Longboard vs Skateboard vs Cruiser (Best Comparison)

By Billy | Updated: August 31, 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. But 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 (best for tricks). And cruisers are a crossbreed of both.

If you’d rather watch a video explanation, check it below. If not, keep scrolling.

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

The first thing you’ll notice is that longboards are larger.

Because longboards are longer, so are their wheelbases. A longer wheelbase makes riding more stable at higher speeds, and carving is not as snappy. Deck flex is another characteristic of longboards you won’t find on skateboards. Not all longboards have flex, though.

Skateboards

Below are average skateboard lengths/widths.

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

street skateboard

When people say ‘skateboards,’ they usually refer to popsicle-shaped street boards. They have an aggressive kicktail/nose because they’re made to do 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 popsicle shapes and longboards. Their kicktail/nose is usually more subtle compared to popsicle shapes. You can still do flip tricks on these, but it’s not ideal.

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Trucks

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.

Rolling over a rock with a softer wheel will absorb it better than a harder wheel.

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.

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 traditional 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.

Occasional flip tricks, cruise, portable

A cruiser 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 started skateboarding when I was 5 years old. Picked up surfing and snowboarding soon after. These days, if I'm not surfing, I'm trying to replicate it on land or snow. My goal is to shred, then share my thoughts in an honest and transparent way.
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