What Are The Best Complete Skateboards?


The biggest decision in skateboarding- is finding your first board. The best advice is to keep it simple. Selecting a complete skateboard is the best choice for two reasons. One, they’re the least cost effective, second, they’re higher quality than knock-off brands. These are perfect for beginners, or for those jumping back into skateboarding.

A professional setup costs just under $100 depending on the features. Often, skaters question the integrity of brand names, quality of parts, and what size is best to start with. I always reach out by telling them the best time to upgrade components is from excessive wear and tear. From this point on you now have a better understanding of parts you want to optimize. For example, a larger wheel and bearing set for increased speed performance.

Best Complete Skateboards

For those who do not want to dive in to details, my four recommended picks for the best completes for beginners, transition, and street style skating are:

Complete Skateboard Features

Each assembly comes complete with a deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, bolts, bearings, and riser pads. These feature different shapes, sizes and brand names to select from. It’s important to pay attention to dimensions according to the age, height, shoe size, and weight for bigger skaters.

Ahead, I’ll cover what a complete skateboard comes with. 

Deck

Designed with high quality, 7-ply Canadian hard rock maple. Manufactures develop boards to improve overall rigidity. This allows main features to stay intact, offering a more reliable board resilient to breakage. While a well-designed deck is highly desirable, other important features include the following.

  • Size
  • Concave
  • Shape

Trucks

Various completes come with a standard set of budget trucks. In comparison with others, the material makeup and design construction allow for a lower price point. The main differences are the metals they use. As a beginner, you won’t learn how to grind until mastering the Ollie. This is another reason these brands listed below are perfect for starters.

Common Truck Brands On Pre-built Skateboards

  • Core
  • Mini-Logo
  • Tracker
  • Anchor
  • Ace
  • Trucks
  • Xenia
  • CCS Raw
  • Tensor
  • Slant

Bushings

All trucks are equipped standard with bushings made from polyurethane. Often, these aren’t the best and may crack or split if they’re over-tightened, effecting turning capabilities. One of the best ways to solve this is by replacing the bushings which I’ll discuss later on.

Wheels

Skateboard wheels are made from polyurethane and come in small or large wheels. Completes keep wheels on the smaller side 52mm, a slower wheel which is best to learn on.

Bearings

Standard “ABEC 5” bearings come equipped and usually aren’t the best in terms speed and durability. The term “ABEC” refers to an engineering specification that me and my friends thought “the higher ABEC the faster I can spin my wheels!” This isn’t entirely true, and upgrades like Bones Reds don’t use this rating. (article)

The brand of bearings commonly used are Amphetamine ABEC 5 Bearings.

Accessories

Riser pads, which allow the rider to slap on underneath the trucks add height and avoid wheel bite. Removing these can be done by taking apart the nuts and bolts, removing the truck.

Nuts and bolts applied are a generic brand and removed with a Phillips or Allen head tool. An accessory that breaks unexpectedly if not careful. Make sure those bolts aren’t jingling around before bombing hills! I’ve had trucks fly off going weeks without adjusting my bolts. Let’s just say there was lots of blood involved.

Do Skateboard Completes Come With Grip Tape?

Grip keeps feet from sliding all over the place and applied on pre-assembled boards. Whenever I bought a new deck at the skateshop I had it done for me. The option to cut a line in the grip helps distinguish nose and tail of the board. Common upgrades like Grizzly are super grippy compared to others like Mob or Jessup. Other options allow the choice between color, clear, and unique designs.

How To Choose A Complete Skateboard

Now that we have laid out the fundamental components, let’s discover the best options to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start ask yourself, what your intentions are.

Do you want a cruiser board for commuting?

Interested in learning tricks, finding a way to exercise?

You and your group of friends decide fingerboarding is getting old and need to experience the real thing (This is how it all started for me!)

Whatever situation presents itself,  get on a board even if it’s just for fun! Let’s break down the selections available.

