Top 10 Best Longboard Bearings (Feb. 2020): Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
I’ve been boarding since I was a kid. I got my first skateboard at three! However, it took me a couple of years before I mastered it and the Christmas I turned eight I got my first longboard. Wow, I was in love with it. In fact, I still have it (although it has been relegated to the store cupboard and remains only for nostalgia purposes now!).
Once I got into longboarding, I soon realized how important it was to maintain my longboard properly. Also, I wanted to be able to ride it faster and faster, cruising along happily, and I was becoming a little unstuck. That’s when I discovered I could replace the bearings on the board for a smoother and faster ride. I was even more hooked than before. Over the next fifteen years, I have tried out pretty much every brand of longboard bearings and have had to learn for myself which ones suit me best. However, it was a long journey to get to this point and I could have done with a load of reviews to read to help me decide which ones were worth my money.
So, that’s what this is! A nice, handy guide to help you find the best longboard bearings for your needs and budget so that you don’t need to spend such a long time working it out for yourself. We will have a look at different brands, giving you all the information you need to make your final decision, pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of each.
What You Will Get Here
- Longboard Bearing - Buying Guide
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Editor’s Choice: Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings BSACBR88
- Budget Choice: Zealous Bearings
- High-Speed Bearing: Bones Bearings Reds Bearings
- Versatile Choice: Heady Shake Pro Skateboard Bearings
- Long-lasting Choice: Oldboy Premium Ceramic Bearings
- A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
- Longboard Bearings Cleaning & Maintenance
Longboard Bearing - Buying Guide
The use of a longboard is most affected by one component: the bearings. If you have lackluster bearings, you will have a dull and dreary ride. Good bearings will transform your ride and change the way you skate, whether you are building a board from scratch or are upgrading the existing bearings in your board.
The market is saturated with many brands of bearing but one thing you should remember is that longboard and skateboard bearings are a standard 608 size. Let’s have a look at the different aspects that you should consider when you make your choice of bearings.
1. Ball Material
It is really important to take the material of the ball into consideration. All longboards are made in the same way and the balls work together with the inner hub of the wheel and the axle. Poor balls means that the speed and precision of your maneuvers when you are longboarding will be affected.
However, there are only two materials that you need to consider when looking at bearings: Ceramic or Steel.
Steel balls are the preferred choice of many, especially those who longboard for fun or are on a tight budget. Steel is a popular choice because of its elasticity and ductility so it keeps its shape despite heavy loads. Aside from this, its resistance to corrosion and rust is exceptional.
However, if you prefer to downhill ride with your longboard, it is not the best choice. The balls will become hot due to the fast friction and therefore will expand. This renders them almost useless.
Ceramic is another choice that some longboarders prefer as they are smoother, harder as well as stronger overall than steel balls. Additionally, they are barely affected when temperatures are high and will not need any lubrication or maintenance.
Ball bearings usually have three varieties of ceramic.
- zirconium dioxide
- silicon nitride
- silicon carbide
In a hybrid bearing for a longboard, the most popular choice is silicon nitride as it is extremely tough and hard.
However, ceramic bearings are not perfect. It’s true that they perform exceptionally but they also have an astronomical price! If your budget stretches to three figures, you can certainly opt for ceramic. Otherwise, steel is likely your best option.
2. Bearing Size
As mentioned, bearings for skateboards and longboards tend to come in a standard 608 size but there do exist other non-standard sizes too.
The standard 608 size has a 22mm outer diameter, is 7mm thick and has an 8mm bore, where the axel is found. The main advantage of the standard size bearing is how affordable and versatile it is an option as it is compatible with almost all skating wheels.
As for the non-standard size bearings, these are rare, but you can find smaller sizes. However, you may need to add a sleeve to make it fit the standard size outside diameter. Smaller bearings often have a high ABEC rating, meaning it is more precise. The ABEC rating will be explained below.
Here is a piece of sad news, it’s virtually non-existent a standard size for spacers.
Still, they are a vital factor to consider. Spacers influence on the speed and stability of your skateboarding performance, not saying that they protect the system from getting too lose.
