If you don’t want to assemble a skateboard yourself there are a few decent options out there. Buying a pre-assembled skateboard might seem easy but getting a good complete skateboard isn’t.
A complete skateboard is fine when you want to learn skateboarding but only if you pick the right one. There is no such thing as the best skateboard, it all depends on your preferences.
You don’t have to pay a lot of money for top-quality components when you’re a beginner. Once you improve your skills and parts start to wear, it’s easy to replace parts with better quality wheels, decks, trucks, and bearings.
- 1 14 Best Skateboards
- 1.1 1. CCS Complete (Best Quality Budget)
- 1.2 2. Element Complete
- 1.3 3. Santa Cruz Flame Dot
- 1.4 4. Globe Complete Skateboard
- 1.5 5. Arbor Whiskey Recruit (Best Beginner Skateboard)
- 1.6 6. Arbor Pilsner Cruiser
- 1.7 7. Enjoi Complete
- 1.8 8. Birdhouse Complete (Best Quality)
- 1.9 9. Powell Peralta Flight Construction
- 1.10 10. Alien Workshop Full Spectrum
- 1.11 11. Powell Peralta Golden Dragon
- 1.12 12. Stoked Ride Shop Complete
- 1.13 13. Cruiser/Tricks Blank Complete
- 1.14 14. Landyachtz ATV
- 2 Our Top 3 Recommendation
- 3 Pros and Cons of Buying a Complete Skateboard
- 4 How to Pick the Right Skateboard Parts
- 5 Setups for All Styles
- 6 Related questions
14 Best Skateboards
All of the skateboards are tested by me, local skaters, and my son. Some are great for cruising, others are great for technical street skating.
FYI: the boards on this page are updated regularly but may not always be available.
So without further ado, here are the 14 best skateboards that get you the best bang for your buck, tested and approved!
Note: This page contains links that earn me a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
1. CCS Complete (Best Quality Budget)
A very decent beginner skateboard and on top of the list because it’s really cheap. Don’t expect to get a top-quality board, but it a great skateboard for beginners and pretty cheap. I recently tested this skateboard and was pretty impressed.
Don’t grind curbs too often, the trucks are made of cheaper material but can handle curbs and stairs. The trucks won’t fail on you, but after a couple of months of grinding curbs, they might fail you. Nothing a beginner should worry about though.
This complete is more suitable for skateparks because the wheels are 100a and 52 mm (very hard and small). It won’t give you a comfortable ride on rougher streets but is great for skate parks and smooth surfaces.
Don’t buy this one if you just want to cruise. For that, I suggest looking further down the list . The bearings are fine, nothing too fancy but they will get the job done and last for quite a while.
It comes in different sizes starting at 7.0″ wide, anything up to 7.5″ wide is for kids under 10, 7.75″ to 8.25″ is great for technical skaters but you could go for an even wider board if you want more stability.
This board also doesn’t have any of the common soft bushings problems, actually they are a bit too hard. It will take some time to break them in before it turns properly, just loosen the trucks and you should be fine.
I think this board is the best bang for your buck, and it’s even the cheapest on this list. Want a decent skateboard that don’t cost an arm and a leg? This is the best choice! At this price there isn’t really much competition, they are available on Amazon in many sizes!
- Deck width between 7.0″ to 8.5″
- 7-ply maple wood deck
- Comes with a set of CCS trucks
- 52mm 100a wheels
- Standard bearings
2. Element Complete
You have 2 options here; a budget complete or a custom element setup. Let’s start with the cheapest version. This deck is a great value option and skateboarders are positive about Element completes in general.
Almost all the parts come from Element, so no unknown truck brand or wheels.
This complete offers a pretty solid components, and a very forgiving ride. The mellow concave makes it easier to keep your balance, and beginners will appreciate the softer 95A wheels that offer extra grip and stability.
If you are looking for something to do tricks and and a comfortable ride, this complete is a good option. The only downside are the rather soft bushings and it will take some time to break them in.
This means the wheels can come into contact with the board when you lean left or right but the fix it easy. Just gradually tighten the kingpin nut and you should be good.
You get a great quality deck that will hold up once you start to pop ollies. It’ll probably wear faster once you start grinding and do flips, but that goes for all skateboards.
