Complete Skateboards Buying Guide: How To Select A Pre-Built Skateboard (2021)

A “complete skateboard” is a skateboard that comes pre-assembled with pre-selected components.

They are typically cheaper than custom boards – though, they also use cheaper parts – and don’t require any knowledge of a skateboard’s internal workings.

A complete skateboard eases the process of selecting your first skateboard, and gives you something to ride without having to put it together first.

Unfortunately, pre-built skateboards are seldom “just right” and if you get one with the wrong components it may put you off skating before you really get into it.

However, if you go into it with that in mind – that a complete skateboard is never perfect – a complete  can be a good option if you just want to see how skateboarding feels and whether or not you might like it.

Just consider it a “test board” and know your ride will only get better once you upgrade to a higher-quality, custom-built board.

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Best Complete Skateboards (Pre-Builts)

Long-term skaters will try to convince you a complete board can’t come close to a custom board (and this may well be the case), but a complete skateboard is fine for beginner practice and getting acquainted with skateboarding.

(Take a look at our Complete Skateboard Pros, Complete Skateboard Cons, and Pre-Built Skateboard Tips sections below before making a final decision to buy pre-assembled.)

If you are ready to buy, here are a few of our favorite complete boards if you just want to see what skateboarding is all about.

Full Skateboards Worth the Money

1. Alien Workshop Matrix Blue

Alien Workshop Matrix Blue Complete 7.75 Skateboard
buy at evo

Any Alien Workshop complete skateboard will set you off on the right foot… so to speak.

These boards are lightweight and come with high-quality wheels and bearings, providing surprising speed for the money.

The biggest downside of this complete board is that Alien Workshop doesn’t make the best trucks. (You won’t want to try out tricks on them.)

But if you swap out the trucks for a higher-end pair and keep the rest of the Matrix Blue’s original components, you still end up with a very high-quality board at a very reasonable price.

And it’s fine as is to learn on.

New to skateboarding or just getting back in?

Upgrade to the complete package, which comes with pads and a helmet.

Alien Workshop Matrix Blue Complete 7.75 Skateboard kit
buy at evo

Krooked Bigger Eyes

Like Alien Workshop, pretty much any Krooked complete will set you on the right track.

But Krooked Bigger Eyes boards are kind of the company staple.

Krooked Bigger Eyes boards come in multiple sizes to fit most riders.

They have reasonably solid decks, quality wheels and bearings, and sturdier trucks than the Alien Workshop boards.

Krooked boards are good for learning and regular cruising, and will even hold up well to some beginner tricks.

Just don’t slide on them.

The decks are a solid ride at ground level, but not so much on a rail.

2. Krooked Bigger Eyes 7.5

Krooked Bigger Eyes 7.5 Skateboard Complete
buy at evo

3. Krooked Bigger Eyes 8.0

Krooked Bigger Eyes 8.0 Skateboard Complete
buy at evo

4. Krooked Bigger Eyes 8.25

Krooked Bigger Eyes 8.25 Skateboard Complete
buy at evo

Best Longboard Completes

When it comes to buying longboard completes, you’re looking for a lot of the same things you look for in a complete skateboard – Sturdy deck.

Decent wheels. Good trucks, if you can get ‘em.

Complete longboards tend to run a little higher in price than complete skateboards.

As well they should. More material means more expense and more price passed onto the consumer.

That said, you don’t have to spend a lot more money to get a longboard complete just as good as a complete skateboard.

These are our favorite longboard complete skateboards that should last you for a while.

1. Sector 9 Shoots Full Moon

Sector 9 Full Moon Shoots Longboard Complete
buy at evo

At 33 ½ inches, the Sector 9 Shoots Full Moon just barely tips into longboard territory.

This isn’t a bad thing for someone new to longboarding.

Its small size makes the Shoots Full Moon easy to carry and manage, ideal for people using it to commute.

What we like most about this board is its sturdy bamboo deck and its trucks, some of the finest you’ll find on a pre-built board.

Just about any Sector 9 longboard will give you a good introduction to longboarding.

And they have both drop-through (including drop-down) and pintail completes.

Due to their popularity, Sector 9 has had some problems with their decks being sold on cheaper trucks and wheels and marketed as “Sector 9 Completes.”

We recommend always checking the wheels and trucks listed on a complete against the brand’s inventory (on their own website) to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Or, in this case, just buy direct from Sector 9 so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

sector 9
buy direct

2. Arbor Flagship Axis

Arbor Axis 40" Flagship Longboard Complete
buy at evo

The Arbor Flagship Axis is designed to be a cruiser.

It comes in two lengths – 40 and 47 inches – and is outfitted for a smooth, easy ride.

