Finding the best longboard bearings is one of the most important factors to putting together a board that is fast, durable, and gives a smooth ride.
Now the question is: which ones to purchase?
Glad you asked. Here are the top ten best longboard bearings we’ve found.
Important to note: skate bearings are almost always interchangeable between skateboards and longboards as long as they’re sized 608, which is the standard for both skateboards and longboards. The difference is in the spacing between the bearings in the wheels, as longboards need additional spacing. Make sure your spacing is correct!
Bones Swiss Ceramics
The first on our list of the best longboard bearings is Bones Swiss Ceramics.
Before we jump into the ratings, let’s take a quick dive into the Bones Bearings Brand.
Bones Bearings was founded by George Powell in the 1980s after he saw a hole in the skateboard/longboard bearing market. Skaters were only able to use a limited quality of inferior bearings that weren’t built with skateboarding in mind. To counter this, Powell (an engineer who had already made great strides in skateboard wheels) went to find high quality bearings that would be affordable to skaters. His search eventually led him to Switzerland, where he found a custom bearer manufacturer whose bearings were faster than any he had seen. He and the manufacturer set to work to create a line of bearings tailor-made for skateboards and longboards.
Importantly, they designed the bearings to handle axial loads — something that typical bearings were unable to do. They were released with only one shield, to allow skaters to clean and lubricate the ball bearings with ease. The resulting product was Bones Swiss — a product that George Powell himself said, “the only negative … is today’s price.”
Very high quality, very high price: Bones Swiss. For very solid quality at a lower price point, Powell introduced the Reds line, which is made in China. We’ll touch on those here as well (spoilers!)
From the Bones Swiss line, we have the latest: Bones Swiss Ceramics.
If money is no object (or you really, really want that incredible ride), you should splurge on Bones Swiss Ceramics. Bones, which does not use the ABEC scale, pioneered longboard bearings starting back in the 1980s. Their fastest, smoothest product on the market is Swiss Ceramics — named for the ceramic balls inside the bearing. Since they’re ceramic, they aren’t able to rust. Additionally, they’re considerably lighter and smoother than metallic balls, meaning significantly less friction. They’re precision made in Switzerland, making for higher quality control of the finished product.
Reviewers have noted that their wheels seem to spin forever, and they’ve had to purposefully slow down because the bearings glide so easily.
With proper care, these can last for years.
Really, the only downside is their price tag. Over 150 dollars is steep — especially if you’ve just started skating. Work your way up to these beauties.
Bronson G3 Bearings
Next on our list of the best longboard bearings are the Bronson G3.
In 2016, Kyle Wester set the land speed record for skateboarding at over 89 mph. His bearing of choice: Bronson G3. Significantly less expensive than the Swiss Ceramics, the G3s feature advanced engineering around the cage, shield, and track to allow for a much faster ride.
Bronson does use the ABEC rating, and these clock in with an ABEC of 7, meaning 5 micrometers of tolerance (very low).
The balls sit very deep within the channel which reduces axial movement. Additionally, the channel features grooves spaced throughout which further reduce friction. These grooves help efficiently distribute the lubrication around the ball bearings, instead of allowing the lubrication to pile up in front of each ball.
It doesn’t stop there, though. The cage is custom-fitted for the balls to retain oil underneath them, while the non-contact shields sit deep into the race edge to reduce incoming dirt. Plus, they’re free-spinning, which means even less friction.
To top it off, the cage is modeled with a “balls-out” orientation that protects the cage from crashing into the shield or racer during impact.
All these elements work together to keep the G3s from distorting or failing any time soon. For a fast ride that will stay fast, look no further.
Bones Swiss Super Six
A stainless steel bearing from Bones Swiss, the super six has a unique six-ball design, as opposed to the traditional seven or eight. To compensate for the fewer balls, the balls themselves are 20% larger.
What does this increase in diameter mean for performance? Like larger wheels on a car, larger balls in the bearing mean fewer rotations for each of the balls as the bearing rolls. Fewer rotations means less friction, which allows the bearings to handle an increase of speed.
