Best electric skateboard under 300$ in 2018
A lot of people are trying to jump on to the esk8 hype train before it leaves. Unfortunately loads of these people are impulsive and end up buying cheap, low quality, Chinese “esk8” – electric skateboard knock offs.
They use them for a few days before they get spoilt. Leaving them broke and unhappy. So today I decided to write a definitive guide to cheap esk8s so everybody can get on the train in time. With pocket friendly but quality boards.
I will be particularly looking electric skateboards under 300 dollars. Around this price point, one can get pretty great boards that are certainly high quality.
I personally think its the appropriate price point, but you will find boards around 300$ that vary in quality. In this article, I will describe how to identify which are actually appropriately priced, where you are getting a good deal and which boards to avoid. After reading this you should be able to get the right board for your needs at an appropriate price.
Maxfind Waterproof Electric Skateboard
Coming in at 27in long. This skateboard is compact and comparable in size to a penny board. It weighs a light 7.7lbs making it easy to carry around. It uses a hub motor that has regenerative braking. Increasing its efficiency and range. However, it will struggle to climb up hills.
It has a max range of 6mile which varies depending on your weight. The hub motor allows it roll freely when you push it. No stress if you run out of charge. Given how light it is, you won’t struggle at all to push it.
The deck is stiff. This makes it stable at higher speeds and gives you great control over the trucks. However, it only goes at a max of 12mph so stability isn’t too much of a worry.
The battery is from Samsung so you can expect high quality and reliability. It has a short charge time of 30min. Perfect if you need to charge it during your lunch break.
The remote has 2 simple riding modes. Beginners and children can make the most of this. The first mode is slow and thusly safe. The second takes it up to the top speed.
Board itself advertised as waterproof. It uses a hub motor which is notorious for not being waterproof so I don’t recommend trying to find out. You also get a 12-month warranty incase of any defects. You can check the current price on Amazon.com here.
This is a great board if you are gonna use it lots during the day. The short charge time, small weight and size makes it perfect for that. However the small size may be uncomfortable to ride for long periods if you have big feet. A similar board that is bigger and more comfortable is the Liftboard.
It has a top speed of 17mph. However, if you are 150lbs or lighter you can expect even better performance and a higher top speed. However, it uses a hub motor so there will be some difficulty going uphill.
The deck is made of a maple/bamboo combination. The maple will stiffen it up but the bamboo will keep things light and allow for some flex. It has a cutout to allow you to carry the deck. Really useful if you rode over mud or something icky.
The wheels are pretty huge at 90mm. At this height, these wheels will provide a really smooth ride. They will roll over anything in their path. Finally, the core will allow them to be ‘stiffer’ so they will be able to achieve a higher to speed.
The battery will allow for a range of 10miles with a charge time of 2.5 hours. The charge time leaves a bit to be desired but is reasonable and can be worked around. It’s beginner friendly with two-speed modes on the remote. However, the remote is made from cheap plastic and doesn’t feel the best. It does get the job done nonetheless. You can check it’s current price on Amazon.com here.
Action Blink Lite
It has a max range of 5miles which will vary depending on your weight. The use of a hub motor here is appropriate. It can handle the weight of the children/light rider and it keeps costs low.
The maximum speed is only 10mph. This isn’t too fast so is reasonable for kids, especially those who have never skated before.
The deck is 30.5in long and 10in wide. Pretty short but pretty wide, so it will be comfortable to stand on. The wheels are only 70mm, they will perform well but the ride won’t be as smooth as wheels that are 80mm+.
The trucks used are traditional kingpin (tkp). They won’t turn as great as for reverse kingpin ones but this will also add to the setups stability. The weight of the board is light at only 7lbs. If it runs out of charge it will be light and easy to push along.
For use at night (and added safety), it has LED lights. Even during the day, these can be seen so can act as a warning and alert people that there is something moving. You can check it’s price on Amazon.com here.
The most affordable option on my list. You’ll most certainly get the most bang or your buck. This board also featured on my list of best electric skateboards under 200. It’s so good its making another feature. You can check it’s price on Amazon.com here.
Coming in at 30in long and 10.6in long. This board is short but wide. The width accommodates big feet and it will be comfortable to stand on.
