Ten of the best skateboard bearings
Nowadays, there’s a lot of talk about decks, trucks, and wheels. Unfortunately, you don’t always hear much about one of the most complex and important components of your skateboard – bearings! Your skateboard bearings can have a drastic influence on the performance of your skateboard. Even if you have the very best deck, trucks, or wheels, your experience can be ruined by old, dirty, or low-quality bearings. Nowadays, skateboard bearing companies have perfected the manufacturing process down to a science. Especially high-end skateboard bearings, which are designed and crafted with incredibly high tolerances and precision, resulting in speed and performance that’s incomparable to what was found on the first skateboards of the 1960’s.
If you don’t have an idea of what kind of skateboard bearings to look for, it’s easy to find a lot of very cheap and poor-quality bearings on the internet. In recent years, many non-skate-related manufacturers have tried to “cash in” on producing skate bearings without understanding the performance requirements necessary for skateboarding. Even worse, there are some factories that illegally produce low-quality “fake” bearings and stamp the brand name of top manufacturers like “Bones” on the bearing. Just like brands such as Louis Vuitton, the “real” bearing companies must fight to keep fakes of their product off the market.
This list of the ten best skateboard bearings includes only premium-quality bearings that are sold from authorized dealers. That way, you can be sure you are getting authentic, high-performance components that will make your ride a whole lot smoother!
Bones Reds skateboard bearings are essentially the standard by which all other bearings are judged. Not only have they been on the market for longer than most other bearings, they remain to be one of the best-selling skate bearings of all time. Reds undeniably offer a price/performance ratio that exceeds practically all other “standard” skateboard bearings on the market today. They are not the best choice for longboarders, transition/bowl skaters, or skaters who demand the highest performance, but they are the go-to bearing for the average skateboarder. They have a classic design featuring red rubber shields and a high-speed nylon ball cage lubricated with Bones speed cream from the factory. With occasional cleaning and maintenance, Bones Reds will last a very long time, making them well worth the +/- $20 price tag.
What could possibly be better than Bones Reds? How about Super Reds! As you’ve probably guessed, Bones Super Reds are the step up in performance from standard Bones Reds. According to Bones, Super Reds have superior surface polishing, higher quality steel races and higher-grade steel balls. As a result, they are just as fast as standard Reds, but “quieter, smoother, and longer-lasting”. Therefore, if you already know and love Bones Reds but would like something that will last a bit longer, Super Reds are an excellent choice from the lineup of Bones Bearings products.
It’s not just Bones that offers premium quality skateboard bearings! The Bronson G3 bearings certainly give high-end Bones bearings a run for their money. Plus, they have some awesome features not found in other bearing designs. Mainly, Bronson claims that the steel balls are placed in deeper grooves which gives them increased impact resistance and the races are lined with “micro groove” surfaces which evenly distribute lubricant on the balls while spinning. In addition, the cool logo engravings on the outer rings and the fact they are packaged in nitrogen-filled shrink wrap to reduce oxidation just gives you the impression that Bronson has paid great attention to detail to make the best possible skateboard bearings they could.
Bones Super Swiss 6 bearings are unique from nearly all other skateboard bearings because they only feature 6 steel balls (as opposed to the standard of 7). The six balls are also slightly larger than those found in 7 ball (608) bearings. This results in a higher top speed than what’s capable from a 608 bearing. Primarily, this top speed performance is especially awesome for longboarders or even people who ride an electric skateboard. If you like to skate down hills or if you skate bowls or transition, the Bones Super Swiss 6 will deliver all the speed you can handle.
Shopping on a budget? No problem, Mini-Logo has you covered with an excellent, entry-level bearing at a great price. The Mini-Logo “precision skate bearings” also referred to as “608ZRS”, are produced by the same manufacturer as Bones and even lubricated with Bones speed cream. If you’re looking to buy a cheap bearing that will reliably get you from point A to B, these are your best choice. What sets them apart from price-point alternatives is their removable rubber shields that allow for easy cleaning and maintenance, a feature not always found on lower priced bearings.
