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Best Buy and Amazon to sell hoverboards they promise won’t explode

The term “hoverboard” used to bring to mind that scene from Back to the Future II with the awesome levitating Mattel contraption in the fictional 2015. In the real 2015, we got hoverboards that don’t float, but are actually self-balancing scooters. They were hugely popular for a short time, but now they’re harder to come by in the US after some models showed a tendency to burst into flames. Starting soon, Best Buy will stock hoverboards for the first time, and Amazon will sell one again. They promise these ones won’t blow up.

The issues with hoverboards in 2015 came down to the huge lithium-ion batteries. To get any kind of appreciable use out of such a device, you need a lot of power. As we know from phones, laptops, and other devices, lithium-ion batteries can be extremely volatile if damaged or defective. These products got so popular so fast, that some manufacturers did what was cheap and expedient to get devices to market, which apparently meant using sub-standard batteries.

After a series of incidents where a charging hoverboard caught fire, Amazon told customers to dispose of their devices and issued refunds. The retailer eventually ended all sales of all hoverboards. The US government implemented the new UL 2272 safety certification in the wake of those fires, and now the first UL 2272-compliant hoverboards are hitting the market. This is what gives Best Buy the confidence to get into hoverboards for the first time. It will be stocking the Swagway Swagtron T1 and T3, which retail for $400-500. They’re available for pre-order and will be on sale later this month.

Meanwhile, Amazon is taking pre-orders for its first UL 2272-certified device, the Segway miniPRO. This hoverboard costs a whopping $1,000, more than all the competing devices. It has that Segway name, though. It was making self-balancing scooters before they were cool. Hopefully the new wave of hoverboards prove less explosive.

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