Hoverboard battery and fire safety tips

Hoverboards are set to be a popular toy this holiday season, but if you type "hoverboard" into Google, the first thing autosuggest fills in is "hoverboard fire." So how can you hoverboard while still being safe?

Hoverboard battery and fire safety tips

One of 15,000 hoverboard seized by UK National Trading Standards

UK National Trading Standards

Hoverboards are set to be a popular toy this holiday season, but if you type "hoverboard" into Google, the first thing autosuggest fills in is "hoverboard fire."

So how can you hoverboard while still being safe?

Here are some quick tips:

  • If you haven't already got a hoverboard then read my piece on buying a hoverboard that won't catch fire.
  • If you suspect you've purchased a cheap, poor quality hoverboard, the safest thing you can do is return it for a refund.
  • Only use the original battery charger.
  • If at all possible recharge your hoverboard outdoors. At the very least recharge it away from flammable objects, don't charge it while you're sleeping.
  • Never leave a charging hoverboard unattended.
  • Ideally, store and charge hoverboards on a non-flammable surface.
  • Ideally, keep a fire extinguisher close to hand (for lithium polymer battery fires you need a Class D extinguisher).
  • Do not modify a hoverboard to give out more power.
  • Don't use a damaged hoverboard as damaged lithium-polymer batteries are particularly prone to fires.
  • If you see smoke or smell burning, stop using your hoverboard.
  • If you are unfortunate enough to be around a burning hoverboard, don't be stupid or try to be a hero. The safest thing to do is evacuate the area and call the fire department.
Do not underestimate how quickly a lithium-polymer battery can catch fire

, and how dangerous they can be. The video below shows how rapidly a small lithium-polymer cell from a RC plane can go from being OK to being in flames.

Think this hoverboard safety issue is overblown? Think again. Several fires have already been attributed to these devices, and many major retailers have stopped selling hoverboards. Online retailer Amazon went as far as to tell some of its UK customers to dispose of their product at a center registered to recycle electrical items "as soon as possible."

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