If you’ve ever been to a big city, chances are you’ve seen an electric skateboard at some point. Or maybe you saw one in a YouTube video, or a friend told you about them. Regardless of how you heard about electric skateboards, you’re here for an answer to a question I asked myself a long time ago: Should I buy an electric skateboard? Are they worth it? In this article, I’ll be discussing the pros and cons of buying an electric skateboard, costs of boards, types of boards for beginners, and any other general questions you could have when considering your first electric skateboard purchase.
What is an Electric Skateboard? How do they work?
An electric skateboard is essentially just a skateboard with an electric motor attached to it. It usually has a handheld wireless remote that can be used to control how fast (or slow) the board will go. A rider controls the movement just as they would with a regular longboard (tilting the heels or toes and shifting the body weight to move the board in a certain direction). As for its speed, an electric skateboard can go anywhere from 10 mph to 50 mph (16 km/h- 80 km/h). It also can have different ranges depending on battery life and can last from 10 miles to 60 miles (16km – 97 km). Some boards even come with rechargeable batteries that can be swapped out, which can increase the range with one move. If you want to learn more about the mechanics make sure to check out our guide on “How do electric skateboards work?“.
Pros of Electric Skateboards
Super Fun to ride
This may seem like an obvious pro, but it’s very true. Electric skateboards are extremely fun to ride. Even though I personally use my board primarily for transportation, sometimes I’ll go for a ride just for the fun of it. Just the other day I took my board out to a beach path as a break from work. As I was riding down the path, I sped past all the other people on it. Joggers, bikers, and even other skateboarders were all left in the dust as I happily rode up the coast. Sometimes I would run into a hill, but my skateboard would easily climb it. An old man looked at my board in disbelief and asked, “How does it go up?” But by the time I had thought of a response, I was long gone.
Can make your commute exciting
Another great reason to get an electric skateboard is that it makes your commute so much more enjoyable. I normally would not consider going to work a “fun” activity, but ever since I got my board I actually look forward to my daily commute. It’s definitely a nice break from the monotony of daily life, and the early-morning traffic I used to trudge through. And even if I dread going to work on some days, riding my board is a great way to get my day off to a good start. That effect in mentioned scientifically as well, as one study found that the quality of their morning commute has a “substantial influence on overall happiness” for the average employee.
Electric skateboards can also be a great source of exercise depending on how you ride. As you ride, a lot of your core and leg muscles are activated in order to keep your body on the board. And if you’re feeling like you want more of a challenge, you can always push your board with your foot as if with a regular skateboard. The weight of the board itself will give you a fantastic leg workout when carryingg it.
Lessen your carbon footprint
If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, an electric skateboard is a great way to lower it. As they need significantly less power, they are better for the environment compared to driving a car. You also don’t have to worry about gas, which was a big plus for me.
Practice your snowboard or surfing skills offseason
If it’s the offseason for you snowboarders and surfers, look no further. An electric skateboard can be a great way to keep up with your skills when you don’t have access to the surf or the slopes. The high speeds can simulate the experience of both sports accurately, and safely. The added bonus of electric skateboards is that they come with brakes as well, so you won’t have to rely on foot braking or carving to slow down when the speeds get too fast.
Great Community (Grouprides are so much fun!)
The last pro that I want to talk about are group rides. If you live anywhere near a city, chances are that there are group rides you can join nearby. Just check your local Facebook page and you’ll be sure to find one. And if not, you can always start your own! Grouprides are one of the most exciting activities I’ve done since I got my board. The community is really welcoming, and it’s really nice to be able to hang out and ride around the city with a bunch of great people.
Cons of Electric Skateboards
Not legal everywhere
Now that we’ve gone through the pros of electric skateboards, we’ll start going into the cons. One of the main issues with e-boards is that they’re just not legal everywhere. As electric boards are relatively new, there isn’t a general consensus on whether they should be allowed or not. As they grow in popularity, I am sure that will change, but for now, there are some guidelines and regulations you may have to follow depending on where you live. For example, in California you are required by law to be 16 years of age or older, and you must wear a helmet. In addition, you are not allowed to ride over 15 mph (24 km/h). A lot of countries are still finding ways to regulate electric skateboards, so I would definitely look into your local laws before purchasing your first board. For more info check out our guide on electric skateboards laws on regulations.
Not the safest way to commute
Another con to electric boards is that they are not necessarily the safest things to ride. There is a saying in the e-skate community, “It’s not a matter of if you fall, but when.” Regardless of how good a rider you are, accidents are bound to happen. A car can swerve too far into the bike lane, you could hit a rock, run into a pothole, or even encounter speed wobbles and get thrown off. Any of these situations could, and probably will happen at least once. This is definitely something you need to be aware of when purchasing your first board. However, with the proper safety precautions, you won’t have to worry. Personally, in my time e-skating I have fallen several times. Luckily, I was always wearing proper safety gear each time and I sustained no serious injuries. Check out our guide on the proper safety gear for electric skateboarding.
