Electric Skateboards: What to Look For? Buying Guide

How nice it would be to be able to move at a higher speed than walking without too much effort. And of course, preferably as naturally as possible, without an engine and associated exhaust fumes. Just standing upright, enjoying some freedom. That’s possible; on an electric skateboard! However, buying a good electric skateboard for a reasonable price is not easy. Good electric skateboards cost between 300 and 1800 dollars on the Internet.

How Does An Electric Skateboard Work?

First of all, when we talk about an electric skateboard, we’re actually talking about a longboard. The difference? A skateboard has a raised edge from behind, has a very rigid chassis and small wheels. It is built for one thing only: making stunts. It must be able to absorb the blows of jumps adequately. A longboard on the other hand, has large wheels and a resilient undercarriage.

With a longboard you develop speed and the better rolling ability of the larger wheels will make the ride smooth and comfortable. The suspension absorbs unevenness in the road well and gives you a comfortable and a vibration-free ride. An electric longboard has a small motor unit, working on a battery. The motor powers the rear wheels. All you have to do is stand up straight and keep your balance.

How to control your electric skateboard?

Maybe in the beginning you still have the tendency to use your foot to set off and speed up. This is totally unnecessary. You have a remote control and with that you determine the speed yourself, both when you brake and when you make long trips at top speed. Depending on the model of electric skateboard, you have a battery with a range of 7 to 25 miles.

Safety is everything

It all depends on the model and the version of your electric skateboard, but top speeds of over 20 miles per hour are no exception. What you don’t want to experience at these speeds is to fall on asphalt. Electric longboards are a fun way to travel, but do it in a responsible way. Of course you wear kneepads, wrist and elbow pads and of course you have a helmet on your head. Shorts are nice, especially if you go fast, but isn’t it smarter to wear a sturdy pair of jeans? Because many other road users are not used to electric skateboards, it is also not the best decision to ride on busy roads. Choose the quiet roads and take into account the other traffic. You will really enjoy your new electric longboard.

How to choose the best electric skateboard?

If you want to choose an electric skateboard, there are a number of things to consider and investigate. You have to decide what your primary reason is to buy an electric skateboard. It doesn’t matter if it’s for fun, commuting or even just traveling from point A to B. Then decide based on where you live how much power you need at least. If you want to take your skateboard with you on holidays (hills/mountains), you need some extra power to climb the hills. Remember that you should always wear a helmet!

Components

These are the most important parts of an electric skateboard and we will also briefly explain why they are so important:

#Batteries: The recent renewals of batteries is the whole reason why the e-skateboard category has become so popular and why we write this article. The electric skateboard has been available for years, but it often weighed 20-30 kg because of the heavy batteries. In the last five years the lithium batteries have evolved, the weight has dropped dramatically and the safety has improved. This makes it possible to manoeuvre boards more easily and they are portable. Besides a safer and lighter board, the batteries now also have a wider range. Always make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when charging your board, because the battery is the life of the board. Otherwise you will be skating on a very expensive and heavy longboard.

Motorcycles: Today’s motors are between 400-2000 watts. A 400 watt motor is fine for a flat area, but don’t assume that you also accelerate on hills. A 2000 watt motor will generally drive up steep slopes and give you anxious acceleration.

Control: Most electric skateboards use a wireless handheld controller that you can use while driving. The controllers have light indicators to let you know the status of your board. For example, it shows the percentage of the battery charged or that something is wrong with the board. The disadvantage is that you can’t see how much of the controller is left over, so we recommend charging it together with the board. Another disadvantage of a controller is that this is something you have to pay attention to and charge.

We’ve already had a depleted battery several times, and then your electric skateboard is just a slow and heavy longboard (it goes forward, but it’s very heavy). The Zboard and Onewheel use your weight and the input from your feet, so you don’t have to bring a controller. The disadvantage of this is that you have no idea how full the battery of your electric skateboard is. With the Onewheel you have to stop and look at the indicators and count or download an app for them.

Wheels: All boards use longboard wheels. These make it possible to ride over fairly rough terrain, but they certainly don’t give you the same smooth ride as a bike. The durometer or duro of the wheel can tell you a bit more. The lower the number, the softer and more grip the wheel has (a smoother ride). Higher numbers mean harder wheels and less grip (a bumpy ride). Also money the bigger the wheel, the smoother the ride. The only exception is the Onewheel, which has one large kart wheel with which you can ride over very rough terrain and even unpaved paths.

