There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing new bearings: What size (yeah, there are different sizes of bearing), where you will be skating, the type of skating you'll be doing and so on. Before we give you our best skateboard bearing picks, let's take a second to dive into some considerations:
- Why it's rad: Lubed with nanoceramic grease, these bearings are a favorite of cruising longboarders everywhere.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
- Why it's rad: Labyrinth seals and grease lube means these bearings are lasting forever and resist dirt better than anything else on the market.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
Bones Reds + Tool
- Why it's rad: Classic best selling Reds Bearings with a T-Tool, so you'll have everything you need to get them installed.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
What are skateboard bearings? 🛹
Skateboard bearings are the metal component that keeps the wheel rotating on the truck axle. Each bearing is made up of steel inner and outer races, a ball bearing retainer/cage, steel or ceramic ball bearings and shield(s), which can either be rubber or metal. Each wheel will need 2 bearings, making a total of 8 bearings required per standard skateboard.
Pre-Purchase: What to consider:
There are a few things to consider when choosing the right cruising bearings for your skateboard. First, you'll want to make sure that the bearings are compatible with your skateboard deck and trucks in terms of axle size.
The standard skateboard truck axle size is 8mm, which requires 608 size skate bearings. However, it's worth noting that 7mm axles also exist, and in such cases, you would need 627 size bearings. It's important to double-check your axle size to ensure you purchase the correct bearing size.
For electric skateboards like Boosted Boards, the front and back wheels have different bearing sizes due to the drive shaft. However, we won't cover these sizes in detail today. If you need bearings for an electric skateboard, you can refer to offerings such as Acer Racing for more information on the specific bearing sizes required.
Another important factor to consider is where you will be skating.
If you skate near the ocean, sand and dust can easily enter your bearings, so it's important to choose bearings that have a Labyrinth Rubber Shield on both sides. The Dragon Bearing range by Fireball Supply Co. is an excellent example of such bearings. Although many bearings have rubber shields, Labyrinth shields are different from regular rubber shields, such as those found on Bones Reds. The Labyrinth shield connects to both the inner and outer race of the bearing, while the regular rubber shield only connects to the outer race. As a result, dirt and debris can still get inside, between the shield and the inner race, reducing the lifespan of the bearing.
This leads us to another (obvious) point: do not get shieldless bearings! For the same reason listed above, shieldless bearings will not stop any dirt and debris getting into your bearing, resulting in a short life expectancy and lots of cleaning.
Skateboard bearing spacers and speed rings are not essential, but we do highly recommend them to extend the life of your bearing and improve performance. These small metal extrustions sit in-between the bearings inside the skateboard wheel and help prevent any side-to-side play, wheel chatter and even your bearings exploding!
Bearing spacers are available as a separate item, or can come built into the bearings for ease. Built-in bearings are usually seen as longboard bearings, but work just as well in skateboards (of course!).
HOWEVER, if you are looking for bearings for roller or inline skates built-in bearings will not work. They will be too long. You'll need to purchase inline/skate specific spacers and standard 608 bearings seperately.
You can learn more about bearing spacers here.
The last thing you need to think about when choosing skateboard bearings is your budget. Good bearings can range anywhere from $15 for budget options to around $150 for expensive bearings like the Bones Swiss Bearings.
However, when you're just starting out, you wont notice much difference between entry-level bearings like the Bones Reds or Bronson G2 Bearings and more expensive ceramic bearings as you wont be maxing out the bearing performance. Instead, focus on choosing a trusted brand with a reputation for producing high-quality and durable bearings that you won't have to replace or clean too often.
Also, don't get fooled by the ABEC rating system used by some companies to add perceived value. The ABEC rating has no impact on the quality of bearings for skateboarding, so don't fall for the marketing gimmick. Look for "skate rated" bearings instead, and if you want to know more about why the ABEC rating system is worthless, check out some resources online.
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5 best skateboard bearings
Now that you know what to look for, let's get into our top 5 skateboard bearings to help you choose your new set. Just to note, these bearings all fit a standard 8mm axle and come as an 8 pack of bearings (so if you're looking for roller or inline skates, you'll need to double up).
1. Bones Reds
🤩 Best all-roundShop at Amazon
✅ Good Value
|❌ Watch out for fakes!|
|✅ Most popular on the market||❌ Only 1 Standard rubber shield|
These are a classic choice for skateboarders. Bones Reds are known for their durability and affordability, and are the most popular skateboard bearing ever! They are made from high-quality steel and come pre-lubricated. The downside is that they may require frequent cleaning and maintenance due to using a basic rubber shield, and may not be the fastest option on the market.
These OG bearings were the first to have clearances, tolerances and materials carefully chosen with roller-sports in mind. They come with a nylon ball retainer and single non-contact removable rubber shield for easy maintenance. Just like other Bones bearings, they are lubricated with Bones Speed Cream Racing Lubricant, which gives excellent roll.
We should mention that there is an 'upgraded' version of Bones Reds called the Bones Super Reds. These come with higher quality steel races and higher quality ball bearings, but in all honesty it's hard to tell the difference after skating a few sessions. We vote save your money and grab the OG Bones Reds.
2. Bronson Speed Co G3 Bearings
🚀 Best for SpeedShop at Amazon
✅ Smooth & quick
|❌ More $$$|
|✅ Comes with spacers & rings||❌ No Labyrinth Shields|
Bronson make quite literally the fastest skateboard bearings on earth:
The G3 bearings are comparible to the Bones Super Reds, and designed with advanced features, including deep groove raceways and micro-polished steel balls, resulting in smooth and fast performance. We found they are easy to clean and maintain, however, they are gonna set you back around double the $ of a set of reds. The downside of these is that (like the Bones Reds) they do not come with Labyrinth Shields so dirt and dust can still get inside and mess up your bearings.
