Best Starter Skateboards

Best Starter Skateboards [2021]: Which is Right for Your Needs?

With the massive variety of skateboard shapes and sizes available on the market today, it can be really confusing to choose the right one as a beginner. That’s why we created this guide of best skateboards for beginners — to help cut through the confusion and help you choose the perfect starter skateboard.

Skateboarding has become more popular than ever in recent times, and whether you are a street surfer just wanting some fun transport or looking to start doing some tricks, there is a style of skateboard for everyone. If you’re looking at getting started in the world of skateboarding, you may be wondering where to start?

Having a decent setup to ride and learn on, especially in the beginning, will make learning the sport not only a lot more fun but infinitely easier. A poorly setup board can quickly be disheartening and cause you to give up before you’ve even begun. Let’s get started!

Things to consider when buying a starter skateboard

The first important consideration when buying a starter skateboard is to decide what you will be using it for. Will you be using it every day? Are you simply wanting a fun form of transport? Are you wanting to learn street tricks? The answers to all these questions will help your decision immensely by narrowing down all of the available options.

There are a wide variety of skateboards to choose from, and all of them are made with a specific use in mind. Some boards are made solely for transport or cruising, and others are made to endure the punishment of tricks like flips and ollies and specially tailored to make tricks easier, and still, others are a unique combination of the two.

Once you’ve decided what you’ll be using your skateboard for, we can get into exactly what to look for in a starter skateboard.

Design

Best Starter Skateboards

Essentially, all skateboards are the same: a “deck” fitted with trucks — metal axels to hold the wheels, and four polyurethane wheels loaded with specially designed bearings. It is the size and shape of all these components that can vary so widely. There are two main skateboard designs, a standard “popsicle” type, and a cruiser.

There are also longboards that are made for whizzing down hills at high speeds, but these do not fall in the “skateboard” category as longboarding is a fundamentally different sport altogether.

Read our full Longboard vs Skateboard comparison.

Skateboard

A classic popsicle-shaped skateboard is made for tricks. The shape is typically symmetrical, with both a tail kick and nose kick and a concave to allow for more pop. Most skateboards are around 28-33 inches long and 7-8.5 inches wide, allowing for maneuverability and lightness.

Some skateboards have a slightly shaped, asymmetrical design, usually with a larger tail and smaller nose, but for the most part, beginners should go for a standard popsicle deck.

Skateboards also have fairly small wheels, around 50-60mm in diameter, also to allow for optimum maneuverability.

Cruiser

Cruisers are typically wider and longer than classic skateboards and come in a massive variety of shapes. They have larger wheels than standard skateboards too, no smaller than 60mm and ranging up to 80mm or more.

Cruisers are faster and provide a smoother overall riding experience, making them well suited for transport and cruising the streets, but their larger, heavier design makes complicated tricks more difficult. Still, popping ollies up curbs and even a few simple flip tricks are certainly possible.

Complete or custom?

When you purchase your first skateboard setup, you have the choice of buying a fully setup board complete with wheels, trucks, and bearings and ready to ride, or you can pick and choose all the components you like and put it together yourself. While buying components allows for a lot of customization, it can be a lot more expensive and a whole lot more confusing for a beginner.

If you’re just getting started in skateboarding, we highly recommend buying a complete setup. Once you know what you like and dislike, you can then add in other components at a later stage.

There are 6 main components that make up a skateboard:

  • Deck – The deck is what you stand on, a wooden plywood board usually made of maple, but also bamboo and carbon fiber. These can be of varying sizes and shapes depending on your preference.
  • Trucks – Trucks are the metal hangers that attach to your deck and hold the wheels and bearings. Trucks also come in a few different sizes, but this is not a massive consideration for beginners. As long as your trucks match the width of your deck, which they will on a complete setup, then you’re good to go.
  • Wheels – There are two factors to consider when choosing wheels: size and durometer (hardness). Smaller wheels have quicker acceleration and are better for technical skating but are not comfortable for long-distance riding or bombing hills. Larger wheels are faster, smoother, and more comfortable to ride but have slow initial acceleration and make tricks more difficult. Hard wheels are also faster but don’t feel as smooth as softer wheels. For beginners, we recommend a middle ground of both size and durometer.
  • Bearings – Bearings are the easiest component to choose. The more expensive the bearings, the faster they’ll be and the longer they’ll last. This is the one downside in buying a complete setup — the bearings are usually not very good but are easy to replace.
  • Hardware – You’ll need some bolts to attach your trucks to the deck, and this is done with four simple bolts and nuts for each truck. They should be of decent quality as you don’t want them to strip, and they are usually a Philips or Allen head design.
  • Grip tape – Lastly, you’ll need something to keep you from slipping off your board! All skateboards, no matter the design, need grip tape. This sandpaper-like tape covers the top of your board and keeps your feet securely in place.