Chargers: Not all chargers are made the same way. Some will charge your board in half an hour or even less, while others will take about 3-5 hours. Each electric skateboard comes with its own charger and there are no third-party chargers you can buy. So when you buy the Yuneec, you just have to wait 3+ hours until it is fully charged. Although they don’t yet make car chargers for electric skateboards (at least the one we tested) you can buy an adapter, but both we and the manufacturers advise against using it.

Why not just a normal longboard skateboard?

Even if the electric skateboard will fall in price as we expect, why not just buy a longboard for €50 that weighs about 2 kg instead of 7 kg? For some people, a longboard is all they need. But the electric skateboard has a number of big advantages:

Braking: Going down at hills is easy with an e-board. However, braking with a longboard requires a lot of skill. If you also ride close to people, an electric board will give you much more control over your speed and you also have an emergency brake.
Tracking the traffic: If you ride on bike paths or streets, an electric skateboard will help you keep track of the current of other bikes and cars.
Climbing hills: No explanation needed.
Faster at your destination: With a Boosted Board you can reach a speed between 18-30 mph. With a longboard this is 6-13 mph.
Cooling: If you ride during warm temperatures, you will arrive cooled with an electric skateboard instead of sweating with a longboard.

Skateboard boosters

Skateboard boosters are going to be him over the next few years. Electrically powered means of transport are on the rise, as is the electric skateboard. The boosters make it possible to convert any board into a straight sample. There are a number of boosters available on the market, which will be mentioned here. I have tested them myself, and am very impressed with them.

Confirming skateboard boosters

90% of the skateboards have the same structure for attaching trucks to the board. Therefore, a standard drive is easy to attach to a skate or longboard. Look at the picture below:

So it is quite easy to place a booster on a skate or longboard. It is useful to do this right away and also to use the right tools. The tools for attaching always come with the booster, so you don’t have to take that into account beforehand. It may be that the screws provided are not of good quality or long enough for a specific board. In this case you have to get new ones yourself at the praxis or another shop. I used a drill myself for ease of attachment, but this is absolutely not necessary.

Benefits

With skateboard boosters, the batteries are replaceable, so you can carry multiple batteries in your backpack and cover distances over 40 miles.

Our tips for driving safely

Wear a helmet: This seems logical to us. We recommend using certified helmets that meet the safety requirements for both skateboards and bicycles (and are relatively stylish). We don’t wear a helmet as often as we should, but be smarter than us and always wear a helmet.

Wear clear and reflective clothes: Many people are not yet used to people with 20 mph tearing through the street. Especially pedestrians will think that you go about 6 mph and cross because they think they have more than enough time. We have had several collisions with pedestrians who didn’t anticipate that someone who isn’t on a bike or motorbike can go that fast. Make sure you choose one that breathes well, otherwise you will sweat a lot.

Wear lights in the evening: There are lights available that you can put under a skateboard, so you will be seen in the evening. If you can’t find them or find them too expensive, you can always opt for bicycle lights. The problem is that you have to choose for very compact lights, because otherwise they will touch the bottom if you go over a bump. Another good option is a front light with a flashing red light at the back. So you only have to worry about charging and carrying one light instead of both front and rear lights.

Make a sound: We haven’t gone that far yet to bring a bicycle bell, but it’s not a bad idea. In the above example with crossing pedestrians it would help a lot. Shouting or whistling also works, but may seem a bit rude.

More tips: Stay clean, avoid fatigue, etc.

Skateboards will carry dust, mud and other dirt from the streets. When you pick up the electric skateboard, it’s almost impossible to keep your hands completely clean. You should be constantly near a sink (which is unlikely) or take some damp wipes with you.

Wearing a skateboard for more than 10 minutes can be very tiring. One way to save energy is to take the electric skateboard with you, just like a suitcase with wheels.

Always take your charger with you. It is annoying to have to carry it every time, but not as annoying as an empty battery and no charger.

Put a carrying strap on the controller and always leave it with the skateboard. It took a while before we realised the importance of this. As a result, we spent a lot of time looking for it, because we lost it every time.

