Buying a skateboard can be a very hard task. With so many brands available in the market, it can be a bit tricky to determine precisely what suits you or the person you are buying for. But don’t worry; if you are here then you are at the right place. I will give you a comprehensive buying guide that you can use to get the best skateboard possible.
Bear in mind that you will need to consider certain important factors of a skateboard before you purchase it. These factors play a very big role in ensuring that the board offers a one of a kind skateboarding experience. Therefore, I give you my list of recommended products I will start with factors that you should consider.
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How to Choose the Best Skateboard
As is the case with any other board sport, purchasing the best skateboard will offer you the best sporting experience. You will be able to learn new stunts and tricks and the board will last for a very long time.
In addition to that, the best skateboard will give you a platform to do what you do best. This is particularly true if you are not a complete novice in skateboarding. For instance, if your skateboarding style leans more towards performing tricks then a shortboad will serve you better. It will help you to perfect your set of skills much more than other skateboard styles.
Below is a comprehensive buying guide that you can use to choose the best and most appropriate skateboard.
A skateboard’s style determines the type of skateboarding that it is most appropriate for. When choosing a board, make sure that you choose a style that can suit your skateboarding.
Generally, all skateboards can be classified into four styles. A style is determined based on the size and design of the board’s deck. Each one of them is explained below:
As the name suggests, a longboard features a long and wide deck. It measures over 10.5 inches wide and over 36 inches long and therefore it is bigger than all the other styles of skateboards. For that reason, it is very good for racing since it can pick up speed very quickly. In addition to that, it can maintain very high speed comfortably.
Most longboards are designed specifically for racing. That means you should consider a longboard for two reasons. The first is if you want a skateboard that can help you to commute. The fast acceleration and speed of a longboards can take you from one place to another comfortably. The second reason is if you want to engage in racing. A longboard will give you an advantage over racers who are using other types of boards because you can take off quickly and still maintain the high speed.
It is probably important for me to mention that there are some longboard brands that are ideal for downhill racing only. Get one of them if you will be competing or riding it downhill.
Contrary to longboards, shortboards are short. In fact, they have the shortest deck compared to other types of skateboards. Their design usually features enhanced kicktails and noses. For that reason, they are very good for performing tricks.
A typical shortboard measures about 7 to 10.5 inches wide and 28 to 33 inches long. It is most suitable for skateboarding in parks and on the streets because that is where you can perform tricks comfortably. Therefore, if you want an upper hand in tricks and stunts then settle for a shortboard.
Remember that a shortboard can be used by skateboarding experts and learners alike. If you are a complete novice then don’t be afraid of trying this type of skateboard. It will allow you to learn tricks like flipping and rotating your board more easily compared to all the other types. On the other hand, if you have some or a lot of experience in skateboarding then you can still settle for this type if you want to perfect your skills.
A cruiser is meant for cruising. It is a skateboard for leisure skating. Most cruisers feature big and soft wheels that ride very smoothly. Their decks are mid-sized and a majority of them have enhanced kicktails for easy control.
If you are interested in a cruiser, make sure you get one that you can control and accelerate easily. For added advantage, consider one that comes with a well gripped deck. The grip will ensure that your foot is placed on the board in a very stable manner. That means you will spend very little energy in controlling and accelerating the board.
Please note that a cruiser can be longboard or shortboard. A longboard cruiser combines the features of a typical cruiser and those of a longboard. Therefore, it performs outstandingly well in high speed skateboarding. On the other hand, a shortboard cruiser can ride faster than a normal shortboard.
An old school skateboard is a vintage board. It resembles the ones that were in the market in the 60s and 70s. In fact, old school boards share the same features as classic boards. For instance, most of them have a wide nose, flat kicktails and an asymmetrical shape.
Some old school boards do not have a concave deck. Instead, their deck is just flat. That might pose a challenge for you if are not so experienced. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you only get an old school skateboard that has a concave deck.
All in all, old school skateboards are great. Their vintage touch makes you feel like a pioneer in skateboarding. Furthermore, they have an outstanding physical design that is likely to make you the envy of your peers. If you are buying one, try using it on ramps, pools or carving the streets.