However, in the end, it doesn’t mean there’s no tip to choose the most suitable spacers for your bearings. From my years of experience, the ones measuring roughly ½ inch are the best go-to.
4. Tolerance rating system
The rating system that is used is the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. This is a sector of the ABMA, the American Bearing Manufacturers Association. This association developed its own system for rating bearings measuring the variations in exact measurements with precision bearings. One that has a high ABEC rating means the price is higher. This is because it can generally perform at a faster RPM.
The ABEC scale has five scores: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. However, these ratings can be somewhat misleading. The ratings are essentially for bearings within machinery, not in skateboards or longboards. In skateboards and longboards, there really is little difference in the performance of the board. The forces that skates exert are different to that in industrial machinery. If you are an experienced skater, you will know not to take the ABEC ratings as gospel.
Pre-lubrication is crucial as if the longboard bearings are already lubricated, they will perform well straight away without any sudden interruptions when you are longboarding. Having said that, when selecting pre-lubricated bearings, this does not mean that you won’t need to add your own lubrication eventually. If you opt for bearings that are easy to install this will ensure that the whole process of re-assembly will be faster and effortless.
Since we are talking about lubricants, I would say to buy the best you can so that you can limit as much of the friction as you possibly can. There are generally two types of lubricant that are the most popular: speed cream and nano-ceramic grease. You should also think about how some of the products are incredibly versatile and can work on a range of different bearings, but other types work best on a certain type of bearing.
7. Bearing Shields
The walls of the bearing are typically called bearing shields. The shields are what stop things from the outside getting to the bearings and making them all gunky, things such as water, dust and mud. Therefore, shields are a really important part of bearings.
There are typically two sorts of bearing shields. Some bearings have metal shields, and some have rubber ones. Rubber shields can be removed but metal ones cannot. Given that metal shields can’t be removed, it is not possible t clean the dirt that penetrates the bearing. However, with a rubber shield, it is possible to give it a full clean and also put grease on the bearing balls directly.
8. Built-in Bearings
Bearings that are built in have everything built in, as you would expect. Their inner race is elongated which works as both a washer and spacer meaning you don’t need extra parts. They can make your skating life much easier. You don’t need to worry about misplacing the spacers or washers and it can make cleaning them and changing your wheels much easier.
If you had not worked out yet, longboard bearings are made up of several components. First up is the C-ring. This is a thin ring which slots into an outer groove on the bearing. It securely locks the shield by its design.
Outer and inner rings are important. The outer ring means the round often metal exterior where the other components fit. The inner ring fits inside the outer ring. This is vital as it used by the axel.
However, the shield is also important. It is crucial because it presents dust and dirt from getting into the bearing.
As mentioned, the balls of steel or ceramic help to ensure that the base of the bearing spins around them properly. Additionally, we need to be aware of the rubber seals and the ball retainer. You need to make sure that all of these components are present so that you bearings perform to the best standard.
How Did We Pick These Products?
Given my own experience in longboarding, I was ready to take on the challenge in finding the best longboard bearings out there on the market today. But I could not do it alone. Instead, I found a willing team of volunteers to help me. We started out by carrying out over 25 hours of web research to find out all the latest developments and new longboard bearing products that we could. We looked at their features, price, popularity in terms of ratings on e-commerce stores such as Amazon, and their availability. Once we had a list of around 30 different longboard bearings we set to work and chose 20 of the most popular ones to try out for ourselves.
Our team of willing volunteers were happy to help. They tested they products to find which ones gave the smoothest and fastest rides and recorded their findings. Once all the bearings had been tested, we collated all of the information and a clear top ten best bearings emerged. We deliberately chose a range of bearings that made it into our top ten that would suit even the smallest of budgets as well as those who want speed, versatility and longevity as top features.
Without further ado, we are presenting our findings to you in our longboard bearing reviews, starting with out Editor’s Choice. But first, it is important to know what exactly you should be looking for in your choice of bearings.
Our Top 10 Product List
As mentioned above, we have selected the top 10 products for you, starting with our number one pick, the Editor’s Choice. We believe that this is the best choice for the average person for all the fantastic reasons outlined below.
