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Best Skateboards

Updated November 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 28 Models Considered
  • 9 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 395 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best skateboards

    Last Updated November 2018

    If all you know about skateboards is what you’ve seen from those “funniest” home videos in which a rider crashes in the most awkward position possible, you’re missing out. Skateboards are about much more than amusing mishaps. Riding a skateboard can be a lot of fun, and the sport provides some exercise.

    Skateboards look simple, but they include quite a few parts. And each of those parts is available in many different sizes and configurations, which means you truly can customize your skateboard to meet your needs.

    We at BestReviews are ready to help you find just the right skateboard, whether you’re buying it for yourself or your child. Our shopping guide outlines all the most important aspects of skateboards so you can understand exactly what you’re buying.

    Some people choose to replace the original truck on the skateboard because they want a custom color or a design that accommodates specialized wheels.

    Types of skateboards

    Skateboards are typically between 31 and 33 inches long. Longer skateboards give you a little more stability, while shorter boards provide more maneuverability. Skateboard length is less important than width when seeking the right fit. While shopping, you can select from a few different skateboard types:

    Cruiser: A cruiser-style skateboard deck is made for riding over long distances and for transportation. It gives you just the right level of maneuverability for riding on streets rather than doing tricks. Some cruiser skateboards are called longboards.

    Shortboard: The length of the shortboard is shorter than normal, making it easier to pop the board into the air and complete tricks. If you’re skateboarding at a skate park, the shortboard is perfect for people with a bit of experience.

    Vintage: The nose of a vintage, or old school, board is wider than the back. These skateboards also have a kicktail. Such boards look cool and work well for any kind of basic skateboarding.

    EXPERT TIP

    Look for wheels roughly 53 mm or 54 mm in diameter for general riding.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Parts of a Skateboard

    When trying to find the right skateboard for your needs, you want to understand how each part works. You then can make sure your skateboard has the right components for your personal riding preferences.

    Deck: The deck is the portion of the skateboard where the rider stands. Decks are available in a few different widths to help make sure the skateboard fits the rider properly.

    • Small: A small deck measures roughly 6.5 to 7 inches wide. Such decks are made specifically for children up to about 4.5 feet tall.

    • Midsize: A midsize deck measures about 7 to 7.5 inches wide. It’s aimed at preteens between about 4.5 and 5.25 feet tall. A child who is shorter than 4.5 feet but with larger than average feet will need a midsize deck.

    • Full: A full-size deck is the most common size, measuring 7.5 to 8.25 inches wide. It’s aimed at any teenagers and adults who are at least 5.25 feet tall.

    • Extra large: Some skateboard decks measure more than 8.25 inches wide. These decks are made for performing specific types of tricks or for particular types of riding, such as using vert ramps or cruising.
       

    Grip tape: This is the rough surface on the deck. It almost feels like sandpaper and gives the rider’s feet a bit of grip on the skateboard. If you don’t like the grip tape used on the preassembled skateboard that you buy, you can easily replace it later. The roughness on the grip tape will wear down over time, so you will probably have to replace it at some point.

    Truck: The truck is the T-shaped metal piece that connects to the underside of the skateboard. The axle for the wheels runs through the truck. You select from low-, middle-, or high-profile trucks, and this affects the diameter size of the wheel you can use.

    Riser pads: If you’ll be attempting tricks and sharp turns on your skateboard, you might want to select one that has riser pads (some manufacturers call them shock pads). These work almost like shims that sit between the underside of the deck and the truck. The riser pad keeps the wheels of the skateboard from coming in contact with the board when placed under stress, which can occur with large wheels.

    Wheels: The most common diameter for wheels is between 52 mm and 56 mm. Wheels up to 52 mm will have quicker acceleration but a lower top speed versus wheels larger than 56 mm. A midsize wheel works especially well for beginning riders doing any kind of basic skateboarding.

    Wheel bearings: Most manufacturers rank skateboard wheel bearings on a scale of one to nine. If you’re concerned about the possibility of your wheel bearings breaking under stress, look for bearings with a higher number.

