When choosing kids’ skateboards and other kinds of outdoor fun gear, it’s easy to descend into a rabbit hole. There’s loads of options on the market that seem good. And many others that come in at incredibly low prices and have you whipping out your card instantly. But are they really the best skateboards for kids?
Related: How to Teach a Kid to Skateboard
This resource answers this pertinent question and many others you probably don’t know you should be asking.
A Quick and Dirty Kid’s Skateboard Buying Guide
Deck and griptape: Maple decks are almost always the best choice, but fiberglass is the finest choice if money isn’t a problem.
Plastic decks last and are cheap, but there’s always the risk that little unstable feet might slide off such a deck.
Birch and bamboo are also used as deck material. Bamboo is strong and more water-resistant compared to maple. Bamboo is also more environmentally friendly, but it’s not as durable.
Plastic decks don’t need a griptape, but bamboo, birch maple, or fiberglass decks do. Griptape provides traction that keeps the skater’s feet on the deck throughout the session. It needs to be grippy enough without being so gritty that it tears your skate shoes.
Deck width: Choose a deck width that’ll accommodate your kids’ feet even when they grow older. It’s perfectly OK with choosing an adult size deck for a kid.
Wheels: No plastic wheels please. Decide it’s either urethane wheels or nothing. For street skating, park skating, and tricks, choose for small hard wheels (90A-99A, 52mm-54mm). And for cruising or longboarding, go for larger softer wheels (75A-85A, 60mm wheels).
Bearings: Steel bearings are good enough. If they don’t spin, lube them up. Alternatively, swap them out for better-quality ones.
Trucks: Avoid plastic trucks. Choose metal instead.
Bushings: Hard ones enable tighter turns and an overall stable ride. Soft ones enhance maneuverability and make turns really smooth.
Graphics: Most kids like cool graphics on their skateboard. Enlist their help and pick out something they’ll really love riding.
Skateboard Price and brand: Brand’s not super important, what’s important is board and component quality.
Resist the temptation to grab those alluring $30 toy skateboards. Instead, be willing to spend more for a decent board. You’re looking at $100-$150.
5 Best Kids Complete Skateboards (&Buying Guide)
Four of my recommendations come ready to ready, and one requires you to assemble the individual parts in the box. But this option is worth a look.
I believe you’ll find a board here that your child will like. To make this even more likely, why not engage with the lass or lad from the beginning of the shopping process?
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1.Best Beginner Kids Complete Skateboard: Santa Cruz Classic Dot Skateboard
Did you know that Santa Cruz is the longest enduring skate brand on the planet? Three friends in the surfing community came together in 1973 and founded California-based Santa Cruz Skateboard Company. NHS, an entity that got its name from the surname initials of the founders Novak, Hut, and Sherman distributes these skateboards.
This skateboard has an 8″ wide deck with a length of 31.25″. And it’s ideal for both kids and adult skateboarders. It’s a maple deck, which means it’s strong and supportive while not sacrificing too much flex.
The deck is all black except for the encircled letters that spell the brand’s name and add a pleasing color contrast. This is the quintessential traditional skateboard, the sort your kid would like to be seen riding around the neighborhood because it’s really cool.
This skateboard uses Bullet trucks which are forged from lightweight cast aluminum. And Bullet trucks are good enough for beginners and even experienced skater. They’re as sturdy as any in that price range.
When set to the right tightness/looseness, these trucks are quite responsive and turn well. Adjust the trucks right off the bat and ask the young skater what the ride quality is like and then tweak the configuration accordingly.
The bushings/cushions are 90A, which means they’re hard but extremely hard. Because they’re not too hard, they turn quite well. And because they’re reasonably hard, they keep the ride nice and stable.
Wheels? This is where this skateboard whacks the other choices in these mini-reviews. It sits on 95A OJ skateboard wheels, and OJ wheels are some of the finest quality available. Wheels with such a high durometer rating are good for landing all kinds of jumps and tricks without flat spotting.
The bearings are also good, and they come with shielded rings to keep dirt and grime out. If these bearings get dirty (they will, of course), pop them out of the wheels and remove these protective shields to clean them. Also, add in a drop or two of lube to improve the roll quality.
Here’s one more thing about the bearings: some reviewers received mixed bearings, good ABEC 7-rated bearings in the front wheels and some stock bearings of some kind in the rear wheels. This did impact the overall spin quality. But putting in $15 Bones Reds bearings should solve the problem and give your child a better-quality, more efficient roll.