Check for availablity on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Deck width: 7.75″ to 8.0″
- Deck length: 31.75″
- Wheelbase: varies
- Element 7-ply maple deck
- Element 5.0 Polished Trucks
- Element wheels, hardness varies
- Soft 90a bushings
- Allen hardware
- Shielded bearings
3. Santa Cruz Flame Dot
Santa Cruz complete skateboards are pretty decent. What I like about this complete are the forgiving wheels, the ‘pop’ of the deck, and the medium-hard bushings. They are great for learning how to ride because of the 95A OJ wheels, not too soft, not too hard, perfect for beginners.
You’re able to hop a curb without problems and the wheels won’t block easily when you hit a pebble or encounter a crack. The bushings are 90A which means they turn well but depending on your weight you might want to tweak them a little to your liking.
I would recommend this board if you’re a beginner and like to learn how to ride and ollie. Bullet trucks are decent, not top of the line but will hold up fine. Once you start grinding rails or curbs they will wear down quickly. This is a really great board and you get a lot of value for money.
Santa Cruz decks are great but the completes are made of birch wood these days which provides less pop. You get quality wheels and trucks but the deck is of lesser quality.
Go for an 7.75″ or 8.0″ if you want to do lots of flips and aren’t too tall. An 8.25″ provides more stability and is great for both street and skate parks.
- Deck width – varies
- Deck length – varies
- Wheelbase – varies
- Bullet Trucks with 90A bushings
- 7-ply maple birch deck (graphics vary)
- 54mm 95A wheels (good size for street skating, skate parks)
- The shielded bearings are okay
4. Globe Complete Skateboard
Can’t leave a reputable brand like Globe out of this I love their decks for their durability, shape, and pop. You get Tensor trucks (Rodney Mullen’s company), and 99a-52mm wheels. Good choice for riders that want to do technical stuff like flip tricks, ollies, slides, and grinds.
The Globe complete skateboard is great for anyone who’s looking for a poppy pro deck and get quality trucks for a fair price. This board is suitable for tricks but less so for commuting because of the harder 99a wheels.
You can adjust the setup to your liking and swap the wheels for Bones or Spitfire once you progress. You also won’t have any trouble skating street and parks with this setup.
The Tensor Alloy Standard Trucks are one of the better budget trucks and come with a lifetime guarantee. The bushings are soft and I advise to tighten the trucks before you ride.
- Deck width: 7.75, 8.0, 8.125, and 8.25
- Tensor trucks
- Standard ABEC 7 bearings
- 99a-52mm wheels
- Deck average length: 31.6″
- Wheelbase: 14
5. Arbor Whiskey Recruit (Best Beginner Skateboard)
Arbor to my surprise offers a few completes and this board is perfect for both beginners and more experienced riders. This is a street setup with 54mm 90A wheels which offer a comfortable ride. You’ll still be able to ride both park and street and the softer wheels deal well with cracks and pebbles.
The softer wheels will help you to maintain stability and don’t make much noise. The Ace trucks are very turny and one of the best trucks you can get on a complete, decent turning abilities and can handle grinds and ollies.
Asphalt, concrete, and wood won’t be a problem and at 90A you can even take it for a short commute. Like the others, the deck is made of quality 7-ply maple wood and a decent setup overall. Arbor is reliable and one of the more popular brands wheit comes to cruisingcane quickly made a name for itself.
This is a great skateboard for those who want something stable, and softer wheels that can deal with rough terrain. The low/medium concave makes it easier to place your feet but kickflips require you to kick a bit harder. Great all around board for a very good price ($120)!
The bushings are rather soft so you might want to tighten the trucks on your first ride. 8.25″ is about the perfect size and in my opinion this is the best beginner board for anyone over 14 years old.
- Width: 8.25″
- Length: 31.75″
- Wheelbase: – varies
- 7-ply maple deck
- Ace Classic Trucks
- 90a/54mm wheels
- Shielded standard bearings
6. Arbor Pilsner Cruiser
I couldn’t leave out this cruiser and the Arbor Pilsner is one of my favorites. I felt great from the first time I stepped on and the bushings and trucks are perfect for carving.