    Bearing spacers: Selecting a board with bearing spacers is a smart idea for riders whose weight is above average. The spacers reduce the stress on each axle, enabling the wheels to spin more freely. Most people of average weight don’t need bearing spacers, but if you plan to ride at high speeds, spacers can help.

    Speed washers: These small rings reduce the friction between the bearings and wheels, allowing for full-speed travel. Most people probably don’t need speed washers unless they’re riding downhill at high speeds.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Young riders and shorter adults may find that wheels smaller than 52 mm provide greater stability.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    All bearings used in skateboard wheels are the same size. The only difference is the quality of the material.

    Skateboard prices

    You’re going to pay more for a skateboard made of higher-quality materials that can stand up to high-level workouts and tricks. However, skateboarding also is a sport that novices can enter at a reasonable price point, which is part of its appeal. You can expect to spend from about $20 to $250 on a skateboard.

    Inexpensive: There are entry-level skateboards available for less than $50, and you can even find some boards for around $20. A beginner-level skateboard will have a smaller deck than more expensive models and be aimed more at general use and transportation rather than extensive tricks. Many entry-level boards are aimed at smaller kids and have fun colors and artwork.

    Mid-range: A mid-range skateboard costs between $50 and $100. Older children and adults usually end up in this price range when seeking a skateboard that can support their weight. You might find some slight customization on skateboards in this price range, such as larger wheels or extensive artwork. Many advanced skateboarders like to customize their boards, so they start with a skateboard in this price range and add accessories.

    Advanced: Advanced preassembled skateboards cost between $100 and $250. Skateboards in this price range have specialized wheels and other hardware and are made for tricks. You also can find boards with fun artwork in this price range.

    Ongoing costs: Depending on how often you use the skateboard, you could have some ongoing costs (other than buying bandages for those inevitable falls, of course). Those who use their skateboard regularly or who place the board under a lot of stress will need replacement parts more often. Ultimately, you can expect to spend roughly $10 to $50 per year on replacement parts and other items. Those who have an advanced board that requires customized parts and who ride it constantly could spend $100 or more annually.

    • Parts: Wheels on the skateboards will wear down over time, meaning they’ll need to be replaced every year or so. Bearings will need regular replacement, too, maybe every six months to a year. You’ll need to replace the grip tape roughly this often, too.

    • Lubricant: Some people choose to apply a lubricant to the bearings to help them move freely, remain clean, and last longer.
    Some downhill longboards require special wheels that are larger than 65 mm in diameter.

    FAQ

    Q. Why would I want small wheels on my skateboard?

    A. Having smaller wheels on a skateboard can provide you with more stability and quicker acceleration than larger wheels. Those performing flip tricks will want smaller wheels, too (roughly 50 mm in diameter). Larger wheels (roughly 58 mm in diameter) are better for cruising and general riding when you’re using the board for transportation and need a greater top speed.

    Q. Should I worry about the hardness of the wheels?

    A. Manufacturers use the durometer scale to measure skateboard wheel hardness. If you’ll be riding over rough street surfaces, such as those with quite a few loose pebbles, a softer wheel will work well. Those attempting significant tricks on perfect surfaces can use the hardest wheels. Most inexperienced riders will want a mid-range or slightly harder than average wheel for all-around performance on smooth surfaces.

    Q. Do I need to replace the grip tape on the skateboard?

    A. Your skateboard will ship with grip tape already on the deck, but some people like to replace it to give the board a more personal style. Some people select clear grip tape, for example, so they can show off the artwork on the board itself. Installing new grip tape is pretty easy. You don’t need glue to install it; just peel the protective layer off the adhesive back and stick the tape on the board.

    Q. Why do some people talk about building their own skateboards?

    A. For most people, purchasing a preassembled skateboard is the smartest option. You don’t have to worry about finding all the right parts and spending time on assembly. However, some advanced skateboarders who want customized features choose to purchase the parts separately and build their own skateboards.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Moriah
      Moriah
      Writer

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