Now the only thing we need is for Bones Swiss to do a Super Six Ceramic set. I’m no engineer, so perhaps this isn’t feasible, but it seems that this combination would put the best of both worlds together.
In the meantime, definitely check out both (if you have the wallet to do so), and get a feel for which one you prefer. Some reviewers have mentioned that the Super Six feel fast right out of the box, whereas the ceramics may take a little time to break in. Either way, you’re getting a high quality product that you won’t be disappointed in. Anything after that is simply a matter of personal taste.
Bones Swiss Bearings
In case you missed our history essay about Bones Bearings earlier, Bones is the company that created high-performance skate bearings. These are the original bearings. The only difference between the classic Bones Swiss and the Bones Swiss Ceramic is the ball itself. Here, these are made out of metal. Unlike ceramic, metal is prone to rusting, which means that keeping these bearings clean and out of the rain is a top priority. However, metal is more durable than ceramic, so if you can keep these in working order, they will last you possibly years.
Again, due to the metal nature, you will notice more friction than the ceramic bearings. However, at nearly 60 dollars a package, these are still a very high quality item that will give your longboard a great ride. Plus, these are the bearings that kicked off the entire industry of performance bearings. Give them a purchase out of a sense of respect for your roots!
Heady Shake Pro Darkside for Longboards
Heady Shake is a bit of a newcomer to the bearing game, and they take a slightly different tack to their production. They focus on the aesthetic of skating without sacrificing performance. Their bearings are all titanium plated, correspond to an ABEC of 9 (though they helpfully mention that ABEC doesn’t have much to do with longboard performance), and that their bearings are completely silent. All of their products come with a single shield to facilitate the cleaning of the bearing itself.
For the Pro Darkside for Longboard, you get bearings with the speed rings and spacers already installed. This is a luxury which means a lot less effort when installing your new bearings. Plus, they’re specifically crafted for longboard, which means the spacing is already calibrated for your board.
They’re pre-lubricated (like most quality bearings), though they are on the more expensive side, at a little over 40 dollars. They are currently on sale for almost half off through their company website, so grab a set while you still can!
Bones Ceramic Super Reds
As noted earlier by Powell, the only downside of Swiss Ceramics are there price. To counteract that, Powell created a second line called Reds that are made in China, but still with high quality components. The Ceramic Super Reds still cost nearly 100 dollars, so these are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. But at 33% cheaper than the Swiss Ceramics, the Ceramic Super Reds are a great introduction to performance ceramic bearings.
Some reviewers have noted that the Reds tend to not last as long as the Swiss — while others have noted that they seem to attract dirt a little more easily. They’re still a great bearing that allows you to get a feel for ceramic and see if you’d like to make the switch to Swiss Ceramics.
Bronson Raw Longboard Bearings
Bronson seems to have a bit of a proclivity for sexual innuendo in their bearings (balls-out technology?), so it’s tricky to see how much of the name, Raw, is marketing mumbo-jumbo. But, after close examination, Raw is not a name or a gimmick. Instead, it’s a novel way of approaching bearing design by removing some elements we’d traditionally think of as critical to the bearing.
In Raw, Bronson removed both shields, allowing sight and access to the inner cage. While this looks cool and sounds unique when spun, it serves a practical purpose: it allows the bearings to be cleaned easily.
Traditionally, the shield prevents dirt from entering the bearing, but it often has the effect of not allowing dirt to leave easily. Plus, it makes the bearings more difficult to clean. Without a shield, the bearing can be accessed for lubrication or cleaning with ease. The cage is a very high quality, durable beast that makes up for any loss of prevention from the shield, while the steel balls are noted for their very high speed (not unexpected from Bronson).
The only negatives are that they are slightly less durable than ceramic and that they are noisy (though for some that is a selling point). At only 30 dollars for a pack, give them a shot to see if the raw lifestyle is right for you.
