Well, let’s get this out of the way right away: hoverboards don’t do anything close to floating on air. And yes, this cool, futuristic personal transportation device every kid wants stays solidly on the ground the whole time. I bet that makes the whole “my kid’s about to ride a motorized vehicle that hovers” idea a whole lot less terrifying.
Related: Best Hoverboards for 8-year-olds and Older Kids
OK, you want to gift your fun-loving grom a kid-friendly hoverboard. But how the heck do you choose a hoverboard for a kid?
That’s the question this hoverboards for kids buying guide seeks to answer. In this post, expect to learn every single thing you need to know before purchasing a kiddo-specific hoverboard.
Related: How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Hoverboard
What Age Are Hoverboards Suitable for?
Fact: It’s easy to think of a kid’s hoverboard as a toy, but a hoverboard ISN’T a toy. It’s a motorized vehicle designed to cruise down roads and streets at speed, and accidents aren’t infrequent.
Kid’s fall while riding this self-balancing scooter and bruises, fractures, and strains/sprains are some of the most common hoverboard injuries seen. Want to learn a few hoverboard injury statistics? I have dedicated an entire section below to just that.
The right age for a kid to ride a hoverboard is 8 years or older according to Mom Loves Best. That’s the right amount of maturity needed to handle this motor-powered smart-balancing device especially in areas with reasonable traffic.
That said, kids younger than 8 years can ride a balance board under supervised as long as they’re heavy enough (44 pounds or heavier). A child who’s lighter than 44 pounds (4 year old boys) lacks the body weight needed to maneuver their board safely.
How Does a Hoverboard Work?
A hoverboards is pretty much a segway without handlebars. These motorized balance boards have become a cool personal transportation solution for many in the modern world. But how do they work?
Inside each h0verboard wheel sits an electric motor and sensors. The motors provide the power needed to propel the balance board forward while the sensors help with detecting the tilt angle and speed. Under each foot pad, there’s a switch.
When you tilt the board either downward or upward, the movement causes the switch to trigger an infrared LED light which then triggers the tilt sensors. Then, the tilt sensors send the data to the vehicle’s gyroscopes that in turn forward the data to the unit’s logic board, telling it to keep the device upright the entire time after it’s been turned on.
When your kiddo keeps their feet perfectly flat/horizontal, the infrared light mentioned above stays on. And as long as this light stays on, the logic board interprets this to mean it shouldn’t propel the board forward. When your young rider leans forward (that’s how you ride a hoverboard by the way), the switch under the foot pad turns the infrared LED light off. And when this happens, the logic interprets the situation as meaning it’s time to go and boom, the board starts gliding forward.
I bet you’ll find the hoverboard teardown video below to be of some value:
What to Consider While Buying a Hoverboard for a Kid
Consider the sturdiness of the board’s standing platform, the longest possible range, board speed, and the hoverboard’s maximum weight limit. This post explains in detail why hoverboard weight capacity matters.
Most importantly, consider whether the hoverboard is safe enough for kids and adults; it needs to be certified to the UL 2272 hoverboard safety standards. And of course, it needs to be able to self-balance every time the young rider steps on it. Other considerations to keep in mind while shopping for a kid’s hoverboard is brand, battery life, motor power & torque, graphics, control app, and of course price.
If you pay adequate attention to all these factors, you increase the chances of ending up with a decent safe hoverboard for kids. And no, the best kids’ hoverboard doesn’t necessarily cost an arm and a leg.
Let’s now get down to the specific factors you need to keep in front of you when buying your little angel a hoverboard. Please make them understand the thing doesn’t hover at all!
Size: How Do I Choose the Right Size Hoverboard for My Kid
What’s the right hoverboard size for a kid? When sizing a hoverboard, it’s easy to think that these devices are sized according to the width and length of the foot platform. But that’s not how it works with these self-balancing scooters. Kids’ hoverboards are sized according to the diameter of the wheel. There are 6.5″ kids’ hoverboards, 8″ boards, 8.5″ hoverboards, and 10″ hoverboards.