- A solid board made by a skate brand skaters trust
- Really good OJ wheels
- Hard wheels and bushings that support jumps and tricks
- Decent Bullet trucks
- A wide board that your kiddo will use for long
- Bearings not the best quality
Overall, this is a good skateboard for beginner and more experienced kids and adult skateboarders. It has high-quality parts, and the price point isn’t too crazy. There’s the little issue of bearings not being awesome, but replacing them with an inexpensive option such as Bones Reds should fully address the problem.
2.Best Kids Skateboard With Tread: Powell Flying Golden Dragon
This skateboard features a standard deck (31.63″ long) with a K12 concave. And the pop isn’t anywhere near mediocre.
The griptape is as good as any you might expect at this price point. But I was happy that this grip tape wasn’t like one of those sorry Walmart kinds.
It comes with black plastic trucks, but the product’s description says they’re made from cast aluminum. That’s deceptive marketing right there. Still a decent skateboard, but how long do you think the trucks will last?
Surprisingly, these trucks last. They stand up to all kinds of abuse. My son attempted and failed many times to Ollie his way up hard concrete curbs. And this gave these trucks quite some beating. Guess what? They’re still good trucks that support my grom without grumbling.
But truth be told, these trucks are a tad too heavy. You’d expect plastic trucks to be lighter than aluminum ones, but this isn’t the case here.
Wheel hardness stands at 99A, and the wheels have tread. These wheels can feel too hard especially if the surface the kiddo skates is rather rough. But you can always swap them out for bigger, softer, better-quality wheels that take on bumps in the road and cracks in bike lanes like there’s no tomorrow.
They’re PU wheels with a diameter of 54mm. Good for the skatepark, your driveway, smooth sidewalks, and even parking lots. Bad for crappy terrain. At 37mm, they’re wide enough and add to the overall stability of the board.
Even though these wheels are manufactured using Skate One’s PGD high-rebound formula, they don’t absorb shocks too well. But I chalk that up to them being too hard. Good news: you can easily fix this wheel issue by mounting larger-diameter wheels and a lower durometer number.
I also like that the wheels have tread. Tread isn’t an absolute necessity when it comes to skateboard wheels. But it’s not a bad thing. In fact, tread promotes beginner rider confidence by initially increasing traction at take off.
Once the young skateboarder starts pushing off, the friction between the surface and the wheels heats up them up and sort of causes their exterior to soften up a bit, reducing traction. In the end, it’s a nice-to-have design feature, not one your child or you need to have a better or safer ride.
This kids’ skateboard has a wheelbase of 13.75″, which is standard on a skateboard with a width of 7.63 inches.
This number simply means that this board’s turns and maneuverability are OK. It varies across truck brands and models.
But when purchasing a skateboard for a young child, don’t obsess about it because they won’t notice the difference anyway.
- Nice graphics on the deck’s underside
- 99A PU wheels that conquer skateparks
- Good enough grip tape
- Reasonable price
- Trucks are plastic, but they’re not crappy
- Wheels not ideal for uneven and rough terrain
Overall, the Powell Golden Flying Dragon is a decent kids skateboard even though the trucks aren’t metal.
Admittedly, many cheaper choices are available everywhere these days, but if this isn’t great value for a starter skateboard, then I don’t know what is.
3.Best Kids Mini Cruiser Skateboard: Magneto Mini Cruiser
The deck is constructed from 6-ply Canadian maple and is sturdy enough. And with a deck width of 7.5 inches, there’s enough play room for small and big feet.
When you combine the sturdiness of this wooden deck with a reasonably long wheelbase of 18.5, two things happen.
First, your kiddo will have enjoyed really smooth rides even where the skating surface isn’t too smooth. That’s what happens when you increase wheelbase. Second, the ride gets pretty stable. Increased stability and ride smoothness in turn boost board enjoyment and vastly supercharge the desire to get out and cruise the heck out of their boredom.
The deck measures 27.5″ in length. That’s rather short, but for a 5-year-old, 27.5″ would be like a badass longboard that transports them to their friends’ houses and everywhere else. But that’s not all: a board that short is easy and convenient to carry around. This is a highly portable beginner kid and adult cruiser board that should easily fit in a typical backpack.
Are you wondering what the maximum weight limit of the Magneto Mini Cruiser is? I emailed the manufacturer, and they said its upper weight capacity is 275lbs.
