How to Choose the Right Beginner Skateboard: Buying Guide
There are multiple things to consider when you choose the best skateboard for beginners.Choosing the right skateboard involves a lot more than just finding a cool design and looking at the size of the board. Each review above gives insight about the quality and size of the products, but if you are looking elsewhere, you might need to know a bit more to be sure you make the right purchase. Every skateboard is different, and all have unique features. Some are great for cruising down the street while others are better for trips like flips and ollies.
Related: Best Longboards
First, you’ll need to consider the size of the skateboard. Most skateboards are about eight inches wide, but if you have very large feet, or you really want to feel very stable as you learn, consider going with something wider.Skateboards can be a bit smaller in size or go up to around 10 inches in width.
Remember that the wider you go, the harder it is to learn tricks and to go around curves. If you want to rotate your board mid-air during a jump, you need a board that is no wider than eight inches.Once you find a size that works for you, you will find that it becomes something you are used to, and you will likely not want to change that out later on.
Deck Size Chart
|Micro Decks||Mini Decks||Mid Decks||Full Size Decks
|For users five years of age or older||For users between the ages of six and eight||For users between nine and 12 years old||For skaters who are 13 years old or older
|Best for those under 3’4” tall||Best for those between 3’5” and 4’4” tall||Best for those between 4’5” and 5’2” tall||Best for skaters over 5’3” in height
|Size three shoes or smaller||Size four to six shoes||Size seven to eight shoes||Shoe size nine or larger
Keep in mind that the deck width will also affect the size of the trucks that you use. You’ll need wider trucks to make a wider deck more stable. If you see a wide deck with narrow trucks, you can expect the ride to be wobbly and hard to manage. Your personal preferences will play a part in what size of trucks are best for your needs.
Pay attention to the bushings on the board as well. If the bushings are very firm, you’ll have a more stable ride, but it also makes it harder to turn. Soft bushings are much more responsive, but you do lose a little bit of stability. If you don’t know if your bushings are firm or soft, you likely have soft bushings, since this is the default.
Skateboard Deck Material
Next, you’ll need to look at the deck material. Decks are typically wooden or plastic, but they may also be made of materials like carbon and fiberglass. Plastic boards, like even the best penny board, are more affordable, and still very durable, but many adult riders find that they can look a bit like a child’s toy rather than a “real” skateboard. Wood is the most popular choice for most skateboards, although if you want to invest in the pricier fiberglass or carbon options, you’ll get a very good quality deck for your money.
The deck will also have a material on top called grip tape. This textured surface is what keeps your shoes from sliding all over the place as you ride. Look for a very high-quality grip tape for extra stability as you are learning, or something that is very visibly textured (like the waffletop from the pennyboard on our list above). You can also replace the grip tape if you love a board but don’t love the grip tape it comes with.
Be aware that the deck of the skateboard is the most important component. This area is that part that supports your body weight and offers grip and balance for a smooth ride. For a beginner, some people recommend a plastic board as it can offer an easier learning experience. However, those who are more progressed in learning may want to choose a slimmer board with more grip on the surface for fun and convenience.
Skateboard Deck Type
There are also various types of decks that you can choose from, and each of them is going to be best for a different type of skating. Think about what you want from your board and then narrow down the deck type that offers that for you. The most common types on the market include:
- Mini Boards – These are designed and best used by children. They are going to be smaller than the typical skateboard at around 22 inches long and six or seven inches wide. This kind of board will be simple to control and lightweight. It’s easy to use for beginner tricks, such as ollies and flips. While this kind of board is typically used for children to learn to cruise and balance, teens can also use them to get started practicing on a skateboard.
- Full-Size Boards – This is a deck that is made for teenagers and adults, both at the beginner and professional level. If you start with a mini-board, it’s best to move into a full-sized board as you grow and gain weight. This board is great for controlling the feel and motion of a skateboard. It’s also universal for anyone looking to learn more about the skateboard. Nearly any beginner or advanced trick can be done using this board. It’s going to typically be around 31 or 32 inches long and seven and a half or eight inches wide.
- Cruisers and Longboards – Both of these types of decks are typically used for transportation and commuting rather than focusing on tricks. The length is typically going to be longer than for a full or mini-board. They work well for anyone who wants to skate along from one place to another. The difference between a longboard and a cruiser is that longboards have tails and tips that look similar. Cruisers, on the other hand, have different shapes on the tip and tail.
Learn more: Best Skateboard Decks
Skateboard Shape and Design
The next thing to consider about your board is the shape. If the tail and nose of the board are slightly raised, this is called a concave board. It’s the most common shape of skateboard out there, and it is made that way to allow riders to do kick tricks. The deeper the concave, the more dramatic the tricks can be.
However, the deeper the concave is, the less stable the board will be for beginners. If you are still gaining confidence on a skateboard, it is best to start with something less dramatic. A longboard is often completely flat, or nearly so, and that makes it better for cruising on a very stable surface. This is a great choice for riders who aren’t necessarily interested in learning tricks.
Another point of design to consider is the color and style of the board. Many skateboards have eccentric, interesting designs. There are hundreds of different designs and patterns that you can choose from. Most companies offer their own trademark, such as ENJOI offering a panda logo on their boards.
Having an idea of what designs resonate with you will make it easier to choose the perfect skateboard. Krown, which is listed above, is known for offering a massive variety of color options. Sometimes they may have 10 or more colors for a single design, even the most intricate ones available.
Because people have different preferences about designs, we’ve tried to offer a variety of prints and patterns in our review skateboards. You can find everything from fire-breathing dragons to cherry blossoms or boards that come in just one or two simple colors. There are plenty of options to explore, but remember that this skateboard is an investment that you will be using for years to come. This means you should choose a design that you and other people will love seeing on the road.
