When building or upgrading your own board, sourcing quality components can be a hassle. Of all of the components, the bearings you get will have relatively little effect when compared to other parts like the wheels or the board itself. That said, bearings still do have an effect on your finished ride, and if you want the best results possible, you’ll still want to get your hands on a great set of bearings.
That’s where we come in. We have gathered five of our favorite bearings, all of them compatible with longboards and other board types, and listed them below for your perusal. Each product entry includes a link to where you can find them along with a writeup of their pros and cons so you can judge them for yourself.
We’ve even gone as far as to include a small buyers’ guide below where you can learn about bearings and what makes certain types better than others. This is handy since you can apply these same standards to other products you’ve been considering, to better choose the right bearings for you.
In a hurry?
If you want to find the best bearings as fast as possible then let us be of assistance. Our top bearings were the Bones Reds Bearings so, if you want to keep your buying experience short and sweet, we think you should check them out. Read the summarized points below and see what you think.
- A well-reviewed set of eight bearings, eight speed washers, and four spacers that are quite affordably priced and ideal for beginners or those on a budget.
- Achieves their high standard of performance via nylon ball retainers that impart great strength and speed to your board. This is only helped by the fact that they arrive pre-lubed with Bones’ own Speed Cream.
- They’re easy to keep and maintain thanks to non-contact removable rubber shields. These also lessen friction, creating an even smoother ride. These bearings aren’t only easy to maintain but are also incredibly versatile, fitting with many boards.
Top 5 Best Longboard Bearings
OUR TOP PICK
The bearings that topped our list are ones that consistently get recommended on the online scene, the Bones Red Bearings. This is an eight pack with eight included spacers and four washers that happens to come from one of the best-selling skate bearing brands out there, and a homegrown, USA-based one, to boot.
The highly-rated performance of these bearings is mainly down to the nylon ball retainers that they use, providing some much-appreciated speed and strength when used on your board. Another key contributor to the popularity of these bearings is the fact that they’re compatible with most board wheels, and with their guaranteed longevity this opens up the option to re-use them if you change boards.
The bearings are covered with a non-contact removable shield that makes maintenance much easier. When cleaning it and the like, they easily detach and reattach even when it’s a beginner that’s tinkering with them. Not only do they make the process of maintaining your board much easier, but they also reduce friction, allowing for a smoother ride.
Speaking of the ease with which these bearings can be worked with, they’ll arrive at your door pre-lubricated with Bones’ own registered trademarked Speed Cream. This eliminates another maintenance concern with another reliable Bones product at virtually no extra cost, with these already being on the more affordable end of the market. The cream itself works great for keeping your ride smooth and undisturbed by the moving parts of your board.
Due to their price point, many skaters consider these to be standard entry-level bearings and they’re not entirely wrong. You can still get all the use out of these until they eventually break, it’s just that the pros would consider these starter parts before getting into the more expensive stuff if you’re serious about longboarding.
- A well-reviewed set of 8 bearings, 8 speed washers, and 4 spacers.
- Nylon ball retainer provides great strength and speed.
- Non-contact rubber shields are removable for easy maintenance and less friction.
- Pre-lubed with Speed Cream lubricant right out of the box.
- Versatile bearings that can be used with all skateboard and longboard wheels.
- Affordably priced.
- Some consider these entry-level due to their price point.
In second place are the Zealous Skateboard and Longboard Bearings. They’re very similar to the Bones Reds Bearings in that they come from a respected brand and have many of the same handy features. The first thing people tend to notice is how precise the eight-millimeter axle holes are, ensuring that you know exactly what is and isn’t compatible with the bearings.
They’re very eye-catching thanks to their bright green rubber seals that also act to keep debris out of the bearing interior. This means these bearings have decent dirt-shielding, but it doesn’t stop there. Part of the sealing process of the Zealous bearings includes a micro-coat that increases hardness and eliminates asperities in the wheel, creating a smoother and uninterrupted ride. It should be noted that the “hardness” of the wheels does manifest itself as these bearings being slower than alternatives.