The Best Starter Skateboards – Reviews 2021

Pro Standard Skateboard Complete by Braille Skateboarding – Our top pick overall

Braille Skateboarding Starter Skateboard

Braille Skateboarding, the YouTube sensation that has helped hundreds of thousands to learn skateboarding, now has its own branded board, and the setup is amazing! The board is aimed at beginners and pros alike and has everything you could want in a starter board.

The setup features 54mm, 99a wheels, 5-inch aluminum trucks, high-quality ABEC-7 bearings, and OS780 Black grip tape. The 7-ply deck is made from 100% Canadian maple and comes in 2 colors and 2 sizes — 7.75-inches and 8-inches, and the board comes assembled and ready to ride out of the box. The setup also comes with a skate tool, poster, and Braille stickers.

The board is almost impossible to fault, although is fairly expensive compared to other full setups for beginners.

Pros

  • 100% Canadian maple deck
  • 54mm, 99a wheels
  • ABEC-7 bearings
  • 5-inch aluminum trucks
  • Included skate tool, poster, and Braille stickers

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive

Cal 7 Complete Standard Skateboard — Best on a budget

Cal 7 Complete Standard Skateboard

The Cal 7 complete skateboard is a great setup considering the price, with some excellent components that will impress even experienced skateboarders. The deck comes in over 30 different graphic options, is 8-inches wide, and is made from 7-ply Canadian maple.

The setup has 52mm 99A polyurethane wheels loaded with ABEC-7 stainless steel bearings, 5.25-inch aluminum trucks fitted with HR95A bushings and 3mm riser pads, and pre-applied grip tape that is ready to skate right out of the box! The setup also comes with a 1-year warranty against manufacturer defects.

As you’d expect from a setup at this price, the bearings are pretty terrible and will need to be replaced fairly soon. Several users reported that the deck chips and cracks easily, but for beginners, this may not be too much of an issue.

Pros

  • 30 different graphic options
  • 7-ply Canadian maple deck
  • 52mm 99A polyurethane wheels
  • ABEC-7 stainless steel bearings
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Poor quality bearings
  • Deck chips and crack easily

CCS Skateboard Complete – Premium choice

CCS Skateboard Complete

CCS has been making inexpensive yet high-quality skateboards and components for decades now, and this complete skateboard is exactly what you’d expect — great! It comes preassembled and ready to ride, plus comes with a skate tool included and some CCS stickers. The setup has 52mm, 100a wheels, and 109mm trucks with black hardware.

The deck comes in 5 different sizes, from 7-inches to 8.5-inches to suit any age skater, and is made from high-quality Canadian maple. Whether you are a skateboarding veteran or a complete beginner, this setup has everything you need.

The only issue we found with this board was the grip tape — a few customers reported that the grip bubbled up and tore after only minimal use.

Pros

  • Included skate tool included and CCS stickers
  • 52mm, 100a wheels
  • 5 different deck sizes to choose from
  • 7-ply Canadian maple deck

Cons

  • Poor quality grip tape

WhiteFang Skateboards 31 Inch Complete – Best for kids

WhiteFang Skateboards

This complete skateboard from WhiteFang Skateboards comes in 6 different graphic options which are heat transferred and water-resistant. The deck is 31-inches long and 7.8-inches wide and is made from 7 plies of Canadian maple and comes complete with Emery grip tape applied and ready to ride.

The setup has 52mm, 95a polyurethane wheels loaded with ABEC-9 bearings, and 5-inch magnalium alloy trucks loaded with 95 PU bushings. The setup is ideal for beginners and kids, and even experienced riders will enjoy this board.

The deck on this board is reportedly not very strong and may snap if used by heavy adults. The wheels and bearings are also not super fast, although this may be better for kids.

Pros

  • 6 different graphic options
  • 7 ply Canadian maple deck
  • 52mm, 95a polyurethane wheels
  • ABEC-9 bearings
  • 5-inch magnalium alloy trucks

Cons

  • Deck snaps and cracks fairly easily
  • Slow wheels and bearings

Enjoi Complete Skateboard — Professional quality

Enjoi Complete Skateboard

Enjoi is a household name in the skateboard industry and is well known for its high-quality, professional boards. If you are a beginner and want to treat yourself to a professional level complete skateboard, this is a great choice! The setup features a 7-ply hard rock maple deck and comes in 5 different size options, from 7-inches to 8.25, and comes in 6 different graphics.

The company makes its decks with a single deck press to ensure a consistent shape and concave every time. The setup comes complete with high-quality tensor trucks, carbon steel speed bearings, and 52mm Enjoi wheels.

There is little to fault on this setup, except for the high price!

Pros

  • 7-ply hard rock maple deck
  • 5 different size options
  • 6 different graphic options
  • Carbon steel speed bearings
  • High-quality tensor trucks

Cons

  • Expensive

Magneto Mini Cruiser — Best for cruising

Magneto Mini Cruiser

If you’re looking for a setup to cruise the streets or use for transport, this Mini Cruiser from Magneto is a great choice. The setup comes with 4 different graphic options and has a 6-ply Canadian maple deck that is 7.5-inches wide. We love that the setup has double kicks so you can perform a few tricks and hop a few curbs, and the clear grip tape that shows off the wood finish.