Now you need to look at the wheels of your skateboard. There are dozens of different sizes, materials, shapes, and features of skateboard wheels, and it can get confusing for beginners. The most common type of wheel is a hard plastic wheel, and for beginners, you’ll usually see a “90a” level wheel. Professional skaters often choose even harder wheels, up to a 100a, because it gives them more “pop” for tricks. But somewhere between a 90a and a 97a is usually best for beginners.Softer wheels can also be used when you’ll be cruising around, and you know the surface is going to be uneven.That’s why we wanted to offer some insight so you can be sure the wheels on your board offer the experience you want.
The smaller the wheel diameter, the easier it is to do tricks, because it makes the board sit closer to the ground. But beginners will definitely have an easier time controlling a board with larger diameter wheels. Think of the larger wheels as being akin to training wheels. You should also know that bigger wheels are going to be faster, while small wheels will take longer to get you to your destination. If you don’t want your board to have “pop” as you are learning, you can choose softer wheels, all the way down to a 73a. They won’t let you go as fast, and you’ll have to push off more often, but they do make it more likely that your board will stay on the ground.
If you’re wondering what sort of trucks are best for a beginner, the answer varies based on what you’ll use the board for. It can be challenging to check truck materials, but you can take a look at the profile. When you’re taking time to look for a skateboard to purchase, consider which of the following will meet your needs in the best way:
- High Profile – These trucks are best used with large wheels and are ideal for cruising streets and curving around corners. That also means that most of the time, this profile type is going to be seen on cruisers and longboards. If you want efficient steering and pivoting, a high profile truck is the best choice you can make. It offers the top mobility while reducing impact when surfaces are uneven. This allows you to gain more control and keep yourself going in the right direction.
- Medium Profile – A medium profile truck is going to be used mainly for street and park skateboarding. It’s a jack of all trades that is suitable for nearly any sort of skateboard. Most beginners are going to choose this since it offers a higher degree of flexibility and lets you pull off all the essential tricks you want to learn. If you go with this profile, you want to pair it with a 53 to 56mm wheel to get the best performance you can.
- Low Profile – Low profile trucks are best used for a skateboard that utilizes small wheels. The main advantage of using low profile trucks is that you get an extra dose of stability and a higher level of control when you ride. The wheels are going to be set closer to the deck for that extra stability. It also makes it even easier to perform ledge grinding and flip tricks when learning. The best wheels to use with these trucks are 48 to 53mm in size.
If you aren’t familiar with bearings, they are small round metal parts that connect your wheels and the axle on the truck of your board. The function of bearings is to lessen the amount of friction between the wheels when they are spinning on the truck axle.
Steel bearings are considered highly durable and are most often less expensive than other options. For a beginner, this sort of bearing is likely to work just fine. Every brand designs its own bearings, which can make it difficult to check which are the best quality. That means if you are choosing between two different bearings of steel, you likely should choose the more expensive one. The quality is baked into the price in this case.
However, some metal bearings can malfunction through energy. When the wheels and axle rub together, it creates a large amount of friction energy that may make your bearings useless after a certain amount of time. The best way to avoid this is by ensuring the bearings are always lubricated, clean, and dry.
You can also choose to go with ceramic bearings, which are more effective at lessening friction energy. These bearings are going to be more resilient and smoother than steel bearings. They stay solid under pressure and can handle more pressure before becoming deformed.
Because of the perks of ceramic bearings, you will find they are often more expensive than steel bearings. These are often used by professional skaters who want the competitive advantage they offer, as well as the knowledge that they will last a long time.
As far as ABEC ratings go, beginners will do find with anything ABEC-5 or higher. It’s going to be inexpensive but functional for riding or tricks.
- ABEC 1 through 3 – These are the lowest quality and tend to be the most inexpensive. It works well for someone who has a very tight budget, but the bearings will not be as precise or smooth. They are also going to promote extra friction, which means they will become inefficient more quickly and need replacement.
- ABEC 5 through 7 – These are the standard bearings on most boards and make a great beginning point for the new skater. The bearings will help your wheels run more smoothly, and they will be more responsive as you push off your foot.
- ABEC 9+ – This type of bearing will have superior precision and will be very fast. Professionals choose these to get the best speed and control during competitions. However, these also tend to be the most expensive, so there’s no need to use them unless you are a heavy rider.
You may have noticed that skateboards can come at many different price points, even when they are designed for newcomers to the sport. Some are going to be only $30 or so, while others can be $150 or even more. It’s all a matter of being aware of your budget and the amount you want to spend on skateboarding. Before you even start looking for the right skateboard, it’s best to decide on a budget.
When you know how much you are willing to spend, it gives you a way to narrow down your options. The last thing you want to do is get your heart set on a skateboard of one sort or another only to find that it is double the amount you want to spend. The truth is that those expensive boards can be hard to resist if you aren’t prepared to do so. It’s not uncommon for people to end up spending more than they expected.
What Type of Skateboard Do I Need?
If you are a beginner, the best thing you can do before you buy a board is to ask yourself what kind of skateboarding you want to do. Do you want to go cruising around a mostly flat area for fun? A longboard may be the best choice for you. Are you interested in learning tricks and stunts? A double-kick skateboard may be the best option. A classic skateboard is perfect for the rider that isn’t really sure what they want just yet.
Next, ask yourself what special features you need from a skateboard. Do you need a wider deck to handle your large feet? Do you want bigger wheels to make your ride more stable? These things can help you narrow down your options within the category you choose.
Our final tip for beginners that don’t know where to start is to simply choose a deck that is wider than most. The wider the deck is, the easier it will be to ride smoothly and easily. This is a great way to learn if you’ve never been on a board before.