It seems like everyone is preoccupied with hoverboards these days. Are they safe? Do they really hover? Do they even work?
It’s difficult to understand the fascination people have with those gadgets – when there’s a much cooler product on the market that not only works, but is a lot of fun on level ground and an amazing experience when taken off-road.
We’re talking about electric skateboards, there’s quite a few options out there and the Boosted boards are very popular. Lets debunk the myths and help you find the best electric skateboard with our in-depth reviews.
A Quick Look at the Best Electric Skateboards
Miles per Charge
|18 miles||12.5 mph||21 lbs||
|12 miles||20 mph||15.2 lbs||
|12 miles||20 mph||16 lbs||
|13 miles||20 kmph|
|5 miles||8 mph|
|7 miles||2 mph|
|10 miles||10 mph||19 lbs||
|16 miles||28 mph|
Powered skateboards first surfaced in California in the mid-70s but they were powered by gas engines, and were extremely loud and pumped out terrible exhaust. They were quickly banned, and powered skateboards were largely forgotten. Over the last few years, though, a number of developers launched Kickstarter campaigns to fund the creation of electric-powered skateboards; it didn’t take long for several companies to jump on the bandwagon (or the skateboard) and bring these boards to a larger market.
Electric skateboards exist in a legal gray area in many regions, since they’re too new to have been fully legalized, banned or regulated. They’ve been approved in a few states, while several others like California are considering laws to legalize them. Most legislatures simply haven’t dealt with the issue. But few people experience difficulties when taking a powered board out in public, with many law enforcement officials saying they’d only take action if someone complained. And of course, there’s no rule saying you can’t use them off-road. Any real limitations come from the boards themselves; some are better used on stable ground or pavement, while others can hold their own on the roughest terrain. When choosing a model, it’s extremely important to know what each one can – and can’t – do.
Why an Electric Skateboard?
To answer that question with one word: fun! Sure, you can use an electric board as your normal mode of transportation; they’re popping up all over large college campuses, and urban commuters are using the boards more and more often, particularly in tech havens like Silicon Valley (as you might expect). Taking your board to work or school doesn’t mean it’s any less fun to ride, though.
And a growing number of electric skateboards tout their speed (some will do well over 20 miles per hour), rapid acceleration, multiple riding modes, and durability when put through their full paces or taken off-road. Those aren’t features meant for commuters; they’re designed for fun – and even extreme – riding.
Generally speaking, almost all of the boards you can buy work pretty much the same way. An electric motor powers it, and it’s controlled by a handheld remote (some can be controlled by a smartphone), there are brakes to slow your travel, and you steer just as you would with an old-school board, with your body (and feet, if necessary).
The other attributes of electric skateboard models vary considerably, as you would guess by the fact that prices for these babies can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Here are some of the most important considerations we’ve taken into account when ranking the best.
One major key to a board’s usefulness is its range. If you only have a ten minute commute to work, you shouldn’t have a problem with the distance any models will be able to cover it on a single charge. If you plan on heading out for a full afternoon of joyriding, though, the last thing you’ll want to be faced with is a long walk back home with your board under your arm. And if that is a possibility, the weight of the skateboard is something else to consider.
Construction and performance are almost as important for an electric board as they are for a car. There are a number of inexpensive Chinese skateboards available and most of them have inferior wheels or brakes, lead-acid batteries instead of lithion-ion ones, motors which can’t produce enough torque to propel it up a slight incline on the sidewalk, and quite frankly, construction so poor that the unit will fall apart within a month. It’s possible that those ones are more than enough for your purposes or all you can afford, but most are pricey enough that you deserve more for your money.
We’ve also looked at the type of remote control each board utilizes. It may seem like a small thing – until you’re out on the road and realize that having to use your thumb to control your speed is a lot more difficult than using your trigger finger. Some models even let you use your smartphone as a remote, while most have apps that allow you to program their operations.
Other features which may be important to you include two-wheel drive (with a separate motor powering each rear wheel) which can improve traction and power but makes turning more difficult and drains the battery more quickly; hub drive (instead of belt drive) for less noise; and extras like LED lights for night riding and waterproof or water-resistant components for all-weather trips.
Ready to take these reviews out for a spin? Get your helmet and pads on and let’s get started.
Top 6 Electric Skateboard Reviews
If there’s one brand name that stands above all others in the world of electric skateboards, it’s Boosted. Even though the company’s beginnings stem from a Kickstarter campaign, the company quickly surged to the front of the pack and now offers three different models in three different price ranges: the Dual+, the Dual and the Single. The longboard-style Dual+ is top-of-the-line with a price to match with dual-wheel drive, 2000 watts of power and software which maximizes the speed and torque the motor can produce. It’s meant for pavement and flat ground rather than off-roading, but you won’t find a better choice for most applications.
The Boosted Dual+ can go faster than any of the other models on our list, topping out at 22 miles per hour; it can also climb a full 25% grade, again outdistancing the competitors we’ve reviewed. But you don’t have to be intimidated when you first hop onto the bamboo deck. There are four different modes ranging from beginner to pro; beginner mode limits the top speed to 11 miles per hour and doesn’t push enough power to handle hills, while pro mode lets you hit full specs with such amazing acceleration that experienced riders may be sent flying until they get used to it. The construction is impressive, the brakes are great thanks to dual-wheel drive, the controller is easy to hold and use, there’s a no-power riding option and a great app letting you choose your mode and monitor your battery charge and range, and you’ll get somewhere around 5-7 miles per charge depending on your mode. The California-manufactured Dual+ isn’t the lightest board we’ve listed, at about 15 pounds – but it’s the best.
