Hoverboard vs Ripstik – Which Ride-On Is Best in 2024?


Hoverboards and lipsticks have both become incredibly popular personal transportation devices in recent years. At first glance, they seem quite similar – they both consist of a platform with two wheels that you stand on and steer by shifting your weight.

However, there are some key differences between these two innovative rideables that are worth examining before deciding which one is right for you. In this in-depth article, we’ll compare and contrast hoverboards and lipsticks across a variety of factors like design, speed, safety, tricks, terrain capabilities, portability, price, and more.

By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what sets each of these cool electric rideables apart and be able to determine which is the better fit for your needs and preferences. Whether you’re an aspiring trick rider looking for a new challenge or a commuter seeking an efficient way to travel short distances, this comprehensive hoverboard vs lipstick guide has got you covered!

Define and Visual Differences

Before diving into the details, let’s quickly define what exactly hoverboards and lipsticks are:

Hoverboard Definition: A hoverboard is a hands-free, self-balancing electric scooter consisting of a platform with two side-by-side wheels and gyroscopic technology that allows the rider to steer by shifting their weight. The rider stands atop the platform and uses non-electric acceleration to propel forward or backward.


Jetson Self Balancing Hoverboard

Ripstik Definition: A lipstick is a caster board that consists of a torsional platform on two thin, closely aligned deck plates with a small central grind bar and two small polyurethane wheels, one per deck plate. Riders propel forward by pushing off the ground and twisting their hips to initiate a torsional flex that propels the board.


So in simpler terms:

  • Hoverboards have larger wheels and self-balance using sensors and motors to stay upright as you steer with your feet/legs
  • Ripstiks have smaller wheels and a twisting/pivoting design that you twist back and forth to ride and steer

Visually, this helps show some of the main physical differences:

Key Differences at a Glance
Before diving into specifics, here is a broad look at how hoverboards and Ripstiks differ:

Propulsion MethodElectric motorsPushing (non-powered)
DesignFolds into a compact footprintSingle concave board with two torque bars
Rider StanceFeet side-by-side like a skateboardOne foot forward like a surfboard or wakeboard
Speed6-10 mph max10-15 mph cruising
Range6-15 milesUnlimited push distance
Terrain SuitabilitySolid, flat urban groundVaried terrain including hills
PortabilityFolds into compact footprintCarries like a longboard

As you can see, hoverboards have their wheels positioned side-by-side in the center, while lipsticks have two separate articulating plates with a wheel under each.

Now let’s explore those differences in greater depth across some key purchasing factors:

Speed and Power

Both hoverboards and lipsticks are considered somewhat “low powered” in comparison to transportation options like electric skateboards. However, hoverboards tend to reach faster top speeds than lipsticks.

Here’s an overview of their speed capabilities:


  • Top Speeds: Around 6-10 mph is average. Some high-performance models can reach nearly 15 mph.
  • Acceleration: Gradual acceleration powered by the rider kicking off. Faster at reaching top speed than ripstiks.
  • Power Source: Electric, rechargeable batteries.


  • Top Speeds: Usually not faster than 5-7 mph for most riders. Very experienced riders may reach 10 mph.
  • Acceleration: All acceleration comes from the rider’s physical push. Gaining speed is more gradual than with hoverboards.
  • Power Source: No electric power. All propulsion comes from the rider kicking off the ground.

So while casual cruising speeds are fairly comparable, hoverboards have greater acceleration and top speed potential thanks to their electric drive systems. Their battery-powered motors give them an advantage in pure speed and quickness.

On the other hand, ripstiks may have the edge in endurance and range since you don’t have to worry about running out of battery and can keep coasting longer after building momentum.


Safety is paramount whenever stepping onto any rideable device. Thankfully, both hoverboards and ripstiks have relatively safe reputations, especially compared to options like electric skateboards which bring higher speeds into play.

That said, there are some key differences in their safety profiles:


  • Learning Curve: The self-balancing nature makes hoverboards very easy to pick up, even for complete beginners. Falls and crashes are less common while learning.
  • Stability at Speed: Gyro sensors keep the hoverboard platform stabilized, allowing confident speed even for newer riders.
  • Weather Conditions: Electric components mean it’s best to avoid water exposure or excess moisture which can damage the electronics.
  • Weight Limits: Average supports 220-240 lbs, but some heavy duty models support over 400 lbs.


