear protective gear while riding. You want to use a properly certified helmet. Go for a dual-certified helmet if you can.
History of the Electric Scooter vs Hoverboard
A person named Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson invented the first-ever scooter (the Autoped) in 1913 and patented the technology in 1916. The Autoped was a gas-powered vehicle with a 155cc four-stroke engine and two 10″ wheels.
Gibson designed this vehicle to provide doctors, students, and workers of all stripes with simple, convenient transportation while helping them save money. It cost about $100, which was tons of money in the 1920s, but it was definitely cheaper than a car.
As for hoverboards, they’re a much more recent development. Beijing-born Shane Chen invented the first self-balancing scooter, the Hovertrax, in 2013. Chen filed for patent for his invention which was granted in 2014. And did you know Beijing-born Shane Chen once worked for NASA?
Electric Scooters vs Hoverboards FAQs
Who Invented the Electric Scooter and When?
Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson gave the world the first-ever scooter (the Autoped) in 1913 and patented the technology in 1916.
Who Invented the Hoverboard and When?
Beijing-born Shane Chen created the first self-balancing scooter in the USA in 2013.
Is a Hoverboard an E-scooter?
Yes, a hoverboard is a kind of self-balancing scooter, but it’s different in many ways.
How Much Does a Hoverboard Scooter Cost?
The cheapest hoverboards cost as little as $60, better ones cost from $200-$300, but others (not necessarily the best options) cost as much as $700+. The 8.5″ EpikGo Classic hoverboard costs around $800 and is one of the most expensive hoverboards ever created.
Is a Hoverboard Expensive?
Kids’ and adults’ hoverboards are relatively affordable, but some high-end models can cost as much as $800. In the end, what feels expensive or cheap depends on your financial might.
Which is the Best Electric Scooter for Kids?
The best kids’ electric scooter isn’t a specific product. It’s best to read real reviews from real people and learn which electric scooters most people have found reliable. If you’re unsure about what electric scooter brand to choose for your child, stick to trusted brands such as Segway Ninebot, Razor, and Pure Air. And if you’re looking for a budget kids scooter, consider Xiaomi scooters.
Which is the Best Electric Scooter for Adults?
It’s hard to state which electric scooter is the best option for all adults. But this technology has been around for over a century, which means many people in many places have had enough time to ride and test these devices and know which ones are mediocre and which ones are decent, and which scooters are great. Make sure to read reviews (and watch scooter performance videos) to learn what others think of the scooter you’re eyeing.
Which is Faster Electric Scooter or Hoverboard?
Definitely electric scooters. While the typical hoverboard travels at an average speed of just 6-7 miles per hour, the regular electric scooter travels at a much higher speed of 15mph. Some e-scooters can reach even higher speeds, but most people do just fine with 15mph or slower.
Which is Safer Electric Scooter or Hoverboard?
Truth be told, no motorized vehicle is 100% safe, and accidents happen. In fact, micro-mobility-related (hoverboard, e-bike, and electric scooter accidents) mishaps increased immensely between 2017 and 2020. Even though electric scooters feel more stable compared to hoverboards, the most recent accident numbers reveal that the majority of accidents over the stated period (2017-2020) involved electric scooters(source).
Which is Easier to Learn Hoverboard vs Electric Scooter?
Most people find electric scooters are easier to learn compared to hoverboards. Like Segways, electric scooters come in a more intuitive design with a handlebar which makes riding the scooter feel somewhat easier.
Which is Better, Hoverboard Or Electric Scooter?
For the vast majority of consumers who are sold on micro-mobility, the short answer is electric scooter. Not only are electric scooters a safer, more reliable technology, they also feel more stable during rides and can carry even the heaviest riders.
Also, there’s way more places where you can ride an electric scooter while hoverboards are for the most part not street-legal. If interested, here’s a few places in the US and Australia where you can ride a hoverboard.
And when it comes to going up hills, the e-scooter wins hands down. For pretty much everyone, electric scooters are the better option as far as getting around town or even commuting to work.