They need a place to charge
The last con of electric skateboards is that they will need somewhere to charge. If your board runs out of battery it could be difficult finding somewhere to plug in your board. This has mostly been a problem for me when I have tried to go on longer rides. Generally, boards will last about 3 hours depending on the terrain you ride on. If you really are afraid of this happening, you can plan ahead and figure out where you can charge your board. And if you plan on going on long rides, you can even consider purchasing a board with swappable batteries.
The Costs of Owning an Electric Skateboard
Cost of the electric skateboard itself
You might be wondering how much electric skateboards cost. Nowadays they can be anywhere from $200 to $3000+ depending on the company and quality of the board. The price definitely depends on the materials being used for the board (higher end or lower end) and the characteristics the board itself has. I’ll go more into detail on the different types of skateboards and their price ranges later on in the article, but for now, you should just know that they can get pretty expensive.
Cost of the Protective Gear
If you choose to buy an electric skateboard, you should invest in some quality protective gear. At the very least you should buy a helmet as it protects the most important organ in your body: your brain. For helmets, you can get a full-face helmet or a regular helmet. They can go anywhere from $40-$300, but you generally want to buy a higher quality helmet. And if you take a fall, make sure to buy a new one because most helmets will not be as effective after taking a hit. For more info check out our Eskate Helmet Guide. Knee pads and elbow pads can go from $20-$50 each and are good to have as they will protect all the contact points on your body. Before I bought my own knee pads and elbow pads, I had taken a few falls which landed me with some pretty nasty scrapes. Looking back, I really wish I had bought them beforehand. Regardless if you are a seasoned rider or just starting out, I highly suggest that you invest in some, you can check out the ones we recommend in our Eskate Knee and Elbow Pads Guide. Another item that I suggest you buy is protective gloves. In the event of a fall, gloves can protect your hands from scrapes and your wrists from breaking. Gloves usually will be around $65, and make sure you buy some with built-in wrist protection. You can find a list on our recommendations for gloves for electric skateboarding here. If you are planning to ride at relatively high speeds, you can also invest in armored hoodies which go for around $180. They look exactly like regular hoodies, but they have built-in protection pads that can take large impacts. Lastly, if you plan to ride at night, you’ll want to invest in some lights and some reflective gear. Mountable lights for your board can cost upwards of $50. Link to our Eskate Lights Guide. For reflective gear, you can use regular bike gear which will be around $20. You could even wear a reflective hoodie if you wanted.
Cost of charging
Charging an electric skateboard in your home will not cost you much. Depending on your electricity provider, it will cost you anywhere from 1 to 20 cents per charge. For more in-depth info check out our Guide one Electric Skateboard Costs here.
Cost of replacing parts (lifetime expectancy)
Generally, electric skateboards will last 3 to 5 years depending on how long you ride it and whether or not you take care of it. If you ride your board every day, it will last for a significantly shorter amount of time as opposed to if you rode it every once in a while. If you’re really worried about damage over time, most companies have warranties that cover general issues you could run into with your board. Out of all the components in your board, the battery and wheels will be the first to wear down. Batteries can get expensive, ranging from $150 to $250, but investing in a new battery is certainly cheaper than buying an entirely new board. Wheels will range from $40 to $120, depending on the quality and size you’re going for. Motors can cost around $170 to $500, but it really depends on what type of board you buy initially. These are the main components that you will have to invest in if you plan on maintaining the same board. Overall, replacing components will be cheaper than buying a new board, but just know that they’ll last you around 3 to 5 years, or maybe even longer if you treat your board well.
Different kinds of Electric Skateboards and their Price Range
Budget (Hub and Belt)
If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive board, then a budget board is a great way to go. There are two types of motors for these boards: a hub motor and a belt motor. The main difference between hub and belt motors is that with hub motors, the motors are built inside the wheels, while belt motors have a gear system directly attached to the wheels. Companies like Backfire, Exway, and Meepo all have fairly priced budget boards. The hub boards they sell are all around $400 with top speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h) and ranges of around 11 miles (18 km). These companies also sell belt boards, which are of a slightly higher quality. These boards are around $800, with top speeds of 29 mph (45 km/h) and they have ranges of 22 miles (36 km). If you’re just starting out and you’re not sure if you want to spend a ton of money right away, then a budget board is a great introduction.
If you’re not near a big city, the terrain may be too rough for a standard board to handle. Luckily, there are plenty of all-terrain belt driven boards on the market. ONSRA, Evolve, and Eovan carry all-terrain boards, although they are on the pricier side. The boards range from $1,300-$1,750. These boards can handle dirt paths easily and are a joy to ride. They can go up to about 30 mph (48 km/h), climb hills with a 30% incline, and last about 25 miles (40 km). If your roads are particularly rough, or there’s a certain path you would love to ride on, this is the board for you.
Real Off-Road (Belt and Gear)
If you want a completely off-road board, then you should take a look at the boards that companies like Bajaboards, Tramp, and Kaly have to offer. They sell belt and gear boards for $2,600-$3,000. These boards are built for off-roading, and their tires should have no problem helping you climb large hills, and even mountains if you wanted to be really ambitious. They have top speeds of about 35 mph (56 km/h), can climb a 45% hill grade, and last about 25 miles (40 km). These boards are great if you’re looking for an off-road adventure away from the crowded city streets.