  • Learning Curve: Takes more practice to get the twisting motion and steering down without bailing. Higher learning curve results in more falls.
  • Stability at Speed: Less stable at faster speeds above 5 mph or so. Best suited for slower cruising for newer riders.
  • Weather Conditions: No electronics so they can withstand rain and still be rideable. More water-resistant.
  • Weight limits: Average supports around 100 lbs more before they may become too flexible to maneuver safely.

So in summary – hoverboards are generally easier to learn, while ripstiks have a steeper learning curve but can support more weight and stand up to wet conditions after you master them.

Off-Road and Terrain Capabilities

The types of terrain these rideables can comfortably handle varies quite a bit:


  • Smooth, Paved Surfaces Best: Though some hoverboards may advertise “off-roading”, they still perform best on solid, smooth surfaces due to their smaller wheel size. Things like cracks, small rocks and sticks can throw off stability.
  • Water, Sand and Dirt Avoidance: You’ll want to steer clear of wet, muddy, sandy, or excessively gritty surfaces to protect the electronics inside the platform and keep optimal traction.


  • Hard-Packed Dirt Handleable: Unlike hoverboards, ripstiks can maintain good traction and rideability on packed dirt, grass and softer surfaces that hoverboards would struggle on.
  • No Electronics Allows More Ruggedness: Feel free to ride ripstiks through puddles or across looser surfaces like gravel, though tricks and stability may still be compromised.

Clearly ripstiks are designed to handle more variability in terrain with their twist-style maneuvering. Hoverboards strongly prefer solid, smooth surfaces to roll reliably. So ripstiks open up more creativity in terms of the types of off-road places you can take them and retain control.

Tricks and Riding Styles

Given their very different riding mechanisms, hoverboards and ripstiks enable different tricks and overall riding capabilities:


  • Carving Primary Trick: The most common hoverboard trick is carving back and forth rhythmically using the gyroscopic steering capability. This allows slalom-like riding across smooth surfaces for a fun, flowing sensation.
  • Limited Trick Potential: Beyond carving techniques, hoverboards don’t offer extensive options for aerial tricks or advanced maneuvers given the heavier platform and electronics anchoring them down. You’ll see more basic footwork tricks.
  • Relaxed Cruisingideal: On flatter surfaces, hoverboards excel for casually floating along while standing upright. Their smooth ride quality caters to relaxed cruising more than intense tricks.


  • Aerial and Grinding Tricks Possible: Thanks to the articulating ripstik design that lets the plates pivot independently, ripstiks unlock opportunities for aerial maneuvers like sharp kickturns plus rail grinds along the central grind bar, in ways hoverboards just can’t structurally allow.
  • Greater Trick Challenge: From nose stalls to wide carves, the ripstik form factor invites experimenting with new tricks through practice. Their flexibility takes more coordination but enables more advanced trick innovation.
  • Intense Riding Style: The very nature of constantly twisting and carving on a ripstik results in a more extreme, dynamic riding sensation compared to casually floating on a hoverboard.

So for riders specifically seeking to advance their trick riding talents, ripstiks provide more versatility to progress aerial techniques, boardslides, manuals and more to style around obstacles. Hoverboards promote a smoother, more low-key riding flow across basic terrain.

Portability Convenience

Both of these electric rideables rank fairly similarly when it comes to ease of transport from point A to point B:


  • Compact Size: With no protruding handles or decks, hoverboards neatly pack into a cubed shape for efficient storage in a car trunk, locker, or bag. Models under 20 lbs are common.
  • Quick Folding: Some hoverboards include hinges in the middle to fold smoothly in half for easier carrying as you walk into a classroom or down subway steps. This allows grabbing the edge of the platform on either side for a balanced grip.
  • Removable Batteries Allow Checked Transport: Airlines typically restrict bringing hoverboard batteries onboard for flights but allow transporting the device itself checked without power sources installed, enabling users to re-install the batteries themselves at their destination as needed.


