The news has been overrun the past few weeks with stories of hoverboards causing frightening fires and explosions. After one of the most popular hoverboards caught fire and damaged someone's home, Amazon pulled the Swagway board from its website (it has since been brought back). Since then a few more stories of flaming and exploding boards have popped up, causing more stores to stop selling them and leading the postal service along with some US airlines to ground them. But don't worry, you can still buy hoverboards—provided they are in stock—but you should know how they work so you can avoid any fiery mishaps.
Why are hoverboards exploding?
The main reason hoverboards have self-destructed is because of their batteries. All of the major hoverboard brands use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for power, and those can be dangerous for two reasons: cheapness and mistreatment. Li-ion batteries are used in everyday devices such as smartphones and tablets, but typically the companies making those devices can afford to use higher-quality, more expensive batteries. You won't be able to tell how good the li-ion batteries are in your hoverboard, but it's safe to say that cheaper, "knockoff" hoverboards use mass-produced cells of lower quality to cut costs.
Also, according to Wired, hoverboard batteries are typically placed inside the footrest of the device, so they're getting stepped on, kicked, and roughed-up every time you go for a ride. Not to mention that hoverboards are going to be abused more than, say, your laptop, so there's a greater chance its battery could get damaged by rough play, and any damage makes them more susceptible to malfunction or explosion.