A skateboard consists of many parts that work together to give you the skateboarding experience. It is very important for you to analyze each part and know how its features can benefit you. Therefore, before you settle for any particular brand, examine its various components and their features. Here is a brief guide on each of the main components and how you can use them as factors for choosing the best skateboard.
The deck is the surface on which you place your foot when skateboarding. It is the only contact point between you and your skateboard. Therefore, you must ensure that you choose a deck that cannot put you at risk of falling off your board.
When choosing a skateboard deck, there are vital features that you should consider. The first one is its shape. Modern skateboards come with concave decks. The concave allows the deck to be sturdy enough to resist impacts, strong enough to support you and maneuverable for easy control.
The second is kicktails. They are the upward curves that you see at the end of your deck. As far as performance goes, kicktails help you to perform tricks easily. The general rule here is that you should settle for a skateboard with a highlighted curve in its kicktail. Such a board will make it easy for you to perform tricks.
The third consideration is the grip. This is the rough surface of the deck (the top surface) that ensures your foot maintains a firm contact with the board. Always choose a board that has a firm grip because you will not slip off and fall. Furthermore, it will be easier to control and accelerate it because there will be a lot of friction between the deck and your foot. Therefore, the best skateboard should be one with a very firm grip.
Finally, you can also consider decorations. Whereas some decks come with the manufacturer’s decorations, others come blank. With regards to decorations, there is no rule of thumb. It solely depends on your taste and preference. Choose a decoration that impresses you. Alternatively, you can go for a blank board and then use stickers or paint to decorate it yourself. That is a great option if you want custom made decorations.
Bearings mount a wheel on to its axle. In simple terms, they help to hold the wheel in place and they also enable it to roll smoothly. It is a well known fact that Swiss bearings are the best in the market. Therefore, if you want to use bearings as the basis of choice then the best skateboard should have Swiss bearings.
Having said that, I want to emphasize that the origin of the bearings is just one factor to consider. Another equally important factor is their ABEC rating. ABEC refers to Annular Bearing Engineers Committee. It is the organization that ranks bearings according to the amount of weight and speed they can tolerate.
There are five ABEC ratings. They are ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, and ABEC 9. A bearing with a high rating can perform better than one with a low rating. However, the standard rating for skateboard bearings is ABEC 5. ABEC 1 and ABEC 3 are just fine but they won’t perform as well as you may wish. On the other hand, ABEC 7 and ABEC 9 are outstanding. They can ride smoothly regardless of your speed and weight.
In summary, as far as bearings go, always choose one that has an ABEC rating of at least 5. The best skateboard should have a rating that either equals or exceeds the industry standard (that means ABEC 5, 7 or 9).
Skateboard wheels allow you to move because they roll to initiate motion. They also determine how fast you can ride your board. Basically, when you choose a skateboard with the best wheels, you will enjoy a very smooth ride. In addition to that, they will allow you to ride very fast regardless of how much you weigh.
If you are making your choice based on wheels, there are two main factors that you should consider if you want to get the best skateboard. First is the diameter of the wheels. The diameter is usually measured in millimeters (mm). Virtually all wheels measure between 50 and 75mm. Each wheel size has an advantage over other sizes.
For instance, a wheel that measures 50 to 53mm is small and slow. It is only suitable for small-sized skateboards. However, it is very stable for trick riding and can perform very well when you are skateboarding in parks and streets.
A wheel that measures 54 to 59mm is a standard wheel. It is also great for park and street riding. A skateboard with such a wheel can be used by experienced as well as novice skateboarders. The only difference between a 54 to 59mm wheel and a 50 to 53mm wheel is that the former makes tricks to be a little bit harder than the latter. Otherwise they offer pretty much the same skateboarding experience.
The final wheel size is 66mm and above. These wheels are manufactured for high speed and rough surfaces. They are good for longboards (especially those meant for racing), specialty riders, and downhill riders. Their downside is that they are not good for learners. Therefore, if you are new t skateboarding I suggest you try a smaller wheel size than this.
