So, it seems that the hottest gadget of the year may be just a bit too hot.
Reports from overseas suggest that some hoverboards (the self balancing, battery powered, personal wheeled vehicles that look like Segways without the stick), have been catching fire in some circumstances.
It appears that the combination of batteries, electric circuitry, moving parts and heavy usage, such as bumps received while driving up and down kerbs or hitting into walls, might result in components coming loose which can then cause electrical fires within the device.
Leaving them on charge for too long also seems to be a factor.
Internationally Amazon have drastically reduced the range of hoverboards they sell, but they are still selling some.
I would hate to contribute to social media hysteria but I would also hate to recommend a product group which has the potential for causing harm. With that in mind I have removed the hoverboard from my gift guide blog post until there is clearer guidance on the category in New Zealand.
In my experience the devices I tested, branded as Glideboards, were made of high quality materials and never exhibited any issues of concern. I would advise people who wish to buy any hoverboards to talk to a reputable retailer or distributor and discuss the quality of materials and safety specifications if you have any concerns.
I would not recommend buying any off of pop-up stores online and remember that while it is not a guarantee, usually the lower the price, the lower the quality of materials is.
The range I tested were on the higher side of the ledger at $799 up. Since writing about the devices and talking about them on TV I have been approached by representatives in Asia offering to sell me similar devices for $150 (which I have declined).
For current owners, I would recommend making sure the devices are never left on charge for long and that they are monitored while charging. Also check your device for any damage after use and check for suspicious smells or signs of overheating. If you have further concerns talk to the distributor.