3. Fireball Dragon BUILT Bearings
🛠 Best for reduced maintenanceShop at Amazon
✅ Labyrinth Shield
|❌ Single shield|
✅ Easy Install
|❌ Need breaking in|
These bearings are designed for high-speed and high-performance skateboarding. They feature a Labyrinth rubber shield that helps keep dirt, dust and debris out of the bearings. The BUILT style is one of 5 variations from the lineup, but we like these best due to their built-in spacers and speed rings, and thus easy installation!
The Fireball Dragon BUILT bearings come in 2 options; one with steel ball bearings and the brands signature ENDURE grease lube, and one with ceramic balls and their RACE lubricant. We like the standard BUILT style for everyday skating. The shields do a pretty damn good job at keeping the bearings clean while skating the Southern California boardwalks too, but if you do need to remove them, they pop on and off easily for easy cleaning.
4. Oust MOC 9 Bearings
🎭 Best PerformanceShop at Amazon
✅ Fastest bearings we tested
✅ Buna Non-Contact Seals
|❌ Need separate spacers|
The Oust MOC 9 bearings are popular for a reason. The MOC 9 is fast. Maybe the fastest we tested. Top Slalom, Luge, and Downhill racers run MOC 9s on their setups. The MOC 9 are specifically designed for skateboarding, with features like Buna Non-Contact Seals which are set into a U-channel (similar to Labyrinth shields) and a synthetic lubricant. The downside is that they are one of the more expensive bearings on the market. Certainly on this list.
🤑 Best valueShop at Amazon
✅ Great value
|❌ No labyrinth shields|
✅ Nano-lubed for speed
|❌ Don't dig the green shield|
We like these bearings as they are easy to install, quick and affordable. They are made with high-quality steel and come with built-in spacers and speed rings for easy installation. One of the unique features of the Zealous Bearings is that they are lubricated with a special nano-ceramic grease that reduces friction and increases speed. Maybe it's in our heads, but it seems to do it's job and provide a smooth skate.
What we like about the Zealous Bearings is that they offer high-end performance at a low-end price point, making them a great value for skateboarders. However, some skateboarders may find that the built-in spacers and speed rings are not as effective as separate spacers and speed rings. (We don't. Just looking for some downsides!)
How we tested:
For this, we tested as many skateboard bearings as we could get our hands on. The test was simply to use each bearing set for an extended period of time, skating each and every day and performing no maintenance. Ultimately, our goal was to provide newcomers the best value options on the market. For this reason we excluded ceramic bearings in favor of steel bearings, although a few of the options on the list offer a hybrid-ceramic variant.
Each bearing on the list comes from a highly reputable skateboard company. That means none of the Amazon-style cheap bearings made the cut. While these would be OK for 5 minutes, they are cheap (we mean sub $10!) for a reason! They come with fixed metal shields meaning you cannot clean or maintain the bearings and lower quality, less precise components. If you are looking to get the most out of your board, we recommend avoiding these at all costs. If you wish for us to include any testing info on these, drop a comment and let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions:
There are a few things to consider when choosing the best bearings for longboarding. First, you'll want to think about the type of riding you'll be doing. If you're mostly just cruising around, then any of the bearings listed above will be great. But if you're planning on downhill racing, sliding, or tricks, then we recommend a bearing with a built in spacer, such as the Zealous or Dragon BUILT bearing as these can handle the additional stress. As mentioned above, you can pair spacers with non built-in bearings for pretty much the same performance improvements.
Officially, the fastest bearings are the Bronson G3 Bearings. The official Guinness World Record was set by Kyle Wester at 89.41mph!
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Check the main article, above!
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Our favorites - Bones Reds Bearings. These bearings are made from high-quality steel and are designed to provide a fast, smooth ride. We recommend grabbing a set with a Skate tool. It's always handy to have a spare!
[Here are the best skateboard bearings for cruising.]
There are a few different types of skateboard bearings that pros use, depending on their skating style and preferences. Most Pros skate Bones Reds, Bronson Bearings and
If you are looking for a higher performance bearing (note, this is not really necessary for beginner skateboarders), check out ceramic, Swiss, and titanium bearings.
Ceramic bearings are made from a strong, lightweight material that is resistant to heat and friction. They are typically used by skaters who need high speeds and precision.
Swiss bearings are known for their durability and smoothness. They are often used by skaters who do a lot of tricks or street skating. Surprise, surprise, they are made in Switzerland and claim to be even more precise.
Titanium bearings are also durable and smooth, but they offer even more strength and resistance to wear and tear. It is worth noting that not many reputable brands offer a titanium option.
No matter what type of skateboard bearing you choose, be sure to get ones that are high quality and made to last. Skateboarding is a tough sport, and you need bearings that can stand up to the challenges of the road or the half-pipe. With the right bearings, you'll be skating like a pro in no time.
Many variables can affect a skater's decision to use bearing spacers or not. However, some professional skaters do choose to use bearing spacers in their skate set-ups, while others do not. As we mentioned earlier, adding bearing spacers (or using built-in bearings) stops the bearing from moving side to side, thus increasing performance and lifespan. For around 6 bucks per set, we'd say go for it!
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Provided you have the correct spacers, bearing spacers can actually improve speed and performance by decreasing friction and increasing spin time.
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