The right hoverboard size for kids hovers (pun intended) between 4.5″ and 6.5.” 4.5″ options are becoming harder and harder to find, and that’s because this size used to have endless problems a few years back. These days, 6.5″ hoverboards for young children are the most common hoverboard sizes.
It’s not that kids can’t ride 8″, 8.5″, or even 10″ hoverboards. It’s just that 6.5″-ish hoverboards tend to not be the fastest. And safety is critical when it comes to picking out a hoverboard for a kiddo.
Hoverboards with 6.5″ wheels are great for indoor use, but you can also use them outdoors on smooth surfaces. 8″ options are good for outdoor use, but 8.5″ and 10″ wheels is where real outdoor fun starts. These are extra large rubber wheels with deep tread that make floating on sand, grass, and other difficult terrain much easier. They’re the quintessential rough-road hoverboards.
Note: not all rubber hoverboard tires are have tubes inside. In fact, many of them have a rubber base but no tube, meaning you don’t need to monitor tire pressure the whole time or inflate them. Pneumatic tires are almost always found on the baddest rough-road hoverboards for adults.
Hoverboard Safety: Make Sure the Scooter is UL2272 Certified
OK, I’m not here to scare you away from this purchase, but truth be told: hoverboards sometimes heat up and explode. And sometimes, some not-very-nice things happen afterward. Things like family homes and every single piece of treasured item in there go up in flames. This sure is frightening, but it’s not like these sorts of mishaps happens every other week.
While there’s no absolute guarantee that even the finest kids’ hoverboard won’t heat up and catch on fire inside your home or apartment. But you can drastically reduce the chances of this terrifying occurrence taking place with your purchase by choosing a UL 2272-cerified kid’s hoverboard.
I want you to watch the video below and see what happened. Imagine what could have happened to this family (their lives and property) had the hoverboard exploded overnight while everyone was sleeping! Life-changing disaster, that is what could have happened.
Don’t Charge Your Kid’s Hoverboard Overnight, especially If It’s Cheap
Tip: While researching for this kid’s hoverboard guide, I learned a critical hoverboard safety tip. It’s a really bad idea to leave a hoverboard charging overnight. That’s when disastrous explosions like to happen, and it’s also when most are least able to help themselves because…deep sleep.
Here’s another tip I gleaned from my research. The cheapest hoverboards tend to catch on fire more often compared to premium-grade hoverboards. Pretty much all high-end hoverboards (or least reasonably pricey ones) are equipped with a sensor system that prevents overcharging.
This means that for the most part, you can leave an expensive kid’s hoverboard to draw charge overnight without worries. It’s the budget kids’ hoverboards you need to be careful with, those living in the $70-$100 price range.
Hoverboard Motor Capacity & Maximum Weight Capacity
Another factor to put into consideration when buying a balance board for a child is its motor capabilities. Many options these days come with dual motors, and each of these little engines live inside the wheels. The wattage each motor puts out is a critical number to keep an eye on because it determines where you can ride the board. For example, if a board comes with a 250W motor, it’ll likely struggle climbing up hills. Such a device would work best when driven on level surfaces rather than hilly terrain.
Most of the options for kids I’ve seen offer between 350W and 400W as far as motor capacity. 700W and more powerful balance boards are for serious riders (read adults) who are OK with paying more to get more hill-climbing power and torque.
Weight Capacity of a Kid’s Hoverboard
Is there a weight light for hoverboards? Yes, there is, and it’s important to pay some attention to this number. hoverboard manufacturers typically state each unit’s maximum weight limit as well as its minimum weight limit. For this reason, you may not share your balance board with your kiddo if they’re too light for it.
Chances are that your 4-year-old may not safely ride your board, so buy them something designed to accommodate lighter riders. The average 4-year-old boy weighs 30-44 pounds according to Cincinnatichildrens.org. It seems that bigger boys aged 4 can reach the minimum weight limit, but do they have enough eye-foot coordination to control a mobile balance board? I doubt that.