For those who are more concerned about how far they can go than how fast they can fly, the Yuneec is a much less expensive option than the Boosted board. The E-Go is built to travel relatively long distances at a decent speed; you should have a range of at least 13 miles before needing to recharge the battery, but will only be able to cover that distance at a maximum of about 12 miles per hour. That’s perfect for most who want an electric skateboard for a leisurely commute to the office rather than for a death-defying thrill ride. The fact that this board has a 400 watt motor, compared to the 2000 watts of the Dual+, illustrates the difference between the two.
There are four settings for the Yuneec, controllable by Bluetooth app: two for speed (slow and fast) and two for performance (eco and sport). There isn’t a huge performance difference between them, though, as “slow” only cuts four mph from the top speed and “sport” adds just a little boost in acceleration but does cut down on range somewhat. The controller isn’t exceptional, but it’s more than fine. This board isn’t a strong performer on hills and its one-wheel drive brakes can be lacking at times (particularly in eco mode), but it’s fairly light, well-made, stable, waterproof and rides smoother than the Dual+ because its wheels are larger. The biggest drawback is that the battery can take 4-5 hours to charge (as opposed to the Dual+, which takes only an hour). Ride the E-Go to work, charge it while you’re there, and ride it home – and you’ve found the best use of this board.
Let’s take a step down in class, and price. We’d describe the Dynacraft as a good starter model, particularly for kids – because the maximum weight it can support is 145 pounds. As long as you keep that in mind, we’ll look a little more in-depth. The top speed the Surge can hit is six miles per hour and its range is about five miles, nothing to get adults overly excited but more than enough to delight the young ones who have tired of their manual boards.
For a short skateboard the Dynacraft is surprisingly heavy at 22 pounds, but that does help with stability which is always a concern when kids climb onboard a motorized vehicle of any sort. The gun-style remote is a bit flimsy but easy to operate; be aware that this one is not waterproof so make sure no one tries to ride it through the sprinkler or puddles. If you’re looking for a serious commuting or sport model, look elsewhere. For a present from Santa the kiddies will love, though, this could be a good choice.
4. Airwheel M3
Airwheel may be best known for its work on creating hoverboards, but they’ve also created an extremely good electric skateboard that’s a real bargain. This one-wheel drive longboard is attractive, well-constructed with a hand-made deck, and built for stability with large all-terrain rubber tires and built-in damper masses. That makes this board heavy (around 25 pounds), but able to handle more challenging landscapes than some of the others on our list.
The M3’s range is about 12 miles, and while it will only top out at around 12 miles per hour, that’s plenty fast enough for most. But one of the negatives is that the battery takes around three hours to recharge. While on the subject of cons, braking is very touchy and the unit is water-resistant but not waterproof. There’s a sleek remote control and Bluetooth app capability, with a full 15 speed levels to choose from. Overall, this is a versatile electric skateboard which may not have all the features of the Dual+, but is better off-road and costs a whole lot less.
We’re moving back into the high-end here as we look at the very cool-looking Munkyboard. You’re only going to get one-wheel drive on this model, but with a full 1200 watts, lots of torque and large all-terrain tires, this board performs better on rough ground better than any of the other electric skateboards we’ve reviewed. It maxes out at 20 miles per hour and can range up to 16 miles, so you can get to where you’re going quickly and make it back safely – once you’ve gotten control of this fast board with the easy-to-use controller with low and high speed settings right onboard. Just be aware that the charging time is 4-6 hours, and that it’s much, much heavier (as in more than twice as heavy) than the others on our list.
6. Automatic Remote Control Electric Skateboard Complete
Our final entry is a lower-end, general-purpose 400-watt short board which is the lightest of all the units we’ve checked out, at less than eight pounds. Its size, weight and one-wheel drive mean that you won’t have the stability or power you’ll find in the more substantial electric skateboards we’ve discussed. But you’ll be able to hit more than nine miles per hour, ride for six miles, and control it with a decent remote for a reasonable price.
These best electric skateboards, as you’ve seen, have various maximum speeds and are built for different purposes. Our reviews have hopefully helped you decide which one best fits your needs and your idea of what an electric board should do.
But no matter which model you choose, even the entry-level Dynacraft, there’s a definite learning curve. Experience with a traditional skateboard will help you adjust to an electric one, but getting the hang of changing speeds with a remote control while navigating bumpy or uneven ground can toss even a seasoned rider at least a time or two, especially when traveling 12-20 miles per hour. Be sure to always wear a helmet and adequate padding.
The key decision you’ll have to make (other than the one based on your budget, of course) is whether you want a board for commuting, off-roading, or simply all-purpose fun. When you couple that with the distance you’ll need to cover, the inclines you’re likely to face and the speed you’ll feel comfortable with – you should have all the information you need to get riding on an electric board that really works, rather than waiting to find a truly safe hoverboard.