Roughly 85 percent of longboarders don’t give up commuting or recreational riding once they discover longboarding. And, electric skateboards are a kind of motorized longboard. Since longboarding promises to be more than a faddish idea, it’s reasonable to predict that electric skateboarding isn’t going anywhere, yet. But e-skateboards aren’t cheap. And that means e-skateboard buying mistakes can be costly. Below is a list of 11 mistakes to avoid when buying an electric skateboard.
Also read: How to ride an electric skateboard. Also read:
Here are 10 mistakes to avoid if you don’t want to end up hating your e-board:
1. Buying an Electric Skateboard That’s Too Big or Heavy
When it comes to electric skateboarding, size does matter. So, when out there choosing your first motorized skateboard, avoid selecting something too big and heavy. Why? Because you want to be able to haul your e-board home if your board’s motor or battery dies on you.
And, if you use your e-board for riding part of your commute, it needs to be light enough. The most portable skateboards I know are in the 10-15 lbs weight range.
Also Read: Best-for-the-money Skateboards
If you’re a heavy rider, the best electric skateboard you can find typically weighs in the neighborhood of 40 pounds. But carrying a heavy-rider skateboard shouldn’t be a herculean task for a big skateboarder, right? So, choose an e-board you can move around with ease whenever the need arises.
Speaking of e-board size, there are two considerations you should keep top of mind when shopping: length and weight.
Generally, the wider, longer, and thicker the board, the heavier it will be. Let’s assume you’re a beginner and don’t want your first purchase to exceed $1,000. In that case, choose a board measuring between 27″ to 30″ length-wise.
Once you choose the length, you shouldn’t worry about the width. That’s because an e-board’s width is usually proportional to its length. As for width, understand that the sleeker the e-skateboard, the lighter. But the sleekest boards also tend to be the priciest.
2. Choosing an E-board with Low Motor Power
An electric skateboard banks on the power generated by its motor or motors to propel you forward. The amount of raw motor capacity you need is a function of the nature of the terrain you’ll be riding.
If you live in the hilliest corner of your state, you’re going to need a super-powerful electric skateboard. You’ll need one with enough torque to take you up the steepest hills or trails if it’s an off-road e-skateboard.
For the most part, the more powerful the e-board, the larger and heavier its motors. That said, you can still find sleek e-boards that provide tons of e-skating and hill-climbing torque without weighing too much.
The e-skateboarding world offers different kinds of motors. Some e-skateboards use outrunner motors, others use hub motors, while the rest run belt-driven motors. I suggest you research these skateboard motors and understand how each works. A 4000W outrunner motor may not pump out the exact same amount of power and torque as a 4000W hub motor, for example.
I love skateboards that use dual-hub motors. These ones don’t need too much power to carry you over flat roads or even up hills. Any skateboard with two 400W motors should be good enough for most riders.
If you want the most powerful hub motor for your custom build, there’s always Enertion’s R-Spec Ghost. This is a dual hub motor with two 1680W motors. It’s a real beast that cranks out tons and tons of raw riding power.
So, stay away from under-powered electric skateboards, especially if they’re also ridiculously expensive.
3. Buying an E-Skateboard with Bad Wheels
If good wheels are important to traditional skateboarding, they’re critical to electric skateboarding. Compared to a regular skateboard, an e-board is heavier, and that means more pressure on the wheels. Additionally, an esk8 throws massive motor-powered pushes at the wheels, and that doesn’t do much good to them.
Plus, you never want wheels that flatspot the very first day you give your electric skateboard a test spin. And things can get a whole lot worse if you’re cruising insanely fast.
Buying an expensive motorized skateboard only to find it needs a new set of wheels after a single ride sucks. You need wheels that last, and urethane wheels are some of the most durable on the e-skating market today.
So, make sure to read genuine electric skateboard reviews before whipping out your credit card. Reading credible customer reviews is the only way to get a device whose wheels provide butter-smooth rides. It’s also the only way to avoid ending up with an e-skateboard whose wheels break as soon as you step on it.
4. Picking Up an Electric-Skateboard with Very Small Wheels
Whether you want to buy a paved-road motorized skateboard or an all-roads beast, you need big enough wheels. If the wheels are too small, you’ll face difficulty climbing over even the smallest rocks and twigs.
