Business & Economy

More than 500,000 hoverboards recalled over fire risk

A youth poses as he rides a hoverboard, which are also known as self-balancing scooters and balance boards, on October 13, 2015 in Knutsford, England.
A youth poses as he rides a hoverboard, which are also known as self-balancing scooters and balance boards, on October 13, 2015 in Knutsford, England.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Hoverboards, the self-balancing scooters that seemed ubiquitous on city streets a year ago, have gone through some tumultuous times in recent months.

Warnings of overheating batteries and fire hazards have gotten the gadgets banned from airlines, movie theaters and universities and pulled from Amazon warehouse shelves, and now, they’re undergoing a massive recall.

About 510,000 hoverboards sold by 10 companies—two of which are based in Southern California—are being recalled after dozens of incidents involving the gadgets overheating, sparking, catching fire or exploding, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday.

“Homes and apartments have been destroyed because of fires related to hazardous hoverboards,” said commission chairman Elliot Kaye in a statement, adding that the agency had investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires that resulted in $2 million in property damage.

Here’s a full list of the companies and hoverboard models involved in the recall:

Company Number of Units Brand/Model Sold
Digital Gadgets LLC of Monroe N.J. 16,000 Hover-Way/Model # HWSBB601-R
Hoverboard LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz. 70,000 Powerboard
Hype Wireless, of \nEdison, N.J. 25,000 Hype Roam
Keenford Ltd., of Hong Kong 84,000 iMoto
PTX Performance Products USA of Irvine, CA 4,900 Airwalk Self Balancing Electric Scooter
Razor USA LLC of Cerritos, Calif. 28,000 Hovertrax
Swagway LLC of South Bend, Ind. 267,000 Swagway X1
Yuka Clothing of Miami, Fla. 800 Wheeli 2Wheelz, Back to the Future Mobile Tech Hover Shark NWS X Glider and X Rider
Boscov’s of Reading, Pa. 1,300 Orbit
Overstock.com of Salt Lake City, Utah 4,300 All hoverboards sold on Overstock.com

Numerous reports—and in some cases, video footage—of hoverboards bursting into flame have cropped up over the last year, which prompted the federal investigation and led to an overhaul of safety regulations for the products. In February the commission issued a letter to manufacturers, retailers and importers that hoverboards must comply with safety standards outlined by Illinois-based safety science organization Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or risk being recalled. Those that are not certified for safety pose an “unreasonable risk of fire” to consumers, the commission warned.

Wednesday marks the first official recall of hoverboards that don’t meet Underwriters Laboratories’ safety requirements.  

Two of the companies involved in the recall are based in Southern California—Razor USA LLC in Cerritos and PTX Performance Products USA in Irvine.

Those who have bought defective hoverboards can call their retailer to get a refund, free repair or replacement, depending on the model. PTX Performance Products USA and Razor USA LLC are both offering to replace faulty products with safety certified hoverboards.

Last year more than 60 airlines banned hoverboards amid reports that their large lithium-ion batteries were prone to overheating and injury to riders. Retailers including Amazon, Target and Toys ‘R’ Us began pulling the products off their websites, although Amazon recently began selling models that comply with safety requirements. New York City earlier this year banned all hoverboards from public transportation. Meanwhile, in January California legalized the use of hoverboards in bike lanes, sidewalks and public paths.