Many hoverboards state 44lbs as the minimum weight limit for their boards. The smallest hoverboards for kids (4.5″ options) typically have an upper weight limit of 120 lbs. As for the more popular 6.5″ boards, they have a maximum load capacity of 220 lbs. Many 8.5″ boards have a weight limit of 265lbs while the baddest of the baddest heavy-duty hoverboards have an upper weight limit of over 400lbs. Here’s some of the best hoverboards for heavy riders.
What Happens If You Ignore a Hoverboard’s Weight Limit?
If the rider is too small/too young/too light and you let them ride a board they’re not old/heavy enough to ride, that’s a bad idea. Since self-balancing scooters rely on the weight of the rider for maneuverability and board control, a very light rider can’t safely ride them.
On the other hand, exceeding the stated maximum weight limit of a hoverboard can cause problems. Well, you can still safely ride the board even if you’re 10 pounds heavier than the upper capacity. However, that’s the surest path to frequent breakdowns. Plus, there’s no guarantee that the self-leveling technology in the board will work 100% as expected. Expect that board to act weirdly at times and to break down faster than you’d like.
Ease of Use: It Must Be Easy to Ride
Well, if the hoverboard is too complex that your kid can’t ride it safely, don’t buy it. Your kiddo deserves something that’s very easy to use, a board they won’t need any encouragement to step on and fly around on.
When I say ease of use, I’m talking about whether it’s easy to step on the board without falling. Easy-to-use hoverboards f0r children and adults are proven masters at self-balancing. As soon as you turn the device on, the thing jumps into a balanced mode that makes it easy for kids and beginners to stay upright and safe during rides.
Some boards can be hard to steer as well, and such can’t be said to be easy to ride. I’ve read kids’ hoverboard reviews where parents reported that their little one’s device pulled to the side during rides. And this made turning kind of challenging.
So, how do you know that a self-leveling scooter for young children is easy to use? Read reviews. I don’t know of a better way to learn this information.
Alternatively, walk into a store and have your kiddo test out a few options. This approach may seem great and foolproof, but only real product reviews from real parents is the only way to know how a given hoverboard handles in the long term.
Hoverboard Speed: Stay in the 5MPH-7MPH Range
Speed thrills, and lots of accidents in the United States and everywhere else happen because people were driving too fast. For this reason, you want an option that’s not too fast if you’re purchasing the hoverboard for a child. But we all know that fast and slow are relative, and what feels fast for one person may feel slow for another.
So what’s considered safe hoverboard speed for kids? Pick out a hoverboard that travels at between 5MPH and 7MPH. The slower the thing, the better. This brings me to another really important hoverboard safety tip: When buying a hoverboard for a kid, try to look for one that lets you set the maximum speed limit. Fortunately, many kid-specific hoverboards give parents the power to decide the top speed.
Range: How Many Miles of Fun Does the Scooter Offer?
If there’s one thing you really need to keep a keen eye on, it’s range. Range is a function of hoverboard battery quality/battery life. A good hoverboard battery lets your kid see the neighborhood and beyond for anywhere between 30-60 minutes, which translates to a range of 5-7 miles.
The weight of the child, the mode the hoverboard is running on, how steep the terrain is, and battery quality are all factors that determine the actual range.
If a child who’s a little on the heavier side of things rides their self-leveling scooter up a 30-degree incline at the highest speed, the range can decrease substantially, and vice versa. In other words, the range stated in the product product description is simply indicative of what to expect rather than something specific.
Again, the smartest way to know how much juice/fun time/range a hoverboard actually provides is to devour reviews online. Well, reviews aren’t always genuine or reliable. But if you read enough of them, it easy to form a near-accurate opinion of each option’s expected range.
Battery Life: How Good is the Battery?
For the most part, hoverboards rely on a lithium-ion battery to move the ride from point A to point B. And if there’s one area that hoverboard manufacturers need to maniacally focus on, it’s battery quality/battery life. What’s worse than ending up with a $500 kid’s hoverboard that dies after just 5 minutes of hovering around? Nothing!
