Hoverboards, mini Segways, Swegways or self-balancing boards are the current 'must have' item and are surely at the top of many kid's (and adult's) Christmas lists. But their recent rise in popularity has highlighted the importance of electrical safety, with incidents involving hoverboards making headlines across the country.
If you’re one of the estimated one million people who are considering buying a hoverboard this December, or if you are one of the 500,000 people who have already purchased one as a gifti, use ourchecklist to stay safe.
If, after checking this list, you’re not sure your hoverboard is safe, don’t buy it. If it’s already under the tree, return it. Don’t take the risk.
Visual signs that your hoverboard may not be safe
Cloverleaf plug with no fuse:
Non-approved fake plug with incorrect markings and counterfeit fuse (BSI approval kitemark back-to-front and fictitious approval body STGD):
Other safety points to consider:
Price isn’t a factor
For hoverboards, price is not an indicator of a safe product. In this brand new category, even the more expensive brands on offer remain unproven in terms of safety and quality. Remain on the alert for faults even if you’ve paid a generous sum.
Choose a reputable retailer
Make sure you purchase from a reputable retailer you know and trust, that way if something goes wrong you can contact the retailer or manufacturer to deal with any problems.
Do not purchase through unknown sellers on online marketplaces, social media or from a market stall.
Check the plug
As a minimum, you should check that the three pin plug on the device states it is made to BS 1363 and that there is a fuse fitted inside the plug. If it doesn’t, don’t buy the product. With no fuse, there is potential for overheating, explosion and fire risk.
Check appearance and marking
Check the input voltage range of the charger includes 230/240V, 50Hz (the UKs nominal voltage) and that the hoverboard is fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger.
Look out for poor quality construction and finish, misspelt brands or product names, or instructions with poor English translations.
The packaging should also be of good quality – avoid plain cardboard boxes not marked with a manufacturers name or trademark, and always check for contact details on the packaging or instructions.
Check that the instructions are for the product in the box.
Check for details of manufacturer and contact details, if these are not present your product is likely to be substandard.
Faulty hoverboards will also often be missing warranty cards, instructions and other associated literature.
Never leave the device charging unattended – especially overnight: there have been a number of incidents in which they have overheated and exploded while charging due to a faulty cut off switch or plug without a fuse.
If there are no instructions on how to charge the hover board safely, don’t buy it.
If you suspect you have a sub-standard or faulty hover board, stop using the product immediately and report the fault to the manufacturer or retailer (if known) AND the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.