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Great Scott: Officials warn that cheap hoverboards can explode

Published Nov 25th, 2015 2:22PM EST
Hoverboard Buying Tips Explosion Risk

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It’s 2015 and, as Marty McFly’s time traveling adventures predicted, it’s the year hoverboards become a thing. Only the devices we call hoverboards can’t really hover above the ground like the sci-fi skateboard from Back to the Future. Instead, they have Segway-like controls and they’re quite popular with people young and old right now.

But these highly-coveted devices, that not many U.S. retailers have in stores this Black Friday season, aren’t necessarily safe. That’s not only because there’s quite a learning curve for correctly piloting them, as these viral videos have shown us, but also because some of the cheaper models can actually explode.

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According to Business Insider, British officials are warning hoverboard fans against buying cheap machines that might come with battery packs that overheat and can explode, unsafe plugs that lack a fuse, or instructions you won’t understand, like this one: “Get off the bus, get off before you stop intelligent drifting scooter balance state, one foot down, the other one foot in the left drifting scooter again.

Believe it or not, these fun little devices have exploded in the past. In Deal, U.K., a hoverboard caught fire while charging, causing £25,000 worth of damage to a man’s kitchen. London Fire Brigade said in October it had seen two hoverboard fires in two weeks, and it posted pictures of them on Twitter.

Trading Standards published a few tips on how to make sure you purchase a product that’s safer to use than cheap knock offs. The first thing to check out is the price. If you’re able to buy one for as low as £100 ($150), then you’d be better off avoiding it. Hoverboards should cost anywhere from £300 ($450) to £600 ($900).

The U.K.-basd company also advises you to look for a CE mark, which toy packaging must display, as well as the names and addresses of the manufacturer and importer.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.