  • Snug Storage Shape: Ripstiks can fit into narrow spaces like lockers on their side since there’s no width to the twisting plates. The compact design takes up little space.
  • Easy Carrying: Integrated cutouts on the platforms make picking up a ripstik fairly manageable to walk moderate distances. Less balanced than a hoverboard, but still transportable.
  • Fits in Luggage: Ripstiks can pack neatly into a suitcase or duffel bag without needing to remove parts, allowing air travel while avoiding hoverboard airline restrictions. Just detach the ripstik from your feet to store it overhead or under your seat as needed.

In summary for portability, hoverboards may have a slight edge for urban users who need compact storage and smooth carrying mobility from location to location throughout the day. But ripstiks can match hoverboards reasonably well for packing into tight spaces when required.

Price Considerations

Pricing often plays a pivotal role in choosing between comparable sports gear or recreational rideables. So how do costs compare between these self-balancing ride options?


  • Technology Components Add Cost: The electronics embedded in hoverboards like sensors, motherboards, and lithium batteries elevate their manufacturing expenses, along with regulatory testing. These high-tech parts layer on more value than the ripstik’s simpler structure.
  • Average Price Range: Budget models start around $100-150 for lower build quality versions, but expect to spend $200-500+ for reputable brands with better power and range like Epikgo, Swagtron, or TOMOLOO.


  • Inherently Simple Design: Without complex components, ripstiks use basic elements like compressed wood decks, steel torsion rods, and small wheels to enable their twisting abilities. Cheaper to produce than tech-heavy hoverboards.
  • Average Price Range: Ripstik brand models cost $80-130 typically for standard versions, all the way up to $200 range for higher-end options with features like magnesium decks, torsion technology, or colored LED lights.

Across the board, expect ripstiks to retail for $50-100+ less than a comparative quality self-balancing hoverboard. So choosing a ripstik can net big savings if budget limitations are a concern. Just note you’re sacrificing some performance capacities in terms of top speed and acceleration without electrical assistance.

Rider Height and Age

Ideal rider size and experience is another differentiator between these competing ride choices:


  • Balancing Ease Accommodates All Ages: Hoverboard’s self-balancing design truly makes them accessible and ridable for anyone from elementary school kids through adults and seniors. The intuitive, natural steering process integrates users of nearly all ages.
  • Shorter Riders May Struggle: Very small kids under 100 lbs may have a harder time properly weighing down the hoverboard sensors to trigger ideal acceleration and tilt steering. Tall riders over 6’2” may feel overly hunched balancing on the small platform.


  • Higher Learning Curve Restricts Younger Ages: Unlike hoverboards, successfully riding a ripstik has a steeper skill progression more suited for kids in their early-mid teens at least. Younger ages struggle to twist their hips effectively to build needed momentum.
  • Better Fit for Taller Riders: With feet positioned farther apart in opposing directions, those with longer feet and bigger frames often feel they can distribute weight more naturally across a ripstik’s articulating decks than a hoverboard’s narrow single platform.

So hoverboards may allow younger or less coordinated individuals to grasp the basics and start smoothly enjoying these innovative rideables. But ripstiks cater better to older, taller enthusiasts once core skills are developed.

Conclusion & Verdict

In this complete hoverboard vs. ripstik comparison guide we’ve covered all the critical factors differentiating these two popular electric rideables to help inform your purchasing decision between them. While similar in some regards, key differences in speed, terrain handling, tricks, carrying convenience, prices, and rider compatibility all exist.

To recap the verdict:

  • Ripstiks are more budget-friendly, customizable, rugged, and allow more advanced aerial tricks – but have a steeper initial learning curve requiring balance and torsion technique mastery.
  • Hoverboards provide easier operation out of the box, faster electric acceleration, and a smoother, cruisier all-around riding sensation – though with the higher initial investment and less all-terrain adaptability relative to ripstiks.

So choosing between a hoverboard vs a ripstik depends largely on your riding priorities…

Do you value easy transportability and flowing, casual gliding for relaxed commuting or having fun? Hoverboards are tough to beat for their pick-up-and-go convenience.

Or are you eager to take on the challenge of mastering an entirely new extreme riding style and experimenting with rail grinds or kick turns on various surfaces? Ripstiks open the door to mastering unique tricks other rideables can’t provide.

Whichever direction you lean, both hoverboards and ripstiks promise hours of enjoyment. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether simplicity of operation or more dynamic performance is most appealing based on your personal riding personality!

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