The second factor that you should use to choose a skateboard wheel is its durometer. Durometer measures the wheel’s hardness. It is a scale of 100 points such that the higher the reading the harder the wheel. Therefore, a wheel that has a durometer of 90 is harder than one with a durometer of 70. The market standard is 99a.
Generally speaking, a harder wheel is faster than a softer one. However, a softer wheel offers more grip. Therefore, it is ideal when you are skateboarding in the streets. On the other hand, a hard wheel is faster and thus it is great for longboards and longboard cruisers.
These are metals that connect bearings and wheels to the deck. They are critical because they highly influence the safety of your skateboard. If the trucks fail then your skateboard’s wheels are likely to stop rotating or even to come off. That will compromise your safety and skateboarding experience.
The main consideration that you should make when selecting skateboard trucks is their profile. Generally, there are three truck profiles. The first is the low profile. A low profile truck measures 50 to 53mm. It is meant for skateboards with small wheels.
The second is the mid profile. A mid profile truck measures 53 to 56mm and is ideal for standard size wheels. It is great for street or park skateboarding. The final type is the high profile. These trucks measure over 56mm and are designed for boards with large wheels. They are great for longboards and cruisers because they can perform extremely well under high speed.
3. Materials of a Best Skateboard
The materials used to make a skateboard play a major role in determining how well it can serve you. The best skateboard should be made of durable, sturdy and long lasting materials.
If you want to choose a skateboard based on its materials, it is probably wise for you to consider the materials used in the main component. Now that I have already explained the main components above, I will simply give you the best materials for each.
The most common material that is used to construct skateboard decks is maple wood. It is durable and can serve you for a very long time. Furthermore, it is flexible enough to be shaped without compromising its strength. Therefore, if you want an industry standard deck then look no further than maple wood.
Another equally popular material that is used to make skateboard decks is plywood. More particularly, the Russian Birch or 1/8” Baltic are the most popular because they and very strong and can be molded easily. Other great but less popular materials include bamboo and plastic laminate. Bamboo has unquestionable quality. Those who love it praise it because of is spring back qualities.
As for plastic laminate, it is used by skateboarders who like a very stiff surface. Its only disadvantage is that skateboards made with it are usually more expensive than those made with other materials.
Skateboard bearings are manufactured using either steel or ceramic. Steel bearings are circular in shape but have flat sides. They have seven or eight balls. The good thing about steel bearings is that they are economical compared to their ceramic counterparts. Their only downside is that they can expand when the skateboard gets heated (due to friction). That renders them inefficient.
Ceramic bearings are arguably better than steel ones. They are made using silicon nitride and contrary to steel bearings, they have nine balls. Their exterior is usually very hard (harder than steel bearings) and that makes them as durable as steel bearings. Another advantage of choosing a skateboard that has ceramic bearings is that they can’t expand due to heat.
Generally, if you have to choose between steel and ceramic bearings then go for ceramic. They are very efficient and do not change in size depending on heat levels.
As far as wheels go, your options are very limited. All skateboard wheels are made of polyurethane (PU). It is a hard composite material that was first introduced to skateboards in the 1970s. It is very durable and thus you can trust any skateboard wheels to serve you for a very long time.
Therefore, you should not face any challenges when choosing a skateboard based on its wheels. Basically any type of wheels will serve you. Just remember to choose the right size. You can consider the manufacturer’s brand if it will make any difference to your skateboarding experience.
The material used in making skateboard trucks dictates how well the board can perform. Trucks determine such abilities as cruising and flipping. Therefore, if you want to skate fast and still perform tricks with ease then you need to choose a skateboard that has trucks that are made with an idea material.
I strongly recommend you choose trucks that have an aluminum base-plate and steel axel hanger. They have very little to no resistance and grinding. In fact, they are the best in the industry. Other materials that you can consider are titanium and magnesium.
4. Size Of The Skateboard
What size of skateboard should you buy? That is a very important question to ask. The last thing you want is a skateboard that is too big or too small to use efficiently. A very big skateboard will make it hard for you to ride and perform tricks. A very small one can limit the pace at which you learn new tricks.
But what is the best size for you or the person you are buying for? Well, first of all you should understand how the size of a skateboard is determined. It is determined by the measure of the deck.