Oldboy Premium Ceramics Longboard Bearings
1 used from $34.60
Touted proudly on their website as “Amazon Choice,” Oldboy Premium are a high quality, ceramic bearing that come in at a much more affordable price (less than 50 dollars for eight). Unlike some of the others on our list, Oldboy Premium Ceramics were crafted specifically for longboards. They use a different ceramic than Bones Swiss, and they make note of its higher density, hardness, and durability. The selling point for these bearings is their endurance.
Like many others on our list, these bearings feature a single shield for easier cleaning and lubrication. To get started, Oldboy recommends breaking them in over a few days of riding to disperse the lubrication.
But that’s not all! When you buy a set of Oldboy Premium Ceramics, you’re doing some good! A portion of the proceeds go to National Outdoor Leadership School — a Wyoming based organization that takes disadvantaged youth on backpacking trips. Very groovy.
Zealous Bearings for Longboards
They come in both steel and ceramic, but the critical thing here is that the spacer and speed ring is included. The steel ones clock in around 15 dollars while the ceramics will set you back just shy of 30. Either pack are well regarded, with longboarders lauding their durability, ease of ride, and one of the lowest friction coefficients in the bearing field. They also feature a patented nanoceramic grease which gets better as you break them in.
And longboarders really seem to enjoy breaking them in. These bearings can take a very heavy beating. And at only 15 or 30 dollars for an eight pack, that’s a beating you can easily afford.
They’re not just great bang for your buck. They’re great bearings, with reviewers mentioning how they were ditching their bones ceramics in favor of these zealous bearings. Quite an endorsement.
Bones Bearings Reds
Last but not least on our list of the best longboard bearings are Bones Reds Bearings.
Bones Reds are the best selling bearing on the market. As mentioned earlier, Bones Reds was created as a less expensive variation on the high-quality Bones Swiss market. They’re made in China, but feature high quality steel and parts to provide a top-notch ride.
They’re smooth, pre-lubricated, come with spacers, are quiet, and give a fast/smooth ride.
The major downside is that they aren’t crazy durable. They’re good, but they’re not amazing. As they are steel, they will rust. Additionally, they seem to wear out much more quickly than other bearings on our list.
But they’re not shoddy. These are quality bearings. They won’t, however, last three years like the Bones Swiss, or spin for three or four minutes like the Bronsons.
They are, instead, a great entry-level bearing that will make an immediate difference when you put them into your longboard. They will give you a quality ride, and allow you to appreciate how much of a difference solid bearings will make in your longboard.
From there, you can then branch out to try some higher quality bearings to figure out which one best suits your style.
Things To Remember When Looking For The Best Longboard Bearings
Whew! That was a lot of information! Let’s do a quick recap to hit all our key points.
- Ball Bearings are devices comprised of balls that rotate around a steel track, relieving friction.
- They attach to the skateboard at the axle, reducing friction between the board and wheel.
- Spacers help prevent bearings from getting out of alignment, while speed rings decrease friction between the wheel and nut.
- Keep your bearings happy by not riding in the rain.
- Clean them with solvent and use skating lubricant to keep them in working order.
- Replace them if they make a noise, the wheels rotate slowly, or the wheels shift from left to right.
What to look for in a new longboard bearings:
- ABEC ratings determine tolerance to the micrometer. It is not a reliable indicator of skate bearing quality.
- Ceramic bearings do not rust. They are smoother and have less friction, making for a faster and smoother ride. They are, however, much more expensive.
- Some of the premium bearings can last as long as three years.
- Starter bearings like Reds and Zealous are great quality for beginners and casual longboarders.
- A new bearing is a good bearing.
- Ultimately, it’s your personal preference. Try lots of bearings out, and stick with the one that gives you the ride you want.
Wrapping Up the Best Longboard Bearings
Hopefully you learned something about the best longboard bearings in this post. If you want to learn even more about bearings, check out our post all about skateboard and loadboard bearings.
Glad you made it to the end! Now go out there and ride! And remember, “it’s all ball bearings nowadays.”