The days of safer hoverboards have started! Finally the Hoverboard Industry has a trusted testing institution providing a thorough revision and testing process, specifically aimed at hoverboards. In the future, this event will be seen as a milestone for hoverboards manufacturers, fading away those black days of exploding and burning devices.
Exploding and burning hoverboards cases are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to Underwriters Laboratories, the hoverboards manufacturers now have a testing procedure and international certification focused specifically on hoverboards.
The UL 2272 certification brings calm to a commercial product area that had concerning issues. Several hoverboards caught on fire or exploded while charging. This has happened even while riding them. And obviously, this was affecting, and not for good, the worldwide fame of the hoverboards.
Almost everything you will find on the Internet in relation to the safety and dangers of riding a hoverboard is not good (at the time of this writing, November 2017). Stories of explosions and fires that take down entire houses, boards catching fire with the owner still riding it, airlines banning hoverboards in passenger flights, and videos of boards on flames… This is a terrible resume for any product trying to win a place in the market.
The science behind the early issues with hoverboards
Lithium ion batteries. That’s the key to understand all the early problems with hoverboards. These batteries hold a highly flammable liquid inside. Any short circuit on the battery can heat up the battery liquid very quickly, and set the batteries on flames or make it explode.
This is a know fact, but this type of batteries have an energy density that is superior to any other type of battery that uses less flammable materials. They are really good in comparison, they last longer, can be smaller and lighter than other types basically.
Most of our consumer electronics use these types of batteries, and most of them have testing procedures and standards that certify them as safe to use. The problem with hoverboards was that when they entered the market, there were not any testing and safety standards that quite fit to certify the device properly. Issues start to appear, consumer concern raised, and finally Underwriters Laboratories has come to the rescue.
What is UL?
Underwriters Laboratories, or UL for short, was founded in 1834 by William Henry Merrill, an electrical engineer. Before founding UL, Henry had worked checking the safety of the electrical wiring in Chicago. The new organization was focused on performing independent testing procedures on a variety of products. By 1900 it already started producing testing standards and became famous by giving their first safety rating to a fire extinguisher.
Today, UL is one of a few companies approved by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a national Recognized Testing Lab. It develops testing procedures and also tests a wide range of products, from dietary supplements to watches. And now, hoverboards.
What does the UL 2272 test?
The UL 2272 is designed specifically for hoverboards and tests the electrical, battery and charger systems in a variety of situations. The central focus of the testing procedures is to make sure every system and its wiring in a hoverboard are healthy.
They test every part of the hoverboard, starting from its materials, components and finally the batteries and charger. The last part is actually testing the hoverboard itself as a whole.
If you had the chance of seeing some hoverboard testing sessions that are performed on UL facilities, you might have see a drill going through the center of a hoverboard battery cell. Or heat being directly applied to the cells, and flames bursting and taking over the batteries. Hoverboards dropped from different heights until they crack open. And even devices strapped to some sort of “hoverboard torture treadmill” during sessions of 7 hours, uninterrupted, just to see if they overheat. Be certain that the engineers at Underwriters Laboratories take its job seriously.
All these tests give detailed information about which hoverboards have more stable, durable and built with better quality materials and components.
Are we safe now to ride our hoverboards?
This new certification certainly is a step in the right direction. But still the manufacturers of hoverboards have to make their own right choices and produce good quality devices that conform and pass the tests and procedures of UL 2272. There are certain brands that already requested their products to be certified, and some of them have passed and earned the seal.
Manufacturers can choose to certify their hoverboards or not. So it’s you, the user, that has the final say and power to make the Hoverboard Industry to be finally safe, for once and for all. Your wallet is more powerful than any mandatory regulation. Only purchase UL 2272 certified hoverboards, and do NOT accept anything less.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news about hoverboard safety, and remember than the UL 2272 certifies that the hoverboard materials and components are good. But you will still need to pay close attention to the safety guidelines about how to properly ride a hoverboard, so you don’t injure yourself nor others.
If you are looking for the best hoverboard for you or are loved one, you can check out some of our hoverboard reviews.
Stay safe, and enjoy a nice and confident ride on your certified hoverboard!