When you go shopping for quality skateboard bearings, you can either buy ceramic bearings or steel bearings. You also have to think about ABEC ratings and spacers when you are choosing bearings. Let’s look at the factors you need to consider when shopping for quality skateboard bearings.
Ceramic bearings are often preferred by veteran skateboarders because they are smoother and faster than steel bearings. This is because they expand less due to friction compared to the steel alternative. They are also lighter, more durable, and more dirt resistant, but they are more expensive.
Ceramic bearings have 9 balls encased in them unlike 7 and 8 in most standard steel bearings. On the other hand, steel bearings require lube to help reduce friction, because friction causes them to get heated and swell. Friction also makes them less durable but you can make them last longer through regular maintenance.
Since the quality of steel varies, only buy steel bearings that are less susceptible to dirt and rust. Quality steel bearings have more inner ball bearings and better sealing.
Where were the skateboard bearings made?
People looking for premium skateboard bearings often choose the Swiss bearings (Bones bearings) because they offer higher speed, rapid acceleration, durability, and strength. They are the first bearings that were specifically designed for skateboards and are now the standard by which all other bearings are measured. Before “Swiss” bearings, skateboard manufacturers used industrial grade bearings.
Fake Swiss bearings that are made in China exist so read the bearing description on the box carefully. But a significant number of standard skateboard-bearing brands are designed elsewhere but made in China.
Does the ABEC rating matter
The ABEC rating measures how accurate and precise a skateboard bearing is. The rating system includes grades 1,3,5,7, and 9. Grade 1 skateboard bearings have the lowest precision and are made of low-quality steel. But are not necessarily slower than the higher-rated bearings.
Grade 3 bearings do not roll smoothly but they are inexpensive. The better choice if you are looking for bearings that are affordable and offer fast speed, buy grade 5 bearings. If you want fast and smooth, then grade 7 and 9 are your best options.
Just know that grade 7 and 9 bearings are significantly more expensive than the low-grade bearings. Once you find quality skateboard bearings, consider buying spacers to allow for smooth turns, and speed washers to protect the bearing face.
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