The trucks are made from cast aluminum with a black powder coating with quality SHR bushings, and 60mm, 78a wheels. The board comes assembled and ready to ride right out of the box and comes with an included skate tool.

The only issue we found with this cruiser is the large wheels on fairly low trucks, making wheel bite a real possibility.

Pros

  • 4 different graphic options
  • 6-ply Canadian maple deck
  • Clear grip tape
  • 60mm, 78a wheels
  • Included skate tool

Cons

  • Prone to wheel bite

LMAI 27″ Black Fly Cruiser Complete — Premium cruiser

LMAI 27" Black Fly Cruiser

The “Black Fly” cruiser from LMAI skateboards is a great choice if you are looking for a premium cruiser that will last for years. The deck is a unique one-directional design and is made from 7-ply Canadian maple and bamboo combination.

The deck is fitted with 5.25-inch aluminum trucks with 51mm, 78a wheels loaded with LMAI stainless steel bearings. The board is small and lightweight and an ideal travel companion.

It’s almost impossible to fault this board, but it does come with a high price tag.

Pros

  • Unique one-directional deck
  • 7-ply Canadian maple and bamboo construction
  • 5.25-inch aluminum trucks
  • 51mm, 78a wheels
  • LMAI stainless steel bearings

Cons

  • Expensive

ReDo Skateboard Shorty Green Palm Cruiser Complete — Budget cruiser

ReDo Skateboard Shorty Green Palm Cruiser

The ReDo Shorty Green Palm Cruiser is a great cruiser if you are on a budget. The 8.25×24-inch deck is made from a 7-ply maple and bamboo combination with clear grip tape to show off the interesting and unique graphics.

It comes with 55m, 90a wheels, 5-inch Geo trucks, and is loaded with ABEC-3 speed bearings. If you are looking for a truly unique cruiser on a budget, this one ticks all the boxes!

The grip tape on this setup is of poor quality and wears down and peels off after only a few uses. Also, the ABEC-3 bearings a fairly slow.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • 7-ply maple and bamboo deck
  • Clear grip tape
  • 55m, 90a wheels
  • ABEC-3 speed bearings

Cons

  • Poor quality grip tape
  • Slow bearings

MINORITY 32inch Maple Skateboard — Honorable mention

MINORITY 32inch Maple Skateboard

Minority makes some great beginner skateboards and components, and this 32-inch full setup is an ideal option for beginners. The board comes in 18 different graphic options with a 7-ply 100% hard rock maple deck, with aluminum alloy, black powder-coated, 5-inch trucks with 78a high rebound bushings.

The wheels are 52mm, 78a polyurethane loaded with ABEC-9 bearings, and also feature some unique graphics from Minority. The board comes complete with grip tape and is ready to ride out of the box.

As with a lot of low-priced skateboards, the bearings are not very good, and you’ll need to replace them after a month or two. There is also very little quality control, as some customers received the board with peeling grip tape and stripped hardware.

Pros

  • 18 different graphic options
  • 7-ply 100% hard rock maple deck
  • 5-inch aluminum alloy trucks
  • 52mm, 78a polyurethane
  • ABEC-9 bearings

Cons

  • Poor quality bearings
  • Poor quality control

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Are skateboards or cruisers better for beginners?

Answer: Both skateboards and cruisers are fine for beginners, but cruisers may have a slight edge for learning as they are generally wider and more stable. That being said, it depends on what you want to use the board for, as either board can be used to learn.

Question: Are completes better than custom setups?

Answer: For beginners, we would say yes, a complete setup is better. The board comes with everything you need to get started, and you don’t have to assemble it yourself. Choosing all the various components and then assembling a board can be confusing for a real beginner, but you can always swap out components once you have some experience.

Question: How long do skateboards last?

Answer: This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on what you’re using the board for and also on the quality of the board. A deck can last anything from one session to a year!

If you are using your board for tricks and street skating, it should last 3-8 months unless it snaps, but cruisers should last far longer, several years in many cases. Components like trucks and wheels are also fairly long-lasting, but bearings will need to be replaced a few times a year depending on how much you skate.

Conclusion

Our favorite complete skateboard setup for a beginner is the Pro setup from Braille Skateboarding. The board features 54mm, 99a wheels, 5-inch aluminum trucks, high-quality ABEC-7 bearings, with a 100% Canadian maple 7-ply deck that comes in 2 colors and 2 sizes, plus includes a skate tool, poster, and Braille stickers!

Our favorite choice for cruising is the Mini Cruiser from Magneto. The setup comes with 4 different graphic options, a 6-ply Canadian maple deck with clear grip tape that shows off the wood finish, cast aluminum trucks, and 60mm, 78a wheels.

The board comes assembled and ready to ride right out of the box and comes with an included skate tool!

When you’re getting started in skateboarding, it can be difficult to find the right setup. Hopefully, our reviews have helped you choose the right board for your needs, so you can begin your skateboarding journey as soon as possible!

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