The amber-colored wheels are not only great looking, but they seem to be made for this deck and trucks. Lots of concave for more aggressive sessions and super responsive.
The Paris Trucks are awesome, so much better than what you get on other complete cruisers. Here’s a test ride I quickly put together which is part of an in-depth review I wrote some time ago.
Usually, bearings from completes suck, but not these. I don’t know where Arbor gets them but they are super quiet and fast. This is the ultimate cruiser and definitely worth considering if you just want to cruise and hop a few curbs.
The Pilsner is the perfect mini cruiser with top-quality components, it even outperforms the Landyachtz Dinghy. Read my review and watch a test ride, or check if the Pilsner (affiliate link) is available on Amazon.
Arbor Pilsner Features:
- 129mm Paris street trucks, top-mounted
- 7 Ply Canadian Maple with a Premium Palisander Wood Finish
- Wheels: 61mm/78A, 36mm contact patch
- ABEC 5 Bearings with Spacers
- 1/8″ Hard Risers
- Glass Re-Grit grip tape (recycled)
7. Enjoi Complete
This complete comes with standard Tensor trucks which are great all-around trucks (not top of the line). It comes with small 52mm 99A street wheels that are suitable for street and parks. Not great for cruising though.
The Enjoi deck consists of 7-plys and has a medium concave which makes it easier to keep your balance. The standard bearings aren’t the best but beginners won’t notice anyway. You can always lube them a bit to make them spin faster.
This version (7.625″ wide) is great for kids under 10 but enjoy offers lots of skateboards in different sizes. Also make sure to check my best kids skateboard article. If you are looking for a quality skateboard or cruiser it’s definitely worth a read.
8.0″ to 8.25″ is a great size for technical tricks and 8.5″ is great for transition (bowl, mini ramp). Remember that this is a budget board so you won’t get top-notch components but it’s a decent starter board, especially considering the price. Once you get the hang of it you can always upgrade the bearings.
Check Amazon to compare prices (affiliate link).
- Deck width: 7.625″ to 8.25″
- Deck length: varies
- Wheelbase: varies
- Enjoi 7-ply maple deck
- Tensor Trucks
- 52mm Enjoi street wheels
8. Birdhouse Complete (Best Quality)
I was a bit on the fence about this skateboard when I saw it listed on Amazon. Being the skeptic that I am I browsed the reviews and people seem to really enjoy this board. The problem with reviews is they are often written by parents or grandparents who gifted a skateboard. You don’t really get to find out if it’s truly a decent setup.
I decided to just buy one and see if it holds up, and so far I think it’s a fine board considering the price. It’s not a board for hardcore skateboarders but great for kids and beginners. One of my local skateboarders has been riding it for almost a year and it still works great. Just a small chip near the nose of the deck which is normal.
The wheels seem to be made of decent urethane and the trucks hold up fine as and even can take on 6 stairs. You get a decent complete which can deal with abuse for a really solid price. Compared to the other completes from reputable brands, this is one of the better performing boards.
The wheels are not too hard and not too soft, 100a to be specific, which means they can be used on the street and in parks but not for cruising.
The trucks are strong, even after grinding them for days they still won’t budge. We’ve upgraded the wheels which made it perform even better! Don’t forget to tweak the trucks as they may feel loose, which is easy to fix.
- Length: 31.75 inches
- Width: 8.0 inches
- 52mm/100a wheels
- Truck Width: 8.0
- 7-ply maple deck
- Bearings are ok, not the best
9. Powell Peralta Flight Construction
UPDATE: Currently Unavailable! I recommend setting up a Flight deck yourself, check out my example and swap components to your liking. You can setup your own custom skateboard at Tactics.com, it’s expensive though and not recommended for beginners.
This Powell-Peralta Flight Deck setup comes with trucks to your liking. This is the best complete skateboard you can get!
For now, you only get blank wheels but they are fine for beginners and I personally tested them, just don’t do any power slides and you won’t flat spot the wheels.
I own this exact setup and tested the wheels, trucks, bearings, and deck. Superb quality that will last for a very long time.
The deck is super poppy and consists of maple with a mix of fiberglass. Super strong and almost unbreakable. Powell Flight decks are hard to snap and great for heavy riders or those who often break boards. This is the strongest setup on this list, but it’s a bit more expensive (around 165 bucks).
