Best Off-Road Hoverboards

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best off-road hoverboards

A hoverboard makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. They can be a bit tricky to use for novices because, when you see a device with two wheels, you automatically assume it isn’t balanced. But hoverboards have complicated circuitry inside them that maintains balance, and once you get accustomed to it, they are loads of fun.

The first wave of hoverboards were strictly intended for use on smooth surfaces such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, parking lots, and streets. The new wave of hoverboards are taking the fun off-road, with bigger tires and stronger motors that can traverse sand, gravel, dirt — even wet grass — with a smooth, secure ride.

The market is expanding and choices are multiplying. These self-balancing boards are coming out in more colors, different tire sizes, and faster speeds. As more companies jump into the market, competition is getting stiff, and it can be difficult to decide which off-road hoverboard is right for you. 

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Hoverboards do NOT actually hover like the one Michael J. Fox rode in Back to the Future II. They have wheels and stay in contact with the ground at all times.

Key considerations

Tire size

The size of the tires determines the smoothness of the ride and how well the board can go off-road. Large tires handle off-roading better than small tires. Tires on most hoverboards are either 6.5 inches or 8.5 inches in diameter. Smaller tires can still go off-road, but they don’t have as much traction as larger ones.

Pad size

Pad size refers to the size of the platform you stand on. Grown-ups will need a larger pad size than children. A larger pad size also increases stability.

Weight capacity

Some hoverboards have a weight limit of under 170 pounds. If you weigh more than that, you will strain the motor, and the body of the board may crack or break. Pay close attention to the maximum weight the hoverboard can handle.

Features

Material

ABS plastic and aluminum are the main materials hoverboards are made from, due to their light weight and strength.

Colors

Hoverboards are available in every color of the rainbow and many combinations as well. Some are available in various shades of camouflage gray, blue, or green. There’s a color or color combination to suit anyone’s taste.

Motors

Hoverboards are equipped with two motors, one for each wheel. The power of these motors is measured in watts. The more watts, the more power a hoverboard has off-road, and the faster it will go. But the more watts a motor uses, the faster the battery will drain. Therefore, it’s a bit of a balancing act. Be aware of this trade-off, and keep it in mind as you decide which board is best for you.

Speed

Some slower hoverboards only cruise at around six mph. Others can turn in a very respectable 12 mph. Slower boards are safer than faster ones, but let’s face it: for many people, faster is a lot more fun. That’s a decision you’ll have to weigh for yourself.

Cruising distance or time

An hour of cruising time per battery charge is typical. Depending on the motor and speed of the board, that might translate into 10 to 12 miles per charge. There are charge indicator lights on most boards to inform you when power is running low. Pay attention to them, or you’ll be walking home lugging a 25- to 30-pound board.

Lights

LED lights have become nearly standard on hoverboards. Some of them are positioned as headlights for night riding. Others are just there for decoration and eye candy. LEDs don’t use much power, however, so turning them off won’t significantly increase your range.

Bluetooth speakers

Connecting your smartphone to the Bluetooth speakers on most boards lets you listen to your favorite tunes while hoverboarding. It’s a cool feature. Some budget boards don’t have speakers, but Bluetooth speakers are rapidly becoming a standard item on hoverboards.

Accessories

  • Go-kart seat. Did you know you can get a kit to turn your hoverboard into a go-kart? You can, and they’re not very expensive. They’re adjustable to fit both children and adults so anyone can get out there and enjoy the day. Check out this seat attachment from Hiboy that you can use to convert your hoverboard to a go-kart.

  • Hoverboard safety handle. If you’re not sure about getting on a hoverboard, get a safety handle that attaches to it, and you’ll have something to hang onto until you get comfortable using it. These are great safety tools for nervous beginners. Check out this Hoverboard Swegway Handle — but be sure you buy the appropriate handle for your particular model.

  • Hoverboard safety helmets. Speaking of safety, kids sometimes take more risks than they should — whether it’s climbing a tree or riding a hoverboard. Get them a helmet and save yourself a heart attack. Definitely take a look at this unique dinosaur helmet from Zjoygoo.

  • Hoverboard safety pads. Safety pads for elbows and knees are a good idea, too, especially for beginners or kids who want to push the limits. This helmet and set of protective pads from Dostar is affordable and comes in your choice of colors.
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Did you know?
Hoverboards are also known as self-balancing scooters.
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Off-road hoverboard prices

Inexpensive: The low end for hoverboards starts around $115 and runs up to about $200. These will mainly be ABS plastic models with smaller 6.5-inch wheels and probably won’t have Bluetooth speakers.

Mid-range: The middle price range is from $200 to $350. Most of these off-road hoverboards will have the larger 8.5-inch wheels and Bluetooth speakers. The board’s body will generally be made of aluminum.

Expensive: Anything over $350 would be considered on the high end. Larger foot pads and 8.5-inch tires will be standard in this price range, but the main advantage is the increased quality and durability of these more expensive boards.

Tips

  • Get on your hoverboard one foot at a time, starting with your dominant foot. Do it as if you’re climbing the stairs. Mounting and dismounting is the trickiest part. Once you’ve got that figured out, the rest is easy.

  • Get off the hoverboard the same way, leaving your dominant foot on the board as you step back with the other foot. Don’t try to jump off; you could injure yourself.

  • To move the hoverboard, lean slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist. This will move you forward. Lean slightly back to go backward.

  • To turn left, push down slightly with the toes of your right foot. To turn right, push down slightly with the toes of your left foot.

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Some hoverboards come with music speakers for added fun.

FAQ

Q. Are hoverboard batteries safe?

A. There have been cases of batteries catching fire or exploding from overcharging. Always look for boards that are Underwriters Laboratories UL2272 listed to avoid that problem.

Q. Are hoverboards safe to use?

A. Hoverboards are just as safe, or unsafe, as you are. If you use them properly, then they are safe.

Q. Are hoverboards safe to ride at night?

A. They are probably just as safe as riding a bicycle or skateboard at night. Many have LED lights on them so they are easily visible to drivers, bike riders, and pedestrians. But again, the safety of off-road hoverboards is up to the operator, not the board.

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