Good cheap skateboard bearings: which should you buy?
In this article we’ll compare good cheap skateboard bearings to help you decide which ones to buy.
With so many brands selling bearings it can be confusing to figure out what is right for you. We’ve spoken to experienced skaters and engineers to find out which brands you can trust.
Let’s start by taking a look at why skateboard bearings are so important. Then we’ll look at which brands make good cheap skateboard bearings you can trust. And finally we can evaluate the 3 best options:
Why are good cheap bearings so important?
First of all, if you do any tricks, you want to avoid cheap, low quality bearings because they can blow out!
What’s a blowout? Your bearings simply implode and fall apart on impact.
When landing your trick, your ball bearings are rolling out on the ground along with pieces of your cage. This could also cause your wheels to lock up and set you up for a slam.
Blow outs can happen if your bearings were not designed to withstand impact (like longboard bearings or cheap brands) and you’ll need to head back to the shop to grab a new, better quality pair.
Second, cheap bearings can lock up quickly.
Low quality bearings with cheap lubricants and oils can quickly get gummed up when dirt and other particles get into your bearings, causing them to slow or even lock up.
Higher quality bearings have specialized lubricants that help them keep spinning smooth over time.
Lastly, most cheap bearings aren’t fast and smooth!
You want to be able to coast on your board in between tricks. Not have to pump constantly to keep up your speed. Your bearings should help maximize your set up time.
So how can you make sure you get good cheap bearings instead of something lousy?
You have to buy from brands that are trusted by experienced skateboarders!
But beware! Just because a brand makes good skateboard trucks, wheels or decks, doesn’t mean their bearings are good!
Which brands make the best skateboard bearings?
After years of skateboarding and lots of experimentation, it’s become clear that there are three leading brands when it comes to manufacturing great affordable skateboard bearings: Bones, Bronson and Quantum.
Bones bearings is clearly the market leader in skateboard bearings. They offer a wide variety of high precision bearings at different price points, ensuring that any skater can get quality bearings at a price point they can afford.
Today we will be looking at one of their most popular skate bearings : Bones Reds. Bones Reds are the standard by which most good cheap skateboard bearings are measured.
Next we will be looking at Bronson Bearings.
Over the last years Bronson has been making a big effort to become just as popular as Bones. They also offer a wide range of high precision bearings at different price points.
Their G2 bearings are comparable to Bones Reds in terms of price and durability.
Quantum Bearing Science
Finally, Quantum Bearings, based out of North Carolina, rounds out our list.
They are a comparatively new bearing company, but they are definitely shaking up the skateboard industry by using revolutionary technology.
Today we will be taking a look at their Metallic series bearings.
When it comes to speed and durability from a good cheap skateboard bearing, these will be hard to beat.
So finally, let’s compare and evaluate the actual bearings themselves.
Bones Reds are manufactured in a facility in China dedicated to producing high quality skate bearings.
These are some of the best selling skateboard bearings in the world for a reason. Performance and durability are what these good cheap skateboard bearings are known for.
Reds have removable rubber shields for easy cleaning and come lubricated with Bones Speed Cream.
They have a nylon ball retainer which is standard for cheaper bearings and have been inspected twice before shipping to catch any defects.
Cost: These currently sell for under $30 in Canada.
Bottom line: If you want the most trusted brand in skateboard bearings but are on a budget, these are the good cheap skateboard bearings for you.
Bonus content: Should you ride your precision bearings shieldless?
These days it seems like a lot of skaters are moving to shieldless bearings. They do look cool!
But we spoke to the skater/engineers at the University of North Carolina, and they said:
Keep your shields in!
Dirt and dust will have a much easier time gunking up your bearings if you ride them shieldless.
Even though some riders believe that without shields, the dust and dirt will also fall out easier, we do not recommend it. Once the dirt mixes with the oils and lubes it will generally gunk up rather than self clean.
Bronson G2s are also a good cheap skateboard bearing.
In order to differentiate themselves from Reds, they focus on how their bearings have deep groove raceways that allow the balls to roll deeper in the raceway channels.
According to Bronson, this reduces the chance of side impact damage and breakage. This may be why Bronson feels comfortable including spacers with their bearings, even though spacers have been known to cause blowouts.
The G2s are packaged with 4 spacers and 8 axle washers.
Cost: These currently sell for under $30 in Canada.
Bottom line: There is very little difference between Bronson G2 and reds. Either one should hold up pretty good for the price.
Bonus content: Should you skate spacers?
We spoke to skater/engineers at the University of North Carolina, and the answer is no!
In street skating, the small advantages of using spacers aren’t worth the risk of a misaligned spacer blowing out your bearings!
Metallics by Quantum Bearing Science are the potential game changer in this group.
Though not as established as Bones and Bronson, Quantum has been utilizing revolutionary nano-tech to get to the top of the bearing market.
These affordable bearings are made from ultra pure carbon steel, have reinforced cages and diamond finishing on their raceways and balls for extra speed.
These good cheap bearings are lubricated with Quantum’s Graph Flo lube which infuses a ceramic nano-coating over the bearings to fill any imperfections and reduce friction to a minimum.
The result? There is a comparable difference in the feel of these bearings versus Reds or G2s. They roll smoother and longer than the competitors.
The bearings are nicely packed in a tin container that can be reused or up-cycled and they come with a set of speed racers and stickers.
Cost: These currently sell for under $45 in Canada, but we have a limited quantity on sale for only $25.
Bottom line: These are the smoothest and fastest affordable bearings on the market, but the brand is relatively new.
Verdict: Which are the best cheap bearings?
There is definitely more brand recognition with Bones and Bronson bearings versus Quantum.
Either three of these bearings should hold up pretty good for the price, but the performance of the Quantum Metallics is similar to a Bronson G3 or Bones Swiss bearing, which come with a much higher price tag.
We recommend purchasing Quantum Metallic Series bearings as the best cheap bearings. Follow the link below to get yours now!