This is a great street skateboard but also one you can take to your local skate park, it’s less suitable for cruising but rolls fine on slick surfaces.
You can pick trucks ranging from 20 bucks to 50, depending on your budget. Independent and Thunder trucks are the best you can get.
Indy’s are my favorite because they last forever, are great at turning, and perform well in street and parks. The standard Indy’s are a bit heavy though. Go for Bones Reds or Bronson G2 bearings, both are excellent bearings and not too expensive.
Pick wheels between 52mm and 54mm with a hardness of 99A. This will be a bit less comfortable on rougher surfaces but hits the sweet spot for technical park skating. Comes in sizes 8.0″, 8.25″, 8.5″ and 8.75″. 8.0 and 8.25 are great for street, 8.5″ for people with large feet or transition skateboarding.
- Deck width: 7.75″,8.0″, 8.25″, 8.5″, 8.75″
- Powell Peralta Flight Deck
- Trucks (the choice is up to you)
- 53mm/99A wheels
- Bones Red bearings/Bronson G2
10. Alien Workshop Full Spectrum
Alien workshop offers one of the best skateboards you can get for street and park, but it’s not for everyone. The 97A/52mm wheels feel very smooth and grippy, and not too bouncy. They are a bit softer compared to most standard skateboards and more forgiving on gritty asphalt and rougher surfaces.
It comes with Xenia trucks which are fine for beginners but you want to tighten the trucks a few times because of the super soft bushings. No worries, you won’t be jumping 7-stairs anytime soon so they are perfectly fine.
Don’t get this board if you’re a bit taller or heavier, this one is made for kids up to 14 years old. They come in sizes 7.75″ and 8.0″.
- Width: 7.75″, 8.0″, 8.25″
- Length: 31.5″.
- Wheelbase: 14.25″
- 52mm/97A wheels
- Basic bearings
- Xenia Trucks
11. Powell Peralta Golden Dragon
Powell Peralta offers in my opinion one of the the best kids skateboard you can get, just under 80 bucks. Looking for a decent skateboard for a kid under 10 years old? This is probably the best choice.
The Powell Peralta wheels are quite soft and forgiving resulting in a smooth and stable ride. Very forgiving on rough asphalt and pebbles, twigs, or cracks are not an issue.
I am a bit on the fence when it comes to kids skateboards, but so long as you get them from a trusted brand there’s nothing to worry about. Way better than those cheap $30 Amazon skateboards which may seem cheap, but they are often deformed and break after a few weeks.
Not this one, this is a quality board and of decent quality. You get a standard 7-ply maple deck with medium concave around 7.6″wide with a graphic.
The wheels are 90A and 54mm which means they can be used for both cruising and basic tricks. They are rather big and soft, so skating a mini ramp will require more effort.
You can always upgrade along the way, but many skaters started out skating a cheaper skateboard on a budget.
For less than 80 bucks you get decent wheels, reliable trucks, okay bearings, and a decent deck. Check for availability on Amazon.
- Strong 7-ply maple deck
- The trucks deal well with impacts
- Softer wheels that work well in parks and concrete, less so on rougher surfaces
- The bearings okay but I would apply some silicon lube to make the ride a bit smoother.
- Great for kids under the age of 10
- The trucks might feel a bit tight at first, it will go away in time and you can tweak them using a skate tool.
12. Stoked Ride Shop Complete
Stoked offers a relatively cheap street setup that is perfect for beginners. We skated this setup for months and it’s still performing well. The biggest con? It’s rather heavy, and not for technical skaters.
You get decent quality trucks that aren’t great at everything but cheap.
It comes with Fireball Bearings, which are fast, reliable, and better than the junk you usually get when buying completes.
The deck consists of quality maple and has a mellow concave which makes it suitable for tricks but less so for technical stuff. The pop is alright, doesn’t snap when boardsliding like those cheap toy skateboards, so pretty reliable overall.
For technical tricks, you need hard wheels (softer will feel more bouncy) and you get 52mm 100a blank street wheels. Great size and hardness for street and still perfectly fine for park/transition skateboarding. Not the best skateboard wheels we’ve tested to be honest, but fine for a beginner.
