The hoverboard (aka self-balancing scooter) craze is in full swing and has been for 2 full years now! First released in 2015, hoverboards have now been one of the hottest selling goliday gifts for back-to-back seasons. They went from being announced to being the hottest toy in the world inside of a few months because of social media posts like Justin Bieber’s.
Unfortunately, the original inventor has made little or no money from his original patent, and all of the hoverboards for sale in the world today are basically knock-offs of what he patented. According to this article that was published in mid-2016, there are an estimated 11,000 factories in Asia producing these 2-wheel self-balancing scooters (that have taken on the nick-name of “hoverboards” – even though they don’t actually hover). This is just one of many examples of companies taking a good idea and running with it without getting permission from the patent holder, some of which have been settled and some of which remain unsettled.
Hoverboards are “catching fire” – Literally!
News reports of hoverboards exploding or catching fire like this one started surfacing pretty immediately after the 2015 buying craze before Christmas. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 99 cases of fires or explosions had been reported as of mid-2016. The reports were so rampant that SNL made this mock-commercial “roasting” them around Christmas 2015:
Why exactly are hoverboards catching fire?
All known reports of explosions or fires were relating to the under-sized lithium batteries some Asian factories used in their hoverboards. Basically, factory owners knew that hoverboards would absolutely take off in the US and European markets just in time for the Christmas shopping, and they wanted to beat each other to market. Therefore, many of them cut corners and used extremely undersized lithium batteries in their hoverboards, which can have so extremely negative side effects. As they should’ve known would happen, this causes too much draw and overheats the small batteries, which leads to explosions and fires. Frankly, the factory heads who intentionally and knowingly did this should be paying for their crimes, but they’re not!
Bare in mind that the overheating battery issues that are causing fires and explosions only apply to certain brands of hoverboards, all others appear to be totally safe. See the full list of recalled hoverboards here. In 2016 the vast majority of hoverboard and electric scooter manufacturers significantly increased the size and capacity of the lithium batteries being used in their units. Some manufacturers have taken it a step further and gotten UL certification on their hoverboards, which is the equivalent of a “safety stamp” for electronics. So if you want to be extremely cautious, just search for UL 2272 certified hoverboards when you search for yours’.
Hoverboards can be fun, but be careful about who you buy yours’ from. Below is a list of recalled brands and the retailers who were selling them, and this was originally published here.
So which hoverboards have actually been recalled?
|Company||Number of Units||Brand/Model Sold||Remedy||Company’s Contact Information|
|Digital Gadgets LLC, of Monroe, N.J.||16,000||Hover-Way/Model # HWSBB601-R||Refund||866-696-3421 or www.hover-way.com|
|Hoverboard LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz.||70,000||Powerboard||Replace||800-750-6714 or www.thepowerboard.com|
|Hype Wireless, of Edison, N.J.||25,000||Hype Roam||Replace||866-449-7186 or www.hyperoam.com|
|Keenford Ltd., of Lynbrook, N.Y.||84,000||iMoto||Refund
|877-280-8401 or www.imotohk.com or www.hoverboard360.com|
|PTX Performance Products USA of Irvine, Calif.||4,900||Airwalk Self Balancing Electric Scooter||Replace||844-837-7346 or http://ptxperformance.com|
|Razor USA LLC, of Cerritos, Calif.||28,000||Hovertrax||Replace||866-467-2967 or www.razor.com|
|Swagway LLC, of South Bend, Ind.||267,000||Swagway X1||Repair||844-299-0625 or https://swagway.com|
|Yuka Clothing, of Miami, Fla.||800||Wheeli, 2Wheelz, Back to the Future, Mobile Tech, Hover Shark, NWS, X Glider and X Rider||Refund||800-616-0765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Boscov’s, of Reading, Pa.||1,300||Orbit||Refund||800-755-6391 or www.boscovs.com|
|Overstock.com, of Salt Lake City, Utah||4,300||All hoverboards sold on Overstock.com||Refund||800-843-2446 or www.overstock.com|