Best Complete Skateboard For Beginners

Powell Golden Dragon Flying dragon

Powell Peralta is one of the most legendary names in skateboarding history. Founded by Stacy Peralta and George Powell who built one of the most reputable brands in the industry. Steve Caballero, nominated “skater of the century” and sponsor of Powell Peralta skateboards, stands by these as the best boards for beginners. Developing their combined knowledge and dedicating a lifetime to skateboarding, this exemplifies a product made with passion.

Features And Specs

Construction Powell Peralta decks are manufactured in Santa Barbara, directed by several original craftsmen. Skate One designs and fabricates products with AirLam low pressure air presses. Used to laminate 7 plies of the finest grade American, hard rock maple, with high strength, water resistant glue. Afterwards sealed against moisture with a water base acrylic semi-gloss finish. Silk-screened decks give an additional coat of clear acrylic to add protection to the multi-layer ink coating. These decks precise in thickness for optimum performance and warranted against de-lamination.

Deck

  • Concave: Steep
  • Length: 31.625″
  • Width: 7.625″

Trucks

Golden Dragon trucks (From Powell) are made from cast aluminum. The axles and kingpin are made from carbon steel. They craft bushings with high rebound polyurethane allowing a smooth, easy turning capabilities.

  • Width: 7.625 inches
  • Make: Golden Dragon

Wheels

  • Make: Golden Dragon
  • Diameter: 54mm
  • Width: 37mm
  • Hardness: 99a

Bearings

I couldn’t find specifics on what bearings are on this setup, although my guess would be Powell.

Completes For Transition Skating 

Powell-Peralta Flight Complete

As creators of one of the best skateboard brands Powell has developed one of the BEST boards on the market today. The Flight series has proven to be a special board that has it all. As a side note, this board will fit well for bigger riders.

  • Thin Lighter than traditional 7-ply
  • Twice as strong Lasts longer with an epoxy infused, fiber reinforced structure allowing for longer lasting pop that doesn’t fade super quick. (So annoying!)
  • Increased rebound allowing for better ollies

Features And Specs

Deck

  • Concave: Mellow
  • Length: 31.95 inches
  • Width: 8.25 inches

Trucks

This complete comes attached with Independent Stage 11 trucks. Providing stellar turning capabilities, excellent stability on harsh landings, decreased speed wobble, while minimizing wheel bite. Indys are known for quality grind clearance and less chance of hang-ups.

  • No Hang-Up Yoke: Improved yoke encompassing cushion seat allowing kingpin to come out-of-play most commonly experienced doing feebles and smiths.
  • 4140 Chromoly Steel Axles: Stronger material than traditional steel axle.
  • Grade 8 Kingpins: Withstands intense impacts, and longer lasting material.

Lifetime Guarantee: “Independent Trucks are GUARANTEED FOR LIFE against manufacturer defect in materials, workmanship, or if they bend, break, the axles slip, or the trucks becomes inoperable under normal wear and tear of skateboarding. This warranty covers trucks that are Stage 8 and above (1998 or newer).”

Wheels

  • Wheel: Ricta Nyjah Huston Pro
  • Diameter: 52mm
  • Hardness: 99a

Bearings

Amphetamine ABEC 5 Bearing

Best Completes For Street Skating 

Shredding corners in the city, plazas, or your local town requires a specific board for those up for challenging hardcore terrain like this. With this in mind, a sturdy setup is ideal. Boards that work well in this environment range from sizes 7.5”-8” as you’ll want something easy to flip and maneuver quickly. Low and mid trucks are an exceptional choice especially with a lightweight truck to go with it. Harder wheels assist with speed and maneuverability. I’d suggest a smaller wheel between 50-53mm. However, slightly bigger can overcome the streets harsh conditions such as cracks and rough surfaces.

Globe G1 Argo Street Skateboard

The birth of another awe-inspiring brand Globe, started by three Australian brothers in the late 70s emerged into Hardcore enterprises- a skateboard importing brand. Their success with streetwear clothing in the 90s, the brothers brands diversified into proprietary labels merging into exchange markets becoming Globe international. A massive influence in the industry with top of the line products.

