Top 10 Best Skateboard Bearings (Oct 2019) : Review & Buyer’s Guide
Skateboarding has been my thing ever since I saw my older brother tearing down the street with his older, cooler pals on their boards. At first, I thought I wanted to learn to skate so I could be just like them. However, one day I borrowed my brother’s old first skateboard and I was instantly hooked. I understood why they skated and from then on it wasn’t about wanting to be like my bro, it was about wanting the exhilaration of skateboarding.
But I hit a snag. My brother had kept this board for nostalgia purposes, and it didn’t realize that the bearings in it were shot. It was making it very difficult to ride. I plucked up the courage on weekend to ask my brother for help. He did the board up for me, showed me how it worked and added some new bearings. I couldn’t believe the difference a few bearings could make. Ever since then and since I’ve grown older, I’ve realized the difference good bearings make and it’s been my mission to pass on this knowledge to others, hence my writing of these reviews and buyer’s guide so that you can find the best skateboard bearings for you and your needs.
What You Will Get Here
- Buying Guide
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Editor’s Choice: Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings 8 Pack
- Yellow Jacket Premium Skateboard Bearings
- Fireball Dragon Precision Skateboard Bearings
- Bones Super Swiss 6 Skateboard Bearings 8 Pack
- Heady Shake Pro Skateboard Bearings
- Bones Bearings Reds Bearings (8 pack W/Spacers and Washers)
- Zealous Bearings for Skateboards and Longboards (Steel)
- Mini Skater 16 PCS Silver Generic ABEC
- Bones Super Reds Skateboard Bearings 8 Pack
- esKape Abec-9 608-RS by by CJESLNA
- Skateboard Bearings: Care & Cleaning
Ceramic vs Steel Vs Titanium – Which Material is Better?
The majority of bearings for skateboards are steel. Steel bearings vary in their overall quality due to the quality of the sealing, the ball bearings inside and, of course, the steel’s quality itself. As a general rule, the more expensive a bearing the higher its quality. Cheap bearings are usually made from inexpensive materials and have poorer sealings and fewer ball bearings inside. Paying a couple of dollars extra for decent quality steel will mean that you bearings are not as susceptible to dirt and rust.
Ceramic bearings are the relative new kids on the block when it comes to skateboard bearings. They are super smooth with little friction and also don’t expand if they get warm. They do cost a little more than metal bearings but are better quality and don’t require much maintenance.
There has been some discussion in the skateboarding industry about if ceramic bearings are superior but there are certainly more expensive. The old adage states that you get what you pay for, but is this the case? Well, ceramic bearings have ceramic balls within them, but the other parts of the bearings are still usually made from metals such as steel and titanium. But, the quality of the metals is usually better and therefore this is why they are pricier. The enhanced performance comes from the combination of the ceramic with the better-quality steel parts.
Titanium is intensely durable, highly resistant to corrosion and lightweight too. Titanium bearings have a similar level of performance to steel bearings, but they tend to last a bit longer due to titanium’s added strength and corrosion-resistance. They do need to be kept lubricated though to ensure that friction is reduced.
Different skateboarders have different preferences for which of the three types of bearing that they prefer. At the end of the day, it comes down to budget as well as personal preference.
Is the ABEC Rating an Indicator for High Quality Skateboard Bearings
ABEC is an acronym that stands for Annular Bearing Engineers Committee. It is a measurement of the fineness of the rolling parts of the bearings. A higher ABEC rating indicates a lower tolerance in terms of errors in the process of manufacturing. The rating is directly indicative of the quality that the bearing has.
Having said that, ABEC ratings are not as crucial in skateboarding as with machinery as the RPM achieved is fairly low compared with that of machines. Generally, the a high-ABEC-rated bearing will not get to its full potential due to the low speeds seen in skating.
ABEC-7 or ABEC-9 bearings are able to reach 20-30,000RPM at their best. For a wheel measuring 54mm (which is pretty standard in skateboards), they would need to travel at speeds of more than 200km/h. Therefore, quite often, the ABEC rating can be definitively ignored but it does give you a good idea of the overall quality of the bearing.
Instead, there exists bearings that are labeled “Skate Rated” or “Skate Tested”. These are often resistant and have been designed to meet all demands put on them by skateboarders, such as turning with lateral forces and landing from tricks.
New developments are being made all the time and titanium and ceramic bearings often provide extra durability and strength to traditional steel bearings, as mentioned above. The following gives information on to how the different ABEC ratings perform generally, not specifically in skateboarding.
