Longboard vs Skateboard vs Cruiser (Best Comparison)

By Billy | Updated: December 20, 2022 | Longboards

Confused about the difference between a longboard, skateboard, and cruiser?

They’re all types of skateboards with different characteristics.

I want to emphasize that these terms are subjective. This post is meant to give you a rough idea. I’ll do my best to describe each simply and concisely.

If you want a quick answer, find it below.

Summary

The difference between a longboard, skateboard, and cruiser comes down to deck shape, trucks, and wheels. Longboards usually are larger, have softer wheels, and can handle higher speeds. Skateboards have a traditional popsicle shape (easiest for flip tricks). And cruisers are a crossbreed of both.

The main differences are in the deck shape, trucks, and wheels. First, let’s go over the different characteristics of…

Deck Specs

There are quite a few differences when it comes to the decks of a longboard, skateboard, and cruiser.

Longboards

Below are average longboard lengths/widths.

Longboard Lengths: 34″ – 46″
Longboard Widths: 8.5″ – 10″

tan tien longboard
Loaded Tan Tien

The first thing you’ll notice is that longboards are… (you guessed it), longer.

Because longboards are longer, so are their wheelbases. A longer wheelbase makes riding more stable at higher speeds, and carving won’t be as snappy.

Longboard decks are commonly made from Canadian maple, which is stiff and strong. Some companies, like Loaded Boards, use bamboo to make their decks flexy. An example would be the Loaded Poke or the Tan Tien.

Skateboards

Below are average skateboard lengths/widths.

Skateboard Lengths: 31″ – 33″
Skateboard Widths: 7.25″ – 8.5″

street skateboard
Popsicle street skateboard

When people say ‘skateboard,’ they’re usually referring to popsicle-shaped street skateboards. They have an aggressive kicktail/nose because their main purpose is for flip tricks.

Cruisers

Below are average cruiser lengths/widths.

Cruiser Lengths: 28″ – 34″
Cruiser Widths: 8″ – 10″

cruiser skateboard

Cruiser skateboards are a crossbreed between longboards and popsicle-shaped skateboards. Their kicktail/nose is usually more subtle compared to popsicle shapes.

You can still do flip tricks on these, but it’s not ideal. They’re mostly used for those that want something portable and can occasionally ollie up a curb if needed.

Trucks

More info on trucks here

reverse kingpin vs traditional

There are two common types of trucks used on longboards, skateboards, and cruisers, which are…

Reverse Kingpins

Trucks on a longboard are typically reverse kingpins (One on the left in the above image). Their kingpins face the outside of the deck.

They’re inverted compared to traditional kingpins. RKPs are more stable at higher speeds.

Traditional Kingpins

TKPs are often found on skateboards and cruisers, but some cruisers have RKP trucks. Their kingpins face the inside of the deck.

They’re lower to the ground, lighter, and better for grinding since the kingpin is behind the hanger. They’re more agile because they have a higher baseplate angle.

Wheels

longboard wheels vs skateboard

Wheels on longboards and cruisers are usually softer and wider (78a-85a range) than skateboard wheels (95a-101a+). The softer the wheel, the better for cruising on the street because they absorb vibrations better.

It’ll be easier to roll over rocks/pebbles if you have soft wheels.

Smaller and harder wheels are used on skateboards since you can easily do powerslides, and they’re less forgiving if you get wheelbite after landing a trick.

Cruiser wheels are usually a crossbreed of a longboard and skateboard wheel. Smaller than a longboard wheel and softer than a skateboard wheel. A popular example of cruiser skateboard wheels are the Fatty Hawgs.

longboard vs skateboard vs cruiser

How To Choose?

Now that you have a rough idea of the differences, how do you choose?

Let’s go over a few common scenarios.

Flip tricks, grinds, skateparks

If you want to mainly learn tricks, you’re best off with a popsicle-shaped skateboard.

Bomb hills, throw slides or larger setup

You’re most likely best off with a longboard if you want a larger setup. However, there are a few different categories of longboards. If you’re confused about which category is right for you, check out my beginner’s longboard guide.

Portability with occasional flip tricks

A cruiser skateboard is probably your best option if that’s the case. Maybe something like the Landyachtz Dinghy (one of my favorite cruisers).

Bottom Line

You’ll want to know the basics, so you can pick a board that fits your riding style. Just don’t get too hung up on the technicals.

Decide because it’s all about getting outside, shredding, and having fun.

Billy

I've been skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding since a young age. My shredding style is surf-inspired. The mission is to publish educational content for board sports.

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