Expert’s Advice on Picking an Electric Skateboard [Buying Guide 2020]

Electric skateboard buying guideSo you’re wondering: ‘How to pick the right electric skateboard?’

Here are the main things to consider when choosing your electric skateboard:

  1. The price you’re willing to pay
  2. The terrain and usage
  3. Your skill at riding an electric skateboard
  4. Characteristics and features
  5. Repair cost, customer service and warranty

Now let’s go through all the details you need to know so you don’t make any expensive mistakes when buying an eboard (electric skateboard).

1) The price you’re willing to pay (cheap, average and premium)

As the title of this section says, there are basically three price ranges you can focus on. The premium prices go from $700-800 to $3000, $4000 and even more. A great example is the Evolve GTR Carbon, one of the best e-boards on the market. Those electric boards include the so-called flagship models of each eboard manufacturer and have more powerful batteries, highest-quality parts, great customer service, and warranty, etc.

The premium price range includes electric skateboards that are custom made as well as eboards for professional and offroad use.

Mid-range priced electric skateboards cost around $400 to $700 and our opinion is that some models in that range can really compete with premium-cost models, with some drawbacks, of course. An example of such a mid-range priced model is the Verreal RX Dual Belt 3000W which is named the ‘cheaper alternative to Evolve GTR. This price range may not give you the best of quality, the longest warranty or the most features and speed, yet for the average esk8er, this is the price to aim for.

The cheap electric skateboards range from anything under $400 and it is close to mind that they go slow, the range is short, quality is poor, there is often no warranty or customer service. However, there is still a chance you might consider getting one if:

  • You’re planning to get it for a child, as a toy or a way to learn skateboarding
  • You’re new to esk8ting yourself and want to get the hang of it before you commit a more hefty amount for an eboard.
  • You’re getting it as a present for someone, and let’s be honest, you don’t want to spend your whole salary on it.

An example of a cheap electric skateboard is the Voyager Neutrino, which costs around $199 and is great for a beginner, for kids or for a present.

2) The terrain and what you will use it for (fun or commute)

Now let’s talk about where you’ll be using your board.

offroad electric skateboard deckWhat electric skateboard to choose for climbing uphill terrain?

So the place you live isn’t the Netherlands and you’ll need to get up a few hills on your way towards your destination? Then choose an eboard with a bit more torque and power. Anything with just one engine (only one wheel is powered) is out of the question. Also, good breaks are important as well, especially if you consider some cheap brands having faulty immediate breaking while you’re going down a hill. Good breaks need good software as well, so if you’re going up or downhill, choose at least something of average price, above $400.

Another advice is to choose belt-driven wheels instead of the so-called hub-wheels (the motor is built inside the wheel). Pulley system is a lot more powerful, and we’d recommend it anytime above the more sleek hub wheels.

What to choose for long-distance committing?

Commuting is one of the main uses of electric skateboards, and unless you’re traveling more than 30km one way (which will be amazing!), most average and premium models can suit your needs. The smoother and flatter the roads, the less energy will be consumed. Check the range on the models you research, anything below 20km isn’t going to suit your needs.

Speaking of range, did you know that many eboards are suited with regenerative breaking, meaning when you break, your battery gets charged. This feature is good mostly if you’re going up and downhill (up to 25% battery power back) and not so efficient when going on flat paths (around 5%).

At the end of the day, if you want to cover long distances with one charge, just go with a bigger battery. In general, electric skateboards use from 10 to 15-watt hours per kilometer. That means you need a 300wh battery if you want to go for 20km+ on one charge.

Consider your weight, the terrain and the wind which also reduce the range of your eboard.

Pro tip: Go for a bigger battery than you need. You won’t regret it.

Best electric board for uneven terrain, bumps, and debris

That basically means off-road, yet if you simply live in a place with bad roads, you don’t need an off-road electric skateboard, simply get bigger, wider and softer wheels (78A to 87A). Make sure they’re pneumatic as well.

If you want to go all-in and go offroad as well, get an eboard with axels sticking wider than the deck, which, combined with bigger wheels, will ensure more control, smoother ride, and more stability.

Read our top picks for off-road electric skateboards

I am a fan of offroad wheels despite the fact they will burn through your battery faster. Nowadays, batteries are powerful enough to last you longer than you can handle. Imagine going offroad for 20km, your legs always under pressure, trying to keep balance on each turn. Unless you’ve been snowboarding since a kid, most people can’t handle more than that, while the latest esk8 models can.

