Bearings are the small parts that go in between your truck and your wheel. They also determine how smooth or fast the wheels spin. Bearings consists of the outer and inner race, balls, the retainer and the shield. Nearly every model and brand share the same size and dimensions, which makes it a lot easier for us skaters.

You can still mix and match your favorite combination of decks, wheels, bearings and trucks. However, that doesn’t mean that all bearings are the same. The best skateboard bearings are faster and more durable, which makes them especially good for experienced skaters. Beginners might enjoy the cheaper and slower versions before investing into higher quality ones.

What is an ABEC rating?

ABEC rating consists of five levels (ABEC 1, ABEC 2, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7 & ABEC 9) and it is mostly used to measure tolerances for industrial machinery, not for skateboarding. Keeping this in mind, a higher ABEC rating does not make a bearing any faster or more durable. It merely demonstrates precision and efficiency of the bearing, which you really do not even use in skateboarding. Furthermore, these bearings have not been specifically designed to cope with the wear and tear of skating.

With this in mind, it is best to concentrate more on the quality of the material instead of it’s ABEC rating.

Steel bearings give you more bang for your buck as good quality bearings can be found on most skate shops for under 20 bucks. They will give you all the performance that you need to become a better skater.

Ceramic or steel bearings?

Nearly all skateboard bearings are either steel or ceramic. In reality, this refers to the balls inside the bearing itself. Models with ceramic balls are called ”ceramic” bearings whereas ones with steel balls are ”steel bearings”. There are also differences in the quality of steel that the balls are made of. These can affect the speed and durability of the bearing. Steel versions are usually priced between $8.00 to $70.00.

Ceramic bearings are faster, lighter and more durable. They also clean up themselves when they spin due to less friction. Sometimes ceramic models even come with extended warranties. However, these qualities also come at a price. A set of eight ceramic bearings will cost you around $50.00 to $140.00.

What are the best skateboard bearings for me?

The best way to find your next set of bearings is to think where you spend most of your time when skating. Street skaters might not benefit from the extra speed of ceramic bearings. This would also be a more budget friendly alternative when looking for an upgrade. Additionally, there are plenty of great quality steel bearings on the market today. If you are an experienced skateboarder that loves riding bowls, then you might enjoy a set of ceramic bearings. While they do last a long time, you must be prepared to pay the price!

Did our buyer’s guide teach you anything new about skateboard bearings? Let us know in the comments. 

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