Any skateboard deck has a length and width. Whereas the length is important in determining the style of the board (whether it is a longborad or shortboard), the width determines how suitable it is for you. My advice – don’t dwell so much on the length, focus on the width.
Having said that, I should teach you how to choose the best skateboard as far as length goes. As I have already mentioned, length determines whether is is a shortboard or a longboard. Any skateboard that measures less than 33 inches is a shortboard while one that measures more than 33 inches is a longboard.
Go for a longboard if your skateboarding leans towards high speed and fast acceleration (like racing). On the other hand, if your focus is to perform tricks then choose a shortboard.
Recall that the length is not as important as the width. Therefore, put more emphasis on the width of the board. So which width size is the most appropriate for you? Check out from the categories below. The categories are based on the size of the deck.
Micro deck skateboard: These are skateboards whose deck measure 6.5 to 6.75 inches wide. They are meant for kids who are 5 years or younger. The kid should be around 3¢4² tall.
Mini deck skateboards: they have decks that measure 6.8 to 7.2 inches wide. They are appropriate for skateboarders who are 3¢5² to 4¢4² tall.
Mid size deck skateboards: these boards have a deck that measures 7.3 and 7.4 inches wide. Such a board should be ideal for a skateboarder who is 9 to 12 years old.
Full size deck skateboards: these are the most common types. Their decks measure at least 7.5 inches. Any skateboarder who is 13 years and above can use such skateboards comfortably.
5. Pre-Built vs. Unassembled Skateboard
Some skateboards usually come complete. The parts are manufactured and then assembled by the manufacturer before being released for sale. On the other hand, you can buy the various parts individually and then assemble them yourself at home.
If you are going to buy a pre-built skateboard, you will have to consider the quality of the board as a whole. You might put emphasis on one or two of the most critical parts. For instance, you can prioritize a skateboard that has an ideal deck and wheels or ideal deck and trucks. Regardless of what you consider, don’t ignore the deck. It is the primary consideration as far as the performance of a skateboard goes.
The other option is buying individual parts and assembling them. That is pretty simple if you know where each part should go and how it should fit. This alternative can lead to the best skateboard possible because it allows you to customize your board as much as you wish. Basically, you will determine the quality of every single component. Therefore, you will have a bigger influence on the performance and look of your skateboard.
Please note that even if you buy an already assembled skateboard at one time or another you might be forced to replace a broken or faulty component. That goes to say that it is very important for you to know how to fit all the parts together perfectly.
6. The level of Skateboarder’s experience
Some skateboards are meant for beginners while others are for advanced riders. The difference is necessitated by the intentions of the rider. Whereas a beginner wants to learn tricks and high speed skateboarding from scratch, an advanced rider simply wants to perfect his skills.
If you are a beginner, a longboard should not be a priority. It is big and can be problematic to you when it comes to controlling it. Apart from that, it requires a lot of energy to ride. Therefore, I would advice you to choose a shortboard.
A shortboard is great for any beginner. It is easy to handle and has a great kicktail that can ensure you learn tricks very fast. Alternatively, you can simply settle for a classic skateboard. A classic makes the best skateboard because classics are designed for skateboarders of all levels.
7. Other things required to know before buying the best skateboard
You may require some other skateboarding parts and safety guards like Bearings, Griptape, Helmets, Knee pads, Elbow pads etc. You may cost $100 – $300 for purchasing a complete skateboard. Don’t go out for skating without helmets, Knee pads.
The Top 10 Best Skateboards
If you are finding it very hard to make your choice based on the guide above, you might as well settle for one of the following skateboards. I have prepared a list that contains the best skateboards in the market.
This 4.8 star rated skateboard is unmatched in terms of quality. Its plastic deck makes it very durable, sturdy and strong. In fact, it can be used by a person who weighs as much as 250 pounds comfortably.
It is comes complete and in a variety of colors. You can choose your most favorite color that matches your theme. The skateboard features a classic design that resembles the original skateboards of the 1970s.
One of its most highlighted features is its small size. It is a perfect shortboard for skateboarders who don’t want to spend a lot f energy kicking their board. For that reason, it is one of the best shortboard cruisers that you can possibly find. If you are looking for a skateboard that you can use to commute over short distances then this one should be your best bet. It has a very smooth ride; especially in the streets and sidewalks.