If you want something on a budget and decent parts, this might be one to consider. You also get a skate tool to tune the board to your liking. This is the only setup that doesn’t require you to tighten the trucks. The bushings are pretty hard and take some time to break-in, you might want to loosen them actually.
If you have large feet go for and 8.25″ or an 8.5″. Technical street skaters should pick 7.75″ (if you’re short), 8.0″, or 8.25″.
It’s poppy, won’t snap easily (unless you mess up), can take on a 7-stairs, and is pretty cheap compared to the competition.
The only con is that the setup is a bit heavier when you pick an 8.25″. It really doesn’t affect your skateboarding, at least when you’re a beginner.
Available on Amazon in many colors.
8.0 and 8.25 are safe choices. 7.75″ is great for kids up to the age of 12, and 8.5″ is great for those who have large feet or are heavy/tall.
- 7.75″ / 8.0″ / 8.25″/ 8.5″ Canadian Maple 7-ply Deck
- Lightspeed Trucks
- Standard Hardware
- Dragon Bearings
- 52mm/100a Blank street wheels
- Bullet Griptape
- Skate tool
13. Cruiser/Tricks Blank Complete
UPDATE: Currently Unavailable!
In my opinion the best complete cruiser you can get under 120 bucks. Looking for a skateboard for cruising and tricks? Go for this cruiser/ street hybrid.
The Fireball Tinder wheels are 81A/60mm and provide a smooth and stable ride, very forgiving on rough asphalt. Pebbles, twigs, or cracks are not an issue.
I am a bit on the fence when it comes to blank skateboards but as long as you get them from a trusted seller it’s all good. You have these websites that sell them in bulk for $15 a pop which may seem cheap, but often they are deformed and pressed a dozen at a time.
Not this one though, this is a quality blank board and Stoked stands behind their products. It’s exactly the same board as the Stoked complete on top of this page but without different wheels. Just a standard 7-ply maple deck with medium concave and lots of pop.
The wheels are 81A and 60mm which means they can be used for both cruising and basic tricks. They are rather big and soft so skating a mini ramp will require you to push harder. The trucks are also made by Paris which are fine for beginners and will hold out for a while.
You can always upgrade along the way, but many skaters started out skating a blank complete on a budget. Consider some stickers to make it look fancier but place them near the trucks, not on the nose and tail (hard to slide on stickers).
- Width: 7.75, 8.0″.
- Length: 28.5″.
- Wheelbase: 14.6″
- Four Fireball Tinder wheels size 60mm with a durometer of 81A
- Eight fast Fireball Dragon bearings with spacers
- Paris Street Trucks
14. Landyachtz ATV
If you are into cruising and want to practice basic tricks, consider the Landyachtz ATV. This board offers a very smooth ride and the wide 8.5″ decks is gresat for those who want to learn how to ride.
If you are getting back into skateboarding and just want to ride, hop a few curbs, Landyachtz designed a great board. It doesn’t have flex and feels rather stiff, and the bushings are a bit soft which require some adjustments.
The overal setup is rather heavy and technical tricks require a lot of effort, but its fast, stable, and great for rought roads.
Even though the ATV is a master of none, it still a very decent beginner setup for those who want to learn how to ride first, and slowly learn tricks at some point. Unfortunately this board is currently hard to get, but if you want a nimble cruiser I would recommend to check out their boards (affiliate link).
Our Top 3 Recommendation
Lots of choice but which one should you pick? From a budget perspective these are the boards that stand out from the rest:
Birdhouse Complete: Best Skateboard Under $120
- Very durable maple deck, medium concave, lots of pop
- Birdhouse trucks with lifetime guarantee
- Great for technical skating
- Still holding up after 2 years (deck needs to replaced though).
Long story short, best skateboard for tricks under 120. Poppy deck with mellow concave, harder wheels that don’t bounce much. Overall great skateboard for riding in skate parks and street.
Santa Cruz Complete: Best Skateboard Under $100
- Comes with the best wheels which are great for kids.
- Quality trucks that last a long time.
- Deck made from birch which is less durable compared to maple.
- Offers a comfortable ride, deals well with pebbles and cracks.