ABEC-1 bearings are usually the most inexpensive and the crudest. The steel quality is not high, and they are not as accurate as other bearings.
ABEC-3 bearings are pretty cheap and therefore do not turn as quickly or as smoothly.
ABEC-5 bearings are the usual standard for most skateboards. They provide a quick speed yet are affordable too.
ABEC-7 bearings are smooth and fast but cost slightly more.
ABEC-9 bearings or 9+ bearings are the fastest. They are perfect for skating downhill and for boarders that want speed.
Skateboard Bearings Size
With a few exceptions, all skateboard bearings are the typical industrial “608” size. This means they have an 8mm bore (0.315”) or 10mm (0.394”) depending on the axel size and an outside diameter that measures 22mm (0.866”) with a 7mm- (0.276”) width.
The standard size of bearing usually has a ball retainer, balls, optional closures and inner and outer races. Also, there is a rubber or metal shield giving a seal to the entire unit. These shields help to minimize the exposure of contaminants getting into the bearings as well as reducing any leakage of the lubricant.
There are other sizes of bearings available: roller bearings, mini-bearings and y-bearings too. Having said that, they are not usually found in skateboards as nearly all skateboards use the 608 size.
Our Top 10 Product List
Our Editor’s Choice of the best skateboard bearings are the Bones Reds. These bearings are skate rated from the best-selling brand of skate bearings in the U.S. They are made to the top most quality giving the best combination of durability and performance as well as being low cost. They are near the same performance of the premium Bones brand of “Swiss” bearings, but they are not as expensive.
These bearings come pre-lubricated with a racing lubricant called Speed Cream and have a non-contact, singular, rubber removable shield to give easy access to clean them with less friction. They also feature a ball retainer made from nylon, providing greater speed and strength.
As mentioned, these bearings are skate rated. To be more specific, they are skate-rated for tolerances, lubricant, materials and clearance, which is fantastic! For your money you get a set of eight bearings as well as the instructions and a logo sticker.
At the time of our research, these bearings had the most ratings of any of our top ten products in this list with 1380 reviews. On top of this, the average rating on Amazon is an impressive 4.5/5 stars! You can see why it’s our number one in our best skateboard bearings list. When we carried out our research, these bearings were not expensive either, costing around $16.51. Whilst they are not the cheapest in our list, they certainly provide excellent value for money given their quality.
Our Editor’s Pick is a real find for us. It has the most ratings out of all of our chosen bearings and these ratings average at 4.5/5 stars. We loved it for its quality and the smoothness it provided when skating at all speeds and the durability it offered when our testers tried out a few tricks. They are great value for money too. As we mentioned, they were not the cheapest bearings in our list but at around $16, they hardly break the bank either! If it’s value for money, robustness and reliability you’re after, we really think these are the best skateboard bearings that you could buy on the market today.
Our second place and runner up are the Yellow Jacket Premium skateboard bearings. They are created using German manufacturing methods which are some of the most precise techniques in the world, meaning that the bearings they produce are of the highest provision too.
They are made from premium quality steel, which is the highest quality steel that is available worldwide. It gives a precise and smooth spin that is unrivaled, according to the manufacturers. These bearings, known as Stingers, come with color seals that are unique with seven color choices so that you can customize your own ride. The seals protect the bearings from rock, dust and dirt which extends the lifespan of the bearings, maintaining their precision.
Despite their top quality, their price is not too bad. They are the third most expensive in our list but were still only $22.99 at the time of our research. The manufacturers agree that the price is reasonable for the quality they provide: they are built for both racing and a long life. In fact, they back up their claims with a money-back guarantee, no questions asked! So, if after purchasing these bearings you are not satisfied, you can have a full refund.
These bearings don’t have as many reviews as our Editor’s Pick with 387 reviews. However, this is actually the second highest number of reviews in our top ten and these reviews had an average rating of 4.2/5 at the time we researched. In fact, four of our top ten had this same average rating, with two lower than this. Still, it cannot be argued that this is a great rating!
Our runner up nearly matches our first place for quality and durability. Indeed, it is a very close second and was a worthy contender for the top spot. The reasons it dropped behind our Editor’s Pick was due to its higher price and the fact the other one was so highly and frequently rated. But if you are wanting an alternative to the top choice that is customizable thanks to its seven color options, then the Yellow Jacket Premium bearings make an excellent choice.
