Skateboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can get confusing to know what to buy. However, it ultimately comes down to the type of skateboarding that you would like to do. If you are wondering what the difference between a cruiser, a regular skateboard, and a longboard is, then chances are good you are new to skateboarding. Well, you’re in the right place.
Different Skateboard Types
Regular skateboards (skate decks) are designed for doing tricks. They are not designed for helping you travel any significant distance. That is not to say you couldn’t go far. You would just be spending more energy pushing than you would with a cruiser or longboard. An example of a regular skateboard would be any of these complete skateboards.
When we say a cruiser skateboard, we mean a skateboard that is intended to cross distance faster. These are meant for traveling more than going to a skatepark and learning new tricks. These are often the board setups that someone filming skateboard video clips would use as their set up. Having to push less means that you can focus more on what you are filming. A good example of a cruiser would be this one.
A longboard is exactly what you think it is. It is a long skateboard. A longboard has a similar riding experience to a snowboard without carving as smoothly on snow. I would say that it is a similar experience to a cruiser board. These are not designed to do the same tricks you would do on a regular skateboard in a skatepark. They are intended for traveling distances and can go faster with less energy than a cruiser skateboard setup. A good example of a longboard would be this one.
The Different Skateboard Type of Deck Shapes
When we say deck, we refer to the actual board you are riding on specifically and not the other components like the trucks, wheels, or bearings. It is the physical part of the board that you are standing upon.
A regular shaped skateboard deck is typically between 30” to 33” long. To help with popping up to do tricks, it has both a nose and tail curved upwards. These decks come in various widths to help the skateboarder get a board that feels right for them. Check out our skateboard size guide to learn more about regular skateboard deck sizes.
The cruiser skateboard deck can be the same deck you would use as your regular skateboard, or you can use a more old-school or custom shape. The idea here is you are going to be using this board primarily to push and cross longer distances than you would if you were using a regular skateboard to do tricks. A cruiser doesn’t necessarily need both a nose and tail that curve upwards to help you pop tricks off the ground. Skateboarders often go with a board that only has a curved tail as their cruiser. If you’ve seen a picture of skateboards from the ’80s, then that would work perfectly as your cruiser set up.
A longboard deck is in a category of its own. While you can still perform tricks on a longboard, the ticks are very different for the tricks you would do on a regular skateboard deck. The longboard’s deck shape does not need a curved nose or tail. Some have it; some do not. The core detail that makes it a longboard specifically, is that its length is longer than a regular skateboard deck. A longboard’s deck will go from 33” all the way up to 60”.
Please know this general principle:
The longer the board, the heavier it will be. The heavier the board, the harder it will be to pop it off the ground. (Heavier skateboard decks are great for stability and not for tricks.)
Different Types of Skateboard Wheels and Sizes
Wheels for skateboarding are measured in two ways.
- The wheel’s diameter size is measured in millimeters.
- The wheel’s hardness measured in durometers.
|Size of the wheel||What it is good for|
|49mm – 51mm||Regular skateboards – This is less common. This size range is more advanced technical street skating. (This is also what we used in the 90s when I started.)|
|52mm – 55mm||Regular skateboards – This is the most common wheel size. It is geared to steet and park skating. This is the common wheel size that beginners should go with.|
|56mm – 65mm||Regular skateboards – This size range is geared more towards transition skating.|
|65mm – 70mm||Cruiser and Longboards – This is geared more towards skating fast on all types of pavement.|
|70mm+||Longboards – These are downhill wheels for longboarding.|
|Regular Skateboard Wheels||Cruiser & Longboard Wheels|
|Hard Wheel Durometer: 96A – 101A||Soft Wheel Durometer: 78A – 95A|
|Harder wheels are good for street and park skating.||Softer wheels are good for cruising, going fast, and gripping to all types of pavement.|
By now, you are probably catching on that a “regular skateboard” is designed for doing tricks. To do those tricks, you are going to need wheels that will help you do them. A regular skateboard has smaller and harder wheels. These wheels will typically go from 49mm to 58mm and have a general durometer rating of above a 99a. The greater the number in the durometer, the harder the wheel will be. (As long as the durometer is on the A scale.)
The benefit of having harder wheels is that you can slide on the ground and ledges. Harder wheels help you immensely when doing grind tricks and powerslides. Simply put, regular skateboards have harder and smaller wheels.
Cruiser skateboards and longboards have softer, more forgiving wheels. A cruiser is intended for using your skateboard for riding around. It is primarily used for travel. Cruiser skateboards require wheels that make it easier to travel across all types of pavement. A cruiser board’s wheels are made up of a softer polyurethane that makes for a smooth and fast ride even while on rougher pavement. It is common for a cruiser skateboard’s wheels to be larger. Cruiser wheels are generally 60mm+ and will have a lower durometer in the 78a to 95a durometer.
For longboards, you will want to use a very similar wheel to a cruiser skateboard, as mentioned above. The only difference will be if you are primarily using your longboard for going downhill. If so, you might want to select a very large, soft wheel. A longboard wheel can be described as having a 60mm+ diameter and a lower durometer rating.
So what’s the difference when comparing skateboards vs longboards vs cruisers?
The difference between skateboards, longboards, and cruisers comes down to the style of skating you want to do and the purpose you want your skateboard for.
- If it is just to commute to work, go with a cruiser.
- If it is to skate and learn tricks, go with a skateboard.
- If it is to carve, go fast, and fill the void of snowboarding until winter hits again, go with a longboard.
It comes down to the deck size and the wheels you use. Skateboards are meant for tricks, while both longboards and cruiser skateboards are meant for traveling distances. Longboards are intended to cover longer distances than cruisers.
Both longboards and cruisers have softer wheels, so they can make your commute easier. You won’t have to push as often as you would on a regular skateboard. A cruiser would be a better option for a shorter commute as it is lighter and can be stored easily next to your desk.
Want to learn more?
Check out our other guides.
Steve Weber is an avid snowboarder and skateboarder. He has been snowboarding for 26 years, skateboarding for 20, and is always looking for a new board sport to try out. When he is not riding or skating, he runs a marketing agency. Board of the World is Steve’s blog for skateboard and snowboard gear reviews. The blog’s goal is to help people find the right board for them and encourage people to have fun outside.