I doubt your kid is that heavy, and even though I’ve never met you, I imagine you don’t weight in at anywhere near 275lbs. Here’s the deal: you and your kid can ride the heck out of this board and not break it. It defies abuse and laughs at anyone who tries to test its integrity and sturdiness.
What about the trucks? They’re made from cast aluminum as most decent trucks are. The Top-mounted cast aluminum trucks are pretty solid. And the turn you get out of them is reasonable. As always, you need to tweak the trucks a little to a sweet place where stability and maneuverability coexist in harmony.
Let’s now talk wheels. The wheels of this Magenta skateboard for kids and grownups have a diameter of 60mm. And 60mm is as large skateboard wheels ever get.
But the wheels aren’t just big — they’re also extremely soft at a durometer rating of just 78A. These large soft urethane wheels are decent, and they roll like a dream. And the best part? They’re pretty much the king of impact absorption.
Wheel width stands at 51mm. Now that’s really wide. And if there’s one thing for which wide skateboard wheels deserve a pat on the back for, it’s how stable they are.
With wheels this wide, your kiddo is standing on a much wider base, and balancing becomes remarkably easier.
Graphics: There’s a light bulb on the underside of the deck. This bold graphic symbolizes exactly what your little tike will do with their board: play lights out against groms with lesser boards.
- Nice graphics
- Large soft wheels that roll fast while defying cracks
- Solid and turn-y cast aluminum trucks
- 7.5 deck that’s solid and wide enough
- Reasonable cost
- Free skate tool
- Wheel bite can happen for heavy skaters
One older heavier skateboarder (220lbs) griped that their board threw them off due to wheel bite. They hated that they’d fallen yet the board’s design was supposed to be wheel bite-proof skateboard design.
The older dude returned their skateboard for this reason, but if ever happens to your son (I hope this never happens), simply tighten the bushings. And if this yields no positive results, add risers. The wheel bite issue shouldn’t affect kids since they’re rarely that heavy.
4. Best Big Kids Longboard for Travel: APOLLO Galaxy Cruiser Longboard Skateboard
Bamboo and fiberglass join forces to form a really strong and durable 38″ deck that flexes pretty well.
This board is really light and carves like there’s no tomorrow. Whether your son is rolling down slopes or pumping up hills, the APOLLO got them covered.
It’s a 9″ wide longboard skateboard that offers enough play space for the feet with room to spare. This super-wide board makes balancing substantially easier for novice kid and adult skateboarders.
The load capacity tops out at 220 lbs. This weight limit is decent, but the deck might have a little trouble supporting heavier skaters.
The board’s drop-through mount keeps it low enough for even greater stability. When a deck’s center of gravity sits that low, young and older riders find pushing much easier.
Also, a low-sitting deck makes it easy to footbrake — just make sure they’re wearing the most durable skate shoes. And when you’re riding close to the skating surface, initiating slides and controlling them gets that much easier.
As for the griptape, it’s reasonably course and grippy. It’s not the kind that’s too rough that it ends up tearing your skate shoes after a few rides.
Then there’s the awesome graphics on the back of the board so your kiddo can seem cool as they fly around in the neighborhood.
The wheels are 70mm tall, which is the smallest that longboard wheels ever are. These thane wheels have a durometer rating of 83A, which places them in the not-so-soft-not-so-hard territory. They’re soft enough and deal with any bumps in the road like a pro.
A diameter of 51mm places these wheels on the wider side of things. This adds to the overall stability of the longboard. All these things make this skateboard (which is actually a longboard) an attractive option for beginner kids and adults.
Bearings? They’re ABEC 9, which means they’re really fast. Roll quality is amazing — the wheels spin and spin and spin. With this board, you’ll travel long distances fast and in style.
Did I tell you that these wheels light up as you ride? They do, which increases safety for nighttime longboarding. The lights are motion-activated, which means the wheels keep flashing as long as you’re skating. And no, there’s no battery to replace.
The board’s 7″ aircraft aluminum alloy reverse kingpin trucks are constructed from metal. Not surprisingly, they’re light yet durable. The truck’s design makes this skateboard stable at speed while remaining quite responsive at slower speeds.
This is a gender-neutral board, but if buying for a girl, you might want to go with the “Weird” version. What’s the difference between the so-called Weird APOLLO and the Galaxy? The Weird version comes with the design of a girl (maybe she’s weird) on the underside, but does that really make it any different?