What is a good electric skateboard for humid, wet climate

Well, it is close to mind, waterproof esk8 is your choice, which will increase the cost you have to pay. Some brands offer waterproof warranty as well.

Are you going to fly with your eboard?

If you love eboarding so much, and you plan to travel around the world with your esk8, you must check whether it complies with the TSA regulations for Lithium batteries. Some batteries are just too big to carry on airplanes, and others require preliminary permission, which is still a nuisance.

Moreover, make sure your eboard complies with the local laws and regulations for powered electric skateboards. It is sad that in some countries electric skateboards, scooters, onewheels, and other self-transport vehicles are forbidden, and you can get a big fine using one.

3) What electric skateboard to choose depending on your expertise

Are you a beginner esk8er?

In the section about going up and downhill, we advised staying away from eboards that have single-motor due to the lack of power. However, if you are a beginner, or you plan to give an eboard as a present to someone new to the craft, such an eboard is a perfect choice. It has a smoother take-off and there is less chance it will slide under your feet if you press the acceleration scroll button too strong.

How to know if an electric skateboard has only one motor? Look at the back, between the two wheels, there should be only one motor canister.

What electric skateboard to choose for intermediate level

Verreal-RS characteristics chartOur advice is, go for a medium-range price, and depending on the terrain and distance, choose your eboard. Our favorite eboard for intermediate users is the Verreal RS Dual Belt which is basically an Evolve GT, but for half the price! The reason for going for a medium-range elboard is that many of the models can provide enough torque as well as build quality to last you enough so you can become a pro with it, yet you won’t spend a month’s wage on an electric board.

Medium priced boards are also easily customizable and the more popular brands such as Wowgo, Backfire, Verreal, Ride1up have cheap spare parts you can buy to even make your own board, if you know-how.

What electric skateboard to choose for advanced level

If you are a professional skater or one with a lot of experience, this guide might not tell you anything you don’t already know. Rule of thumb is to take something of high quality, due to the high speed you’ll ride and the terrain you’ll cover. An unexpected break fault or breaking of an axel or other supporting part can lead to a very bad injury.

Depending on the use you will put your eboard through, you might want an offroad beast such as the Outstorm which can go up to 31 miles per hour, or something less expensive, such as the Backfire G3, which is the newest model by Backfire, and it can compete with brands such as Evolve and Boosted, in our opinion.

4) Characteristics of your electric skateboard

Motor

As we already mentioned, an electric skateboard can have one or two wheels powered, however, some offroad beauties can have a 4wheel power as well. The onewheel is usually seen as a budget option, but we recommend it for first-timers as well.

ESC and VESC

This is the brain of the eboard. There are many variations. A hobby-grade ESC isn’t designed for example to hold a human weight cargo. Is the ESC specially developed to carry a person?

Think of what other features your ESC has to ensure your eboard functions properly, such as is the electrical current properly flowing depending on the terrain and type of riding.

Hub Motor

The hub motors are built inside the wheel, making the design of the eboard a lot more sleek and ‘stealthy’. You can even surprise people with a skateboard which magically starts to ride itself. However, you loose on the power, compared to belt motors, which have a lot more torque.

On top of that, hub motors can increase the price of the board unnecessarily, due to the more complex technology behind hub motors.

The remote control of your eboard

Almost all electric skateboards have a remote, used to accelerate and brake remotely. Some have battery life indicators as well. An important thing to consider is the smoothness of the acceleration scroll button, if it is too sensitive, it might flip you off the board, especially if you are a beginner. Make sure the acceleration of the board is suitable for your skill and test it before buying.

Another little tip is to make sure the remote control has a wrist wrap so you don’t accidentally lose it while riding.

Onboard computer and software (ESC/VESC)

You might think the software isn’t complicated for an electric skateboard. An onboard computer must have commands for stopping or slowing down if the connection with the remote is lost, the battery life and power usage can be optimized if the software has features such as battery protection, accelerating and decelerating curves, regenerative breaking, battery preservation and other.

The ESC or VESC (Vedder Electronic Speed Controller) are the control systems for the proper movement of an electric skateboard, and especially for DIY eboards, an updated and quality VESC must be used, in order to reduce the chance of faulty braking, loss of battery life and other drawbacks.

Onewheel green colored electric board

Monowheel

Monowheels are represented by only one good company, Onewheel, and have a steeper learning curve, yet it can be extremely fun. Those models can surprise you on offroad terrain, being able to go through terrain normal four-wheels can’t. Equipped with sensors such as gyroscopes and accelerometers, those eboards can be a bit more expensive.