Wear suitable footwear. We prefer shoes with a flat, thin sole because you feel more comfortable with it. You can choose the brand you prefer, but make sure they are comfortable as you may wear them for a long time.

With Google Maps you can map out beautiful routes, but make sure you use the bike option. This way, bike paths are automatically selected during the creation of the route. The fastest way on an electric skateboard is often not the shortest distance.

Evaluation criteria if you buy an electric skateboard

Speed

The Boosted Boards Dual+ reaches an impressive maximum speed of 28 mph, which is a bit frightening at first. If you come across a big pit at 25 mph, it won’t end well… The top speed of the Yuneec is about 16 mph. That is a big difference. Although we often maintained a speed of 3-20 mph, it was still nice to have access to 28 mph. The Boosted Single had a middle class top speed of 22 mph. With the Onewheel we could reach a maximum speed of 18 mph, but then the board starts to become unstable. A speed of 13-17 mph was a lot more comfortable.

Perhaps even more significant than the top speed was the acceleration. When you use the expert mode of the Boosted Board, it accelerates so fast that many people first shot the board from under their feet. You really have to slowly build up speed with this electric skateboard model.

Slopes

The Boosted Boards Dual+ can climb 25 degree gradients, which is almost the steepest hill in San Francisco. Of course, he won’t climb the super steep slope at top speed, but you’ll reach the top without any problems at 6-13 mph. Less steep hills it climbs almost at top speed. On a scale of 1-10 we give him a 10 for slopes. The Yuneec on the other hand doesn’t really like slopes. Everything that is steeper than 3-5 degrees becomes a problem. Even on small slopes it goes slower than the already slow top speed of 16 mph.

The Single can handle slopes of 10 degrees and if you are very light 15 degrees shouldn’t be a problem either, which was successful with one of our testers. With the Onewheel you may be afraid to climb or descend hills for good reasons. Hills of 17 degrees it climbs easily with a speed of 9-12 mph and he can even climb slopes of 20 degrees. Descending is also super easy with the Onewheel, although the manufacturer recommends avoiding descents of more than 15 degrees.

Range or maximum distance

As with all vehicles and especially electric vehicles, your range is determined by how fast you drive, how fast you accelerate and stop, how steep the slopes are, how much you weigh and how often you use regenerative braking. When testing the boards on our circuits, we kept in mind how the average person would ride during commuting. At times we drove at maximum speed, stopped as fast as possible to simulate a Sunday rider who is not watching the road and accelerated as fast as possible because we were chased by an (imaginary) dog. The Yuneec and Onewheel have a low top speed that is just around the perfect driving speed of 15-18 mph. The Boosted Boards go much faster, but you can always safely reach and maintain those speeds. The average speed of this one was 16-20 mph.

We rode the Yuneec, Onewheel and Boasted Boards on a number of tracks that were almost flat with the maximum speed of the Yuneec. In each test we had riders with different weights between 50 and 85 kg and changed riders every so many miles. The Boasted Boards constantly covered about 6-9 miles and the Onewheel had an average of 8 miles. The Yuneec and Boasted boards lost about 1 mile before they were completely empty also power. The Onewheel kept its speed and power until the battery was almost empty and only 400 meters before the end the speed went down. The Dual+ is our oldest and most used board and the energy of the battery is no longer as before. The maximum range and top speed have been slightly reduced.

Yuneec claims that their electric skateboard has a range of 16 miles, but after 13 miles we were never able to use the full energy. Although this is still further than the Boosted Board, the difference is not big, especially when you consider how long it takes to charge the Yuneec (see below).

Long term range and slopes

After about 50 charges, we noticed that the range and power to climb slopes of the Dual+ became less. However, the difference is not super large. If the board used to climb gradients of 25 degrees, it now goes up at gradients of 15-20 degrees. In addition, the range has been reduced by approximately 10-20%. Now it covers a distance of 7 miles and loses some power after about 6 miles.

Recharge time

Both Boosted Boards claim it takes 60 minutes to fully charge, but with us it never took more than 45 minutes. It often only took 20 minutes to go from 50 to 100%. With the Yuneec it takes about 3-5 hours to fully charge. This is a big disadvantage if you want to cover long distances. Although Yuneec’s electric skateboard has a larger range, the Boosted Board has a larger effective range when you include the charging time.