All too often, manufacturers and their often-smooth-talking marketing departments exaggerate on battery life. They say that the battery on a particular model holds a charge for 45 minutes while it’s actually something like 10-15 minutes.
You want to research thoroughly online before sinking your hard-earned money into any “long-range” kid’s hoverboard. If many parents and reviewers are unhappy with how much juice a given hoverboard model gives, buy something else.
Because I don’t want you to be the disgruntled and grouchy parent or grandparent who says down the road, “I ignored the reviews saying that this kids’ hoverboard has a bogus battery, but all I have now are regrets.”
Wheels: Plastic Wheels for Smooth vs. Rubber Wheels for Rough Terrain
Let’s now talk hoverboard wheels. Kids’ hoverboards come with either rubber wheels or plastic wheels. Both kinds of wheels are OK, but they’re good in the exact same way.
Before you whip out that card, ask yourself this question, “Where will my child mostly ride their hoverboard? Will they mostly ride on hard, smooth, even surfaces such as my driveway? Or will they ride their device on rough terrain, bumpy roads, or off-road?
Plastic Hoverboard Wheels: For Smooth, Even Surfaces
Plastic hoverboard wheels are great because they roll well over smooth surfaces devoid of rocks, cracks, mud, sand, and whatnot. Some of these wheels can be pretty narrow, and they really suck at gliding through grassy or muddy patches. The upside is that plastic wheels don’t need you to inflate them from time to time. Nor do they ever pop/get flats no matter where your little one may be riding them.
The downside to plastic hoverboard wheels is that they don’t last long. But this means you can always buy nice hoverboard replacement wheels when the time to do so finally comes.
Rubber Wheels: For Off-road Hoverboarding
Rubber wheels/pneumatic tires tend to be larger in terms of size compared to their plastic counterparts. And you normally find these wheels on off-road hoverboards. They’re typically wide and have deep tread, which means they provide significantly more traction and balance versus plastic ones.
If your kiddo will mostly ride their self-leveling scooter on loose gravel, down dirt paths, or on bumpy roads/streets, get them rubber wheels. Boards with rubber wheels tend to have a rugged look and to be sturdier than options with plastic wheels. Which actually means these boards tend to last that much longer.
Hoverboards with Plastic Wheels vs. Those With Rubber Wheels: Summary
- Hoverboards with plastic wheels tend to be lighter than those with rubber wheels.
- They also tend to be less sturdy and less rugged compared to their rubber-wheel counterparts.
- Not surprisingly, those with plastic wheels are cheaper and less long-lasting.
- They’re for riding on smooth, even surfaces compared to rubber wheels that are good for both smooth and difficult terrain.
- Plastic wheels don’t need you to air them up while you need to check tire pressure in pneumatic rubber tires and inflate them from time to time.
- No punctures with plastic wheels while punctures aren’t uncommon with inflatable rubber tires.
Extra Features: BlueTooth Speakers, Speed Control App, and More
Many hoverboards these days, whether they’re meant for young children or adults, come with BlueTooth speakers. These speakers easily connect (most anyway) with external devices such as smartphones. And what’s better than hovering down the street while listening to some of the finest music ever composed? Nothing!
Whether your kiddo is hoverboading alone, with you, or with friends, they’ll always appreciate being able to stay connected with their favorite bands. Music cools nerves, and it soothes the spirit in ways few other things can.
But do you know what else you need to have on that hoverboard? It’s the ability to control how fast the scooter glides. The safest kids’ hoverboards are not only UL 2272-certified, but also allow parent-managed speed control. These options typically come with an app that make setting the maximum speed the board can attain a cinch.
I strongly suggest that you pick out this sort of device. Because your child can kind of grow with it. You get to set top speed rather low when they’re new to the board and increase it gradually in tandem with their evolving riding skills.
Which Hoverboard Brands Are Best and What’s the Right Price Point?