Deck

  • Concave: Medium 
  • Length: 31.6”
  • Width: 8.0”

Wheels

  • Wheels Wheels: Globe
  • Diameter: 53mm
  • Hardness: 99a

Trucks

  • Make: Tensor
  • Width: 5.25″

Bearings

  • Bearings: ABEC 7

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete

I’ve always fell in love with the white dipped look, it’s a kind of an obsession for me. After riding this board and a bunch of Mystery’s boards from back in the day. This setup by Enjoi is one of the most popular selling, and a great choice for beginners. It’s a 7.75″ wide board which works well for all around skating and learning tricks. The deck is constructed with the R7 epoxy resin providing extra strength and lasting pop that doesn’t warp as fast. Paired with Tensor trucks which allow for a lightweight, low to the ground board. There’s a reason so many people love it. 

Deck

  • Concave: Medium 
  • Length: 31″
  • Width: 7.75″

Wheels

  • Wheel: Enjoy 
  • Diameter: 52mm
  • Hardness: 99a

Trucks

  • Make: Tensor 

Bearings

  • ABEC 5

Park Skating

My recommendation: Anti-Hero Classic Eagle 

Depending on the park, a wide range of sizes are applicable for days at the park.  I’d suggest a softer wheel for ultimate grip and traction. Medium/low trucks work well as an all around truck. Anti-hero have one of the best shapes out there. It’s a classic for sure with many sizes available to choose from. What I love about Anti-hero is the amount of room for foot space and medium concave that grips just right. 

What Are The Best Complete Skateboard Brands?

Every skateboarder has their own preferences on brands and style of skating. The #1 tip of advice is choosing authentic name brands in the skateboarding industry (link here).  For personal recommendations, here are 7 of my favorite brands I would highly suggest. 

  1. REAL
  2. ANTI-HERO
  3. SANTA CRUZ
  4. BAKER
  5. PLAN B
  6. DGK
  7. BLANK SETUPS

Complete VS Custom Setups

Completes

In the beginning starting with a board that’s “out of the box” ready to skate is appealing. You don’t have to worry about figuring out Aligning griptape and avoiding air bubbles

  • Getting the wrong truck/wheel size
  • Over-tightening bolts and snapping then
  • Figuring out how to pop bearings in

Although it’s not rocket science! Learning how to adjust and apply components is something every skater should know how to do. The hardest part is gripping a board. My first time I made many mistakes, like peeling the grip off the sheet and slapping it on directly. This left behind an enormous bubble which was extremely challenging to eliminate. For the cost it leaves room in the budget for shoes, wax, or even a helmet or pads at the park.

Reasons completes are so affordable 

  • Trucks made from aluminum and not titanium/cored kingpin and axle.
  • Quality of bearings and performance
  • Generic wheels Nuts and bolts may bend and break easier than others
  • Grip may wear away quicker, peel at the edges

Building A Custom Skateboard

Customizing your own board, selecting your own parts, and putting it all together- this is the fun part! The average cost for a custom is $160 (not including shipping or taxes.) This is a $60-$100 difference over a complete. Another reason I don’t recommend this for beginners that aren’t familiar with sizing, or brands-you don’t want to return anything! 

When it’s time for a new deck, play around with different sizes to get a feel for what works best for your skating style. At the age of 13, I was riding a 7.5″ for the longest time. My skill levels grew as fast as my feet, so jumping up to a steady 8″  hit the sweet spot for me. 

Switching over to 53mm, harder wheels (101a) made a world of difference by how responsive they are. I stick with Bones Reds for the price, durability, and performance. 

As far as trucks, Krux were my go to because I LOVE the look and they’ve always been great for grinding almost anything I hit. Recently, I’ve switched to Independent hollows which are my new favorite by a long shot. 

What has been your favorite setup so far? 

 

 

 

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