So you’re ready to get yourself or a special somebody an electric skateboard. You clever rascal you. Let it be known that buyers remorse among electric skateboard owners is extremely low. You or the lucky friend who’s getting it gifted will be grinnin’ from ear to ear for miles as you glide by and attract the attention (and envy) of many tired and footsore pedestrians.
But before you rush out and splurge on your very own envy machine, there are some features you should at least know about so that you can do your due diligence in your comparisons. Everyone is different and some features will be more important to different people. So slide your glasses up your nose bridge and check out the electric skateboard features to consider.
The deck of a skateboard is normally made from wood, or as it’s commonly called, ply. Ply is the thin levels of wood that are tightly pressed together to make the skateboard deck. Rather than making a deck from one solid piece of wood, most skateboard manufacturers layer the wood in a cross-grain pattern to create a very strong board. The typical skateboard is seven-ply, and most boards aren’t over nine-ply.
Electric Skateboards can handle a lot of weight generally. The more weight you put on the board, the more power it takes to move the board, which means the slower it will travel and the shorter the distance it will travel. The average maximum weight of most electric skateboards is 220 pounds.
Basically, the bigger the wheel, the faster the wheel. If you’re into doing flip tricks you will want smaller wheels, but if you’re into cruising or going fast, you’re going to be looking for bigger wheels, around 60-80mm. And as far as cruising goes, the larger the wheel, the better the ride. Skateboard Wheels should be made out of urethane. Before you buy, make sure they are not plastic or pvc.
Battery and Power
Most electric skateboards are powered by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Some manufacturers use brand name batteries like Sony or Samsung, while others default to other less popular brands. This isn’t anything to be too wary about as the technology is safe across the board. What you should be looking for is the battery charge time and whether a quick-charging option is available. Some batteries charge in an hour and some as long as 5 hours. Also if batteries are removable and replaceable, that is definitely a good feature you should look for.
As far as battery power is concerned, it is measured and stated in Watts (W). The more watts, the more powerful the board, which means the faster you can go. A starter board will have about a 350W motor while a serious electric skateboard will range from around 800W up to as much as 2000W. Then there’s whether the board has single or dual drives. Single drives power one wheel, while dual powers two. Dual drive boards handle inclines and acceleration better because of this clear power advantage. That’s not to diminish single drive boards, it’s just that dual is better.
Speed and Range
For most electric skateboards these are the main selling points. Some of the fastest e-boards can make a face melting 24 Mph. Offroad boards usually have a lot of power but slower max speeds due to their weight. Meanwhile, most regular electric skateboards have speed modes that control and limit the max speed of the board. In terms of range, surprisingly some of the high end e-boards have comparably low ranges of maybe 7 or 8 miles per charge. The range is a factor you must consider for yourself and how you intend to use your board, whether fun, casual use, commuting, off-roading or pro-racing.
All things considered, you generally don’t want a heavy electric skateboard. The lighter the better. Even though these are some of the lightest electric vehicles you can get, they do vary in terms of weight. Most operate within the decent 12-18 pound range, while the off-road boards can get as heavy as 80 pounds. The fact is these things are battery powered and you don’t want to get stuck lugging around a heavy board when it runs out of juice.
Brakes and Regenerative Braking
Electric skateboards have the ability to accelerate and to brake, and normally when braking, the braking system converts motion back into electricity that is stored in the battery. This is called regenerative braking and it can help extend the range of your e-board by recovering and recycling lost energy.
Electric skateboards have a wide price range, but mostly you get what you pay for. The cheaper boards are usually made in China with cheaper parts while the more expensive boards are usually made using high quality parts and brand name components. However if you find the right review website (WINK WINK) you should be able to find and compare quality electric skateboards at affordable prices.
Listen, electric skateboards are fast, and they don’t come with seatbelts. So before you go out to carve your name in the streets on your new e-board, you should get yourself some protective gear, namely a helmet and pads. Honestly any skate helmet should protect you just fine, but if you want more detailed info on the best helmets to protect your melon, check out my helmet reviews and buyers guide.
The Bottom Line
There are many variables to these features and as mentioned before some boards may have a strength in one category and flounder in another. So use this site and you do you. Compare, contrast and comment. I’m only too happy to hold your hand and guide you to choosing a board that fits your style and your pocketbook. Did I just write pocketbook? Crap. I’m gettin old.