Bigger wheels that aren’t too hard (low-durometer wheels) offer smooth, stable, controlled rides. Such wheels roll over cracks and pebbles well, and they absorb road vibrations like there’s no tomorrow.
So, before choosing any e-skateboard, make sure to understand every spec and feature. Know what kind of wheels the skateboard comes with, how durable they are, and how small or big they are.
But what wheel size is recommended for a motor-driven skateboard? It depends on where you’ll ride and what you’re trying to achieve.
If the roads where you’re at are all nicely paved, you can use a board with moderately big wheels. And if you’ll mostly ride off the beaten path, you’ll want to choose an –e-board with extremely large, soft, grippy wheels. Think of 85A wheels standing 110mm or higher.
And if you’re looking for a fast board for commuting purposes, find an option with large, relatively soft wheels. For cruising or traveling to work, 83mm PU wheels with a durometer of 86A-90A should be fine. Such wheels should be fast enough, and if you ever want to do slides on the road, they’re hard enough.
5. Not Understanding Your E-skating Style from the Get-go
Not every e-skateboarder craves super-smooth rides. Some riders want an e-skateboard with which they can perform various skateboarding tricks and slides. If that’s you, you most likely need smaller, harder wheels.
Smaller, harder wheels roll fast, and when it comes to doing powerslides, there’s no better bet. These are the kinds of electric skateboard wheels you need for landing tricks.
In comparison, larger, softer wheels are good for transportation. These wheels travel faster than small wheels and take on bumps and rough roads with complete mastery. If your riding style favors more relaxed, fun-filled recreational riding, choose large soft wheels.
6. Purchasing an Electric Skateboard with a Low Load Capacity
You’ll use your electric skateboard to move around, so make sure it’s sturdy enough for your weight. When out shopping, make sure to pick up an e-board rated for riders as heavy as you are. Usually, electric skateboard manufacturers state the maximum weight capacity of each of their esk8’s.
A board’s weight capacity becomes critical when you’re on the heavier side of rider weight. I’ve seen people buy an e-board that wasn’t strong or sturdy enough for them.
And what happened?
Their board became super sluggish, especially when riding up inclines. Even worse, their excessive weight sapped their battery of its charge in minutes.
In the end, all the disappointed big boy or girl wanted to do was ship back the damned thing. And as you know, sending back bought items online isn’t always a happy experience.
So, buy an e-board that’s designed to accommodate riders in your weight range. Check out these under-$500 electric skateboards to see if any of them possess the rider capacity you need.
7. Choosing an Esk8 Constructed Using Cheap Materials
Some electric skateboards look fabulous when viewed online. In the product description’s picture, the skateboard looks like a well-made product, one that was assembled using high-quality components.
But when the electric skateboard finally arrives, you quickly learn it’s nothing more than an obscenely expensive piece of junk. You never want such an eventuality to happen to you, which is why reading honest, detailed user reviews is important.
In my experience and that of many skateboarders, skateboards with a deck made of mainly cheap plastic don’t last. For the most part, such electric skateboards break after a few rides, especially if the rider is on the heavier side.
Do you know what material manufacturers these days use to make the best electric skateboards on the market? It’s not plastic — it is bamboo. If you’re a heavy rider, choose an electric skateboard with multiple layers of bamboo. Bamboo is strong, and it flexes quite well.
But there’s another deck material that would probably work better than bamboo for the deck. That material is carbon fiber. You don’t get to see a lot of carbon fiber decks these days, but such decks can be had.
Carbon fiber runs rings around bamboo, plastic, and other materials in terms of strength and weight. E-board decks made of carbon fiber are super-light yet extremely strong, and they don’t break immediately you step on them. However, if you want an e-skateboard that won’t snap on day one of riding it, you’ll have to spend more.
8. Buying an E-board That’s Too Noisy
Well, noise isn’t much of a problem for most electric skateboarders. At least, it’s not a problem for me. I recently bought a Boosted Board, and it is pretty noisy. But that doesn’t bother me much as long as this expensive thing keeps running.