- Light up wheels for more safety and fun while nighttime riding
- A sturdy board made of quality materials and components
- A board style that attracts compliments
- Tall, soft wheels that sneer at twigs and small rocks
- Low-sitting board, wide wheels, & reverse kingpin trucks increase stability
- ABEC 9 bearings
- Not cheap at all
- Lights may grow dim
Some riders have seen their wheels stop lighting up after some time. I learned that tightening the wheels a little often resurrects the lights.
This is ideal for older kids and teens. You can buy it for your 10-year-old or college-going kid. And adults can and do definitely ride this board.
5. Best for Learning the Mechanics of a Skateboard: Enjoy Whitey Panda Kids Skateboard
Enjoy is owned by a skateboard distribution company known as Dwindle Distribution. The company was established in 2000 by Mark Johnson, a professional skateboarder.
Johnson leveraged the support of Rodney Mullen who’d later partner with Steve Roco to form Dwindle Distribution, the company that today owns Enjoi. Johnson did leave at some point, but not before he dreamed the name Enjoi as well as the iconic Panda image that decorates Enjoi skateboards.
But I digress.
Unlike all the skateboards in these kids skateboard reviews, the Enjoi Whitey Panda come as an assortment of components rather than a complete skateboard. Oddly though, the product description on Amazon states that this product ships out as a ready-to-ride skateboard.
If you don’t know anything about skateboards and aren’t interest in spending an entire Saturday afternoon watching videos on how to assemble a skateboard, buy something else. But what’s better than learning something new and teaching it to someone who’d benefit from the information? Get this skateboard and use it as an opportunity to teach your son the art of manliness.
Most of the parts are decent, and the 7.75″ deck is made from Canadian maple. I don’t know if the decks are individually pressed during the so-called Resin 7 Construction process. But your kiddo stands to get a decent pop out of the curvature of this deck.
At 7.75″, this deck is wide enough, and it’ll always be spacious enough no matter the age of your child. And the griptape is of acceptable quality.
The Core trucks in the box are OK. They’re entry-level heavy-duty aluminum skateboard trucks. And they do the job, but they’re a little heavy, not that your starting skater would notice the difference. But these aren’t Thunder trucks or Independent trucks. Once your daughter or son becomes a much better skater and starts having personal preferences, they can replace the trucks with better-quality ones.
The 52mm PU wheels are quite hard at 99A. They’re the kind of wheels your kiddo needs for having a nice time at the local skatepark or skating found obstacles out in the streets. But they’re not anywhere near awesome.
If you’re shopping for a complete beginner skateboarder, then the wheels are OK. But once they learn to land nolie 360 and other skateboarding tricks, they’ll need better wheels. Better skateboard wheels such as Spitfire, Bones, and Ricta Clouds.
The bearings are serviceable, which means they have a removable rubber seal you can detach and clean the bearing. These are cheap ABEC 5 steel bearings, and the spin is OK for a beginner. Don’t worry about this, because good bearings don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Another component that could be better is the bushings. Enjoi is known for shipping high-quality skateboard parts, but the bushings Enjoi puts in the package are mediocre. Fortunately, decent bushings are pretty inexpensive and are easily available online. Good ones can be bought for $10-ish.
- Medium-grade components
- High-quality deck
- Wheels hard enough for skateboarding tricks
- Bearings moderately fast for safety
- Bearings, wheels, and bushings could be better
- Not a ready-to-ride skateboard
The parts aren’t assembled, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You and your son will have a great time cooperating to engineer a setup that’ll work well for them. Plus, your son’s friends will respect him more for putting together such a decent board.
Overall, the parts are good enough for the price. They’re mid-range quality, and the final setup should fully serve the needs of starting skaters.
Kids Skateboard Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing a skateboard for a kid, there’s a number of important considerations you need to keep top of mind. Below is a list of those factors. I hope this resource will help you pick out a skateboard that your lad or lass will love riding and showing off to their friends.
1. Get Skateboard Size Right
What’s the right skateboard size for a kid? For adults, it makes sense to choose a skateboard whose deck is more or less your shoe size. But kids have fast-growing feet. Do you really want to keep buying skateboards for them because they keep outgrowing them?
The right size skateboard for kids is anywhere between 6″ wide for really young kids to 8″ or even 9″ for bigger kids. A wider skateboard is more stable to stand on and ride compared to a narrower. Besides that, a wider deck provides lots of room for the budding skateboarder’s feet, allowing them enough space to adjust and correct their stance.