These bearings will arrive at your door pre-lubricated, another similarity to the previous product, but this time they’re treated with Archoil’s Nanoceramic Grease. This takes away maintenance steps and keeps these bearings riding smooth. The grease must be working since tribology researchers have determined that these bearings have a 0.003% friction coefficient. The average is 0.010, if you needed some context to just how frictionless they are.
- Constructed with precision 8mm axle holes.
- Iconic green rubber seals keep dirt and debris away.
- Micro-coated to increase hardness and eliminate asperities.
- Shockingly low friction coefficient at 0.003% as rated by tribology experts.
- Come pre-lubed with Archoil Nanoceramic Grease.
- Don’t roll as fast as other bearings.
At the midpoint of our list, we found some bearings that are higher up in terms of price but get away with it due to how good they are. I’m talking about Oldboy Premium Ceramic Skateboard bearings, a set of minimalist designed bearings that are made of ceramic, not steel, and take every opportunity to remind you that ceramic is the better of the two. This is particularly the case with how fast ceramic bearings are broken-in when compared to steel ones.
Being ceramic, they’re also very resistant to moisture and wetness. This is great for those who plan for their boards to get wet and dirty through use, or for those who just live in areas prone to wet weather. On the flipside, whether through heavy use or the climate, these bearings don’t get that heated and don’t suffer any negative effects from it because of the material that they’re made from.
Inside these bearings are super hard ceramic balls that minimize friction, keeping damage limited and extending the life of these bearings by doing so. The bearings are pretty easy to get going, too, thanks to the fact that these parts are heavily lubricated. This makes them move easier, and move faster when you are boarding, essentially taking drag out of the equation so that you can ride unrestricted. General wear and tear damage is also mitigated by this lubricant, extending how long these bearings will last you.
- A set of mid- to high-end ceramic bearings with less break-in time than steel alternatives.
- Highly resistant to high heat and moisture environments.
- Super hard ceramic balls reduce friction and extend life.
- Heavily lubricated to reduce drag and wear and tear, adding to longevity.
- Requires frequent lubrication.
Next up we have the Sector 9 Ceramic Bearings, another set made with ceramic just like the previous entry bearings were. Eight bearings are included along with the accompanying spacers, and they’re yours for the highest price point on this list. These high-density ceramic bearings are actually lighter than many of the steel alternatives out there, so you can grab these if you want a lightweight but hardy longboard.
The big draw of these bearings is heat displacement. There are ceramic ball bearings inside these parts that are specifically designed to move heat points around. Where steel bearings would burn themselves out going down hills, ceramic alternatives thrive in these challenging environments, becoming warmed up and stress-tested without any risk of deformation.
These ceramic bearings are also corrosion-resistant, so they’re not just good at combating dirt and water but they also won’t develop long term effects like rust and mold. Being the most expensive on this list, it’s fair to say that you should be wary about picking these up if you’re not very experienced with bearings and DIY board construction.
If you’re unsure yet as to whether these are the best bearings for you, it might help to know that they also arrive having already been lubricated. This cuts down on setup and keeps things running smoothly when the board is going fast, reducing wear and tear and other frictional damage that is accrued over time.
- Pack of eight high-density ceramic bearings that are lighter than steel alternatives.
- Built-in ceramic ball bearings are designed to displace heat.
- Construction material used is naturally corrosion resistant.
- Pre-lubed right out of the box.
- Takes longer to get used to.
- The most expensive bearings on this list.
The final bearings on our list are the MOC Skateboard and Skate Bearings from Oust Bearings, a set of trusty bearings in a variety of sizes, and all from a USA-made company so you know they’ll be made to higher product standards.
A lot of thought went into how these bearings work, with them using an innovative design that optimizes performance during axle and torsional loading. They also use a sophisticated seal system and U-channel design to keep the bearings clean for a very long time.
