Skateboard bearings are a replaceable part of your skateboard that can be upgraded, increasing performance where it counts. Whether you haven’t been boarding for long or you’re a seasoned veteran, you have many different options to choose from at a pretty wide range of prices.
If you’re unsure of what to look for in a set of bearings, this guide should help you figure out what you need. I present to you, The Skateboard Bearing Buyer’s Guide.
Best Skateboard Bearings 2019 – The Top Picks
|Name||Product Dimensions||Material of Balls||Item Weight||Count|
Bones Swiss Ceramics Bearings
|4x1.9x0.4 inches||Cerbec ceramic||0.2 pounds||8 bearings|
4 bearing spacers
Bones Super Swiss 6 Competition Skate Bearings
|4x1.9x0.4 inches||Steel||0.2 pounds||8 bearings|
4 bearing spacers
Sector 9 Ceramic Bearings
|1x2x4 inches||Black Ceramic||0.05 pounds||8 bearings|
4 bearing spacers
Bones Bearings Ceramic Super Reds Bearings
|0.4x2.3x4.8 inches||Cerbec ceramic||0.35 pounds||8 bearings|
Bones Bearings Red Bearings
|0.5x1.9x4 inches||Steel||0.22 pounds||8 bearings|
Yellow Jacket 608 Premium Bearings
|Steel||0.25 pounds||8 bearings|
Bronson G3 Bearings Single Set w/Spacers+Washers
|1 x 1.1 x 3.1 inches||Steel||0.25 pounds||8 bearings|
4 bearing spacers
Bones Bearings Super Reds Bearings
|Steel||0.2 pounds||8 bearings|
Mini-Logo Skateboards Bearings
|0.4 x 2.2 x 4 inches||Steel||0.2 pounds||8 bearings|
Zealous Bearings for Longboards and Skateboards
|4.5x4.2x0.8 inches||Steel||0.3 pounds||8 bearings|
1. Bones Swiss Ceramics Bearings – The Best Skateboard Bearings Available
The Bones Swiss Ceramics Bearings are definitely the best skateboard bearings available on the market. The majority of professionals use them and they last for years without losing speed.
2. Bones Super Swiss 6 Competition Skate Bearings – Best Bearings for Tricks
They haven’t been changed very much over the years. These Swiss precision bearings are still a dominating force in the industry and are favorites of lots of pros.
3. Sector 9 Ceramic Bearings – Great for Speed on Skateboards and Longboards
The Sector 9 Ceramic Bearings can weigh around 40% less than their steel counterparts. This reduces load and skidding. They work up to 40% faster than what you are probably used to.
Outer race grooves exert less inward force against the ball while it’s spinning. The reduction of forces lessens friction and the resistance you get while rolling.
The balls light weight allows it to spin faster and use less energy in maintaining speed.
4. Bones Bearings Ceramic Super Reds Bearings – Quality Waterproof Bearings
Bones Bearings has more recently added these ceramic versions to their lineup, and there have been some people saying that these ceramic bearings or faster, smoother, and have a higher durability that other Bones products.
5. Bones Bearings Reds Bearings – Most Popular and Inexpensive Option for Beginners
Like all Bones products, they are durable and high-quality yet feature a great low price. As you advance your skill level, you can install better Bones products.
6. Yellow Jacket 608 Premium Bearings – Up and Coming Brand
The Yellow Jacket 608 Premium Bearings are another pretty great option. Yellow Jacket is an up and coming brand that’s targeting Bones Reds.
7. Bronson G3 Bearings Single Set w/Spacers+Washers – Fast and Durable
The Bronson G3 Bearings is an impressive set that is the closest rival of Bones Super Swiss but costs half as much. If you haven’t tried them out, they are certainly one worth looking into. They are a fast and durable set that has a reasonable price.
8. Bones Bearings Super Reds Bearings – Slight Improvement on the Reds
The Bones Bearings Super Reds Bearings are a little bit faster and more durable than a standard set of Bones Reds.
They are recommended for skater’s of an intermediate skill level or for beginners wanting their skateboard’s life to last longer. It’s a great choice either way.
9. Mini-Logo Skateboard Bearings – Precision 608 Bearings
Mini-Logo’s precision 608 bearings are made to the specifications of Skate One.
10. Zealous Bearings for Longboards and Skateboards – Best Bearings for Longboards
The Zealous Bearings offer a unique feature. They have a lubricant containing a nanoceramic compound that fills in any deformations in the bearing. This helps to stop friction and heat in that specific area.
There will surely be a bearing one of these reviews that you will find acceptable. Hopefully, the guide before the reviews helped you better understand a skateboard’s ball bearing and what you should look for in the ones you buy for your board.
Skateboard Bearings Buyer’s Guide
There are some things you should know about Skateboard Bearings that can help you improve your abilities. I’ve tried to outline and describe all of these things in this section.
What Are ABEC Ratings
The Annual Bearing Engineering Committee has a rating system for the precision of a ball bearing. This industry standard rates how precise and efficient the balls are.
A high ABEC rating is good for use in medical devices and spaceships. Lower ratings are designated for industrial uses. It has effectively become a marketing technique used by skateboard companies to promote their bearings.
Many skateboarders think they can notice the difference in the speed of the highest rated products. Here are what a few of the different ratings mean:
- ABEC 1. These have the least level of precision and are the cheapest available. There many companies that won’t make these because of their poor quality.