A 6″ wide skateboard is OK, except your child will soon outgrow it. I suggest going with a 7.5″-8.0″ deck. Kids are nimble enough and sooner than later adapt to the wider deck size.
Length varies across skateboard styles. If it’s skateboard, the length tends to hover around 31″-32″. If it’s a longboard, board length can be as much as 59 “. As for cruiser skateboards, the length ranges from 25″ to 32.”
Skateboard Type: Choose the Right Style
There are 4 main types of skateboards namely:
- Regular skateboards
- Mini cruisers
This is the conventional board, the type most people are thinking of while talking about skateboards in a conversation.
This popsicle stick-shaped board style comes with kicktails and curved sides, design features that support pulling off all kinds of jumps and tricks. The traditional skateboard features double kicktails, one in the front (nose) and the other on the back (tail).
It can go fast, but not as fast as a longboard. For the most part, skateboards come with small hard wheels that are ideal for park and street skating rather traveling distances.
Cruisers are a hybrid between a skateboard and a longboard. They have a longer deck compared to skateboards, but they’re shorter than longboards. Their wheels are smaller than those of longboards but larger than most skateboard wheels. Because the wheels are larger, your kiddo needs to build better balance and coordination to master cruiser skateboards.
In terms of deck length, a cruiser skateboard is similar to a typical skateboard. Also, cruisers come in different shapes and styles while concave shape is mostly what differentiates skateboards.
This board style is typically for cruising short and longer distances as well as doing tricks. But unlike a skateboard, a cruiser typically comes with a single kick. That said, the kicktail enables you to pick up the cruiser easily whenever you need to and do light tricks such as manuals (manny in skateboarder lingo).
Cruisers are more portable compared to longboards, but less portable than skateboards.
Seriously, I’ve never heard anyone say longboard skateboard. But they’re a type of skateboard albeit significantly different so…
This is the longest kind of skateboard you can ride. The longest longboards can measure as much as 59 inches. But some can be shorter than skateboards. Confusing? Kind of, but if you look closely, you’ll see these two board styles are distinct.
What’s the main difference between a longboard and a skateboard? The difference is that a skateboard has curved sides and double kicktails while a longboard lacks curved sides and kicktails. Another difference is that longboards have larger wheels than traditional skateboards.
A longboard is designed for speed/traveling, carving, stability, and comfort. Since the wheelbase is rather large, they’re harder to maneuver and turn, but they’re remarkably more stable. That’s why some of my recommendations are longboards or longboard variants.
It’s much easier to balance on a longboard than on a skateboard, cruiser, or mini cruiser. This is what makes an ideal board style for starting kid and adult skaters.
Mini cruisers are essentially shorter cruisers — you can fit them into a backpack after play while a regular cruiser would have a portion sticking out.
Also, mini cruisers are made using extremely light materials, which means they’re easier to carry compared to all other types of skateboards.
Many skaters like mini cruisers due to the tighter turns that skaters get out of them. They’re also relatively good at carving. While they don’t travel as fast as a cruiser, mini cruisers are good for basic skateboarding tricks including kickflips.
Are There Skateboards for Girls?
No, skateboard for girls don’t exist. But some skateboards on the market have girly designs on the underside. Such options tend to resonate more with female skaters. Most skateboard options available are unisex and that makes the search for the right skateboard that much easier.
Wheels: Material, Diameter, and Shore Durometer
Choose wheels manufactured using polyurethane rubber. These wheels have decent rebound, and they’re durable. Riding a skateboard with plastic wheels is like pedaling a bike with a flat tire.
Wheel diameter depends on what kind of board it is and the kind of skating surface you’re looking at. The average size for skateboard wheels is 52mm-60mm. Longer wheels tend to be softer than smaller ones, and they travel faster.
I recommending going for larger wheels because such wheels trip on twigs and other obstacles less often. Even though taller wheels raise the center of gravity (reduce stability), they’re safer because the child’s less likely to fall.
A skateboard wheel with a higher shore durometer is harder than one with a lower durometer rating. Choose shore durometer depending on the quality of the skating surface. The rougher the terrain, the lower the shore durometer figure should be, and vice versa.
Skateboard wheels typically have a higher shore durometer compared to any other board type. If the young skater just wants something to learn skateboarding on, softer wheels in the 78A to 85A wheels would be ideal. But if they’re an advanced skateboarder with tons of experience, 90A+ wheels would be ideal.