Andale is a relatively new bearing company having began in 2010. However, in such a short amount of time, Andale has built up one of the best skate teams of any brand on our list. It was founded by Paul Rodriguez and Joey Brezinski but features a team of riders including Ryan Sheckler, Yuto Horigome, Torey Pudwill, and Tiago Lemos, just to name a few. Honestly, these dudes are some of the best skateboarders in the world. It says a lot about the quality and performance of these bearings considering they are what these legends really skate! The Andale Swiss bearings are at the top of their product offering and have been tested to withstand loads of up to one ton. So, even if you put on your skateboard backpack full of 2000lbs of gear, the Andale Swiss bearings will still roll down the street!
Flip HKD Bearings – time-tested! Even though Flip is probably not the first brand that comes to mind when you think of skateboard bearings, the Flip HKD bearings have certainly been rolling in many skater’s wheels for years. These bearings are also a great option for those with a price-point of around $10. They look cool with an all-black design, feature removable shields for easy cleaning, and the steel balls have a micron coating that helps them roll faster for longer. A great choice if you’re not into the Mini-logo bearing offerings.
If style is what you’re after, the Kyle Walker pro bearings from Cortina are just what you’re looking for. Cortina is a relatively new bearing company, but their products have already added an innovative touch to what’s on the market. Cortina is one of the only, if not the only, bearing company that features 3 different shield colors included in the package. The Walker pro bearings include black shields, green shields, or red-grey checkered shields to change to your liking.
In addition, the pack includes gold axle nuts, washers, and Cortina stickers all inside a stylish tin. Plus, the gold outer ring of each bearing has a super cool bird print. You may not see this when the bearings are in the wheels, but it’s a stylish touch to an already cool looking bearing. It’s the details that count!
If Herman skates ‘em, they’ve gotta be good! Similar to the Cortina bearings on our list, the Shake Junt Bryan Herman pro bearings are definitely one of the coolest looking bearings out there. The light-blue removable rubber shields feature the Shake Junt name and logo as well as a “B. Herman” signature on each bearing. Four included spacers keep them nicely in line. Who knows, maybe they’ll even help you land better hard flips!
This list wouldn’t be complete without arguably the best skateboard bearing in the world – Bones Swiss Ceramics. With a very hefty price tag of $140+, Swiss Ceramics are the highest-precision offering from arguably the best skate bearing manufacturer there is. What sets them apart from the rest is that they do not contain steel balls, but rather ceramic balls which Bones claims are “lighter, harder, stronger, waterproof, and longer-lasting than the finest steel balls”. While the price may seem a bit steep, there is actually a very good justification for it.
Even with great care and maintenance of high-end bearings with steel balls, over time they will naturally develop scratching and wear out. Swiss Ceramics will essentially outlast any bearing with steel balls. There are reviews from skaters online who have used the same Swiss Ceramics for 8-10 years. Therefore, think of how many bearings you would normally buy over an 8-10 year time frame. In the end, you would actually save money and skate a much better bearing with Bones Swiss Ceramics if you were to use them for this long. Thus, Bones Swiss Ceramics are the absolute best option for die-hard skaters who plan to continue skating for years to come.
Cleaning and maintenance – get 3x–5x longer life out of your bearings!
Regularly cleaning your skateboard bearings is critical to getting the best performance and longevity out of them! All bearings, regardless of their price or quality, will last significantly longer with a simple cleaning a few times a year at most. Here’s some products that make the cleaning process much easier.
The Bones “Bearing Cleaning Unit” allows you to quickly line up your bearings on a shaft with the shields removed. Fill the bottle half way up with a non-water-based cleaning solution and simply shake the bottle with the bearings inside. The dirt will quickly and effectively be flushed out of each bearing, providing a much better and faster clean than trying to flush each bearing out individually.
An absolute must-have for each time you clean your bearings. By “must-have”, we mean, you have to put lubricant on your bearings after they are cleaned or else they will become permanently destroyed the next time you go skate. Bones Speed Cream is essentially the industry-standard skateboard bearing lubricant and it will work with all bearings.