The Best Longboards (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Get where you need to go in style with these excellent longboards.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON December 18, 2020
Not many people know that longboarding has its roots in Hawaii and dates back to the 1950s when surfers used to modify their skateboards by giving them longer decks and bigger wheels in order to attempt to mimic the rolling motion of the waves so that they could work on improving their surfing technique even on land. When the ocean was too choppy, surfers could surf on land and practice to their hearts’ content.
Today, longboarding is its own distinct and niche sport, attracting not just surfers and skateboarders but users from all walks of life. With its rise in popularity, high-quality longboards are becoming more plentiful and more affordable. Here’s a look at some of our favorites that are currently out there.
This longboard is constructed from premium-grade materials with five layers of Canadian maple wood and a bottom layer of bamboo.
- Designed and engineered in Germany
- Great for beginners and experienced riders
- Features 7-inch aluminum trucks
- The deck measures 39 inches long by nine inches wide
- Not the strongest or most durable longboard on the market
- Can support less weight overall than some other models
This board is constructed from a 100 percent eight-ply cold-pressed hard rock maple wood deck, so it’s sturdy and reliable. Measuring 40 inches in length, it’s a great all-around board.
- Classic downhill drop model and low gravity construction
- 7-inch aluminum reverse kingpin trucks are adjustable to 45 or 50 degrees
- Wheelbase measures 37 for a stable downhill platform
- White wheels get dirty quickly and detract from the look of the board
- Concern over the quality of the trucks and riser pads long-term
With extra soft and grippy wheels, this longboard is designed for cruising and skating around town with a smooth ride and a forgiving turning radius. It has a 44-inch deck that isn’t overly flexible, making it easier and more stable to ride.
- Sand grit finish provides extra grip for your feet while highlighting the bamboo design
- Kicktails on this board add to its overall versatility and functionality
- Trucks aren’t adjustable for varying degrees and better handling
- Could use better quality wheels and bearings
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Benefits of Longboards
- Improved health and fitness. Using a longboard will help improve your cardiovascular health as well as develop muscles and improve core strength. It also helps to improve your balance, coordination, agility, flexibility, and reaction times by practicing how to quickly react and turn and steer the board around corners, traffic, people, and road hazards.
- Better stability. Longboards offer much more support and stability over traditional skateboards. With longer wheelbases and larger decks, they’re a great way for people to get into boarding because they’re more forgiving and easier to stay on while riding than skateboards.
- Fun transportation. Longboards are a fun way to get around, whether you’re just bombing around the park, commuting to work or school, or going to the store. They provide a faster form of transportation than just walking and are easier to take on public transportation and subways than bicycles.
- Helps you enjoy nature. Since people tend to use their longboards outside rather than at indoor skate parks, longboards help you take a break from cruising social media on your cell phone and get outside to enjoy nature and the outdoors. It’s a great way to take a break from overdoing it with your electronics.
In the market for a new roof rack for your surfboard? Check out our top recommendations for best surfboard roof racks.
Types of Longboards
Flexible Drop-Through Longboard
Flexible drop-through longboards have a lower center of gravity and their trucks are mounted by “dropping” them through the deck. This improves the stability of the board and decreases stress on the hips and lower body to make it easier to push or brake with your feet. The flexibility of the board also serves to dampen impacts and external forces, helping you avoid discomfort on longer rides.
Traditional Cruiser Shape Longboard
The traditional cruiser shape longboard is a medium-length board that is very popular thanks to its smaller size and the presence of a kicktail that bends upwards and allows for deep carving while minimizing wheelbite potential. These boards are more maneuverable for getting through crowds and over sidewalks with fewer incidents because the kicktail makes them super easy to control. This is a great beginner board thanks to its length and its wide platform which can easily accommodate the rider’s front foot. These boards are also great for performing ollies and kickflips.
The commuter-style longboard is almost like a cross between the flexible drop-through model and the traditional cruiser model. It’s a top-mounted cruising board that has more leverage over the trucks, which makes these boards great for carving or cruising on flat surfaces so you can get around town or across campus quickly and smoothly. With wheels placed at the very end of the deck, these boards are super stable and very forgiving.
Arbor was launched in 1995 with its snowboarding line with a focus on sustainability and minimizing environmental impact. Now, more than 25 years later, this company is one of the best-known manufacturers of snowboards, like its Arbor Foundation Snowboard, skateboards, and longboards, like its Arbor Axis 40 Bamboo Drop-Through Longboard.
Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, Apollo is a professional longboarding brand with a global presence. This company has a wide variety of boards that are perfect for beginners to pros, like the Apollo Flores 39” Twin Tip Drop-Through Longboard and the Hawaiian Wulff 42” Kicktail Longboard.
Located in Carlsbad, Calif., Magneto has been making high-quality skateboards and longboards for over 50 years. Some of its more popular models include the Magneto Slot Machine Longboard and the Glider Collection Longboard Skateboards.
- Under $100: This price range is a great place to find a starter board or a longboard for kids. It allows people to try out longboarding without a lot of initial investment. Of course, that means that you won’t be getting the highest quality and best components, but these boards are functional and good for occasional use.
- $100-$200: Longboards in this price range are beginning to use higher-end components and construction materials. Decks are likely made from bamboo, maple, and fiberglass, and trucks will be made from aluminum alloy or other heavy-duty metal compilations.