3. Kids Skateboard Bearings
If purchasing the first-ever board for your child, don’t worry too much about bearings. As long as they spin and cause the board to move forward, you’re good. Actually, the vast majority of kids’ skateboards and cruisers have crappy bearings.
Related: A Clear Guide on How to Choose Skateboard Bearings
But here’s good news: good steel bearings that perform really well are available at a sub $20 price point. Bones Reds are an example of cheap yet good skateboard bearings.
So, for your starting skateboarder, don’t bother shelling out for anything too pricey or luxurious. Leave premium-quality skateboarding bearings for professional skateboarders.
4. Kids Skateboard Trucks
Metal trucks are best whether buying for a child, teen, or a college-attending kid. You want to choose a board with lightweight cast aluminum trucks that won’t break the first time your kiddo skates them.
I don’t seem to remember seeing any kid’s skateboard that featured really high-quality trucks. I’m talking Independent trucks or Thunder trucks here. The finest trucks can set you back as much as the total cost of the skateboard!
Some of the better trucks you’ll find on pricier kids boards include Mini Logo (pretty decent) and Bullet trucks. Lucky you! One of my recommendations (my pick #1) comes with Bullet trucks.
I’ve also seen plastic trucks on kids’ skateboards. These are light and reasonably sturdy, but if you think they’ll last metal trucks do, think again.
5. Speedrings/Speed Washers and Bearing Spacers: What’s the Difference?
Each skateboard wheel comes with two speed rings. One of these two small washers stays on the inside of the outer bearing and the second one on the inside. Their job is to curb rubbing between the truck/nut and the bearing as the wheel rolls.
As for spacers, not all wheels have them. You can always insert spacers, but some wheels have them integrated.
Spacers live inside each wheel on the hanger between the two bearings (each wheel uses two bearings). So what’s the purpose of spacers in skateboard bearings? They prevent bearing damage/deformation when you subject them to massive side loads, like when you powerslide.
If you crank down on the spacers too hard, or the bearings aren’t spinning right, or the bearings aren’t sitting properly, you’ll likely have spacer rattle.
Bottom line: Both parts protect your bearings while reducing wear and damage. Spacers are optional, but having them certainly helps. As for speed washers, these are a must-have component.
6. Bushings, Hanger, and Kingpin
Like wheels, bushings have a hardness/softness rating. Harder bushings provide tons of stability for and tighter turns. Softer bushings make for easier turns and greater maneuverability, but cost a bit of stability.
Each truck typically has two polyurethane bushings. Without the bushings, turning wouldn’t be possible. Bushing look like rubber rings, and they conceal the kingpin. The kingpin is a giant bolt that holds each truck and its components together. It has a nut on the top which you turn when you wish to adjust the trucks’ looseness or tightness.
The hanger is the largest visible part of the trucks. The steel axles to which you attach the wheels run right through this triangular part of the trucks.
Whether you’re buying a complete skateboard for your child or are going for a custom build, adjusting the looseness or tightness of the trucks to reflect the preferences of the young skater is a must.
5. Deck Material: Wood, Plastic, or Fiberglass?
Definitely fiberglass if you’re OK with forking over that much mullah for kid’s fun deck. Fiberglass skateboard decks are super sturdy and strong, and they’re highly flexible. But they can really ramp up the production costs, costs that end users ultimately bear.
But decks aren’t supposed to last forever; even the finest of the finest fiberglass decks eventually need to be replaced. So why spend so much money when you could less for something like wood or even plastic?
Wooden decks are made of maple wood, and you want nothing but Canadian maple. It’s easy to get ripped off while buying and end up with a faux maple deck for the price of the real deal. Read reviews to sidestep this.
Maple decks are really strong and make your board look like a real skateboard. There’s something special and natural about wood, something no plastic or fiberglass can replicate.
Birch wood and bamboo are other materials used to make skateboard decks. Birch is good, but as not as good as maple. Bamboo is really strong and durable, and it flexes better than maple. But many skaters find maple to be the indisputable durability king.
Another big bamboo is that it’s holds up well to moisture and dry conditions. One more thing: maple grows much slower than bamboo, which means bamboo is a more sustainable deck material. You cut bamboo and it grows right back in about 5 years while a maple can take as long as 40 years to mature. BIG difference.
Plastic decks have become pretty common over the years. You see them a lot on kid-specific mini-cruisers. Plastic is cheap and lightweight and flexible and durable. But it’s easy for a child to slip off a plastic deck and break something. If you choose a plastic deck, be sure it’s textured in a pattern that promotes user safety.
