Electric skateboards are more popular than ever. New companies enter the fray every month and it seems like everyone and their mother has a business plan up on Kickstarter for the next big electric skateboard product.
But despite all of the competition, no clear winner has risen to the top. Many of the brands that were once king (Boosted, Inboard), look like they will not be as competitive in a year, based off the prices and features of new products in the industry pipeline.
Many people have also grown tired of Boosted and Inboard. The most common complaint is the price. They are both around $1500, which is enough to buy a used motorcycle.
As new brands enter the market offering similar specs at half the price, you’ll need to keep an inquisitive eye to weed out the phonies from the actual great products.
Here are 7 tips to consider when buying an electric skateboard.
What To Look for When Buying an Electric Skateboard
1. Motor Type
The main thing to consider here is whether your motor is a hub motor or belt-driven system.
While many of the first electric skateboards on the market used belt-driven systems, this has changed. Belt-driven systems were initially more popular as they allow greater customizability. Although the first generation of electric skateboard companies abided by the ethos of DIY-culture that birthed the scene, as the customer base and market has grown, non-technical riders have shown a clear preference for hub motors.
Hub motors require less maintenance, allow for kick pushing, are quieter, and possess less lag.
Wattage is extremely important when it comes to understanding an electric skateboard’s power. In short, lower wattage equals less power. Low power manifests itself in lower speeds, torque, and hill functionality.
If you live in an area that has a lot of hills and steep inclines, you’ll definitely want a board with at least 1500W. The Dual Boosted has 2000W and sits at the high end of electric skateboard wattage.
3. Speed, Range and Charge Time Rates
While speed, range, and charge times are probably the three specifications that most people know to check, it’s surprising how many companies provide ranges for these specifications.
Pro tip: if a company lists the speed as 7-15 mph, odds are it’ll be more like 7 mph. Same goes for range and charge times. Always go for the lower time. The max numbers that company’s provide often represent a lightweight person riding the board on perfectly flat ground on a completely full charge – conditions you’ll rarely find yourself in when riding.
4. Deck Style and Materials
With electric skateboards you’ll typically find decks made of two materials: bamboo or carbon fiber / fiberglass. While many electric skateboards also use a composite of the two materials, most big companies tend to go one way or the other.
For riders, the difference between the two materials means the difference between a flexible and a stiff board. Bamboo is more flexible, whereas fiberglass is stiffer.
5. Board Weight
This is a simple but important point. Electric skateboards range in weight by up to a few pounds, which is significant!
If you plan on commuting with your electric skateboard and carrying it around after riding, a few pounds will make a huge difference in terms of convenience.
In general, lighter boards are better both for riding and for carrying.
6. Weight Capacity
Always make sure to examine an electric skateboard’s weight capacity. If you are of a heavier build, you may find that the specs listed don’t apply to people over a certain weight.
So always check to see how the company calculated their product specifications. Sometimes they will say, “specs are based off a person of medium build, weighing x, and riding on a flat surface.”
7. Warranty, Customer Support, and Spare Parts
Lastly, always, always, always check the warranty, customer service provided, and spare parts availability. Each of these things could become your worst nightmare if they aren’t up to snuff.