- ABEC 3. This is usually the lowest rated bearing that you find being soldier skateboards. They are usually sold as the low cost, budget bearing.
- ABEC 5. This is the rating that you will find on most products today that rides moderately smooth and has decent performance.
- ABEC 7. Skateboard bearings that carry this reading are known for speed, how smooth they are, and for their decent performance.
- ABEC 9. Bearings for skateboards with this reading used to be pretty rare but have become more popular in recent years.
- ABEC 11+. There is no ABEC rating above nine so be weary of any company that advertises ratings as high as this.
What Makes Up a Skateboard Bearing
Skateboard bearings are very complex items made up of 7 parts.
- A C-ring is a small ring that helps keep the shield in place.
- The bearing shield protects the balls from dirt.
- The outer ring is the largest part functioning like a casing that all the other parts fit into.
- The inner ring’s placed inside the outer ring, and it fits through the wheels and the axles.
- 7 or 8 balls are inside of the casing freely rolling.
- The ball retainer helps the casing while keeping the ball bearing in place.
- A rubber seal protects the exterior from dirt, dust, and any other agent that might damage it.
Understanding how these parts go together will help a skateboarder a lot as they deal with problems and repairs.
Skateboard Bearing Materials
There are 2 different materials that skateboard bearings are made out of:
- Ceramic. Ceramic bearings are the best you can get. There are nine balls inside of a ceramic bearing while steel bearings only have seven or eight. The ceramic balls are lighter, stronger and more durable. They are also less likely to expand because of the friction making them much faster and smoother than their steel counterparts. They hardly ever require lubrication or maintenance. The only problem with these great bearings is that they can cost three or four times as much as the steel ones.
- Steel. Steel is the material that is used the most for standard skateboards. They are also commonly used in aerospace technology. There are usually either 7 or 8 actual balls in a ball bearing. They have more recently been dropping in price considerably because of the improvements in technology and manufacturing. The heat created by the friction causes steel bearings to swell. It’s important to take care of your bearings properly if you want them to have a long life and perform well.
There are metal cylinders placed inside the wheel home spacers. They are placed between two bearings spreading the weight out. These are optional. Advanced skaters who have a lot of hard landings use these, so they protect their bearings. The majority of skaters won’t have to worry about these.
Unlike bearings, spacers have different sizes. A bearings spacer’s size is measured by both the axles diameter and the overall width of the spacers. Figuring out what spacer width you need is pretty simple.
Usually, longboards will take a 10mm while a regular skateboard takes an 8mm. Some new bearings come with spacers but most of the time they will have to be purchased separately.
Installing spacers takes place as you’re installing the bearings. After you have put the first bearing in, flip the wheel and push the bearing spacer in. If it was installed correctly, it will hold firmly. If it has any wiggle at all, that’s a good sign the spacers are too small. Once you have the spacer pressed into place, you can continue putting more of the bearings into place.
There are thin metal rings installed between the wheels and the nuts that are on the axles of the skateboards trucks. Speed washers reduce the friction between the axle nut and the bearing. This causes the wheel to be able to spin faster and more freely
Plastic covers often encase the balls inside the ball bearing. These help to stop dirt, water, and other contaminants that interfere with the movement and lifespan of your bearings. Many skaters remove the shields using a knife exposing the balls. This will actually decrease the ball bearings durability and is not recommended for performance.
Where Were They Made?
There are generally 3 countries that bearings are made in:
- China. Chinese bearings have a reputation for being the lower cost and lower quality option when it comes to bearings. More recently they have been similar in quality to the ones made in other countries. Bones Bearings is one of the best names when it comes to skateboard bearings and some of theirs are made in China.
- Switzerland. The founder of Bones Bearings, George Powell, began working with Swiss suppliers to create the first bearings that were specifically designed for skateboarding. Before this, the bearings used in bearings were industrial grade made for being used in manufacturing. The first ceramic Bones set the standard for quality and performance. They are still known as one of the best.
- The United States. Since it costs so much more to produce bearings in America, not many are made here.
Bearing Break-in Period
The bearing is the only part on a skateboard that many riders prefer a used one over a new one. It takes a little while for the ball bearings to wear down a little and to reduce friction that you are trying to avoid. Be prepared for this slight change in performance when you put a new pair in. Give them a little time to get broken in.
The standard size for ball bearings across almost all industries is size 608. Their dimensions are 8 mm x 20 mm x 7 mm. All the bearings in this article are of this size, and it’s the most common kind to find skateboards today. Skateboard bearings will fit all wheels, regardless of their diameter.
There are many tools and products to help increase the longevity and efficiency of skateboard bearings. Doing these things will have a significant positive effect on your bearings performance.
- Bearing Oil/Lube. Will help reduce the friction between the balls inside the bearing and can help remove dirt. Lube is also used to fix loud squeaking bearings.
- Bearing Cleaner Kit. Like this are sold that contain an alcohol solution, a metal rod, and some lubricant. Putting your bearings on the rod and soaking the rod and bearings in an alcohol solution. After a period of time the bearings, air dried, and get into the lubricant to finish the process. These bearing cleaner kits are cheap, and cleaning your bearings once or twice a year will have a dramatic effect on the bearings lifespan.
- Bearing Removal Tools. This tool allows easy removal of bearings out of wheels while not damaging the axle, bearings, or meals. Many multi-function tools have a bearing removal tool built into them.
That covers a lot of quality information about skateboard ball bearings. I guess the only thing left is to review some of the best bearings available.