I recommend going with a maple deck for older kids and a plastic one for younger kids. If the kid is really young, they might end up riding their board on their backside or tummy. That’s where having a plastic deck (it doesn’t need griptape) helps. But listen to me: don’t let any kid younger than 5 years skate. Just don’t. Kids this young don’t have strong-enough frames and muscles for the rigors skateboarding.
6. What’s the Right Price for a Good Kids Skateboard?
Don’t buy those $29 toy skateboards Walmart carries. I keep seeing glowing reviews of these dirt-cheap skateboards, but it’s almost always a grandparent saying that their grandson or granddaughter loved it. If they don’t skate at all, do you think they’ll write a useful review?
My advice is be willing to part with a little more money and get your kiddo what they deserve — a decent skateboard. They deserve a regular skateboard (read adult skateboard) that will last them a long time, something that’ll grow with them.
If you’re willing to pay as much as $100-$150, you might get a good enough board, one that won’t snap on the first test ride. My top pick, the Santa Cruz Classic Dot skateboard costs over $100, and it’s really decent option.
Here’s a little secret that skateboard makers don’t want you to know: complete skateboards are OK, but there’s almost always something that needs fixing. In most cases, you’re better off building out a custom skateboard for yourself or your kid. Because you get to handpick the best components and organize them into a personalized skateboard that your kiddo will always love.
But isn’t building a skateboard from scratch too expensive? Not really. For $150, which is what the best complete skateboards for beginner kids and adults cost, you should be able to build an excellent skateboard. But it takes time, careful component selection, and even more careful assembly. But it’s not rocket science, you know.
7. Does Brand Matter When Buying a Kids Skateboard?
Here’s a little fact you should know: all skateboards on the market today are manufactured by a bunch of the same factories. You’re looking at an Enjoi skateboard and thinking it’s different from a Santa Cruz skateboard. But they’re exactly the same board with different graphics and brand name.
Here’s advice: choose a skateboard with decent components, one that works well, and stop worrying about who made it. It’s best to spend some time reading reviews from real skaters about their experience with particular models.
Skateboard Riding Safety Measures for Kids
- Don’t buy a skateboard for any child younger than 5.
- Restrict your child’s skateboarding adventures to warm or sunny weather and don’t let skate when it’s wet or in the rain.
- Give $25 toy skateboards a wide berth — they’re neither good quality nor safe.
- Don’t allow your child to skate a heavy-traffic street without supervision.
- Explain the benefits of helmeting and padding up to your kiddo and have them wear protection before heading out. At least, make them wear a certified skate helmet.
- Avoid skateboarding at dusk or when it’s dark outside.
- Teach your child how to ride a skateboard, how to stop, and how to fall safely on a skateboard.
- Buy them proper skate shoes, but if the money is tight, any thin-soled sneaker should suffice.
How to Take Care of Your Child’s Skateboard?
- Keep your kid’s skateboard clean and replace any broken parts. Here’s a guide on how to clean a kid’s skateboard.
- Store the skateboard in a cool dry place, not in warm places such as the truck.
- Use superglue to get griptape that’s peeled off back onto the deck.
- Avoid storing your kid’s skateboard in an extremely cold place or leaving outside. Wooden decks really hate getting damp.
- Keep the bearings clean and well lubed.
- Sand down any chips or uneven spots on the deck.
- Replace any broken or worn down parts.
- Ask your kid not to carelessly throw the skateboard around.
Good Kids Skateboards: Final Thoughts
If you want a decent skateboard for your child or teen, be willing to spend a reasonable amount of money. Definitely stay away from options with enticingly low prices because they’re almost always junk. Stay in the $100-$150, and you won’t be disappointed, at least most of the time.
The deck needs to be maple or fiberglass if money isn’t an issue. Plastic decks should have a grippy texture that prevents foot slip-offs. Be sure that the griptape is good quality too.
Go for metal/aluminum trucks and polyurethane bushings and wheels. The bearings don’t need to be expensive, but they need to spin reasonably well. Larger softer wheels are better for distance skateboarding while harder smaller wheels are best for enjoying skateparks, empty parking lots, and streets.
Spacers may not be necessary, but make sure to use good quality speed washers to prolong the bearings’ lifespan.
Most importantly, make sure the child puts on good protective gear, at least a decent helmet.