Hoverboard vs Segway What’s the Difference?

Many people use the word Segway when they’re actually talking about hoverboards, and vice versa. While these two-wheeled self-balancing scooters use the same board balance and propulsion technology, they’re not the exact same product. In this post, you’ll learn the differences and similarities between these two personal transportation devices.

Related: Hoverboard vs Waveboard

What’s the Difference Between a Segway and a Hoverboard?

A Segway is often larger, heavier, sturdier, and significantly more expensive than a regular hoverboard. One immediately noticeable difference between a Segway and a hoverboard is that it features a steering handle. Both devices boast a self-balancing capability, but a Segway feels way more stable than a hoverboard and rarely tips over.

And in terms of durability, the Segway often outlives its smaller, cheaper sibling, the hoverboard. One thing riders really love about Segways is that they don’t keep getting those ugly scratches we keep seeing on cheap hoverboards.

All that said, these two devices ride the same way: lean forward to move forward and backward to move backward. However, steering a Segway requires the rider to move the joystick-like steering handle to the right or left using their knees.

Steering with the knees makes it feel like you’re skiing on wheels. But it doesn’t take long before familiarity settles in and the awkwardness disappears. 

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Similarities Between a Hoverboard and a Segway

Essentially, a Segway is a hoverboard with a steering handle while a hoverboard is a small-size Segway without a steering handle. In this section, we’ll look the similarities between these two personal transporters.

1.Wheels: Both Have Two Wheels

These self-balancing scooters have two wheels attached on either side of a flat foot platform that sits above a complexity of cables and components.

2. Self-balancing Technology

Both use a self-balancing technology that keeps the board and rider right. This technology makes it much easier to balance on these boards. While the gyroscope and motherboard-reliant technology works the same way, standing on a Segway feels way more stability than standing on a hoverboard’s foot pads.

3. The Components and Cables Live Inside the Unit’s Casing

Unlike in an electric skateboard where the battery pack and motor are attached onto the underside of the board, the cables and components that make hoverboards and Segways work live inside the unit’s casing.

4. The Motors Are Found Inside the Wheels

In Segways and hoverboards, the motors (they’re usually two) are inside the wheels. And when it comes to changing the motors, you have to replace the entire wheel/motor set. That said, you can fix holes in the inner tube of the wheels without disassembling the whole wheel/motor set.

5. Both Are One-person Transportation Devices

I’ve yet to see tandem hoverboards or Segways, have you? These devices are built to transport one person at a time.

Differences Between a Segway and a Hoverboard

Let’s now look at the differences between a Segway and a hoverboard. It turns out there’s bunch of them.

1.Design Complexity

The design of a Segway is more complex compared to that of a hoverboard. Adding the steering handle in the middle of a Segway pours more innovation, creativity, and engineering into this device’s overall design.

2.Wheel Size: A Segway Has Bigger Better Wheels

A Segway features with bigger wheels compared to a hoverboard. The most common hoverboards have wheels with a diameter of 6.5 inches compared to 10.5 for the Segway (I’m talking about the Ninebot Mini Pro Segway here, which is many people simply just call Segway). Well, the largest and baddest rough-road hoverboards may have really large wheels, as large as 10 inches, but they’re still half an inch than what the Segway sits on.

3.Ride Quality: Segway Rides Are Butter-smooth

Anyone who’s ever spent some time on a dirt-cheap hoverboard with plastic tires can tell you that the ride is crappy.  But this isn’t the experience you get when it comes to riding a Segway. The wheels on a Segway are typically pneumatic.

You need to air them up from time to time and keep tire pressure where the user’s manual says it should stay. But while managing tire pressure on a Segway is definitely extra work, rolling around on air-filled rubber tires feels like floating on puffy, cottony clouds. The rides on the Ninebot Mini Pro aren’t smooth, they’re BUTTER smooth.

4.Board Size and Weight

Segways have a bigger footprint compared to regular hoverboards. This board is not only bigger but also heavier than a hoverboard.

The heaviest adult hoverboards, typically off-road hoverboards, the average weight hovers (pun intended) around 32 pounds. Kids’ hoverboards weigh 20 pounds on average while adult hoverboards weigh about 25 pounds.

Kids’ hoverboards weigh 20 pounds on average while adult hoverboards weigh about 25 pounds.

As for Segways, they’re heavier and sturdier than hoverboards, with some weighing 28 pounds and others over 100 pounds.

5.Maximum Weight Limit

The stated official weight limit for most Segways is 100-260 pounds versus 44-220 lbs for most regular hoverboards. You can ride either board even if you weigh more than the upper weight limit. But exceeding the payload limit all the time causes the board to break down faster.

One good thing about Segways is that they’re super sturdy, sturdier than any hoverboard you’ve ever ridden. They’re also more durable, which means heavier riders break these boards down much slower than they would hoverboards.

6.Steering Handle on Segways

One key difference between a hoverboard and a Segway is that a Segway comes with a steering control handle or joystick. Moving this stick to the right causes the Segway to turn to the right, and moving it to the left causes the board to turn left. Riding either board forward or backward requires the rider to simply lean in the direction they want to go.

