Hoverboard vs. Skateboard (and electric skateboard): What’s the dif?

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably seen an uptick in the number of hoverboards that have hit the market. Its popularity has undoubtedly reached a pinnacle in the last couple years but how does it compare to one of the original modes of transportation for kids of all ages?

We are talking about none other than the skateboard. The only need to see a photo of each one to see the obvious differences between a skateboard and hoverboard, but I’ll cover some less obvious differences in greater detail below, and also talk about the hoverboard vs the electric skateboard.

What is a skateboard?

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So everyone has seen a skateboard, I hope. It is a short (usually 28-33 inch), oblong board that has a pair of small wheels at each end. Whoever is riding the skateboard has one foot on the board (usually the left one, for those who are right-handed) and the other foot pushing on the ground to propel forward, eventually creating enough speed to comfortably have both feet on the board for greater control, doing tricks, and so on. When the speed decreases, the rider will have to push their foot on the ground again to get back that momentum (spoiler: you don’t have to do this with a hoverboard!).

A typical skateboard deck consists of up to nine plies of maple wood, which get laminated to one another and shaped into your standard skateboard. Wood is used because of its responsiveness to the rider’s style of skateboarding. As far as size is concerned, most boards go up to 8.5 inches wide and 33 inches long. 

So what exactly is a hoverboard ?

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I’ve got a whole article covering what a hoverboard is, but to summarize it, a hoverboard is a little similar to a skateboard in theory but totally different in build and manner or riding. While very complicated, it consists of gyroscopes (in simple words: a wheel mounted on an axis so that it can spin) and several sensors to detect which direction the rider is attempting to go.

The motor on board sends signals to the gyroscope and logic board which tell the wheels where to go. The type of pressure you put on the pressure pad that you stand on will determine which direction the board will go. If you lean forward, the hover board will work its magic and drive forward.

Leaning backwards tells the board to go backwards. It is something that usually takes a bit to learn and get comfortable with but once you get the hang of it, you will want to spend hours on your hoverboard. See hear to learn even more about how a hoverboard works.

Speaking of hours, the battery on board usually allows for up to two hours of riding which is approximately 15 miles per charge. This is usually determined by the strength of the battery on the board but a standard hover board battery will give you those times. And as far as speed is concerned, most hover boards travel at about and average of  8 mph. 

Choosing a hoverboard is not easy with so many options out there nowadays. That’s why I’ve put together this hand list of the best hoverboards this year.

What’s the difference between a skateboard and hoverboard?

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As you can see, there are some pretty obvious differences between hoverboards and skateboards, namely in their design and the way we use them. But let’s look at a few other not-so-obvious differences in skateboards versus hoverboards.

Can both be customized?

Generally speaking, skateboards are a little more customizable than hoverboards. You can change the look of your skateboard by changing the color of the tape on top (for example check out these patterns!) which will give a fresh new feel and better grip if necessary. Lots of skaters like to add stickers on the bottoms of their boards to further customize them as well. Last, wheels can be exchanged for different colored ones for aesthetic purposes or to improve performance.

As far as hoverboards go, there are also several (but not quite as many) options for customization. They come in various colors, and there are even hoverboards specifically for girls. Manufacturers sell silicone skins with various designs such as these to protect the hoverboard or give it a new look, but your options kind of end there. If you want to replace the wheels because, for example, they’ve been damaged, you’ll have to make sure to get the exact same one from the company. And as for putting stickers on your hoverboard, it just doesn’t look as badass as those on a skateboard. Hoverboards already look badass enough the way they are, dude!

Which one is better for kids?

When it comes to the skateboard vs. hoverboard for kids, there isn’t really a clear winner. Skateboards have always been awesome fun for kids (I rode one all the time when I was young!) Meanwhile, hoverboards are super fun for kids too; what kid doesn’t like hovering around and showing off their seemingly magical balancing skills?

The only thing to know is that your kid must be at least 44 pounds to ride a hoverboard, otherwise the footpads won’t be properly triggered. If you’re thinking about getting a hoverboard for your kid, here are my recommended best hoverboards for kids.

Meanwhile, for skateboards, there’s no real minimum age, but five is probably about the youngest you’d want to go with. Most children’s electric skateboard manufacturers recommend their boards for 5+ or in some cases 8+. Here are my top recommended electric skateboards for kids.

Which one has better technology?

No big surprise here, but this is where the hover board shines. While the skateboard is typically a wooden board on wheels, the hover board is years of incredible technology build into one great ride. Things such as LED lights and indicators are built in to tell you if the board is on or if it needs a charge.