Key Features include:
- Custom design plastic deck
- Multi color
- Throw back design
- Rolls very fast; perfect for cruising
- Uncompromised Penny quality
This skateboard is a definite darling for many. That should not come as surprise though because POSITIV is known to manufacture very durable and high quality skateboards. Well, this one is no different.
When you make your order, the skateboard will come complete. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about assembling the various parts. Another great thing is that you can specify the material that you want for the deck. Your options are birch and maple. In case you skipped the buying guide above then know that maple is the industry standard but birch is equally great.
The board measures 7.5 by 31 inches. That means it is a shortboard that can be use by any skateboarder who is 13 years or older. Its performance is top notch. It has a very decent concave that not only makes it strong and sturdy but also easy to control. Finally, it offers a very smooth ride because of its highly enhanced wheels and trucks.
Main Features include:
- AirLam technology that fuses multiple layers of wood
- Waterproof skateboard
- Standards meet Skate One specifications
- Fitted with POSITIV trucks and MiniLogo bearings
- Built by professionals
This one is a multi color skateboard that has been designed for beginners and advanced riders alike. Its biggest selling point is the hand crafted polyurethane wheels that not only roll smoothly but also grip the ground surface very firmly.
Its 7.625 inches wide deck is highly gripped to ensure that you don’t lose your control of the board. In addition to that, it also makes it easy to kick it because the grip will save you some energy.
The two advantages are further complemented by the K12 concave design of the deck. Speaking of the deck, it has a 6.625 inch tail and 7 inch nose. The two are very important because they allow you to perform tricks easily. Therefore, this is the best skateboard as far as learning new and fresh trick goes.
Key Features include:
- Great for Beginners and Advance riders
- Very affordable
- Very colorful bottom that is screen-printed
- Hand crafted PU wheels for high quality
- Top board is very grippy
This is the second skateboard from Penny Skateboards to appear in this list. That only means one thing – don’t doubt the company. Like most of its other skateboards, this 22″ board was not a disappointment. It also follows in the footsteps of the Penny Graphic Complete Skateboard in adapting an old school design.
It is small enough to be used by a 13 year old. At the same time, it is strong and sturdy enough to support a fully grown adult. Now, in terms of quality and performance, this is the best skateboard if you want high speed skateboarding. It will offer you a very smooth ride regardless of how fast you are riding it.
Its physique is not a let-down either. It is very light and you won’t spend a lot of energy when riding or carrying it around. One thing that I would like to highlight is that you should not get this board if you are a beginner and you want to start learning tricks. It can give you a few problems as far as performing tricks goes. However, if you are an advanced rider then it is perfect for enhancing your set of skills.
Key features include:
- High speed board
- Very smooth on all surfaces
- Very light in weight
- Classy vintage design
- Appropriate for experienced riders
This is undoubtedly the best skateboard for advanced riders. Why am I saying so? Well, it is one of the few that don’t have a concave deck. That means you must have mastered the art of skateboarding perfectly before you get comfortable with this one. Apart from that, it has a very steep kicktail that can be unsuitable for a complete novice.
It has 62mm wheels that are supported by 4.25″ trucks. The two (trucks and wheels) are big enough to make this skateboard a great cruiser. The wheels have a durometer of 82a. Remember that the industry standard is 99a and therefore 82a is pretty soft. That is an advantage though because the wheels can get a very firm grip with the ground. They should offer you some kind of stability that most other skateboards cannot.
Key features include:
- Clear color tinted deck
- Very durable skateboard
- Stiffer Bantam
- Trucks are wider than other boards
- High quality plastic board with steep kicktail
This is a high end skateboard. But trust me if you buy it you wont have any regrets. First of all, it is made with bamboo wood – not just any other material. That means you should trust it to be strong, sturdy and durable.
Second, Sector 9 has a patented lamination process that ensures the skateboard can support as much weight as possible regardless of how fast it is being ridden. That means you can trust this skateboard to guarantee you safety no matter the surface on which you are riding it.
