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Skateboarding has come a long way since the 1960s. Back then, it was more of a pastime for surfers looking for something to do when the waves weren’t great. These days, if you check under the hood — or rather, the deck — you’ll notice that there’s quite a bit that goes into a skateboard. One of the biggest details is also one of the smallest — bearings. Bearings determine how quickly and smoothly your board rolls. Whether you’re trying to do tricks or just get around town, you’ll want to invest in quality bearings.
Considering the plethora of options on the market, it can be hard to tell the difference between high quality and cheap bearings. One shorthand marker for the quality is the ABEC scale, which goes from 1 to 9. Higher rated bearings are more precise and will result in faster speeds. That said, the ABEC scale is limited because it doesn’t take into account other important factors for skateboarding. That’s because the ABEC scale was designed for industrial uses for bearings.
Skateboard bearings can be made out of different materials, too. Steel is the most common — it’s durable, generally less expensive, but prone to rusting. Ceramic is heat-resistant, moisture-resistant and durable. Titanium bearings are rust-resistant and lightweight, but that kind of quality comes at a premium.
Clearly, not all bearings are the same. But helpfully, they are all the same size. The core of bearings is 8 mm, so you can use them on just about any skateboard regardless of wheel size. You can also generally use them with roller skates, rollerblades and longboards. For skates and blades, you’ll need to buy two packs. A pack of bearings consists of 8 bearings, with each wheel requiring two. It’s also important to take care of your bearings by properly lubricating and cleaning them every so often. Be mindful of moisture, too. The balls of ceramic bearings may not be steel, but the other parts still are.
Finding the right bearings for you might require some trial and error, but we’ve picked some of the best options you can buy right now.
1. Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings 8-Pack
In any discussion of the best skateboard bearings, Bones Reds are going to come up. Bones make many different models of bearings, and Reds are a good option for beginners and seasoned skaters alike. These are pre-lubricated and include instructions for installation.
Pros: High-quality and includes washers and spacers.
Cons: There are higher quality Bones bearings than these.
2. Zealous Bearings for Skateboards and Longboards
These steel bearings have rubber seals to block out dirt and preserve the internal components more effectively. The bearings come pre-lubricated with Archoil Nanoceramic Grease, which is designed to reduce corrosion and friction. These bearings also have built-in speed rings and spacers, making swapping them into your board a breeze. The bearings may take a little time to break in, but once they do, they’ll be very fast.
Pros: Built-in speed rings and spacers. Rubber seal to block out dirt.
Cons: Can take a little time to break in.
3. Yellow Jacket Premium Skateboard Bearings
These bearings from Yellow Jacket are available in a variety of colors, making them a great option for anyone who likes to personalize even the smallest details of their board. They’re available with washers and spacers, reducing the need to separately buy extra gear. However, you can also choose just the bearings if you prefer.
Pros: Available in a variety of colors. Includes washers and spacers. Pre-lubricated.
Cons: Bearings are somewhat noisy.
4. Fireball Dragon Precision Skateboard Bearings
This pack includes eight bearings, which is enough for all of the wheels of one skateboard. A T-tool is included for making adjustments to the wheels or trucks, and spacers and speed rings are also included with the bearings. The bearings have what are known as labyrinth shields — these are basically grooves that protect the bearings from dirt and help them stay lubricated longer.
Pros: Bearings are easy to take apart for cleaning. Designed with “labyrinth shields” that protect both sides of the bearings from dirt. Handy T-tool is included.
Cons: Somewhat costly.
5. Heady Shake Pro Skateboard Bearings
These bearings from Heady Shake have inner and outer rings that are made out of titanium, with chrome steel balls. That makes them lightweight and highly durable. Four skateboard spacers are also included with the bearings. The bearings are also pre-lubricated, making them ready to go out of the box.
Pros: Includes titanium components, making them extra durable but lightweight. Spacers are included as well.
Cons: Could be better sealed.