I really didn’t want to appear as if I’m endorsing any brands. But since you really want to know if there’s any companies that many parents trust, I’ll go ahead and name a few. Hover 1, Segway, PhunkeeDuck, IO Hawk, Swagtron, Gyroor, Gotrax, and Razor Hovertrax are some of the more popular hoverboard brands. IO Hawk and PhunkeeDuck are the two largest and best-known players in the ever-expanding hoverboard market.
As for price, your budget should be the deciding factor, of course. Some options costs as little as $70 while others cost as much as over $700. While pricier isn’t always commensurate with better quality and improved safety, they tend to be better quality and safer.
I found that you can actually charge most expensive hoverboards overnight without burning your place down. That said, I insist that you avoid charging the thing overnight if you want perfect peace-of-mind.
Hoverboard Safety Statistics
There’s a certain degree or risk involved when it comes to flying around on any kind of board on wheels, motorized or not. Below is a set of statistics that might interest you as a caring parent:
- When hoverboard accidents happen, the parts of the body most likely to sustain injuries are the noggin, wrists, and forearm. If you’re familiar with skateboarding, you know these body parts get knocked a lot during falls.
- Fractures (40 percent), bruises (17 percent), and strains/sprains (13 percent) are the most common hoverboard riding related injuries.
- In 2015 and 2016 alone, nearly 27,000 children had a trip to the emergency room after a hoverboard injury.
- The average age of the children injured between 2015 and 2016 was 11 years.
- Boys are more likely than girls to get injured while hoverboading. And isn’t that the way it is with pretty much all kinds of outdoor adventures?
- It appears that hoverboards are safer than skateboards even though skateboards aren’t motorized (I refer to regular skateboards here not e-skateboards). Consider these injury statistics: in the years 2015 and 2016, the US saw over 21,400 skateboarding-related injuries versus just 26,854 injuries.
Lesson Learned: Young children aged around 11 years (which is when most parents tend to buy these devices for their kids) get injured a lot while riding a self-balancing scooter. For this reason, set a “no protective gear, no riding hoverboard” rule for your kiddo. Have them helmet up to prevent head injuries and wear wristguards and elbow pads to prevent fractures.
Hoverboard Safety Tips for Kids and Parents
- Explain the importance of putting on protective gear (especially a certified helmet) before stepping on their hoverboard.
- Don’t charge your kiddo’s hoverboard overnight or unattended.
- Don’t let your child ride unsupervised in high-traffic areas.
- Make sure you understand hoverboard regulations in your location before buying so you can know for sure if riding a hoverboard is legal.
- If you believe your kid needs riding lessons, find a trainer for them.
- If the hoverboard overheats for any reason, your kid shouldn’t ride it.
- Only use the charger that came with the device.
- Get debris and dirt out of the hoverboard before letting your child ride it and make sure there’s no worn-out components.
- Teach your kid to bend their knees and stay low when riding relatively fast to increase their overall stability.
- Be careful when letting your kid ride their hoverboard down steep slopes. Even when the manufacturer says their product can take on 30-degree slopes, don’t believe them. In truth, most hoverboards can’t handle any hill steeper than 15 degrees without issues. One thing that often happens when the terrain is too hilly is that the self-balancing mechanism starts acting up.
- If your kid’s board came with a speed-management app, be sure to install it and configure it right. Then, set the upper at a figure you believe the child can handle safely. As their riding ability improves, you can increase the limit.
- Unless your child is familiar with hoverboarding and has been riding for a considerable length of time, let them know tricks and stunts aren’t for them.
- Help your kiddo understand that a hoverboard is different than a skateboard. While both devices are boards with wheels, a skateboard can safely get off the ground while performing tricks, but one can’t do the same with a hoverboard. A hoverboard doesn’t, well, hover. The only safe way for a kid or anyone else to ride a hoverboard is to keep it solidly on the ground. If they must do any kind of hoverboard tricks, let them know that their board needs to stay connected with the good old Earth.
- Find smooth, even surfaces even if the hoverboard is marketed as an off-road option. Avoid areas full of cracks, small rocks, bumps, twigs, and potholes as it’s easy to take a tumble and get badly hurt.