Our third-place skateboard bearings are the Fireball Dragon Precision bearings. The manufacturers of these bearings promise 100% satisfaction and we certainly not disappointed. There are two kinds of possible lubricants: Race and Endure. The Race lubricant is a light oil applied for speediness in, you guessed it, racing! The Endure lubricant is slightly heavier and is designed for longevity.
The shields are dual labyrinth as standard with two shields on each side to give the utmost protection from dirt, dust and any other elements that would otherwise creep in. You can really just install these ones and forget about them, it’s that easy! The quality of the materials is great too. The bearings are a standard 608 bearing measuring 22mm at the outside diameter with 7mm in width and 8mm at the inner diameter for the axle.
Fireball test all their bearings themselves under strenuous circumstances, so you know that you’re getting something that will last. But, what do others make of these bearings? Well, as we started our research, the average rating was at 4.5/5 stars on Amazon with 128 reviews. Having said that, later on in our research process when we checked again this average rating dropped to 4.1/5 after a further 3 reviews, which is one of the lowest in our top ten. So, why the third-place spot? Because of their price! These babies are just $15.95! That’s the second cheapest in our list.
These third-place beauties have lots going for them. The two types of lube, the great price, the good reviews, the double shields… fantastic! They didn’t quite get the top two spots due to their reviews that fluctuated and were fewer in number, but they are certainly a good buy. We loved how there were two different lubrication options for speed and for endurance and the dual shields were a great find on these bearings too!
Another Bones set of bearings makes it into the fourth place. These ones are the ones that were referred to with our top choice. These are the premium option from Bones but, of course, they come with an increased cost. We’ll come to that later!
These ones are unique in their design in that they have six balls (rather than the usual seven) that are larger than average at 8mm for faster acceleration, greater strength, and increased speed. There is a non-contact, single shield which is made from rubber and is fully removable making it easy to clean and giving less friction. These ones are pre-lubricated with Bones’s Speed Cream, which is competition rated! There is a nylon ball retainer adding to the speed and strength.
They have been given skate-rated tolerances, materials and clearances and also come with a lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects, which is excellent. Bones Swiss bearings are renowned for being one of the best skateboard bearings in the industry thanks to their speed and their durability. They last a lot longer than most bearings but that does come at price.
These are the most expensive bearings in our list, which is why we have placed them fourth despite their quality and durability. Their price at the time we researched was $56.32, which you can appreciate is the most expensive in our list. Their average rating was at 4.2/5 based on 265 reviews.
The Bones Swiss bearings have a reputation that is most certainly worth writing home about. The six rather than seven balls gives these bearings an edge because the balls are larger at 8mm too. With the addition of the Speed Cream and a lifetime warranty, there’s an awful lot going on with these bearings. Yet, they won’t be for everyone given their cost, hence their place in our top ten.
The Heady Shake Pro bearings are made from super strong and durable titanium and are perfect for your skateboarding. They are super smooth and super fast too. In fact, it is their precision that is allegedly unrivaled and unmatched in their design. They provide a high spinning speed, quiet rotation as well as a durability that is long lasting for support that is more efficient. These bearings are also able to be used on other equipment too such as roller and inline skates and longboards.
These bearings come in a pack of eight and include four skateboarding spacers as well as a sticker that is waterproof. In fact, Heady Shake are so confident in their design that if you are not happy, they will give you a 100% refund! This shows the company’s confidence in its premium craftsmanship and its reliability.
As for their rating, they come with the best ABEC rating: ABEC-9, meaning that they are as precise as possible, giving the fastest and smoothest ride. The fact that they are made from titanium means that they are resistant to corrosion and have a wear performance that has been proven. The shields accompanying the bearings are single, sealed and made from rubber. They also come pre-lubricated with a superior speed oil.
Lastly, these bearings have an average rating of 4.3 with 146 reviews on Amazon, which is a decent score. They retail for $22.95, which for titanium bearings, is not a bad price at all.
These titanium bearings are fantastic in their quality thanks to an ABEC-9 rating. They gave us a smooth and a fast ride with no signs of wear and tear after use. We were 100% satisfied but, if we weren’t, we were pleased to see the 100% money-back guarantee. They do come in at a slightly higher price than many on our list but we’re only talking a few dollars, so for titanium bearings, they really should not be ruled out.
These Bones Reds bearings are the same as our Editor’s Pick, so you know already that they are highly rated. The difference with these ones is that the eight pack of bearings comes with spacers and washers too, which could save you money in the long run if this is something that you need to purchase.