One of the few that rides great straight out of the box. Trucks aren’t too loose (depending on your weight), stable ride and easy to upgrade. Check Amazon for availability (affiliate link)
CCS Complete: Best Skateboard Under $80 (Best Buy!)
- Great for technical tricks or just learning how to ride.
- Durable maple deck and quality trucks
- Less suitable for rough roads but great for skate parks or smooth surfaces.
Cheapest quality skateboard you can buy, can deal with sever abuse but less comfortable on gritty asphalt because of the hard wheels. Honestly the best choice on a budget and lots of colors available. Check Amazon for availability (affiliate link)
Pros and Cons of Buying a Complete Skateboard
Buying a complete is a good option for beginners or if you really are intimidated with all the options available. The biggest issue with completes is quality. The ones I listed here are fine but for a bit more you can get better parts.
At the bottom of this page are a few suggested custom setups with high-quality components. Most of them are better than the competes that are listed on top of this page but you have to assemble your own board.
Completes usually have top quality decks but the rest of the parts are of lesser quality. Often the trucks come from unknown brands and don’t last very long once you start to do some more advanced stuff.
Wheels are often made of low-quality polyurethane and may flat spot more easily. Higher quality wheels sometimes cost twice as much but last 4 times longer.
Bearings are often cheap and most complaints with completes have to do with the wheels not spinning properly or blocking, it’s because of cheap bearings. Good bearings aren’t even that expensive.
Don’t get a complete skateboard when you seriously think you’re going to skate for a long time. You’ll get a pro deck but the rest of the parts are usually not the best. It won’t be long until you have to upgrade parts and you’ll end up paying more in the end. Here are some of the other issues people experience.
- Problem: Trucks to loose or too tight. Solution: Tighten or loosen the nut on the kingpin.
- Problem: Wheels not spinning or blocking. Solution: Take out the bearing and see if it’s damaged. Apply Bones speed cream.
- Problem: Twisted deck. Solution: Return it
In order to get the most out of your skateboard check out my post on how to keep it in good condition. One thing to remember is to store it in a dry place and never ever leave it out in the rain.
How to Pick the Right Skateboard Parts
Not happy with the top 10? Fear not! For this, you need to educate you a little so you can get the best compatible parts at a decent price.
Sure, assembling yourself is usually more expensive but when it comes to quality you get the best stuff. Also, you need to put them all together but I’ve got you covered, it’s really not that hard. Check my post on how to assemble a skateboard once you picked all the right parts.
I always advise to go to your local skate shop (not Zumiez) and ask for help. They love giving advice according to your budget. There’s nothing wrong with asking and they can go on and on about wheels, trucks, bearings, and boards.
If you don’t have a skate shop nearby, buying online is a good option. It’s important that think about what you’re going to use your skateboard for so you can pick the right parts. Mainly wheels are the culprit here, but let me break it down for you.
Step 1. Pick a Style
Make sure you know what you want to ride and where. There are different setups available for different styles. Check out one of these posts that fit your style to make the right choice.
- Setups for Heavy Riders
- Setups for skateparks
- Setups for Cruising
- Setups for Beginners
- Setups for Street
- Setups for Transition
- Setups for Mini Ramps
- Setups for Pools & Bowls
Step 2. Picking the Right Size Skateboard Deck
All these boards and brands and often awesome prints, what’s the difference? The truth is many skateboard decks come from the same manufacturers. There’s a difference in how some of them are pressed but the most important thing is to get a board that isn’t pressed in large quantities at the same time. Sometimes decks are pressed 10 at a time which causes inconsistencies in the concave, you don’t want that!
Blank decks are a good example, many claim their blanks are quality Canadian maple wood but be careful here. Sure shipping wood to China and having them pressed a dozen at a time makes them real maple wood skateboards. Even if that were the case, shipping causes the boards to damage because of heat and moisture. Avoid these if you don’t know what and where to buy (again, visit your local skate shop).
Alright enough talk, let’s get to the decks which are made of the good stuff. The only thing you need to know is that 8.0″ is the standard for street skating and you need trucks that fit. Wider decks between 8.25″ and 8.5″ are better for transition skateboarding (parks and ramps) because they provide more stability. This doesn’t mean you can’t skate street on an 8.5″, actually a wider deck is great for beginners!
