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 do you go about choosing a safe hoverboard?
See also: Hoverboard battery and fire safety tips
It's a huge problem. In the UK alone, of the 17,000 hoverboards imported from outside the EU that were inspected by UK Trading Standards authority, over 15,000 failed basic safety checks. Testing revealing safety issues with the plug, cabling, charger, battery or the cutoff switch within the board.
Tony Le, CEO and Founder of Glitek, a leading provider in self-balancing boards, offers up some advice.
"As seen by the incredible response I've seen since launching Glitek, the Glitek Glide is the hottest toy of the holiday season. Smaller competitors are coming out of the woodwork and purchasing the cheapest parts possible from manufacturers, and by doing this, they are putting the public in danger," explained Le.
"Obviously, I want everyone to buy a Glide, but beyond that I want them to purchase from a reputable dealer for their family's safety," said Le.
- Hoverboards that are catching fire have the cheapest batteries on the market. It's imperative for consumers to inquire about the quality of the batteries before making a purchase.
- Be sure to check customer reviews and the social profiles of the vendor you purchase from. Those who have had poor experiences are voicing their opinions loud and clear.
- See who has been mentioned in the media. If your distributor hasn't been getting much media attention, it's doubtful that it's reputable.
As someone who's been around a few lithium battery fires, I'm going to add some extra tips:
- Don't leave a charging device unattended.
- Even though most of us do it, charging things at night (especially next to our sleeping heads) isn't smart.
- Don't put charging items near flammable objects. A small lithium battery can easily turn a wooden table or piece of bedroom furniture into a conflagration.
- Don't modify batteries in an attempt to get more oomph out of them.
- Use the correct charger. Using cheap chargers is a recipe for disaster.
- If a product containing a rechargeable battery shows any signs of damage, overheating, swelling, or deformation, get rid of it because those are serious warning signs.
And if you are unlucky enough to face a burning lithium battery:
- DO NOT THROW WATER ON THE FIRE! That will make matters much worse. Use only a class D dry powder fire extinguisher.
- Do not breathe in the fumes.
- Don't be stupid or try to be a hero. Call the fire department.
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