Finally, most of its physical features are industry standard. For instance, it features ABEC 5 bearings, 69mm wheels and a clear grip tape. That means it is totally within the certified industry standards of skateboards.
Key features include:
- Assorted color
- Customized bamboo deck
- Fast acceleration
- Rides smooth under high speed
- Attractive physical design
If you treasure the appearance of your skateboard more than anything else then this is the product for you. It has a very appealing deck that features awesome shark graphics. It is made of 7 ply wood for strength and durability.
The good physiques do not come with compromised performance. In fact, it is one of the few versatile skateboards that you can use to cruise and to race as well. It is great for tricks and downhill riding too. Your foot’s grip on the board is enhanced by its sand spray grip that measures 27.7 by 8.8 inches.
This is the best skateboard for beginners of any age above 13 years. You can use it to cruise around the streets or for commuting to and from college.
Key features include:
- Very appealing graphics
- Great for tricks and downhill riding
- Has one of the best grip tapes
- Concave Cruzer
- Grippy 78a wheels and Bullet B137 trucks
With a length of 32.125″, this skateboard is a long version of a shortboard. It is bound to offer you the shortboard and longboard experience – all in one package. Its graphics are also superb and eye-catching.
The most highlighted feature of this skateboard is its professional design. It features Mini Logo trucks and bearings and Powell-Peralta wheels for an outstanding performance. When combined with the Ultra High Rebound URETHANE bushings, they provide you with very smooth and precise turns and grinds. They also make it very easy for you to control the skateboard. Therefore, you can use it to learn and perform tricks.
I should probably mention that this skateboard comes with one of the best grip tapes in the market. The good news for beginners is that it comes as a fully assembled package. That means you don’t have to worry about wrong assembly.
Key features include:
- Has Mini Logo trucks and bearings
- Kate One standard skateboard
- Design features Shape 127 and K12 concave
- Has Powell-Peralta brand strength
- Comes with a warranty
This is a 4.5 star rated skateboard from Yocaher. It measures 40 inches in length. Remember the difference between a longboard and a shortboard? Well, that length makes this one a longboard. I should definitely mention that it is very ideal for a skateboarder who is new to longboards.
It features ABEC 7 bearings that ensure your ride as smooth as possible. Remember that the skateboarding industry standard is ABEC 5. Therefore, ABEC 7 will guarantee you one of the best rides ever. In addition to that, the deck is made using 9-Ply Maple. It is concave in shape and is supported by 52mm wheels.
All the mentioned features work perfectly to ensure that your skateboarding experience is not compromised. With this skateboard, you can easily perform tricks and cruise through any surface comfortably.
Key features include:
- 78a wheels with great grip
- Premium grade grip tape
- Great Price
- 9-Ply Maple deck with sufficient concave
- Abec 7 Chrome Bearings
As always, bamboo skateboards are known for their great quality. The wood is strong, sturdy and durable. For this particular product, the manufacturer has blended bamboo with maple to produce one of the best decks in the market. You can trust it to serve you for a very long time without damage regardless of how much you weigh or how rough the surface you are skateboarding on is.
At 44 inches long, this skateboard is a longboard that features 7 inch aluminum trucks and 70mm PU wheels. It turns and grinds very smoothly and you can use it to learn tricks and also cruise around. I strongly recommend this one if you are new to longboards. It has all the features that will ensure you learn new tricks as fast as possible.
Key features include:
- High quality bamboo and maple deck
- Outstanding longboard
- 70mm PU wheels that are durable
- 7-inch aluminum trucks
- Kicktail for tricks
If you have reached the end of this guide then you are absolutely ready to walk into any sports shop and make a skateboard purchase. Remember that whereas a complete board is a great idea, an unassembled one can give you the chance to determine the features that you want your board to have. The process can be tasking but it will definitely offer you the best skateboard possible.
If you are not sure about the skateboard that is best for you then trust my top 10 picks above. In particular, I recommend the Powell Golden Dragon Flying Dragon Complete Skateboard. It is very affordable and is great for beginners and advanced riders alike. It will help you to learn tricks very easily. So make your order today and have fun skateboarding.