Electric skateboards are more popular than ever, with brand name businesses popping up every month
But despite all the competition, there's no clear winner rising to the top. Many brands that were once king look like they will no longer be competitive within a year based on the price and features of new products in the industry pipeline.
Many people have also grown tired of the high-end brands, with the most common complaint being price. They are both around $1500, which is enough to buy a used motorcycle.
With new brands entering the market offering similar specs at half the price, you need to keep a curious eye and weed out the fakes from the really great products.
Here are 7 tips to consider when buying an electric skateboard.
Things to look for when buying an electric skateboard
1. Type of motor
The main issue to consider here is whether you have a hub motor or a belt drive system.
While many of the first electric skateboards on the market used a belt drive system, this has changed. Belt drive systems were initially more popular because they allowed for greater customizability. While the first generation of electric skateboard companies abided by the spirit of the DIY culture that birthed the segment, as the customer base and market has grown, non-technical riders have shown a clear preference for hub motors.
Hub motors require less maintenance, allow for kick and push, are quieter, and have less lag.
Wattage is very important when it comes to understanding the power of an electric skateboard. In short, low wattage equals low power. Low power manifests itself in lower speed, torque and uphill capability.
If you live in a place with a lot of hills and steep slopes, you will definitely want a board with at least 1500 W. The All Terrain Jupiter-01 has 3300 watts, which is at the high end of electric skateboard wattage.
3. Speed, range and charge time rates
While speed, range and charge time are probably the three specs most people know to check, it's surprising how many companies offer ranges for these specs.
Pro tip: If a company lists a speed of 7-15 mph, chances are it's more like 7 mph. The same goes for range and charging times. Always choose the shorter time. The maximum numbers companies offer often represent a lightweight riding on completely flat ground on a full charge, and you will rarely find yourself in that situation while riding.
4. Board style and materials
For electric skateboards, you'll find that the deck is usually made of two materials: bamboo or carbon fiber/fiberglass. While many electric skateboards also use composites of both materials, most major companies tend to use one or the other.
For the rider, the difference between these two materials means the difference between a flexible and a stiff skateboard. Bamboo is more flexible, while fiberglass is stiffer.
5. Weight of the board
This is a simple but important question. The weight of an electric skateboard is only a few pounds at most, and that's important!
If you plan to use your electric skateboard for commuting and carry it after riding, then a few pounds will make a huge difference in terms of convenience.
In general, lighter boards are better in terms of riding and carrying.
6. Weight capacity
Always make sure to check the weight capacity of your electric skateboard. If you have a heavy build, you may find that the specifications listed do not apply to people over a certain weight.
So be sure to check how the company calculates the specifications of their products. Sometimes they will say, "Specifications are based on an average sized person weighing x, riding on flat ground."
7. warranties, customer support, and spare parts
Finally, always, always, always check the warranty, the customer service provided, and the availability of spare parts. Each of these things can be your worst nightmare if they don't meet the requirements.