The deck is sturdy and made from 5ply of maple. The small number of ply’s used allows for a bit of flex and added comfort. It has a max weight of 220lbs. The wheels used are huuge at 80mm. Paired with the large core, they will be light for easy acceleration. They will also provide a smooth ride.
It utilizes a belt motor. You can expect great acceleration and uphill performance. However, it only goes as fast as 10mph. The range is about 6miles so it is pretty decent.
It has a total weight of 10.5lbs. It’s not heavy so it can be carried around with ease.
The trucks are rkps and are really manoeuvrable. Paired with the square-lipped wheels, you’ll be able to cruise, carve and slalom between people if you want to … and you should its one of the best parts of skating! Stability isn’t too much of an issue, 10mph is a moderate speed and you won’t get wobbles.
LiftBoard Electric Skateboard
Last but not least. This option also provides a lot of quality for the price. It uses a belt motor. Allowing for great acceleration, great uphill performance, and torque. Its 900w motor takes you up to a top speed of 16mph. Which is pretty fast tbh.
It has a huuuuuge 18mile range. Given its speed and range, you can basically do away with your car. Especially if you live in a city. The deck is made from 7-plys of maple. This makes it stiff but not super stiff to the point its uncomfortable to skate on rough roads. It is 39in long, making it stable and thusly appropriate for those high speeds.
The wheels are 80mm tall, with a big core. The core will keep weight down, making it easy to accelerate. Being 80mm, it will provide a smooth ride and roll over obstacles like pebbles and twigs.
The weight is reasonable at only 14.8lbs. However, with the belt motor, you won’t be able to push it if it runs out of charge.
However, I’ve heard people have had problems with the board and liftboard has been slow with feedback. It does have a 90a day warranty so you are covered for that period. You can check it’s current price on Amazon.com here.
Getting the best bang for your buck? (Buying Guide)
For an electric skateboard under $300, I would recommend going for reliability and comfort over speed and trying to get the best number wise. Even if an esk8 has great specs, its unlikely you’ll be using to its limits. Especially in terms of speed. It’s not recommended to “redline” your gear every time you ride, it is strenuous on them and causes them to have a decrease in life. Equipment at this price point can’t handle all the stress. There have been cases when electric skateboards have died out in the first few months. So just…don’t push your gear to the max all the time. I highly recommend moderation.
Height and weight
Electric skateboard wheels need to be big. The industry average is 80mm wheels but some esk8’s use wheels that are 100mm’s tall.
A tall wheel will be able to produce a smooth ride. The height allows it to gain a lot of momentum and makes it easy for it to easily travel over road imperfections like gravel, pebbles, cracks, and twigs. This is important for an electric skateboard, as when you are going fast you need something to roll over obstacles. It will prevent your board from getting caught and you being thrown forward.
The height of the wheel also allows the motor to efficiently and effectively transfer the power down to the road. A smaller wheel won’t have enough surface area and would likely spin.
A big wheel will be heavy and tall enough to handle the power. *Its why top speed dragsters have huuuuuge wheels. The wheel core and durometer – As you may observe, different wheels have different cores. A large core supports the outer edges of the wheel (the lips) and keeps the stiff.
The bigger the core the stiffer the lips will be. The smaller the core, the more flexible the lips will be. A large core also stiffens a wheel making it feel harder than it is.
The durometer of a wheel is how hard it is. Most esk8 wheels are between 78a and 80a hardness, a good balance of hard/soft. The harder a wheel the better it rolls but the less it will grip and the softer a wheel, the better it grips but the slower it will roll. However, you can put in a large core to stiffen the wheels lips and make it feel harder. So a 74a wheel with a large core feels like an 80a+ wheel and will roll pretty great. So if you have an 80a wheel with a large core you are in the money for some fast riding. Its the best for esk8 and it even reduces the weight of the wheel increasing acceleration by a little bit.
The lip shape
Square lips or “sharp lips” give the most grip. These are perpendicular to the road and the sharp edge deforms against the pavement and holds you as you turn.