Let’s have a look again at why these bearings are so good! First up, they have a single, removable, non-contact shield made of rubber to provide less friction and for easy cleaning. There’s also the nylon ball retainer which gives high speed and strength to the bearing.
The balls have been pre-lubricated with a racing lubricant called Speed Cream and the bearings themselves have been awarded skate-rated tolerances, clearances and materials (as well as that famous lube). These all combined give the best possible durability and performance.
They are made in China to the Bones’s specifications in a facility that is dedicated in providing bearings of the highest possible quality for skating. In fact, each bearing is inspected not once but twice before they are shipped to the buyer! As you know, they are our number-one bearings because they perform almost as well as the Swiss bearings from Bones but at a smidgen of the cost.
Now, the only difference between these bearings and the ones in the top spot is that these come with the washers and spacers as mentioned. This makes them a useful purchase if you need those too. They have the same 4.5/5 rating on Amazon based on 316 reviews. Whilst this is not nearly as many as the bearings when bought alone, you can consider those ratings too given the bearings are one and the same. These ones sell for $17.94, which is not that much more than the bearings alone. You are effectively getting the washers and spacers for a little over a dollar.
If you are going the whole hog where maintenance of your skateboard is concerned and you are replacing the bearings, washers and spacers, then this option makes a good choice. Not only do you get the very same bearings as our number-one pick, but you also get the spacers and washers. In breaking down the cost, compared to our number one pick for the bearings only, these extra bits are costing you a little over a dollar!
The Zealous bearings are made from steel and are standard 608 size, with 8mm axel holes. These ones have built-in speed rings measuring 0.5mm as well as green seals made from rubber keeping debris and dirt outside of the bearings. They have been pre-lubricated with Archoil Nano-Ceramic Grease.
This unique lubricant is fantastic as the nano-ceramic compound fills all the tiny asperities and deformations in the bearing. The deformations within the bearing cause friction and therefore heat. It is this combination that focuses the nano-ceramic compound to the areas that need it. The micro-coating is actually five times harder than the host alloy metal it bonds to and creates a bond on a molecular level. The end result is a surface which is almost frictionless, giving a friction coefficient at 0.003, which is in the lowest field of Tribology. It also has a low risk of water washout so any corrosion within the inside of the bearings is virtually eliminated.
You have to agree that, with these bearings, it’s the nano-ceramic lube that is attractive! That and the cost! They cost $15.99 at the time we researched and tested. This is what we loved about these bearings. Some clever people have designed a bearing that pretty much self-heals if any deformations are present or occur over time due to use. Genius!
However, the overall rating for the bearings was 4.2/5 when we started out research and had dropped to 4.1/5 by the time we completed our testing. This was based on 165 reviews. This second rating is actually the second lowest of all our ratings, hence these bearings being in place number 7 in our list despite their amazing lube!
We loved these bearings for the lube that they came pre-prepped with. It made for a smooth ride with no snags. We especially loved the fact that these bearings almost had a self-healing action within the lube as the heat caused by any friction resulted in the nano-ceramic particles within the lube to form molecular bond with the alloy metal of the bearings themselves. How brilliant!
In eighth place are the Mini Skater 16 bearings in size 608. They are pre-lubricated with speed lubricant and are ABEC-9 rated for optimum precision. This means that they’re of a decent quality, which is great, especially when you consider what they cost (more on that later!). The packaging was pretty solid too.
What is great about this set of bearings is that, for the cost, you actually get 16 bearings rather than the standard eight that most sets come in. Twice the amount is great! However, there is a draw back to this that we will get to.
The drawback of this is that you probably won’t need more than eight bearings at a time unless, of course, you have more than one board. Of course, you can keep the other eight for when you need to change them again, which is worthwhile for your money. However, you could be changing these ones again sooner than you expect as the quality is probably not what you’ll get with other bearings in our list.
Having said that, for the price, you can’t fall off! These ones cost just $7.90 for 16, which is the best price per bearing in our list. But, would you rather have quantity over quality? The reviews of these bearings were amongst the bottom two from our list with an average of 3.6/5 when we did our initial research and based on 83 reviews.
I think these ones are summarized particularly by their quantity. For you $7.90 you actually get 16 bearings, which is great. But you do need to be mindful over whether you need a certain quality bearing. While these are ABEC-9 rated, the reviews and their quality expressed by the reviews are disparate. If you’re not a serious skater and are just starting out, then they’re definitely worth a punt the money.