They’re extremely versatile bearings, as the product listing title suggests, being able to tackle skateboards, cruisers, longboards, and even roller skates, as well as all of the movement types and techniques they all entail.
If these might be the bearings for you, you should know first that whilst they arrive in oil, there is such a thing as too much. If the oil is dripping off of the bearing, then it’s time to wipe it with a disposable or otherwise washable cloth to keep the bearings lubricated but still functional.
- Another set of ceramic bearings manufactured in the US to Stateside standards.
- Innovatively designed for an effective performance via axle and torsional loading.
- U-channel design and sealing system prevents debris build-up.
- Fit with skateboards, longboards, cruisers, and even roller skates.
- Might have too much oil, so require wiping down.
Best Longboard Bearings Buyers’ Guide
How to choose the best longboard bearings
Whether you’re new or rusty to the individual components of a board, this buyers’ guide exists to detail how we ranked the above bearings. In doing so, you can learn about them and even use our same standards to apply them to other bearings you may have been considering, seeing how they measure up.
This is done by separating these bearings into several of their features or even individual sub-components of the part, judging each’s suitability as individuals against what you want your board to do. Using this method, we established four categories, those being whether the bearings are made from steel or ceramic, the sealant quality and maintenance of those bearings, their lubricant situation, and their general compatibility.
Steel or Ceramic
Being the two most popular materials to fashion bearings from, you will likely find yourself having to choose between steel or ceramic bearings. The choice will largely come down to how much of a hole you can take in your wallet since ceramic has steel beat on a lot of things, from general durability to longevity and even how light they are, but ceramic bearings are and always will be the more expensive option, and often by a wide margin.
That said, steel does have some things going for it. It’s less likely to break, is its main superior quality, and some engineering science does back up that the frictional improvement you gain from ceramics is minimal, at best, so with so many big-name brands flooding the market with capable steel alternatives, is it really worth it to spend the extra cash? That’s a choice you’ll have to make but we have a selection of both steel and ceramic bearings above for your consideration and comparison.
Sealant Quality and Maintenance
Sealants often come in the form of either rubber or metal bearing shields, and where you have the choice, we’d say you should always go for the rubber ones. This is because metal ones usually cannot be removed for cleaning, so it’s only a matter of time before they become filthy. Metal sealants also mean that you can’t apply grease directly to the bearings when you may need to.
As you may have guessed, rubber bearing shields are often completely removable so you can access all of the important gear inside and ensure that the area is fully cleaned and cared for. This makes the cleaning and maintenance of these bearings much easier than it already was.
As a minor point, it’s wise to see which lubricant the bearings used. This is just to get an idea of the oil requirements for that model and, if dealing with a larger brand, which of their own on-brand lubricant they’re using. We’d recommend you look at products that are pre-lubricated, cutting down on that all-important setup time so that you can get boarding as soon as possible.
So why is lubricant important? It’s one of the main factors in friction generation. Every set of wheels uses friction when moving, but if too little or even too much is generated then the board won’t be going anywhere. This is why you should keep an eye on how lubricated your wheels are and, when required, top it up without overdoing it.
You want your bearings to be compatible with the trucks and board that you’re working with, obviously. Also, it may be useful if the buyer can get a built-in bearing, which is where the spacers and the washers are connected to the bearing itself. These are just more convenient and suitable for newbies to bearings and DIY board making.
There are other compatibility considerations, too. In this case, you’ll be working with a longboard but there is something to be said for having bearings that are fit for use with a wide variety of boards and other skating gear like roller skates.
This is because they’ll be easier to work with and hardier to tackle all of these similar but distinct board styles. It isn’t necessary by any means, but we think that having bearings that are versatile often speaks to their quality in other criteria, and besides, they’re handy to have around if you dismantle the longboard and need some to be used for your next project!