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Skateboard buying guide


Shredding down the street, sliding just inches off the ground on four speedy wheels — that’s why skateboarding is one of the most popular sports in the world. It’s easy to get started. All you need is the right board. Here’s how to pick one.

The Gear Guy is currently researching new models and writing an update to this article. Watch for his updated tips and reviews in the June 2016 issue of Boys’ Life.


The type of skateboard you choose depends on the kind of skating you plan on doing. There are three main styles of boards: street, park/ramp and longboards.

The first two types are similar but with different sizes of wheels. Longboards are — you guessed it — longer and better for cruising and making big, wide turns.

To help you pick the right skateboard, here are the ins and outs of shopping for a new board.


If you’re going out to buy a skateboard you should go to your local skate shop. The local shop will have a wider variety of boards and the salespoeple are more knowledgeable about skating than at sporting goods or department stores.

At the skate shop, they’ll just ask you what you want and if you don’t know, they’ll tell you what’s good.


Sure, you can get a skateboard for $35, but you’ll be getting a board that’s heavy and that’s not going to be very fast. If you want to get a good street board it’ll be in the range of $100 to $180.

That’s the price for a “complete” or, in other words, a board that’s already put together for you. As you get more advanced you’ll probably want to buy the parts individually and put together your own board.


Besides being heavier, slower and less durable, cheap skateboards can be dangerous — parts can break and cause wipeouts. If you’re planning to just tool around the neighborhood, a cheap board may be fine. But if you’ll be skating a lot and you’re looking to learn tricks, it’s worth investing in a quality board.


Most skateboard decks are make of seven layers of plywood glued together. All decks are similar, with the same shape, a length of 31 to 32.5 inches and a width of 7.5 to 8 inches. Smaller boards are better for tricks, wider boards are easier to carve in ramps. The big difference is graphics.

Most decks cost $50 to $60.


The axles that hold your wheels to the board are called trucks. They let you turn the board, and they are the surface you grind on for tricks like rail slides. All trucks are similar, though some are lighter or more durable.

You can make a truck work however you want to make them work. Tighten the trucks for flip tricks, loosen them for carving. Expect to pay $30 to $50 for a pair of trucks.


The single most important part of your board is the set of wheels. Wheel size is measured in millimeters, and the bigger the wheel the faster you’ll go. For street skating, try 49 mm to 54 mm wheels. For ramps and pools, stick with 58 mm to 62 mm.

The other thing to keep in mind is the durometer, or hardness, of the wheel. The softer the wheel the more forgiving it is. For instance, E.G. Fratantaro, Team Manager for Sector 9 Skateboards, says a durometer of 78A to 87A is best for rough surfaces with rocks and cracks; a 97A or higher is better for smooth surfaces like ramps and skate parks. Dual-durometer wheels combine a hard center and soft outer edges for all-around performance.

You’ll spend $25 to $40 for a set of four wheels. The total for your do-it-yourself board: $105 to $150.


Add these to your skateboarding shopping list (and always wear them):

  • Helmet
  • Elbow pads
  • Knee pads

46 Comments on Skateboard buying guide

  1. GEAR GUY,

  2. this totally left out bearings YOU NEED BEARINGS

  3. Awsom

  4. I’ve been skating for 5 years now and just bought a chris haslam almost with tensor trucks and wheels best deck ever…

  5. mikeanator // June 28, 2013 at 8:05 am // Reply

    this helped me a lot because i was gonna get a cheap board THANK YOU

  6. i’m still stuck on doing ollies on my long board what board should i buy for tricks?

  7. i just made one

  8. want to buy a skateboard but in my area the roads are rough wat should i do then

  9. wheres the rock board

  10. SkateXS makes smaller boards for skaters age 5 to 10 that are a shorter length of 28″ or 29″ but still made with high quality trucks, wheels, and bearings just like Ryan suggests.

  11. I think i learned alot about is very cool.

  12. i wish i knew how to skate

    • Intermediate skateboarder // February 3, 2014 at 3:15 am // Reply

      Just borrow a skateboard from a friend and give it a shot. If you like it buy yourself a board and keep training.

  13. i’m just getting a board but it has to be good for tricks

  14. i practise every day.

  15. Maui 15 years // March 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm // Reply

    hi guys! I just start scateboarding 5 months ago and its so hard to learn all of those tricks. I’m slowely loosing my faith in my scateboarding but I really want to scateboard. how long took you to learn this and finally go to park or pool for scateboarding?

    • i think you should take a class and see where that takes you and one more thing practise every day and do not stop

    • you should go on youtube and watch videos that show you tips and tricks. thats how i learned.

    • Took about a year to get super comfortable riding around and popping tricks. Just keep riding and trying different stuff, you’ll never learn if you don’t go out of your way to try new things. Have fun and keep skating

  16. bobby da man // January 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm // Reply

    i have a plan b. AWESOME BOARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Excellent info it is surely. My friend has been seeking for this content.

  18. Minilogo. Great decks for a cheap price. And if you’re looking for bearings, bones reds. None other.

    • Sector Cruz // March 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm // Reply

      Bones Swiss are far better than reds. Reds are cheaper and good for beginners, but swiss are crafted for speed. Of course, I ride cruisers and longboards so i like the speed.

  19. sk8tilldeath // July 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm // Reply

    i need a good cheap board thats lite someone pleez help me

  20. Street skater // May 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm // Reply

    I accidentally said same thing twice

  21. Street skater // May 17, 2011 at 11:01 pm // Reply

    What brand has lightest boards with most pop?

  22. Street skater (◎_◎;) // May 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm // Reply

    I have a plan b sheckler board didnt have much pop and kind of heavy, but pretty good

  23. Street skater (◎_◎;) // May 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm // Reply

    What brand has lightest boards with most pop?

  24. Dreadspeedkid // May 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm // Reply

    The Mongoose Build-A-Board is selling for $25.00-$48.00. Not super hi-end but pretty good for beginners.

  25. Skaterdude15 // April 24, 2011 at 12:16 am // Reply

    Dbx boards are pretty good and cheap. You can buy them at dick’s sporting goods

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