- $200 and up: Now we’re starting to get into some top-quality, ruggedly-made longboards with the best, smoothest, fastest components and construction materials. Designs on these boards are often done by well-known artists in the industry. This price range is for serious longboarders.
This feature is usually the thing that most new riders focus on. Most longboards range in length between 24 to 60 inches. Shorter boards tend to be lighter, easier to transport when carrying, especially on public transit, cost less, and take up less space. The flipside of this (no pun intended) is that longer boards have more foot space and longer wheelbases, making them more stable and safer. Remember to take into account the space lost in your board length by pintails, making your usable foot space smaller, before making your final purchase.
This is a very crucial feature when selecting the appropriate longboard, as it defines how your board rides. Longer wheelbases give you a larger turning radius, more control and stability, and slower downhill speeds. Shorter wheelbases are more reactive and provide a tighter turning radius. They can pick up speed much more quickly on the downhills and can easily get out of control if you’re a newer, inexperienced rider. The wheelbase also affects grip by allowing you to put more or less physical force on the deck and wheels. The longer the wheelbase, the slower the grip-up, and vice versa.
The shape of a longboard actually defines its purpose. The term “shape” really alludes to foot space. The wider you can space your feet apart on the deck of the board, the more stability and control you will have. The presence of pintails or kicktails is also an obvious factor in the shape and purpose of your board. Tails allow you to lock down a kickturn or other tricks, or let you break quickly if necessary, which are very important factors for beginner longboarders. That being said, many people ride a longboard because they don’t want to do kickturns or tricks that would be much more achievable on a regular skateboard, but because they want to commute or travel to places easily and smoothly.
Construction materials used to make your longboard not only determine the cost of the board but the longevity and functionality of it as well. Mixing composites into longboard construction will help it last longer and resist warping, but may make the board less flexible (or more flexible, in some cases). Almost all the strength and stiffness of a longboard comes from its outer layers, so adding composites to the outer layer construction of the board can make it much stronger. Composites can also allow you to get a stronger board that is lighter weight and easier to control and maneuver without sacrificing stability and durability.
- Price. This is often a key consideration when purchasing a longboard, especially if you’re a beginner and unsure of whether you’re going to love the sport or not. This also becomes a key factor when looking at board construction and durability. Longboards that are made with higher-end materials not only perform better and last longer, but they’re obviously going to be pricier at the initial onset.
- Concave Style. The style of concavity on your longboard affects the interface between the road and your feet by impacting the amount of leverage your board has, it’s reactiveness, and its stiffness or flexibility. Concave styles can vary widely, but there are three basic shapes: radial, tub, and elliptical/progressive. A radial concave is a constant curve, whereas an elliptical or progressive concavity is flatter in the center and gets more aggressive toward the edges, and a tub is almost completely flat in the center with almost all of the concavity on the outer edges of the board.
- Mold Features. Wheel flares and drops are mold features that go along with concave styles. Wheel flares are an impressive increase in the concavity around the wheel wells that provide you with leverage points and increased wheel clearance so you can use larger wheels without suffering from wheel bite. Drops lower the standing platform of the deck below where the trucks are mounted to the board. This lowers your center of gravity while on the board and makes the deck more stable. They also provide deep leverage points for sliding.
- Flexibility. This is a very personal preference for any rider since the amount of “flex” in your board determines how responsive and shock absorbent it is at different speeds; the stiffer the board, the greater the speeds you can achieve, and vice versa.
Best Longboards Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Be sure to clean and lubricate the bearings on your longboard frequently to prevent them from getting overly dirt, worn, and slow.
- Try to avoid riding your longboard in the rain, which can lead to waterlogging of the board and ruined bearings, not to mention that wet roads can be tough to maintain control on.
- Just as with your car, you want to rotate the wheels on your longboard regularly to ensure more even wear and tear and less stress on the bearings over time.
- Installing shock pads, which are made from rubber or dense foam, between the trucks and the deck of your board can raise your board up, reduce vibrations, and reduce stress fractures that are often found in the mounting holes of your board. It also helps to provide greater wheel clearance and avoid wheel bite.
Q: What are the differences between skateboards and longboards?
As the name implies, a longboard is longer (and wider) than a traditional skateboard, making it much more stable and easier for riders to keep balanced, especially if they’re beginners.
Q: Should a beginner get a regular skateboard or a longboard first?
As mentioned above, longboards tend to be more stable and easier to ride at first, with more foot space and slower speeds than skateboards, but if you’re a beginner, getting a longboard that is too long for you can be cumbersome and clumsy to learn on, so try a few different lengths out before committing to one.
Q: What size longboard should I get?
This greatly depends on your skill level and experience and what the primary purpose of your longboard is. Longer boards are slower and more stable, which is great for beginners, or people who are taller or like to go for longer, more relaxed rides. Shorter boards are better for smaller or younger riders or people who like to do more tricks and go at faster speeds.
Now that you know everything you ever wanted to know about how to choose the perfect longboard and what the best options are, whether it’s the Apollo Longboard for Professionals and Beginners, the Minority Downhill Maple Longboard, or something in between, what are you waiting for? Get out there with your board and start enjoying the outdoors and improving your health.
Got a favorite longboard that never lets you down and wasn’t on our list? Let us know in the comments what it is and why you love it.