7. Safety: Segways Handle Better and Are More Stable

The first few rides on a Segway feel awkward mainly because you steer cool personal transportation device with your knees rather than your feet as you do when riding a hoverboard. It’s not like really hard or anything, it just feels a little natural at first.

But once you learn how to ride a Segway, you appreciate just much more stability its overall design amounts to compared to a hoverboard. Hoverboard are known to topple over sometimes, and they keep getting little dents that make them look really bad. Segways rarely top over, and these devices almost never get those value-diminishing dings often seen on Segway hoverboards.

Since Segways have large pneumatic rubber wheels and stay upright and balanced pretty much all the time, the rides are much smoother. And these devices are that much safer. So, yes, Segways are safer than hoverboards.

8. Battery Pack: The Use Lithium Ion Batteries

Both Segways and hoverboards rely on battery power to move forward. They usually use Samsung’s lithium ion batteries. How long a single lasts depends on battery quality, the rider’s weight, and the condition of the terrain.

While it’s possible to get bad batteries on either self-balancing scooter, Segways tend to come with really good batteries. With a good Segway, you can expect a full charge to last you between 14-20 miles versus just 10 miles with the best hoverboards.

And the best part? You can swap the battery out in ether board type and put in an upgrade or even downgrade to a less powerful battery if you so choose.

9. Range Segways Offer a Slightly Longer Range

As mentioned above Segways tend to outperform hoverboards in range department. The average range of a typical hoverboard is 6-10 miles versus 14 miles to 20 miles with a Segway. Of course, there’s no hard numbers to give you here considering range isn’t a fixed thing. A smaller or younger person riding on mostly flat smooth terrain gets more range out of their board than a heavier rider boarding on a rough surface.

10. How Each Board Handles Different Kinds of Terrain

Hoverboards ride like a dream when the terrain is smooth, but when throw bumps, small rocks, gravel, and grass at them, they start sucking immediately. Hoverboards are pretty much a fun toy meant for park rides and indoor rides.

As for Segways, these ones can outperform even the best rough-road hoverboards when the surface gets rougher. You can easily ride a Segway on grass, on sidewalks, on pavement, asphalt, and concrete. The wheels are usually big and made of high-quality rubber, measuring 10.5″ versus 6.5″ with the typical hoverboard. These devices are great for navigating from one point to another on factory floors. Mall security people also use a lot.

Bottom line: Hoverboards are designed to be fun toys for personal use while Segways are mostly bought by businesses and organizations. One reason why Segways have seen greater adoption in the commercial domain than in the individual consumer world is that they’re significantly more expensive to buy and maintain.

Features and Cost

One BIG difference between hoverboards and Segways is that they’re way pricier. While you can buy a decent kid’s hoverboard for between $200-$500, good Segways set you back as much as $7,000! Now, that’s a HUGE cost difference, a difference that keeps these heavier, sturdier, better devices out of financial reach of the typical novelty-hungry consumer.

In terms of overall construction, a Segway feels way hardy and sturdier than a typical hoverboard. The materials used are much better quality, which is why Segways usually outlive hoverboards.

Which board offers more features? The manufacturers of both boards come offer a slew of safety features such as a speed management app that makes the board to beep when you pass a certain speed limit.

Other features you’ll find on either board type is anti-theft alarm, safety LED lights that also enhance the cool factor, and dual motors that really boost board performance.

Make sure to buy a UL 2272-certified Segway or hoverboard.

Hoverboard vs Segway FAQs

Let’s dive right in.

Are Segways Safer Than Hoverboards?

Yes, mostly because they’re heavier and also because their self-balancing technology manages to keep the board balanced at all times.

Are Segways Easier to Ride Than Hoverboards?

Yes, Segways are easier to master because they have somewhat better balance, plus the added steering handle in the middle makes for more intuitive device handling.

What’s Better Hoverboard or Electric Skateboard?

If you’re a speed junkie with serious balancing skills and aren’t too concerned about spending more, an electric skateboard would be a more fun buy. But all you or your kid want is a cool motorized toy for killing time at the park or indoors, a hoverboard is definitely the better option.

Does Segway Make Hoverboards?

Segway Ninebot is best-known for their life-changing Segways and electric kick-scooters rather than hoverboards.

Segway vs Hoverboard, Which is Better?

If you can afford a Segway, it’s a much better buy compared to a hoverboard. But if you’re looking for an affordable device for your son to while away their kiddo time on the driveway, it’s best to buy a hoverboard. In terms of range, battery quality, balance, board stability, and material and construction quality, the Segway beats the hoverboard hands down.

Which is More Expensive: Hoverboard vs Segway?

Segways are gobs of money more expensive than hoverboards. While a decent hoverboard sells for about $300, a decent Segway costs $5000+.

Final Thoughts on Hoverboard vs Segway

If wondering what to buy as a birthday gift for a kid, buy a hoverboard. It’s way cheaper than a Segway, and no kid would find it any less enjoyable. But if you’re into showing tourists around or looking for a real personal transportation device that an adult can comfortably ride outdoors, choose a Segway.

Ultimately, though, the decision to purchase a hoverboard or a Segway is yours.

Author: Esther Moni

I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="">nascent youtube channel.

Esther Moni

I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being a wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. Visit my Facebook profile here, and this is my LinkedIn profile, and here's my nascent youtube channel.

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