These Bones Reds Skateboard bearings are made from the best-selling brand in the whole of the US. They come with a “Skate Rated” sticker to prove their authenticity and their rating as being the highest quality bearings possible. Indeed, they are inspected thoroughly before shipping to ensure that they provide the top most combination of durability, low cost and performance.
They have non-contact, removable, single rubber for less friction and easy cleaning. There is a ball retainer made from nylon for high speed and greater strength. They come pre-lubricated with a racing lubricant called Speed Cream, which has skate-rated clearance and tolerance, like the other components in the bearings.
This set includes eight bearings, a logo sticker and the instructions. Unfortunately, there are not any spacers included with these bearings.
The fact that these bearings are the best selling in the US means that they have had the most reviews of any product that we have looked at in our research. On Amazon, they had 4375 reviews with an average rating of 4.5/5 stars, which is pretty remarkable! And they were retailing for as little as $17.95 at the time we carried out our research, which is awesome.
We really cannot fault this set of eight bearings. If you are wanting fast, easy-to-clean bearings that really do not cost the earth, then this is the choice for you. We really could not have any other longboard bearings as our Editor’s Choice.
As mentioned above, here, what you see is what you get: top quality longboard bearings for a fantastic price. They’re easy to clean, come pre-lubricated with the best possible lubricant and have a staggering number of positive reviews. With a rating of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, clearly the majority of people think so too. How could we choose anything else for our Editor’s Choice?
Our budget choice is by Zealous. These longboard bearings are special because they come with built-in speed rings and spacers (unlike the Editor’s Choice). The spacers measure 0.4045” and the speed rings 0.5mm. This means that there are no tiny parts when changing the bearings and wheels so you can’t lose them!
The bearings are also low friction and are therefore FAST. With a friction co-efficient of 0.003%, this is the lowest in the Tribology field which means they have a surface that is almost friction-free.
The bearings are made from green steel and white ceramic with color-coordinated seals made from rubber which act to keep debris and dust on the outside. This all the better for the bearings’ longevity.
They come pre-lubricated too with a custom “nano-ceramic grease” that is said to “self-heal”. This means that the grease penetrates any imperfections in the bearing metal and makes them smooth again, increasing the speed by reducing friction in the bearing. The coating is harder that the host alloy by five times and it creates a molecular bong with it. This is how friction is eliminated.
There are 8mm holes for the axels which will fit all longboard and skateboard trucks for an incredibly smooth and fast ride. This set of bearings with eight in the set is enough for four wheels.
This product also has good ratings, averaging at 4.2/5 stars on Amazon when we carried out our research. However, this was based on 163 reviews only. The cost of each set of eight bearings comes in at $15.99.
For a budget buy, these bearings are fantastic. With specialized nano-ceramic grease that penetrates the imperfections of the bearing, you can be sure that they will stand the test of time. Indeed, these bearings have excellent ratings. They are not too expensive either but, actually, when compared with our top choice, they are not actually that much cheaper. Still, with these longboard bearings, you can be sure that your budget choice does not have too many compromises given their high quality and potential longevity.
Our choice for high-speed is the Bones Reds Bearings – again, another variety by the best-selling bearing brand in the US. This set of eight bearings come with spacers and speed rings too.
They are especially designed to be “super-fast”. Like the other Reds bearings in our Editor’s Choice, they come pre-lubricated with a racing “Speed Cream” lubricant and have a non-contact, single, removable rubber shield which gives less friction and is easy to clean. There’s also the same ball retainer made from nylon giving it greater speed and strength.
They also have skate-rated tolerances, clearings, lubricated and materials. However, there is no ABEC rating for these bearings. Having said that, as mentioned, ABEC ratings don’t particularly matter as much with longboard bearings and they are only particularly important in machinery. The Bones website also explains why they do not have an ABEC rating.
This is a set of eight bearings, a logo sticker, spacers, speed rings and the instructions. With an average rating of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon at the time of our research and 325 reviews, this product is popular and well-liked. Additionally, the cost is not bad too, at $17.95 at the time of our research.
