Whenever a new product enters the market, the public often raises some common questions: Is this product worthwhile? What brand or specific type of this product is the best? Electric skateboards are no exception. We learned from forum and Google search results that there are two key questions for this product: Are electric skateboards worth it? What is the best electric skateboard? Though it is hard to define the “best,” this guide will attempt to provide subjective figures and fundamental criteria to judge when researching the electric skateboard.
Whether it’s a DIY electric skateboard or a specially-manufactured one, safety is always the first element to consider. Safety measures include a stable remote-control signal, excellent quality of parts, and a suitable foot position design. All of these elements combined make a safe electric skateboard. For DIY skateboards, do remember: spend your money wherever necessary, and don’t be stingy when it comes to purchasing high-quality parts. You should focus more on the quality and safety of accessories rather than the number of flashy gadgets.
So, if you are going to buy an electric skateboard, what other factors should you consider? Remember that you are not just buying a toy car. The electric skateboard is similar to a toy for adults—one that costs much more than conventional toys due to its safety and technology. For amateurs, a manual is an important form of guidance; and for experts, a manual is still helpful to look back on in order to prevent yourself from going overboard. Therefore, this article is useful for individuals of all experience levels, helping you learn about the electric skateboard from head to toe.
Unless you’re totally rich, price is the often first element you will consider when buying an electric skateboard. That’s for good reason: currently, the most popular e-skateboards cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000. Several high-end skateboards or customized off-road skateboards cost even more, and there is no upper limit to this price. So, don’t treat this purchase like a short-lived one. You may initially feel inclined to buy a cheaper e-skateboard, but it’s best to buy a higher quality board at a higher price point. The cost for several boards adds up; a few e-skateboards could amount to the cost of a car!
Price reflects the quality and performance of the device. The cost’s determining factors include internal factors like battery, motor, deck, and additional parts of the electric skateboard. Additionally, the external factors include customer service and warranty, location of the original shipment place, maintenance, etc.
Safety involves a ton of specifications and components. The four dimensions of the riding experience can also be listed as the criteria for safety, which will be mentioned next. Regardless of which e-skateboard you choose, there is no doubt that braking capability is one of the most critical factors. After all, no one wants to ride a wild horse with no brakes.
This is a typical, old-fashioned type of braking—the same type widely applied to conventional vehicles and most bicycles. The principle of friction braking is simple: using friction to convert kinetic energy into heat, which makes the device slow down. Think about a road bike. When you squeeze the brake handle, the brake pad intensely rubs against the edge of the tire; then, the bike slows down.
Despite its common use in other vehicles, the friction braking system is rarely applied to an electric skateboard. One reason is that the electric skateboard does not have much space for the mechanical hardware. What’s more, friction braking is not durable and requires components to be frequently replaced.
Outrunner brushless motors: the most common type used on electric skateboards. Before electric skateboards, this braking system was used on trains since their inception. The principle is similar to that of friction braking. These brakes convert kinetic energy into heat and then slow the device down. The difference is that with dynamic braking, the resistance is difficult to see. This is starkly different to the visible friction process in friction braking.
Let’s make this concept easier to follow. When you ride on the electric skateboard, the rotating wheels generate kinetic energy. The energy drives the magnetics to spin around a copper wire. This creates an electrical current, which will later be transferred into a resistor. In the end, the heat is dissipated by the resistor, similar to the principle used in friction braking. As the heat dissipates, the electric skateboard slows down.
Note: Dynamic braking is one of the most popular types among electric skateboards. Outrunner brushless motors are commonly used among e-boards.
The regenerative braking system is very similar to dynamic braking. However, this braking system differs in its handling of heat. With dynamic braking, heat is dissipated; in regenerative braking, the kinetic energy is not transferred into heat, or the kinetic energy would feed back into the battery. Instead, during the braking process, the inertia of the skateboard drives the motor to rotate and produce a reverse torque effect. This allows the device to quickly stop.
When it comes to electric skateboards, stability refers to two ideas: a stable connection between the remote control and the board, and a stable riding process that is unhindered by a lack of battery power.
1.Remote control or other link components
The remote control is used to control the start, stop, acceleration, and deceleration of the electric skateboard. It sends signals to the board’s receiver, which is usually built into the ESC (electric speed controller). Some e-skateboard brands build their own app to replace the remote control; in other words, you can use your phone to control the electric skateboard.
The electric speed controller (ESC) is the brain of the electric skateboard, and can be compared to the CPU of a computer. This component is used to process signals from RCs and release instructions to the batteries and motors, establishing a signal-operation loop.
Thanks to the development of newer technology like Bluetooth, link delay between devices is hardly enough to be the cause of accidents. However, it cannot be ruled out that riders might encounter signal interference with one other in crowded areas.
2. Battery capacity and range
The battery impacts the e-skateboard’s speed, range, and charging time. Typically, the average rider does not need to know the intricacies of battery specifications. The seller will normally tell you how many miles the device can go with one full battery charge, and how fast it will go at peak performance.
Alternatively, if you are a DIY enthusiast and want to dive a little further into this component, visit this website. This page will detail everything you need to know about electric skateboard batteries.
The riding experience of an e-skateboard is fairly subjective. YouTubers might leave starkly different reviews about the same type of electric skateboard’s riding experience. Depending on their preferences, each skateboarder has a different priority. Some might regard speed as their ultimate goal, while others might prioritize a long and steady riding distance.
We have already written another elementary motor guide for you, revealing the differences between belt-driven motors and hub motors (the two main types). Click here to read the whole passage.
In this guide, we will briefly revisit each motor type. When considering motors, you should first determine how you will use your e-skateboard. Usually, hub motors are used for daily commuting. Meanwhile, belt-driven motors are mainly useful for off-road electric skateboards.
