Not everyone can afford a longboard that’s a few hundred dollars. And it doesn’t make sense to spend that much if you’re unsure if you’ll stick with longboarding.
This is why I want to cover the topic of cheap longboards and how to pick the best option for you.
To keep it simple, let’s classify a cheap longboard as anything under $100.
That’s a fair assumption to make, right?
First, I’m gonna cover the main issues, then offer the best solution. The more educated you are, the better your longboarding experience will be.
If you’re an absolute beginner and confused where to start, check out this beginner’s longboard guide.
Cheap Longboard Issues
The majority of cheap longboards have three major issues…
- Awkward deck shapes
- Bad wheel urethane formulas
- Faceless company that doesn’t care
Most cheap longboard brands don’t actually test their boards.
The first issue is awkward deck shapes. I’ve noticed a lot of cheaper brands try to mimic higher end brands, but fall short. Subtle details make a big difference and sometime it seems like lower end companies will blindly mass produce boards without testing them.
Most of the brands I’ve tested under $100 feel weird to ride. It seems like they don’t actually ride them.
While maybe it won’t be a big issue at first, in the long run it’ll be annoying.
Next, the wheels and bushings seem to be a big issue for cheaper longboards. Low end companies don’t realize how important urethane formulas really are.
I bought a couple of the best sellers on Amazon and it was very noticeable.
I could feel a lot of resistance instead of just smoothly rolling. Most beginner’s blame the bearings for this, but 99% of the time it’s the urethane formula.
Carving felt stiff and not as responsive because of poor quality bushings.
The main takeaway here is that the urethane formula cheap longboard brands use is bad.
The final issue I’ve noticed about cheaper longboard brands is that they’re faceless.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, it’s not good for the longboard community. These companies simply see dollar signs and don’t give back to the community. The majority are coming straight from a foreign factory that is completely disconnected from the longboarding industry.
You can tell they have no genuine passion for their products.
Okay, but most people searching for a longboard under $100 probably don’t care about this. That’s totally fair. Who am I to tell you what to care about.
The main reason I don’t like to support these companies…
You’re pumping more money into their pockets, which in turn beefs up their marketing budget allowing them to capture more beginners. As a result, they capture more market share, giving beginners a poor experience.
The longboarding scene would be in a better place if these companies actually focused on giving beginners a good experience.
If I bought one of these when I was first starting out, I probably wouldn’t still be longboarding because of how poorly they ride.
Okay, enough of me telling you the bad things without a solution. You want to know what to do, right?
Solution #1: Used Marketplaces
If your budget is under 100 dollars, I would suggest going on Facebook Marketplace or other used marketplaces. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a higher quality brand for a similar price.
You might need to swap out some parts if it’s really used, but it still shouldn’t be bad.
Solution #2: Search local
Ask around in your community if anyone has an old longboard collecting dust. Chances are you’ll find one that someone just wants to get rid of for free.
I know a lot of you would rather find a solution online, but still worth a try.
Buying on Amazon?
If you’re set on buying it from Amazon, go to the product page and click the “visit the brand’s name store” link just below the title.
Check to see what else they’re selling because if they’re selling a variety of things that don’t relate to each other that’s a bad sign. You don’t want to buy from a company that’s manufacturing a longboard, a Christmas tree topper, and a garden hose.
You want to buy from a brand that’s solely focused on longboarding.
Solution #3: Amazon & Upgrade
If you really don’t have time to spare and have no idea if you’ll be doing it long-term then sure, go for an Amazon longboard. As long as you’re aware that the quality isn’t great.
Lemme paint the picture here… say I go to buy a longboard for my nephew and decide on the 60 dollar pintail that’s the most popular on Amazon.
He rides it for a few months then realizes he doesn’t like to longboard. Okay, in that case I’d say that was worth it and it served it’s purpose – it didn’t break the bank.
But if he really enjoys it and after a few more months the board breaks and customer service refuses to do anything, then buying another one is gonna set you into the budget of an actual mid-tier board that you could’ve spent the first time.
I’m a big believer in buy nice or buy twice but that doesn’t make sense if you don’t know if you’ll be longboarding long term.
So I always urge people to really think about it before buying.