What are the best skateboard bearings? This is a question (one of many) that plague skateboarders of all kinds. Assuming that the fastest bearings are the "best skateboard bearings" seems to be the general consensus, but how true is that assumption? Honestly, the best skateboard bearings will vary from person to person. There are many skateboarders who don't like the really fast ones, and there are some good reasons for it. Every skateboarder has different styles, different wants, and different needs.
In this article, we are going to discuss how you can figure out what the best skateboard bearings are for yourself, by briefly going over the pros and cons of each type as well as which type of skateboarders would benefit the most from each individual kind.
ABEC 3 Skateboard Bearings
Best for: Beginners/Intermediate skateboarders
ABEC 3 skateboard bearings are usually best for young kids and beginners to the sport. They are very affordable and come standard with most complete skateboards you buy. ABEC 3s can also be found at any skate shop both online and in the real world. You can always have piece of mind knowing that all of the best skateboard bearing manufacturers make ABEC 3s at very good prices.
Probably the worst part about ABEC 3s is that a lot of skateboarders don't like how much slower they are compare to the higher rated ones. ABEC 3s are also far from the best skateboard bearings in terms of durability. They don't react well at all to water and they need lubricated every so often to keep them from locking up. Skateboard bearing lubrication can be found at skate shops online and around town. It costs a few bucks to buy but if you don't use it when needed, what could be the best skateboard bearings for you will soon become worthless.
ABEC 5 Skateboard Bearings
Best for: Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced skateboarders
ABEC 5 skateboard bearings are considered by some skateboarders as the best skateboard bearings because they are not too fast and not too slow. ABEC 5s seem to have that happy medium that satisfies most skateboarders who use them. They are also pretty affordable compared to the higher rated ones and many complete skateboards come standard with them installed. Since they are so standard, it's easy to find them made by the best skateboard bearing companies in the business.
There are really not too many bad things to say about ABEC 5s because they are just so "medium" that they don't go to any extremes on either the positive aspects or the negative ones. ABEC 5s are also a little more durable than ABEC 3s, but they still need maintenance more than the higher rated ones and still don't seem to react well with water. Some skateboarders may not think they are fast enough for them, but they are still faster than ABEC3s or ABEC1s (which you rarely see on any skateboards).
ABEC 7 Skateboard Bearings
Best for: Intermediate/Advanced skateboarders
Durability: Above Average/High
ABEC 7 skateboard bearings are always an upgrade for skateboard bearings as they are a lot smoother and noticably faster than their lower rated counterparts. The lifespan of ABEC 7s are also better and they don't require as much re-lubrication as ABEC 3s, and can handle water better as well. You can find ABEC 7s made by several reputable companies and most consider Shorty's Black Panthers ABEC 7s as the best skateboard bearings out there, but there are a few other really popular brands to choose from as well.
Some skateboarders simply wouldn't benefit too much from ABEC 7s because they may be too fast for them. Some people think that the best skateboard bearings are ones that make you go super fast, but this isn't always true. If you're still in the process of learning tricks, gaps, or grinds, then ABEC 7s may cause you to have trouble keeping your balance after you land because of how fast you're still going. The prices on ABEC 7s can also pose a problem for many skateboarders.
ABEC 9 Skateboard Bearings
Best for: Advanced skateboarders/cruiser boards/longboards
Speed: SUPER FAST!!
Skateboarders of all styles, ages, shapes and sizes look at ABEC 9s as the best skateboard bearings available for several reasons. For one, they are extremely smooth and allow you to go really fast, making it easier for you to pick up speed without exerting a whole lot of energy. ABEC 9 skateboard bearings are also famous for their durability and how long they tend to last. You could get away with skateboarding though puddles quite a few times (though I don't recommend it) because ABEC 9s are the best skateboard bearings when it comes to staying durable and handling wet conditions. Rarely will you ever have to re-lubricate them either, which saves you both time and money.
ABEC 9s may be extremely fast, but as I mentioned earlier about the ABEC 7s, fast bearings do not always equate to the best skateboard bearings. The prices on ABEC 9s are far from the best as well. Sure, there are ways of finding cheap skateboard bearings and lots of other cheap skateboard stuff, but sometimes you end up sacrificing quality for those discount sale prices. ABEC 9s are not recommended at all for children or those who are still new to skateboarding. They don't make you a better skateboarder and in fact can sometimes have the opposite effect as I explained earlier.
So what are the best skateboard bearings?
Now that we have gone over what all of the different kinds there are to choose from, the best skateboard bearings could be any one of them, but which ones are best for you? It's obvious that it's impossible to proclaim one type of skateboard bearing as the "best", because they all have their ups and downs, and it just depends on your personal preferences and skill level. If you still can't decide what the best skateboard bearing is for you, try taking a look at my other, more in-depth, articles about each different type that I have linked up within the text of this article.