Another lot of Bones bearings and these ones are the Super Reds. Like other bearings from Bones, these have single removable shields that are non-contact and made from rubber providing easy cleaning as well as less friction. They have high-quality steel and a superior finish to their surface.
The nylon ball retainer is ever-present, giving great strength and speed to the bearing. Again, these are pre-lubricated with Bones’s Speed Cream lube for superior performance. With skate-rated tolerances, materials, lubricant and clearances, you are guaranteed a speedy ride as well as durability.
To make them stand our from other Reds bearings, the Super Reds have laser engraving and a black shield. So, why are these SUPER bearings in the 9th spot? Largely it comes down to cost. These ones are more expensive than most others at $28.15 at the time of our research. They also have a rating of 4.2 based on 343 reviews, which is reasonable but below that of the other Bones bearings in our top spot.
We liked these bearings based on their cost and their branding. Bones bearings are good, there’s no argument about that. These ones have snazzy black shields and engraving that set them apart. But, are they as super as their name says? Well, we do think they are but they are in our number nine spot purely as they’re one of the more expensive options and you can get Bones bearings for a lot cheaper with the other types in our list.
Last but by no means least we have the esKape bearings. These are ABEC-9 rated and suitable for longboards or skateboards too in the standard 608 size. They come in a pack of eight with plastic and steel shields and are pre-lubricated. However, we haven’t been able to ascertain the type of lube that has been used with these ones. They do, apparently, have high-quality materials but we found that these are most definitely better for the beginner skater rather than the advanced who wants to do tricks and stunts.
They do come in an attractive red and silver color, which is nice. Yet, they are in last place simply because the quality just isn’t there for the long-term. Others must agree as these are the lowest rated of our top 10 choices with an average rating of just 3.5/5 stars based on 236 reviews. Having said all this, their cost is brilliant at just $8.80! That’s $1.10 per bearing, which is nice.
If you want something cheap and cheerful then this set of eight bearings from esKape is just the ticket. They may not be the best rated but if you are a beginner and are just wanting to get to grips with how to skate then they are perfectly fine. For tricks and stunts, we would probably opt for something that’s a little more durable.
Skateboard Bearings: Care & Cleaning
If you want your skateboard and its bearings to last as long as possible, it is sensible to maintain them regularly by cleaning them. Over time, grit, dust and dirt can gather inside the bearings which will affect the smoothness of the ride and your ability to do maneuvers. You really don’t want to end up face-planting the pavement due to not having looked after your wheels well.
Firstly, you need to get the right tools and equipment for the job. Usually you’ll need a screwdriver and pliers, a ratchet or socket wrench, and you can even get T-tools or special skate tools.
Next you need to remove the wheels from the skateboard using your tools. When you remove all the parts, make sure that you store them somewhere safely. The last thing you want is a lost bolt. I often use a small plastic sandwich bag.
After the wheels are removed you can tease out the bearings with the screwdriver. Take out any additional spacers such as speed rings after taking out the first bearing.
Next, clean off any dust and grime. Do this gently so that you’re not grinding it into the bearings. Use a paper towel or rag to rub them clean. If it is really dirty in there you could use a bit of solvent on the paper towel or rag to get through all that gunk.
To prepare a cleaning solution you can use a bowl and fill it with a grease cleaner solvent or acetone. You can also use rubbing alcohol too and these are often less harsh and quite cheap to buy.
You need to take off the shields from the bearings. You can often prise these off with a pin or knife. Once the shield is off then the balls should be visible. The whole bearing can then be soaked in the cleaning solution. Swirl it all around for a good few minutes and then let it soak for a further ten if possible.
Then you should take the bearings out of the solution and dry them fully. You can use canned air to help if necessary. Remember to apply a lubricant that is specifically designed for skateboarding bearings.
Again, rebuild the bearings by adding the shields and popping them back into place within the wheels. Don’t forget to add any other parts such as spacers if your board has these. At the end of the process, you should make sure that your wheels are reattached properly and can spin in the way they should.
And so, the time has come in which we need to bid you farewell in your skateboarding journey. But, not before a few final words. If you are a seasoned skater and you know what you are looking for in a bearing, then you will probably have an idea by now after reading our reviews as to which bearings you’re going to opt for. However, if this is all still quite new to you then you could still be feeling a little flustered. If that is the case, then take my word and expertise in hand. I struggled knowing what’s what with bearings for so long that I made it my mission to help others out. So, if this is you, you can rest assured that by choosing our number one choice then you will end up with the best skateboard bearings on the market today, all things considered. Go for it! You will not regret your choice.