- The hub motor is placed inside the wheel, generally in the rear wheels (some e-skateboards equip four motors). The pros of hub motor are apparent. First, it is easier to install than a belt-driven motor; second, you can ride the device by human force even if there is no electricity. The cons include that the hub motor’s power is not as powerful as that of a belt drive motor.
Belt driven motors:
- Belt drive motors are commonly seen in off-road electric skateboards. Undoubtedly, the belt drive type gives high power and torque. Noise is unavoidable when riding on the belt-drive-motor skateboard due to the high power—this is a preference for some that like the sound of a sports car’s throttle. However, the most pressing issue is that the belt drive motor requires constant belt replacement to cope with wear and tear. Maintenance is a very annoying task; imagining constantly clearing debris, mud, and weed in a small gadget.
- Somewhat different from the hub motor, direct drive motors are built next to the wheels. The engines and wheels are connected by the wheel adapter. This type almost perfectly fills the void between hub motors and belt drive motors. One of the advantages of a direct drive motor is its good heat dissipation, since the motors are exposed to the air.
- The gear drive motor is the counterpart of the belt drive motor. Gear drive motors use the gear as the medium between the wheels and motors, which enables two more merits than belt drive. One is higher efficiency. The belt drive system must deal with the belt friction and belt tension force, and due to greater resistance, this causes the machine to have a worse performance.
- However, when adopting a gear drive, resistance generated during the moving process is relatively low. The friction between gears will also be much lower if lubricant is applied. The second is immediacy. The gears connect directly to the motor; therefore, when the board accelerates and brakes, the gear drive makes these actions immediate and instantaneous. Third, you don’t have to worry about belt-breaking and maintenance problems. Since the gear drive system is closed, dust and dirt won’t quickly get into the device.
The deck is the largest part of an electric skateboard and the most frequently touched, since players place their feet on the board in order to ride. The board’s surface affects the feeling and grip of the device, and the board length and width directly determine the rider’s position. Hence, there are a variety of different decks to adapt to each user’s preferences.
If you are not an electric skateboard enthusiast, you may pay little attention to the board’s surface material. However, if you are a skateboard veteran, you can choose the deck based on your past experience.
The following are some dimensions to consider while selecting the deck.
- Most decks in the market are made of maple wood. Maple wood is considered to be stiffer and harder. Bamboo is also used to manufacture some skateboard decks. Some high-brow skateboard types may adopt fiberglass or carbon fiber as deck material for a number of reasons: they are lighter and more durable, but often cost more. In truth, there is no perfect deck type that suits everyone’s need. You need to consider what riding experience you want to achieve and what road conditions you often use.
Shapes and sizes:
- Decks come in a variety of forms, including a cruiser-style shape with a flat nose and raised tail used for stunts. Other decks feature double kickboards like regular skateboards, and many other designs.
- The flexibility of the deck determines its curvature under pressure. Some people prefer to have a flexible deck since that can provide a comfortable feeling that springs under the feet. However, a flexible deck might not be ideal for skateboarders who want to execute stunts. This is also not favorable when you ride at a high speed, since the deck cannot provide solid standing support.
The truck is the determining factor that allows an electric skateboard to turn. Trucks also account for the board’s stability; in short, the wider your trucks, the more stable they are, and the narrower your trucks, the more flexible they are. This can be compared to off-road vehicles and regular commuter vehicles.
Tires are an essential part of the electronic skateboard’s external appeal. You can customize your wheels with various sizes, shapes, colors.
There are two main types of wheels for electric skateboards: urethane and pneumatic. The former type, urethane, has become the most popular one. From the appearance, it seems the urethane tire is a whole block. In comparison, pneumatic tires are more like mini bicycle tires, usually made of rubber.
The pros and cons are evident in their capabilities. Pneumatic tires can absorb the uneven road’s shock, giving you a comfortable and smooth riding experience. Another point is that you can inflate the tires to your desired firmness. However, pneumatic tires are more prone to popping. This type is mainly used with an off-road electric skateboard.
Pay attention! Suppose you are going to frequently use an electric skateboard as a commuting tool. In that case, you will want a lighter skateboard to carry with you. No one likes to take a bulky machine along with them. An electric skateboard’s weight usually ranges from 15 to 28 pounds (6.8-12.8kg), and the weight might be impacted by the specs of each component.
Light skateboards can be expensive because they often utilize composite or high-end materials. On the other hand, light electric skateboards can also be cheap because they may include lower-end motor components.
Power is not as simple as we usually think. The determining factors of an electric skateboard’s power management include torque, acceleration, and highest speed. Each of these factors interact to determine the machine’s overall power.
Torque refers to the force that fights against resistance when the electric skateboard is in motion. The torque is reflected in the e-skateboard’s climbing ability, speed, braking ability. The steeper the climbing angle, the faster the speed and the shorter the braking distance; an ability to climb steep slopes indicates that the skateboard’s motor torque is greater. However, this must also be matched with its handling experience, as power is meaningless when it’s beyond your control.
Acceleration and Top Speed
An e-skateboard’s acceleration refers to the time it takes to speed up from 0 to the maximum speed. The shorter the acceleration time, the faster and more exciting the riding experience. Meanwhile, the top speed is undoubtedly a priority to many riders. All of these specifications are directly determined by the ESC and battery.
With the increasing number of electric skateboard options, making a wise choice can seem difficult. This is an important decision, as e-skateboards are not a cheap toy—they are an informed purchase that requires much heavy decision-making. I hope that this article is helpful to you. If you would like to browse electric skateboard products, click here to visit our product homepage.