The battery of your electric skateboard

Nowadays, lithium batteries are all the craze, and all eboards run on them. Something important to have in mind is the use of the battery, make sure you charge it with an original charger and at the right voltage. Read the manufacturer’s instruction on charging and use.

Calculating battery power:

You will see various watt batteries, 1000 watts, 2000 watts, knowing what that means can help you choose a better electric skateboard for yourself.

That is the voltage of the battery multiplied by the amperage. The wattage shown on eboard characteristics can be an average, or it could be the maximum. You want to know the maximum power in watts your battery can output.

One kilometer is 10Wah (watt-hours), so with a 400Wah battery pack, you can go 40km. This is a general estimation, as the power consumption will depend on your weight and the steepness of the hills you’ll climb.

Wheel of an electric skateboard

Bear in mind that the higher the watts of a battery, the higher the power consumption is, and in general you don’t want that.

The higher the voltage, the less your battery will heat up. Lower voltage should be avoided

Battery chemistry

Most batteries nowadays are lithium-ion, and we’d recommend getting an eboard with such battery. However, you should know the chemistry mixture inside the battery as well. The best mix is lithium, nickel, and manganese (MNS), which ensure safety and quality (longer life expectancy). They are more expensive but the cost per charge is cheaper.

Battery management system (BMS)

Many batteries you buy from the store don’t have a BMS. It is designed to pair together with your battery and has a built-in battery temperature sensor and can shut down the battery if it overheats. The battery can damage the rest of the eboard if it overheats, and a BMS protects that from happening.

If you are making your DIY electric board, make sure the battery(ies) is properly connected and charge it in a place where there isn’t anything inflammable nearby.

Another thing to have in mind is the limits for batteries set by airlines if you plan to take your eboard on a plane. The charging port and cover of the Evolve’s lithium battery pack.

The deck of your eboard

The speed and stability of your board is mostly determined by the size, material and flexibility of your deck. Let’s explore the main features of a skateboard deck:

Length. If you want to go faster, you need a longer deck. Short decks are useful for short commutes, such as the ‘last mile’, and are easily carried.

Wheels and trucks. The wheelbase, or the distance between the back and front wheels, and is important for weight distribution, the longer the distance, the more control you will have. If you weight more, then a wider wheelbase is the better choice.

Wheels can be pneumatic, soft or hard, and each type would depend on the terrain you will ride on. Softer and pneumatic wheels absorb bumps and debris easier, but on the other hand, reduce speed.

The larger the diameter of the wheel, the faster the speed you can go, however, you lose on torque and hill climb power.

Flexibility is the ability of your deck to absorb shocks. A more flexible deck affects the control and speed your deck can achieve, especially downhill.

Build material. For electric skateboard, the standard materials for a deck are either bamboo, maple or carbon fiber. Wooden decks are more flexible, whereas carbon fiber ones are stiffer.

Charge time

Charge time would depend on the power of the charger, the capacity of the battery, and the quality of the built. Check the characteristics of the board for the average charge time. Also, read the charging information on the user manual to make sure you properly charge your battery.

Weight Capacity

If you weigh a bit more, make sure you get a more powerful battery with a strong deck, trucks and softer wheels. Always check what is the maximum weight the board can support. Sometimes the range, acceleration and maximum speed of an electric skateboard is tested with a person with an average build and may be different when a heavier person uses the product.

Safety features

Current management is important to reduce damage to your battery, discharging too fast, overheating. Yes, if the current gets too strong for too long, your battery can catch fire.

Temperature monitoring

Built-in safety mechanisms protect your ESC and motor from failing, which are basically the most important electric parts of your electric skateboard.

5) Repair cost, customer service, warranty for your esk8

Let’s hope you won’t need to repair your esk8, yet it is still good that it has a warranty. We know it is a nuisance to read through the warranty papers, however, it is good to know what your warranty covers, so you don’t get surprised later. Check whether it covers any software faults, what parts are covered and under what circumstances the company will replace them for you and under what circumstances (such as wear and tear) you will have to pay for the repair.

Premium brands such as Evolve have great customer service. Cheaper brands, however, often have slow response time, fewer authorized repair shops and less warranty coverage. However, you can check for nearby repair shops that can fix electric skateboards and ask if they’ve dealt with models of certain brands.

If you are a techie, you can repair your eboard yourself, buying cheaper parts online.

And remember, ask the manufacturer about those and any other feature you have questions about to ensure you’re getting the product you want.

Thank you for reading, hope this guide was useful and you have a better idea of what to look for. If you have any questions or recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below.

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