Our choice for speed is the Bones Red and it is not difficult to see why. This is a close second to our Editor’s choice, but we decided for it to be our speed choice thanks to the inclusion of speed rings and spacers. Otherwise, its features are similar to our top pick. It does not have as many ratings, but its rating is on a par with our number one choice too. With Bones, you can be sure to have good bearings but, with these, you get the added bonus of speed too.
If you are looking for versatility, the Heady Shake Pro Bearings make an excellent choice. They will give you an efficient ride that’s smoother and faster too. They are great in terms of their consistency, whether in the skatepark or out on the streets.
Made from titanium (premium-grade nonetheless!), they are stronger and lighter than their steel counterparts. They also have a “stylish flair” that is yet to be matched by other bearings.
So, what do you get for your $22.99 (at the time of our research) bearings? They are size 608 bearings (as to be expected) and come in a set of eight. They are designed with precision in mind and actually have an ABEC rating of 9!
Heady Shake prides itself on offering the quietest, fastest and smoothest ride, with a specially reinforced design. The company refer to the bearings as being a “true speed demon” and they have an average spin time of over three minutes with 10cm wheels.
The bearings also have a superior resistance to corrosion, thanks to the top-quality titanium coating. The shield is single-sided, sealed and made from rubber with a retainer made from double-strength nylon. Additionally, you will find the bearings pre-lubricated, and with speed oil of a premium quality no less.
All in all, the versatility of this super-quick design is what makes it our versatile champion. They don’t have to be used on longboards; you can use them on your in-lines, kick scooters and skateboards too. The eight bearings come with a waterproof sticker too. What is more, they are so easy to install.
Lastly, they come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, the company will issue you with a full refund. Not bad! In terms of their rating, that’s not bad either, with an average of 4.3/5 stars on Amazon at the time we researched with 143 reviews in total.
There’s no wonder why this is our versatile choice. The designers have made sure that it fits this bill. They have designed a top-quality bearing that can be used in a variety of wheels whether on skates, boards, or even scooters. The pre-lubrication and spacers mean that you’ll get a super-quick ride too. What we like most, however, is if you do not agree, they will give you your money back!
For longevity, we recommend the Oldboy ceramic bearings. These ones are lubricated heavily for a smoother ride too. However, their selling point for us is their extended life. The ceramic balls are incredibly hard as well as being lubricated to reduce any further friction. This prevents wear and tear too, enhance their lifespan.
Ceramic is known to be better than its steel counterpart for longevity and, with these bearings, that is exactly what you get. They won’t rust or suffer dirt damage. Alongside the heavy lube, the bearings are water resistant, which helps to keep the bearing cage made from nylon in top condition, without any cracking.
The bearings have a one-shield design so that cleaning them is even easier – no prying open of shields to add extra lube or to clean them. You get a set of eight, measuring 8mm x 22mm x 7mm. They’re also packed into a patented pyramid box – what a cool design!
They are super strong as well and can take a load of 364 pound-feet force and still not break! The ceramic balls have such a great density (7.80g/cm3) which makes them practically impossible to destroy. They are actually called Oldboys for a reason! They will last far longer than metal bearings. Sure, they won’t last forever, but they will definitely outlive your other, cheaper brands.
Lastly, the brand does some good. The company donates a percentage of your money to the National Outdoor Leadership School based in Wyoming, taking disadvantaged young people on backpacking trips in the wilderness. Brilliant, huh! With a rating of 4.3/5 stars on Amazon at the time of writing with 93 reviews, you really get what you pay for. Having said that, these babies do set you back around $45.
With these bearings, it is the cost that will strike you first most likely. They are certainly not cheap and therefore will not be for everyone. Having said that, the fact that they are pretty much indestructible will mean that if you shell out initially, you won’t have to replace them frequently at all. And, we all know that ceramic is more expensive that steel! They are a pretty popular choice despite setting you back a fair penny, which says a lot about their reputation.
A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
And now for the more general bearings in our list that are still worthy of a top spot despite not being our best in class. These Yellow Jacket Premium bearings are branded as being high speed and high precision too. They can be used in longboards, skateboards, inline skates, electric skateboards and roller blades too. They actually claim that they have a higher level of precision than Redz!