For example, with the Dual+ we covered a distance of about 6 miles until the battery was empty. Then we took the bus and from the end station to our house we had to drive another 6 miles. However, we found a café where we took a small break of 20 minutes to charge the board. It was more than half charged and so we could easily get home. If we would have used the Yuneec board, it would have taken 2 hours or more to get home. The Onewheel claims a charge time of 20 minutes, but 35 minutes was the fastest time for us. For the Onewheel it is recommended to charge it occasionally for an entire evening.

Weight

The Yuneec is slightly lighter than the Dual+, 6.3 and 6.8 kg respectively. The Boosted Single was slightly lighter than the Yuneec with 6.1 kg. The differences between the three is basically negligible. The boards are light enough to lift a few streets under your arms, but after 5-10 minutes they become a bit too heavy for most people. After this time you will change arms regularly. However, the Boosted Boards have a cord, so you can lift them on your back like a sports bag, which is very useful at airports. The three boards all have about the same dimensions. However, the Onewheel is very difficult to lift with over 11 kg. Besides that, a lot of dirt sticks to the tire and if you don’t do your best it will all get on the clothes.

Wet conditions

The four boards work in wet conditions, but it is not recommended for the Boosted Boards. But in some places this can cause some problems. For these conditions we recommend the Onewheel. It has a water-resistant battery housing for protection when driving on wet surfaces. However, we do not recommend driving in the rain or through puddles. You will get wet unless you buy the mudguard they make for it. We do not yet understand why it is not included in the price, because for a price of about €1300 you would expect such an important accessory to be included.

Braking

All boards we tested have their own regenerative braking system. The system of the Boosted Boards works by pressing and holding the ‘Engage’ or ‘Engage’ button. This button engages a gear that is linked to the engine, which prevents the board from going off. In neutral you keep rolling for a while, but when you switch on the gear the board brakes much faster. The Yuneec has a similar concept, only you slide the speed lever down instead of having to press a button. The Onewheel is a little different, as you don’t have a remote control, but it works the same when you lean backwards to slow down. The Booster Boards and Onewheel have great brakes. The Yuneec brakes, on the other hand, are very bad.

The Dual+ can also descend on hills of more than 25 degrees. However, it is important to descend slowly for several reasons. First of all, you don’t stop that fast and blocking the brakes makes very strange noises, which can’t be good for the long-term health of the bike. In addition, if you have fully charged your board and descend at a hill, the regenerative braking system will overcharge the battery. First you will hear a beeping alarm and shortly after that the brakes stop completely. Unless you are very good at stopping a normal skateboard (without electricity) on steep slopes, we recommend (and Boosted also) to take it easy.

With the Yuneec electric skateboard it is recommended not to descend on slopes of more than 3 degrees. We tested the Yuneec on very steep slopes and we can confirm that it doesn’t slow down much (read almost). You will certainly not stop.

Customer support

This is a new industry that is still working to eliminate the teething problems and if you use your board a lot (like us), things will just break down. This is not a problem as long as the company stands behind their product and supports you.

So far we have had two bad and two great experiences with customer support:

The Boosted Dual+ didn’t work anymore after more than 300 miles. We contacted customer support and they told us to return it, as the engine was probably broken. A month later we had the board back and it was as good as new again.

The Yuneec didn’t work after 60 miles. After contacting the customer support she noticed that it was a bad engine. It was within the warranty period so we could return it and they replaced the engine.

We recommend to always keep the box in which the electric skateboard was delivered. If you use it a lot you will eventually have to have something repaired and finding a good box to send it in can be difficult. If you also want to take your board with you on holiday and avoid the potential problems when checking in at airports, then the box is an excellent way to check in the board.

Price

The questions we got most from pedestrians (and sometimes motorcyclists) during testing were: How fast does it go? How far do you get with it? How much does it cost? When we told the people that the boards cost between €600 and €1300 they almost got a heartbreak. How can such a small thing cost so much? An electric skateboard with a lightweight is a new industry and if you buy one today, you are an early adopter and you pay the first prize. As with any technology, the costs of these boards will certainly decrease in the coming years, as there will be more competition and the market will grow. At the moment an electric skateboard is a luxury product for most people.

2018-10-11T07:53:42+00:00