I’ll leave that up to you. If you’re still confused, don’t worry I’ll list a few setups at the end which fit exactly what you need.
Step 3. Trucks That Match the Width of Your Deck
Trucks are the most vital parts of your setup. I’m going into a couple of reputable brands here which all are great choices. Sure there are differences between Venture, Independent, and Thunder trucks but all of them are great! Also Tensor is a great brand to pick and the actually have the record for the lightest trucks.
Ventures provide stability, Indys are a bit more carvy and Thunder is a good choice for street because they are a bit more responsive. I skated transition on Thunders for years before I moved on to Independent and I do like them.
Still, it’s all about personal preference, though Independent trucks are more durable. So economically that would be the best choice. Sure you pay a little extra but they outlast cheap trucks by a factor of 5. I recently got Indy titaniums, and my age I probably don’t have to buy new trucks ever again (sigh).
As for the fancy stuff like titanium, it really doesn’t matter. Some trucks have titanium editions but it’s just the axle and kingpin. The rest of the trucks are still made of a mix of composites. If you want to know more about trucks check out my extensive guide.
|Skateboard deck width||Truck axle width|
|7.75 inch to 8.0 inch||7.75 inch / 197 mm|
|8 inch to 8.5 inch||8.0 inch / 203 mm|
|8.5 inch to 9.0 inch||8.5 inch / 216 mm|
|9.0 inch to 10.0 inch||9.0 inch / 229 mm|
|10 inch or more||10.0 inch / 254 mm|
Step 4. Picking the Right Wheels
So many wheels, it’s intimidating when you browse for and see what’s out there. Again, not a big deal as long as you know what you want to do and where you ride the choice is pretty easy. Spitfire classics are a great choice, Bones wheels are on par and for just cruising and tricks 54mm – 96A Ricta Clouds are a great choice.
I happen to have used all of these wheels and they are great, but designed for different purposes. It gets a bit more tricky here because you have to pick the right hardness (durometer) but this isn’t really difficult so bear with me.
|Durometer A and B||Style|
|100A – 85B||Hard, great for skate parks and ramps/verts. less grip|
|95A/96A – 81B/82B:||A solid option for cruising and tricks, a bit more grip|
|90A/92A – 76B/78B||Great for cruising, bouncy for tricks, more grip|
|85A – 71B:||Just cruising, more grip|
|80A – 66B||Too soft for regular skateboards|
As for size up to 56mm is fine. get 52-53mm wheels if you want to skate street and do tricks. 54mm to 56mm is great for transition skateboarding. That’s the gist but there is so much more to it that I covered this in another article.
Step 5. The Right Bearings
There’s still only one brand that manufactures the best bearings for skateboarding, and they have a great reputation in the skateboarding community. Bones bearings come in different price ranges but as long as you’re not planning on extreme speed dow hill, all you need is the Swiss steal types. Get the Bones Reds Swiss package but be careful not to buy any fake China crap!
If you hear anyone talk about ABEC ratings ignore that, the ABEC rating has nothing to do with skateboarding, it’s for machines that need to be able to run 24/7 and should be ignored.
You can go for the cheapest Bones red bearings if budget is tight or go for a higher grade and they’ll last you for 5-10 years. Make sure to clean them 2x a year to get the most out of them. Proper maintenance can triple their life span, oh and don’t skate in the rain. It will kill your bearings.
Step 6. Grip Tap, Hardware, and a Skate Tool
Most shops will apply grip tape and you get free grip tape as a bonus. Standard grip tape is fine but fancy prints aren’t always the best. Some tape will come off because of poor quality so don’t go shopping for fancy stuff unless you don’t mind replacing it when it peels off.
Applying grip tape yourself is a bit tricky but using the right tools makes it a lot easier. Check out my post on how to assemble a skateboard.
You need hardware for your trucks and they need to be the right size. It’s not complicated. The bolts and nuts to attach your trucks come in sets of 8. If you don’t plan on buying riser pads or shock pads go with 7/8”. Get 1” if you want 1/8” risers/shock pads.
Make sure to get the right size hardware, it’s quite frustrating to get all parts and you totally forgot to order hardware. If they’re too tall you could shorten them, but it will leave sharp edges, don’t do that.