On the other end of the “grip spectrum” is round lipped wheels. These give the least grip and won’t deform against the pavement but glide and “break out” into a slide when pushed past the edge of grip. If you want to do aggressive carves or skate when its wet, square lipped wheels are recommended. If you are gonna be skating mostly in a straight line, you could get away with round lipped wheels. So if you use either, they will be okay for you.
At this price point, you can get really decent wheels. I would recommend tall 80mm wheels, with a core (preferably though not necessary), in 80a with a sharp lip. You’ll never have to think about not having enough grip and they will accelerate decently.
The trucks used for electric skateboards are usually reverse kingpin trucks (rkp). These turn really well and are stable at speed. They are also tall enough to handle large wheels (70mm+) and are often paired with risers to eliminate any possibility of wheelbite.
Parts – The parts of the truck are the hanger (attached to the hanger is the axle), baseplate and kingpin. To have a really stable truck, you can have a wide 10in+ hanger or 180mm+ axles, with a low degree baseplate.
Most esk8’s use 50degree baseplates and 180mm hangers. These are stable until about 25mph+ though I recommend tightening them or going slow if you’re a beginner to get used to the balance.
Bushings – Inside the truck there are bushings. These dictate how the truck turns by providing resistance. Most of the trucks will come with a barrel bushing on the bottom and a cone on top. Making the truck turn. A good stable aftermarket combo is two barrel bushings top and bottom or a voluminous bushing on the bottom (like a kingcone, eliminator, barrical – just google the words to find out more). This is a super cheap upgrade and can make your truck feel better, more stable or more turny. You can experiment and find out what you like.
My recommendation is two barrel bushings on the back truck and a barrel on the bottom and a cone on top in the front truck.
At this price point of 300$, you might get decent but cheap trucks. They’ll do the job and turn well, but they might not be stable at high speeds. I recommend upgrading bushings for a better feel. Another upgrade is the pivot cup, a lot of these are generic so get “Randal trucks R1” pivots and you should be good.
There are loads of different types of decks available. Wood ply, composite decks and metal ones. For this price point it’s sensible to get a wood ply deck.
Deck construction – You’d be lucky to get a composite one with carbon fiber or fiber glass at this price point. They will be light, durable and be depending on the manufactures intention flexible or stiff. Composite decks are great, they are lighter as they use less material and durable.
Wood ply decks are affordable but can be heavy. They are mostly maple but there are also different combinations of bamboo, birch etc. They can certainly perform as well as the composite ones. The bamboo is a great option for the environment. It grows really fast and is considered the best most sustainable material for skate decks.
Stiff or flexy?
For esk8s, it’s up to you to get a flexible or stiff deck. A flexy deck will absorb some of the shocks of riding over rough roads, pebbles etc. A stiff deck will transfer the shock or roughness directly into your feet, however, you will get more control over your trucks. With a flexy deck, you can get wobbles when you go fast.
Decks that a long with a large wheelbase will be very stable. The wheelbase is the distance between where trucks are mounted. A long wheelbase means a deck will have a large turning radius, a short one is opposite. At high speeds, your input on the longboard is more drastic and thusly you are more likely to get wobbles on a short wheelbase. Because it turns faster (or shorter radius) it will wobble faster. Thusly a longer wheel base is more stable and thusly more desirable for higher speeds. Short wheelbases are great for slow speed cruising and carving.
Finally, wider decks are more comfortable to stand on. Especially if you have big feet.
For this 300$ price point, you can get a decent deck. I would recommend getting a deck with a bit of flex. A stiff deck is really uncomfortable to ride and a super flexy one can also be uncomfortable. One with a bit of flex would give the best of both worlds.
The most common batteries used in esk8’s are lithium ion. Lithium-ion is the lightest, reliable and durable selection one can have. The other option is lead-acid batteries, if you see a skateboard with these, run the other direction. They are extremely unsuitable. They are heavier and don’t put out enough power.
Within this price point, you can expect a range of miles available. Some companies will have boards that have more power and less range, vice versa or a good middle ground. It is your choice of priorities what you would like. If it has a belt motor though, only go for it if it has a long range.
There are typically two types of motors used in esk8s. Hub motors or belt motors. Each has its own advantageous but for a lot of people its about personal preference.
