What You Need to Know If You Want a Hoverboard

The best hoverboard combines style, function, and safety at a reasonable price. To find the top performers in a bustling market, we taught ourselves how to ride and tested seven finalists ourselves. After rolling, zipping, and occasionally eating it on hardwood and city streets, we found that two boards in particular stood out from the rest.

Best for Commuting:

Segway miniPROEven on wet roads, cracked sidewalks, and rocky asphalt, we felt safe and comfortable on the Segway. With pneumatic tires and 800W of motor power, it’s a powerful board at the midrange price of $499. However, if you’re just looking to board for fun, you may find that the knee-controlled steering bar cramps your style.

Best for Recreation:

Jetson V6With wide fenders, high-quality speakers, and the smoothest movements, Jetson makes for a stable and stylish ride. It’s also a bargain compared to other hoverboards, at just $399. While it’s not built for rough outdoor obstacles, it’s a solid choice for riding indoors or on paved ground. Do they hover? No. Are they a lot of fun? Yes. Can they get you to work, school, and back? Some of them. Whether you’re hoverboarding to the office or zooming around the block, our top two picks offer the most natural, intuitive, and fluid rides.Our testers unanimously agreed that the Segway miniPRO provided the safest ride both indoors and outdoors. The tall wheels and powerful motor lumbered solidly over sidewalks, grass, asphalt, and debris, even on hilly terrain. We also liked that the miniPRO’s sensors automatically slowed down the hoverboard and tipped it slightly back when rolling down steeper inclines. With a knee-height steering bar and wide foot platform, this hoverboard is user-friendly and a great starting choice for beginners. The battery life was also the best by a wide margin. The Segway miniPRO retails for $499 and comes with a 1-year warranty. Related: New Ideas When It Comes to Photography The Jetson V6 won us over with its intuitive movement and wide, stable frame. Riding the Jetson indoors and on smooth sidewalks felt nearly as natural as walking — it was responsive without feeling slippery or slow, and it was the most maneuverable of the boards we tested. It also had the most user-friendly mobile app, with an attractive interface and high-quality audio for blasting music during your ride. The Jetson V6 retails for $399 and comes with a 1-year warranty.Don’t buy cheap, uncertified boardsThough many online merchants list boards that look like our top picks at dirt-cheap prices, we advise caution. These boards are often uncertified knockoffs that haven’t undergone safety tests. While the exterior of the board may appear similar, the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are sometimes replaced by cheap, dangerous counterfeits that may catch fire.

Did You Know?

How to safely ride a hoverboard (what to do, what not to do):

  • As with any other personal transportation device, there is a high risk of injury with hoverboards if not used properly — we learned that the hard way. We recommend wearing safety gear while riding, at least until you feel absolutely comfortable in whatever environment you plan on boarding in. While the exact choice of footwear is up to you, be sure to wear flat shoes with high-grip soles so you can effectively distribute your weight. Never ride a hoverboard in heels or without shoes.
  • Before mounting the hoverboard, make sure it’s properly self-balancing. The two panels should be level, and the wheels should respond to small amounts of pressure on top of each panel. But if the wheels aren’t activating, restart the board.
  • To step onto the board, put your dominant foot on first, as close as possible against the fender (wider stances are more stable). Try to keep that foot flat as you quickly step on with your other foot — if your weight shifts to your toes or heels, the board will move as you step up. We recommend bracing yourself against a table, wall, or friend if you feel uncertain.
  • To get off of the board, squat slightly, and step off backward with your non-dominant foot first. Again, the key is keeping your weight balanced — any forward or backward pressure will move the hoverboard.
  • The boards move by sensing pressure — shift your weight toward your toes to roll the board forward, and press back on your heels to make it drift backward. Some riders might find it easier to lean slightly in the direction they want to go. To turn, press forward with the opposite foot of the direction you want to go (if you want to turn left, put your weight in your right toes). It sounds counterintuitive, but your feet will get the hang of it. To stay still, stand straight and keep your weight in the center of your feet. If you feel unsteady, squat slightly.
  • With practice, riding the board will feel increasingly intuitive. Try looking at your intended destination and think about moving there — the board will follow the slant of your body.