Setups for All Styles
As promised here are a couple of setups to choose from. You can pick your own stuff of course but at least it will give you an idea of what works together. You can pick different wheels, trucks and pick a deck of a brand you like but just make sure they are the right size. If you don’t have the right tools at home, consider a skate tool to assemble the parts.
All-Around Beginner setup
If you don’t know what style you prefer, are new to skateboarding or just want something that works for all styles, go with this setup. The You can go for either Spitfire or Bones wheels between 52 and 54mm, Thunder or Indy trucks that match an 8.0″ wider deck (indy 139, Thunder 147).
The deck is 8″ wide which is about the average width people skate and Indy trucks will last forever. Standard Bones reds including spacers, grip tape, and hardware to attach the trucks. Note that the links direct you to Amazon and can earn me a small commission.
- Independent 139 Trucks or Thunder 147 Trucks
- 8.0 deck (any reputable brand will do)
- Bones Reds bearings (washers and spacers included)
- Spitfire OG Wheels
- Jessup Grip Tape
- 7/8 hardware
Want something wider, an 8.25 is also a great option. It offers more stability and you’ll still be able to flip your board once you’re ready to get gnarly. The only thing you need is an 8.25 deck and trucks that fit.
8.25″ beginner setup:
- Independent 144 Trucks or Thunder 148 Trucks
- 8.25 deck (any brand will do)
- Bones Reds bearings
- Spitfire OG Wheels
- Jessup Grip Tape
- 7/8 hardware
Street Setup (Technical Skating)
This setup is for skateboarders that like to ride streets and do gnarly stuff. Wheels suggestions: Spitfire Classics 52 mm-54 mm/99D, Bones STF. These are the most common (high-quality) wheels every street skater likes.
Any reliable brand B deck with matching Thunder trucks, Venture, Royal or Indy trucks. Standard bones Reds bearings, and 7/8 hardware to attach your trucks. Don’t forget to pick grip tape.
8.0″ street setup:
- Independent 139 Trucks or Thunder 147 Trucks
- 8.0 deck (any brand will do)
- Bones Reds bearings
- Spitfire Classics or Bones STF
- Jessup Grip Tape
- 7/8 hardware
8.25″ street setup:
Skate Park Setup
This is a bit of a wider setup that is excellent for parks and transition skateboarding. The wider deck provides lots of stability and the Indy trucks are great for turning. The larger Bones Skate Park Formula wheels are the best wheels for parks, I personally love them and so do most of the pros. You can also go for Venture Lo trucks instead.
8.0″ park setup:
- Independent 139 Trucks or Thunder 147 Trucks
- 8.0 deck (any brand will do)
- Bones Reds bearings
- Spitfire Classics or Bones STF
- Jessup Grip Tape
- 7/8 hardware
8.25″ park setup:
8.5″ park setup:
A selection of cruiser skateboards if you want a calm and comfortable ride and don’t want to do any technical tricks. You could also consider buying a regular setup and slap some large 6omm wheels and 1/4″ riser pads on them.
As for complete cruisers, anything from Arbor, Globe, or Landyachtz is fine. They offer top quality cruisers at a fair price. If you’re completely new to cruising I recommend the Globe Big Blazer because it’s very stable.
Heavy Riders Setup
If you’re bit heavier or taller this is a setup that can take an impact. I picked one of the strongest boards available and top-notch trucks that can handle more weight. If you installed an ad blocker your won’t be able to see the setup, no worries got you covered. Check out this article.
Mini Ramp Setup
Great setup for mini ramps, you can either go with 58mm wheels or 56mm. This is the setup I ride when I’m at my local mini ramp.
Q: Do all bearings fit all skateboard wheels? A: Yes, it’s all standard sizing so don’t worry about that. Bearings are overrated, cheaper bearings work fine.
Q: Why do different skateboard truck brands classify sizes differently? A: There isn’t any standard unfortunately but the axle widths are always mentioned so check if that matches your deck.
Q: Does it matter if my trucks don’t align perfectly with my deck? A: No, it really doesn’t matter just don’t go overboard a .25″ deviation is fine. It looks a bit strange if your trucks are way wider or shorter. That’s all, nothing to worry about as a beginner.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.