Also, a lot of hover boards on the market provide Bluetooth technology and speakers on board, which really comes in handy if you want to listen to music while riding. Another awesome feature that hoverboards have, as of late, is self-balancing technology. The motors under your feet sense if you are leaning too much into one direction and it counter balances the board so that the rider stays as safe possible. How awesome is that?!

Is a hoverboard more expensive than a skateboard?

Which one costs more, a skateboard or a hoverboard? Now that’s a good question! The price is probably the biggest difference between the skateboard and hoverboard.

The skateboard can range anywhere from $20 to up to $150 and higher depending on the quality.

Now since the hoverboard is packed with all those complex inner workings, it can cost anywhere from $100 to around $500 or more. In fact, there are even some hoverboards below $100 nowadays! But be careful for any deals that seem too good to be true on untrusted websites; those ones might not be safe). 

Electric skateboards, on the other hand, can be even more expensive than hoverboards. The lowest budget electric skateboards are comparable in price to the cheapest hoverboards, but the most expensive ones can cost several thousands dollars!

Which one goes faster, a hoverboard or a skateboard?

OK, so this is a pretty important question, right? Generally, hoverboards max out at about 7.5 to 10 miles per hour. The current fastest hoverboard in the world reaches a speed of 12 MPH. You can see this article for more information on hoverboard max speeds.

Most of the time, you won’t be riding them at maximum speed, either. It’s also worth noting that when you go downhill, you still aren’t going to surpass your board’s maximum speed, but it’s equally important to note that it’s not safe to try to go down really steep hills on a hoverboard. These just aren’t the extreme machines that skateboards are often used as!

On a skateboard, by contrast, the speed you can reach is going to depend on hard hard you push your limits. Most people cruise at around 7 or 8 MPH on even surfaces. But if you really put your ass into it, you can get them up to 12 MPH or faster. And going downhill? WATCH OUT! The fastest speed ever recorded on a skateboard going downhill was 91.17 MPH (that’s 146.73km/hr)!

With electric skateboards, it’s a different story. Children’s electric skateboards usually max out around 9-13 MPH, while regular and higher end ones usually top out around 15-30 MPH, with the fastest one in the world able to reach 68 MPH! You can learn more about electric skateboard max speeds here.

Which one is better for doing tricks?

This is one comparison point where the skateboard is going to be the clear winner. By nature, hoverboards are high tech but far more limited in what they can do in terms of tricks. Don’t even think about trying to slide down hand rails, jumping down staircases, or riding half pipes on your hoverboard!

Having said that, there are some hoverboard tricks and stunts that you CAD do. And one more thing is that some hoverboards can tackle rough terrain, thanks to those larger wheels, while skateboards can’t.

Which one is heavier?

The typical skateboard weighs around 6.5 to 10 pounds (3 to 4.5 kg). This will vary slightly according to the exact size and thickness of the board, type of trucks and wheels, and so on. By contrast, the average height of a hoverboard comes in at around 25 pounds (11kg). Lighter ones can be around 20 pounds (9 kg), whereas bigger ones can weight 30 or more! This is definitely one thing to consider, especially if you think you might have to carry it around at some point.

Can both only be ridden on smooth cement?

Due to their small wheels, skateboards only really work on smooth surfaces like cement or the wood used for making skateboard ramps. Hoverboards, on the other hand, have much larger wheels, usually 6.5, 8.5 or 10 inches in diameter.

Hoverboards with 8.5″ or 10″ wheels are generally considered off roading hoverboards. They can be ridden on all kinds of surfaces, such as grass, sand, dirt, or rocks. Here are some of the best off road hoverboards today.

What about electric skateboards vs hoverboards?

Wait, what? That’s right. Electric skareboards (or esk8s) are now a thing, too. If you weren’t aware of this yet, I’ll excuse you. An electric skateboard is almost the same as a regular skateboard in terms of appearance. However, it has a small motor, and the rider can increase or decrease acceleration using a Bluetooth remote.

Compared with hoverboards, electric scooters are not as complex in design. At around 14 pounds (6.4 kg), they are a little heavier than a regular skateboard, but not nearly as heavy as a hoverboard. They can also go faster than a hoverboard, reaching speeds around 30 MPH, and you can do more tricks with them.

Conclusion: Skateboards and hoverboards compared

At the end of the day, it all depends on what you want from your purchase. Skateboards are a timeless classic that will always be loved, and they still require a fearless attitude. But hoverboards are the future in many ways, with their advanced technology and awesome range of features.

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