- Discourage nighttime hoverboard riding, but if the child is older (13 years or older), be sure drivers can see them easily. A board with LED headlights and rear LED lights is a really safe option. And if the board lights up the space around it with multiple colors, that’s even better.
- Stress the importance of looking straight ahead at all times when riding. It’s the exact same rule when riding any kind of vehicle. Kids get distracted pretty easily, but focusing on the path ahead is paramount.
- Practice practice makes perfect: emphasize on the importance of rolling around on the hoverboard as frequently as possible. Because the more your child rides, the more they’ll learn how their board works and reacts as well as all its “quirks.” And better riding for the most part equates to safer riding.
Whoa! That’s a long list of hoverboard safety tips, but that’s because safety is among the most important things in this world.
Kids Hoverboards FAQs
1.What Age Are Hoverboards Good for?
It’s not a good idea to allow kids younger than 8 years to ride a motorized vehicle such as a hoverboard. Even though this personal transportation device relies on an intelligent self-balancing mechanism to keep the rider upright and stable, accidents happen. A certain level of maturity and eye-foot coordination is paramount before parents can allow young children to step on this electrified board.
2.What is the Safest Hoverboard for Kids?
The safest kid’s hoverboard is one that’s properly certified for safety. As long as a self-leveling scooter has met the safety requirements of the UL 2272 standard, consider it safe enough for use by your kiddo.
3. How Do I Choose the Right Size Hoverboard?
For younger children (around 8 years), go with a 6.5″ hoverboard, but for kids aged 10 years and above, an 8.0″ board should be the right choice. Big kids older than 13 can ride 8.5″-10″ hoverboards. Generally, the larger the wheels, the larger and wider the device. Any option with 8.5″ wheels or larger may be considered an off-road choice.
4. Which Are the Best Hoverboard Brands?
Swagtron, Hover 1, Segway, Razor Hovertrax, Gotrax, and a bunch others are all good brands. These brands make good-quality hoverboards for kids and grownups, and their devices are properly certified. But you really don’t need to buy any of these brands if you don’t want to. Look around and see if you can find other brands that seem to have a solid reputation as rated by real consumers (parents).
5.How Much Does a Good Kid’s Hoverboard Cost?
Budget kids’ hoverboard cost around $100 or even cheaper in some cases. Better ones stay in the $200-$300, and the best of the best (high-end hoverboards) cost over $500. The cheapest ones are OK, but you bet they’re not made from the best materials, plus they’re not the kind you leave to charge overnight. Pricier hoverboards tend to consist of better-quality components, more powerful and quieter motors, rubber wheels, and lots of extra features.
6. Where Do I Buy a Good Hoverboard for My Kid?
Amazon, Walmart, and the manufacturers’ websites are some of the best places to buy a safe hoverboard for your kid. But they’re not the only places, and you can always buy the device in-store.
7. Are Hoverboards Safe?
UL 2272-certified hovervboards are generally safe. But falls off hoverboards happen, and it’s not unheard of for these two-wheeled motorized boards to explode, causing serious burns to the rider or even destroying property. It’s important to have your kiddo wear a proper helmet (a dual-certified one would be best) before turning their scooter on.
Conclusion:How to Pick Out the Right Kids’ Hoverboard
Choose the right wheel size, and for younger kids, 6.5″ wheels should be OK. Older kids can safely use larger, heavier boards with larger wheels. Plastic wheels or great for smooth surfaces such as pavement and driveways while large rubber wheels are designed to roll over the most demanding terrain.
If your area is really hilly, choose a board with a powerful enough motor. And don’t choose the swiftest choice no matter where live because speed can cause big problems. An option whose speed maxes out at 7-10 MPH should be a safe bet, and if there’s an app enabling you to set the highest speed limit achievable, that’s even better.
Look for brands that lots of parents like, and while the cheapest hoverboards aren’t usually the best options, $700 kid’s hoverboards aren’t always easily justifiable.
Remember: safety comes first, so have your little wear the right protective gear before firing up their hoverboard.