The bearings come pre-lubricated with a racing lubricant that is high speed. You are guaranteed to achieve high speeds with minimal friction when using these bearings. The lubricant is sealed inside the wheel and bearing.
For optimum protection, there are engraved seals in color too. They protect the bearings from rocks, dust and dirt, which maintains their precision and lengthens their lifespan. All of this top quality is managed within a fairly decent price too, of $16.99 at the time we carried out our research.
Yellow Jacket claim that they build their bearings for racing durability and inspect all their bearings by hand before they package them up to ensure the topmost quality. But, if you don’t agree, you can have a 100% refund, without any questions asked.
Their rating at the time of our research was 4.2/5 - pretty decent for 376 reviews. They are made from stainless steel, which is why they are at the cheaper end of the price spectrum. You get a set of eight but there are no spacers and washers included but you can buy these separately.
These bearings have made the cut into our top ten at 6th place thanks to their cheaper price, possible refund as well as being lubricated with race-quality lubricant. They are unique in their engraved color edging too. Unfortunately, they do not come with spacers or washers, but you can buy these separately if you need them. They do have largely positive ratings and reviews, so you can be sure you’re getting a quality product. And, if you are not happy, there’s always the 100% refund option.
Another Bones product makes our top ten. In 7th place are the Reds ceramic bearings. As you can imagine, the ceramic bearings are much more expensive than their metal counterparts and this is why they have been shunted down into 7th place. At the time of our research, you can pick up a set of these for $67.96.
These Bones give you the top quality and exceptional speed of the more expensive Bones Swiss Ceramic bearings but for much less of a cost. They are really lightweight, providing much faster acceleration and reduced friction. With ceramic balls, the steels is re-polished as any dirt collects inside. The balls also won’t rust which means they will last longer.
The bearings are not ABEC-rated but, as we mentioned above, this is not essential with casual bearings. You get a set of eight bearings that have the cerbec ceramic balls which are waterproof as well as being stronger and harder. The ball retainer is made from nylon, providing great speed and strength. The bearings have a warranty too.
Last of all, they had an average rating of 4.1/5 stars at the time we carried out our research with 122 reviews. This is not bad by any means but equally is not the highest rating in our list. The number of reviews is also indicative of the cost being higher.
If you have the cash to spare, then it is well worth shelling out for ceramic balls. They won’t rust and will stand the test of time thanks to being harder and stronger than other materials. However, you do need to weigh up the cost as not everyone will have $68 to spare. The fact the bearings have a warranty is also pleasing, but the rating could be better if you are spending so much money.
In eighth place is another Bones bearing set, the Super Swiss. These ones have a unique design with six bigger balls for fast acceleration, increased speed and top strength to boot. This is in comparison to the usual seven balls used in the majority of 608 bearings. There is also the non-contact, single rubber shield which is removable for less friction and easy cleaning. The bearings are also pre-lubricated with the very best of lubes: Speed Cream.
The nylon ball retainer is also there for greater speed and strength, giving the bearing and overall skate-rated tolerances and clearances. All of these features combined mean that your ride is fast, smooth and maintained.
These Super Swiss bearings also come with a lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects, which is pretty impressive. People who use Bones Swiss bearings say that they are one of the fastest on the market and, by now, we all know that Bones have been one of the leaders of the longboard bearings market for 28 years. They last a lot longer than some cheaper bearings and this makes up for the difference in price. These ones were retailing at around $51 at the time of our research and they had an average Amazon rating of 4.2/5 stars at the time of our research, based on 263 reviews.
If you are wanting some unique Bones bearings, then these are just the ticket. They are made by Bones, the ever-popular manufacturer of longboard bearings. They are unique in their design with having 6 balls. Additionally, they have that impressive lifetime guarantee against manufacturing faults. Having aid that, these do cost a fair bit and this is primarily why the lie at position eight in our top ten.
It’s another Bones Reds bearing set in at place number 9. After reading all these reviews, you certainly get the idea that this brand is the best wen it comes to longboard bearings. And, this set is no different.