For esk8’s this price, you can expect hub motors. They are cheaper to manufacture, but just cause they are cheap doesn’t mean they are bad. Some of the esk8’s have belt motors too. The hub motors are compact in size and inside the wheel making them discreet. They are quiet and have fewer moving parts, so this makes them lightweight and efficient. They will have a long working life so you won’t need to replace the parts soon. They also offer low resistance so will roll like a normal skateboard when you don’t engage the motor. However, due to the compactness, they don’t have the same torque as a belt drive. So they won’t accelerate as fast or go up hills as easy.
Because it’s a single unit, it needs ventilation holes to discharge the heat built up from working. This means it’s not very good at dissipating heats and vulnerable to water getting into the holes when you pass puddles.
On the other side, belt drives are more powerful and produce a lot of torque. This means they accelerate faster and will climb up hills better. Heat will not build up as much as in the hub motor, because the motor is outside the wheel.
With the motors outside, they will be easier to maintain and thusly replace. They also allow you to pick the wheels you want to use. You can get different aftermarket ones.
However, they come at a cost. They weigh more, you will not be able to push the board as the belt doesn’t allow for any freeroll, they will be really loud and the belt wears out inevitably.
Dual vs single?
Within this price point, you won’t get a dual motor. They are expensive and only really make sense when you have a lot of power. All that power will produce too much torque for one wheel to handle and will cause it to spin. Two wheels will be able to put that power down effectively.
So within the 300$ price point its a luxury to be able to get a belt motor. However, that doesn’t mean they’re better. I reckon if the board you want has enough of a range that you won’t have to push, a belt motor is a good choice.
However if it might run out of battery, or if you simply want to enjoy pushings once in a while, the hub motor might be right for you. It all personal preference.
Most remotes will be about the same, working with the same principle. A minimum of two-speed modes, good battery life, and similar trigger style. Most will also be made from cheap plastic. Remotes are an important component but most companies will compromise on their materials to save costs.
Tips and tricks
- For beginners – If you are a beginner and are stepping on your board for the first time. Lean forward before you/as you accelerate. This will brace you for the sudden change in momentum. Leaning forward will put most of your weight on your front foot. If you put your weight on your back foot, the board can slip out from under you. I learned this the hard way haha. Its cause your upper body stays in the same place as the boards move forward. Leaning on your front foot makes the acceleration easier.
- Truck tips – You might want to tighten your back truck especially if you are going fast. Ideally you would want to buy harder bushings or bushings with more volume, but simply tightening it down can have the same effect. When going fast it’s easy to get wobbles. With time you can build up ankle strength and balance to combat this. A quick fix is locking the back truck down (tightening) or making it hard for it to turn (hard/voluminous bushings). This makes it easier to skate fast and be comfortable at high speeds as wobbles come from the back.
- Bearings – These are the least important part of the setup if I am honest. However, you can always upgrade them and I recommend doing so after riding for a while. Fresh bearings will roll smoother and faster. Giving a refreshing riding experience. Bearing lube is also a good maintenance purchase. Putting in Lube once a month will extend the life of your bearings and keep things rolling.
- The griptape – Another easy and affordable upgrade is the grip tape. If you feel your griptape it too slippery, you can always buy a coarser one and stick it on your board. You’ll have to remove the old one first. The coarse one will make your shoes grip better to the deck and you’ll feel more locked in. You’ll be able to go over cracks and bumps without your feet shifting. However, the coarse grip sucks if you rub your hand or clothes against it. It can tear your clothes and even cut you. Watch out!
A cheap coarse grip, for example, is the Mob coarse 35 grit griptape. Really cheap and easy to use.
- Don’t overcharge your batteries. Overcharging will damage the battery cells and reduce their overall working life. Don’t leave them over-night. With most esk8s in this price point – 300$, they will not be super durable. So it is important to not do anything that will negatively affect them.
Are you ready?
So for the price point, you can get a decent esk8. Plus with upgrades and hacks all under $50 you can make it feel a lot better and ride beautifully. For most the hacks aren’t necessary but they will help overcome any issues you have.
For a kid, a board like the Action Blink or Razor X will be appropriate. The Razor X with great all-round performance and the Blink with performance and safety geared to kids.
The best electric skateboard under $300 has to be the Liftboard. I recommend getting that if you plan on commuting frequently.