A self balancing scooter is a surefire way for your to take a good time to the next level. This transportation gadget was without a doubt the winner of all holiday gifts this last Christmas and amid all the bad press due to fire incidents with self balancing scooters as the culprits, these things are still immensely popular and everybody seems to keep loving them regardless.
It is true that at this point it is advisable to exercise caution when purchasing a mini segway or self balancing scooter, because you really do not want to be the star of a headline featuring your house in ashes due to a fire.
The dust seems to finally be settling down and it would appears that the main problem with faulty units that caused fires was centered on the battery and charger. Based on information published by a variety of sources, including the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, many of the units that were sold up until the beginning of this year were not UL listed or certified.
Also, the quality of the batteries themselves has been considered a key element that may have contributed to fire hazards. Another aspect that seems to have added to the unsafe conditions is the excessive charging time that some of the devices where subjected to after being plugged in for hours, which in turn could have overheated the batteries and ignited them to a blaze.
Self Balancing Scooter Basic Safety Considerations
After reading months of news coverage and expert opinions, it would seem that all self balancing scooters are to be used and treated with caution regardless of all the safety statements by manufacturers or seller, meaning that:
- You should buy only UL certified units.
- You should look for Samsung battery equipped scooters.
- You should never leave the device charging without supervision or close to flammable materials.
- You should prefer US based companies that offer warranty.
You should see this under the hood of your self balancing scooter
Self Balancing Scooter Ideal Price and Features
Now to the fun part. What should you be looking for in a self balancing scooter as it pertains to price and features?
Before all the bad press and damaging incidents started to happen, you could easily find one of these babies for less than $300, however, after the internet started flooding with viral stories and videos or hoverboards and scooters bursting into flames, all this changed.
The problem is that you had a gazillion companies and individuals importing these gadgets from China without any quality control or even the slightest idea of the manufacturing standards or processes followed by the Chinese factories that churned them out. It turns out that there is huge and undetermined number of manufacturers in China and there is not a single one that can claim to be the original or ensure any kind of standards toward safety.
So what ended up happening is that Amazon and other big retailers decided that the risk was too great and closed the doors for good to all self balancing scooters, leaving only a few independent US based companies standing.
According to some, these remaining US companies are also importing the devices from China, but unlike some of the random bargain sellers at Amazon and other marketplaces, these companies have a lot to lose if they sell faulty units in the United States, not only because of liability and reputation issues but because they are right in the middle of the public eye and more importantly, the crosshairs of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, so they seem to be the ones stepping up to make sure that the quality of the self balancing scooters they bring to their customers are UL certified and equipped with a Samsung battery.
This of course means that the price you can find now is no longer the affordable $300 or less sticker, but rather something in the $400 and $500 range. This means a higher price but it should also mean better quality.
Given the risk of having a potentially flaming scooter, it is definitely not worth it to make the bet on some random bargain importer just to save $100, as this will surely increase the risk not only of a fire hazard, but also manufacturing defects that may leave you with a piece of junk for which you paid $300 or less.
If there was ever a case of cheap can be expensive, this is certainly one of them!
Therefore, if you are in the market for a self balancing scooter be sure to set aside $400 to $500. Be smart and do not try to look for a bargain, but rather look for value in the form quality and features so you can increase your chances of a trouble free purchase and overall safe and enjoyable experience.
So now that we know that the right price is around $400-$500, it is time to go over the bang you should expect for your buck, that is, features to look for in your new self balancing scooter:
- UL certification of the unit
When reviewing the features of your self balancing scooter, this is the first thing you should look for.
- Samsung or LG battery
The amount of power used by these devices is huge so a cheap battery is simply too much of a risk, thus verify that the seller offers a quality brand battery pack under the hood.
Make sure that the company offers a warranty, ideally 1 year.
- US based company or seller
Things can always go wrong with an electric device and having your seller located within the United States will make it easier for you to receive customer service and make any returns if needed.
- Wheel size
There are three different wheel sizes, usually 6.5, 8 and 10 inches. Make sure you are buying the one you are looking for and keep in mind a larger wheel might translate into a slightly higher price tag.
Other non-essential features: Bluetooth speakers and LED lights on wheel rim.