Noise? Come to think of it — riding a noisy electric skateboard could actually help you. For example, because my Boosted Board is noisy, I announce my presence from miles off.
And I’ve yet to have anyone do anything stupid, like jumping in front of me during a ride! Plus, being noisy helps everyone notice that I’m skating much faster than a traditional human-powered skateboard.
But, I get it. There can be something like too much noise when it comes to e-skateboarding. If you hate noisy e-boards, buy from companies known to make quiet electric skateboards.
I’ve learned that Mellow Boards, Backfire, Ownboard, WowGo, and Meepo are some of the quietest e-skateboards on the market. That’s mostly because these devices use belt or hub motors. But that doesn’t mean hub and belt-driven boards can’t be or are never noisy.
Here’s a quick idea to fix a noisy electric skateboard that uses a belt-type motor — loosen the belt a bit. That should make your ride less noisy.
However, there’s a good chance that your board’s belt might start skipping. If that happens, consider removing that belt and putting in a thicker belt. Maybe a 5mm pitch drive belt? You can loosen up this thicker belt a bit without having it skimp.
9. Selecting a Device with a Bad Battery
Your electric skateboard’s overall utility is as good as its battery. Make sure to understand what specs the battery offers.
Ask yourself, what range can I get from a full charge of this battery? How long does the battery last? Can the battery be swapped out without difficulty and with basic tools?
Super important: read reviews online before shelling out. If too many people say a specific electric skateboard had a faulty battery, you’ll likely experience the same issue.
10. Buying from Companies with Bad Customer Support
What sucks more than bad customer support? It is bad customer support! Avoid fly-by-night brands that sell cheap crap made in sweatshops in China.
Well, even some of the better-known electric skateboard brands manufacture their goods in China. But at least, the best-known brands have a reputation to protect, plus they are usually accessible.
What to avoid is “brands” without a proper website and whose customer support is either non-existent or horrible. Again, reading honest, real-user reviews should reveal the bad guys as well as reliable companies.
My hubby recently bought an electric skateboard from Skatebolt. Upon opening the package, he noticed an issue he needed assistance with. When Jason contacted Skatebolt, the company had someone respond back and address all the concerns he’d raised.
In the end, that little conversation got the problem fully solved. And my hubby didn’t need to return the faulty product. Check out Skatebolt electric skateboards here.
11. Not Reading the E-board Warranty and Return Policy
Usually, electric skateboards come with a 6-12 month warranty. I think a longer warranty is an indication that the company believes in its products. So, I’d stay away from little-known brands that offer no warranty on their boards. Or provide a warranty that covers 3 months or shorter.
Some electric skateboard companies have generous return policies. Such companies handle repairs and parts or even product replacement without issues. But honestly, companies that are that caring are few and far between.
A guy that rides with my hubby bought an electric board from Meepo. And while the board looked nice and all that, all he got was problems.
The battery was noticeably defective, and the cables were missing. Good news: the board came with a 6-month manufacturer’s defects and workmanship warranty. Big problem — he couldn’t return the defective thing.
Then there was dealing with Maria in customer support. Maria took forever to respond to customer queries and even longer to send parts. Overall, it was a bad experience even though Meepo is a well-known brand.
Speaking of warranty, Koowheel DM3 Electric Longboard comes with a 2-year warranty. That’s about the longest warranty I’ve seen on an electric skateboard.
So, make sure to buy only from companies that show genuine concern for their customers. Ask around the e-skate community on Reddit or wherever.
Mistakes to Avoid When Buying an E-Skateboard: Conclusion
While shopping for an electric skateboard certainly isn’t rocket science, it can be a confusing process.
There are too many brands and models to choose from. Additionally, there’s far too much marketing noise that threatens to drown even the most discerning shoppers.
Knowing the common mistakes people make when buying their first e-skateboard online can help you avoid pain and frustration. You’ll be more alert as you navigate the sea of products that scrabble for your attention and dollars.
Avoid low-capacity boards as well as ones that are excessively noisy. Also, keep away from boards with super small, cheap wheels. Look at the material used to make the deck as well. Also, select an option with enough motor power to carry you over the terrain you’ll mostly ride on.