Premium (Belt and Gear)
If you’re willing to put down a few thousand dollars for a new board, you’ll be interested in looking into these premium boards. Lacroix, Metroboard, Fluxmotion, and Bioboards have some fantastic options and sell some of the highest quality e-boards out there. They cost anywhere from $2,800 to $4,000. Fair warning, many of these boards are able to go fast, like really fast. Their top speeds are from 31 mph (50 km/h) to 50 mph (80 km/h), with ranges between 31 and 37 miles (50-60km). They are also able to climb around a 40% hill gradient. Although these boards are expensive, they really are the best boards on the market. And if you buy one of them, definitely invest in the proper protective gear.
Which model would you recommend for a beginner?
If you’re not entirely sure about which board you might want to purchase, I have some great options for beginner boards to get you started. And if you would like to learn about a wider range of boards, I have the perfect article that will answer all of your questions here.
Backfire G2 Black – $400
Backfire has a great budget board that only costs $400 and is perfect for beginners. It has a top speed of 24 mph (38 km/h), with a range of about 12.5 miles (20km). The charging time takes about 3.5 hours, and the motors and tires can be replaced. The board has a hub motor, which means all the components are inside a shell and it requires little maintenance. You can find our Review on the Backfire G2 Black here.
Backfire Zealot – $700
If you’re willing to spend a little more money, the Backfire Zealot is also a great option for a beginner diving into Belt-driven boards. The Zealot has a top speed of 28.5 mph (46 km/h), and a range of about 22 miles (36 km). It also has a bamboo and glass fiber deck with swappable wheels. The wheels use dual high torque motors, which allow for higher acceleration and speed. You can find our Review on the Backfire Zealot here.
WowGo AT2 – $1000
The WowGo AT2 (AT stands for all-terrain) is another great beginner board. Relative to other electric skateboards, it isn’t too expensive. The main difference between this board and the other two I’ve gone over is that this board uses 7 inch pneumatic tires instead of urethane wheels. The AT2 can go up to 25 mph (40 km/h) and its range is about 22 miles (35 km). It has a fiberglass, bamboo, and Canadian maple deck that is pretty flexible. Pneumatic AT wheels will be able to handle rougher terrain than street wheels, and they are better for going longer distances. You can find our Review on the WowGo AT2 here.
You may have additional questions
If you have any additional questions that I have not covered here, you are welcome to look at the website here for more information.
Are electric skateboards legal to ride?
This is a complicated question that doesn’t have a definitive answer. It really depends on your country/state because the laws for electric skateboards are different everywhere. If you are worried about the legality of owning an electric skateboard in your country, you should definitely look into your local laws just in case. For more info check out our guide on electric skateboards laws on regulations.
Can you ride an electric skateboard in the rain?
You could ride your skateboard in the rain if you really wanted to, but I would highly advise against it. I have tried it before, and it did not end well. What happens when you ride your electric skateboard in the rain is similar to hydroplaning, except instead of being in a car, you are being launched off of a skateboard. In addition to that, your skateboard components will get wet, which can permanently damage your board. So you should not ride your electric skateboard in the rain. You can get to more in-depth knowledge in our guide on electric skateboards in the rain.
How fast are electric skateboards?
Electric skateboards can go anywhere from 10 mph (16 km/h) to 50 mph (80 km/h), depending on the make and quality of the board. As e-boards have grown in popularity, faster and faster models have been created. Check out the fastest electric skateboards here.
How far can electric skateboards ride?
This also depends on the type of board you buy. The more expensive boards will have higher quality batteries that will be able to significantly increase the range of your board. Some of the higher-end boards can last for about 40 miles (64 km), or even 60 miles (97 km), while the lower end boards will last closer to 10 miles (16 km). Check out our Post on the Best Lon Range Electric Skateboards here.
Can you take electric skateboards on planes?
For the most part, it will depend on the airline you choose and the battery in your board. If your board’s battery capacity is less than 160 Wh, then you usually will be able to take it onto a plane. But like I said, it depends on the airline. Some airlines will also require you to let them know that you are bringing a battery over 100 Wh in order for them to approve it for the flight. So just double-check the airline rules before bringing your board to the airport. For more info check out our guide on Electric Skateboard Air Travel.
Are electric skateboards safe?
Electric skateboards are as safe as you let them be. If you are a smart rider, wear your protective gear, and refrain from taking unnecessary risks then you should be fine. I’ve been riding my board for over 3 years, and the worst injury I’ve gotten was just a scrape. As long as you’re safe and take the right precautions, you should be fine. You can find more info in our guide on Electric skateboard dangers and safety tips.
When it comes down to it, the question of whether or not you should buy an electric skateboard will be up to you. But if you’ve gotten this far, you probably are pretty interested in them. So I would say just go for it. Try one of the budget boards I suggested and go take a ride. I promise you that after riding your board for the first time, you’ll realize that you made the right decision.