This set have top-quality steel races with better grade and quality balls as well as an outstanding finish on the surface. Like other Reds bearings, they feature non-contact, single, rubber shields that are removable for less friction. You can easily clean longboard bearings, so don't worry when using these Bones Super Reds Skateboard Bearings. The high-speed ball made from nylon in this set offers greater speed and strength.
The bearings have been pre-lubricated with a racing lubricant, Speed Cream. With skate-rated tolerances and clearances, they really give top durability and performance. They are smoother, quieter and longer lasting than other brands. How are they different from traditional Reds? Well, the Super Reds have laser engraving and a black shield.
You get eight bearings for $28.15, so the cost isn’t as much as some either. The reviews are pretty pleasing too, with an average of 4.3/5 stars on Amazon when we carried out our research, with 341 reviews.
These Super Reds are everything that traditional Bones Reds bearings are but better. What sets them apart is their black shield and laser engraving. As well as this, they have all of the usual fabulous features of Bones bearings: the removable shield made from rubber, high quality materials, pre-lubricated with Speed Cream, and with smoother, quieter movement. The downside is that they are more pricey than other Reds bearings but still not bad by any means. The reviews are great too.
Last but not least are the Next Generation bearings from Bronson Speed Co. These ones have just squeezed into our top ten. They have a deep groove, so the balls roll deeply into the channels, reducing the chances of breakage and damage. They have frictionless shields with straight edges that pop off and are resistant to dirt and moisture making them easy to clean.
The bearings have micro-grooves too which improves the speed, spin and lubrication. The cage design is there for maximum impact and won’t distort. These bearings are not the cheapest in the list, retailing at around $25, nor are they the most popular. But, with 88 reviews at the time of our research, they had an average rating of 4.1/5 stars.
These Bronson Speed Co. bearings are a great buy with deep channels and frictionless shields. They are easy to clean but are not as cheap as some in our list. Also, they do have a fairly good rating and positive reviews, which is pleasing.
Longboard Bearings Cleaning & Maintenance
So, you’ve got your bearings and they have got a bit dirty. Cleaning and maintaining your bearings is essential if you want your bearings to last and for you to enjoy the smoothest and fastest ride possible. Let’s have a look at what you will need to clean your longboard’s bearings properly:
- The dirty bearings
- Your skate tool
- A lubricant
- Old rag or towel
- An alcohol-based solution to clean the bearings such as ethanol or methylated spirt
- Lidded container
Next, you need to identify, if you don’t already know, whether your bearings are in-built bearings or normal bearings. If you have built-in bearings these are less fiddly to clean. If you have normal bearings, make sure that you put all the bits somewhere safe so that you don’t lose them.
Let’s get to it. You need to remove the wheels from your board with your skate tool. You can then remove the bearings with using the axel as leverage. Once the bearings are released from the wheel cores, you can remove the shields with the blade of your tool.
After this, put all of the bearings into the container and fill it with your solution. Close the lid and shake it up to shift all the grime and dirt. If you clean the wheels and bearings regularly, they can be attached to a skateboard and still perform great.
Next, you need to re-lubricate the bearings, just as you do with your skateboard or longboard. Don’t forget to dry each bearing first to rid the bearing of any left-over solution. Using your lubricant of choice, lubricate each of the bearings. Keeping them lubricated means they won’t seize up or heat up. You should also look to lube up your bearings after each skating session if you have been out in the rain. Rain damages and rusts your bearings over time. Of course, some of us have the fancy ceramic or water-resistant bearings so this should not be an issue.
Next, wipe away all the excel oil and put the bearings back into the wheels. Easy as pie!
There you have it: the ten best longboard bearings on the market today brought to you in one handy guide, complete with all the information you could possibly want about longboard bearings. Whether you are an expert or a beginner, finding the right bearings for you needs is important. With our help, you won’t need to try out a lot of bearings as we have done that for you!
We have selected the top choices overall, for those on a budget as well as those who want ceramic bearings for all of the advantages they bring. If you still do not know which one is for you or are in a rush, the best choice is certainly our Editor’s Choice. These bearings tick pretty much every box and are highly rated, highly popular and not at all expensive. Which will you go for?