With our huge skateboard selection, we understand that it can be pretty overwhelming when trying to find the skateboard that's right for you. With that in mind, we've created this handy guide to help you find the board that's just right for you. There are two options when purchasing a skateboard: You can select each component individually, or you can order a pre-assembled complete.
Pre-assembled completes are exactly what their name implies: Fully assembled skateboards ready to go out of the box. They are a great choice for beginners since we have taken all of the guesswork out of putting together components that go well together, and it costs less than purchasing all of the parts individually. The cost benefit also makes pre-assembled completes great for more advanced skaters who want a quality complete without having to sort through our massive catalog of skateboard components.
The main thing to consider when choosing a complete is the board width. We’ll match your deck with trucks and wheels that compliment whichever board size you select. Skateboard decks generally range anywhere from 6.5 inches to 10 inches, but some specialty boards are even larger. Selecting a skateboard width is dependent on both the size of the rider along with personal preference. We’ll go into detail about choosing a board width in the decks section below.
Building a Custom Complete
If you want to choose every component of your skateboard down to the nuts and bolts, you'll want to build a custom complete. To build a custom complete, you'll need to purchase the following elements:
- Skateboard Deck
- Skateboard Trucks
- Skateboard Wheels
- Skateboard Bearings
- Mounting Hardware
- Grip Tape
Depending on your wheel size, you may also want to consider purchasing a set of riser pads, click here for more information about riser pads. If you plan on assembling your board yourself, do yourself a favor and invest in a skate tool if you don't already own one. Skate tools combine nearly everything you need to assemble a skateboard into one handy device. Best of all, they're available for less than $10. Check out our skate tool selection here.
Choosing a Deck
The skateboard deck is arguably the most important component of a complete skateboard. As we mentioned before, selecting a board size depends on both the size of the rider and the rider’s personal preference. For standard skateboards, the main factor in selecting a deck is the width, which generally falls into one of four categories:
These decks are ideal of smaller riders, usually under 13 years of age and shorter than 5’3”. However, if your shoe size is larger than a size 8, you may want to consider a wider board.
7.5” – 8”
This is the standard board size for average size adult riders doing street skating and technical tricks.
8” – 8.25”
Good for skating pools, ramps and parks, or street riders with larger feet and want a little more room.
8.25” and Wider
Good for vert, pools, or just cruising the streets.
When it comes to technical skating, a general rule of thumb is the wider the board, the harder it is to perform complex flip tricks like tre flips. However, those with larger feet may find it easier to land tricks with a wider board since there is a little more room for error. Once again, it’s all about personal preference.
There are two things to consider when choosing trucks: height and width. The axle width (the entire width of the truck) should be relatively close to the width of your deck. Trucks are measured by either the width of the axle or the width of the hanger, which is generally 2.75” shorter than the axle. Truck sizes are listed in the item name in inches or millimeters. You can use this guide to find the right truck for your deck size:
3.0", 3.5", 4.0", 4.5" - 6.5" to 7.0" deck width
7.75" Axle / 5.0" Hanger (129mm) - 7.25” to 8" deck width
8.0" Axle / 5.25" Hanger (139mm) - 8” to 8.5" deck width
8.5" Axle / 5.75" Hanger (149mm) - 8.5” to 9" deck width
9.0" Axle / 6.5" Hanger (169mm) - 9” to 10” deck width
10.0" Axle / 8.5" Hanger (215mm) - 10” and above deck width
Truck height also plays a factor when choosing a truck, as it will determine the distance between the bottom of your deck and the truck hanger. There are three truck heights: Low, Mid, and High. Trucks are generally Mids unless otherwise noted, and Mids work well for most riding styles, but Lows and Highs may be considered for the following reasons:
Low: Extra stability for flip tricks, easier board rotation. Should be used with smaller wheels (50-55mm) as anything larger increases the risk for wheel bite, which is when the board makes contact with the wheel, usually sending the rider flying.
High: Designed for larger wheels (anything above 56mm), these trucks are perfect for cruising and carving.
Trucks are sold in sets of two unless otherwise noted
Wheels come in countless colors and designs, but the most important factors are diameter (size) and durometer (hardness). As always, it’s a matter of riding style and personal preference. Here are the factors when selecting a wheel:
52-55mm – Good for technical tricks, easier to flip and more stable
56-60mm – Standard wheel size. Good for beginners and all-around skating
60mm and larger – Fast, more forgiving on rougher surfaces. Usually used for longboards
87a – Soft and grippy. Great for longboards and riding on rough surfaces
95a – Slightly harder and faster than 87a wheels, but still very grippy
99a – Standard wheel durometer. Average speed and grip, good choice for beginners or all-around riding
100a+ - The hardest and fastest wheel available, but not as grippy as softer wheels
Bearings are what determine how well the wheel spins upon the axle. The difference between different bearings is in quality. Lower end bearings will get the job done, but more expensive bearings are made with better sealing, more inner ball-bearings, and higher quality metals, which leads to an overall smoother ride.
Riser pads are used to increase the distance between the bottom of the deck and the wheels. Wheels smaller than 55mm usually don’t require risers, but 1/8” risers can help keep the hardware from vibrating loose without dramatically increasing height.
Large wheels and loose trucks increase the chance for wheel bite, so if you prefer either of those, you’ll want to add a set of riser pads.
Hardware doesn’t vary much, but if you’re using risers you’ll need longer hardware. Here are the sizes you’d need depending on your riser size:
No Riser - 7/8" to 1"
1/8” Riser - 1" to 1 1/8"
1/4” Riser - 1 1/4"
1/2” Riser - 1 1/2"
Grip tape is the material on the top of the deck which helps your shoes grip the board. One sheet is enough to cover any standard sized board. Grip tape comes in a variety of colors and designs, but other than that, the difference between grip tapes is negligible.