The trucks are both sturdy at speed and have enough tilt to ease turns.

The wheels are good enough, though they can be a bit sluggish on some surfaces.

Harder wheels will amp up the speed.

As will higher-rated bearings, if you’re feeling a little slow.

As far as a good quality complete cruiser, though, it’s hard to do better.

Plus, Arbor is an eco-friendly board manufacturer, using sustainable and recycled materials in their builds.

A mission we can certainly get behind.

3. Santa Cruz Completes

Santa Cruz Gold Stripe Pintail Cruiser Complete
buy at The House

If there is any brand on this list even non-skaters are likely to recognize, it’s this one.

That’s because Santa Cruz has been around nearly as long as skateboarding has been part of popular culture.

It’s the oldest continuously operating skateboard brand in the world.

Santa Cruz offers a very friendly entry price to either the skateboard or longboard markets.

Even better? The company still makes good boards.

They are especially popular with longboarders.

When shopping longboards, you can often find Santa Cruz boards coming in $40-50 cheaper than comparable brands. Without suffering on quality.

Yes, there are even cheaper longboards available, but none you would want.

If you are looking for a good entry-level longboard (or skateboard) that will hold up and save you money, Santa Cruz is the way to go.

The company simply knows how to build good, lower-priced consumer completes.

Shop more Santa Cruz Skateboards:

Cheap Complete Skateboards

Any skateboard under $100 all in is considered a fairly cheap skateboard.

It would cost you a lot more to build a board from scratch with high-quality parts.

The trick to buying a complete skateboard is to make sure you’re not buying too cheap of a skateboard.

Ultra-cheap complete boards can have serious issues from flimsy decks to unstable trucks.

The boards we have listed here are all under $100 (unless they come with accessories).

These boards meet in a safe place between price point and quality.

If you want a complete skateboard for less than the price of the boards we’ve listed here, consider buying second-hand instead.

A quality deck second-hand will still hold up better than a low-quality deck.

If you’re buying a skateboard second-hand, just make sure you check it well for visible cracks in the deck and wearing on the tail.

A super-thin, worn down tail can cause a deck to eventually come apart.

Also, check the edges of the deck all the way around to make sure the wood plies are still solidly glued together.

A quality used skateboard can be your best option when you want a complete board at a lower price.

Just be prepared for components to need replacing after a while. (The same is true for new completes.)

And don’t opt for the cheapest skateboard you find.

Choosing the right board can make all the difference in whether you develop a love of skateboarding or give up after a few attempts to ride.

Pre-Built Skateboard Tips

Complete skateboards with pre-selected components are not the only option for getting a pre-built board.

If you’re okay with a little more expense, consider visiting your nearest skate shop.

Employees at skate shops are typically skaters themselves, and can help you put together a complete board that will work well or you.

Skate shops frequently have their own branded decks, and sometimes even trucks and wheels.

Buying local helps support your local skate shop.

Importantly for you, visiting a skate shop means you can try out decks, get an internal look at trucks, and feel wheels.

The problem with buying a complete skateboard is you simply don’t know what you’re getting.

Yes, skate shop employees may try to upsell you, but it helps to go in with these three points of knowledge.

1 – If you’re a beginner, you don’t need anything too fancy.

2 – If you’re just learning, it’s going to be a while before you hit speeds or start performing tricks that require the highest-end trucks or wheels.

3 – Everything a skate shop sells, they stand behind, so most anything you find in the store is going to be higher quality than most parts on a pre-made board.

By going into a skate shop, you can get help choosing the best components based on where (street, skate park) and how (cruising, tricks) you’ll be riding.

For an additional fee, the skate shop will even assemble the board for you.

Or, if it’s not too busy and you’re lucky, they might help you assemble it yourself.

Then, you’ll be ready to build your own board entirely on your own when the time comes.

Complete Skateboard Pros

The main benefit of a complete skateboard is that it comes properly assembled and ready to ride.

The parts on a complete skateboard are selected for a reason. They are components thought to work well together by the board manufacturer.

Brands want their completes to give the best impression in the marketplace, and design them accordingly.

Completes are also (typically) less expensive than custom boards, providing a cheaper entry point into skateboarding.

In summation:

  • Complete skateboards come ready to ride.
  • Complete skateboards are designed to ride well out of the box.
  • Complete skateboards are cheaper than custom-builds.

Complete Skateboard Cons

The main downside of a complete skateboard is that it is rarely exactly what you want.

It might have the perfect deck, but the wrong wheels. Great wheels, but stiff trucks.

At any rate, it won’t have the highest quality parts available.

You can always swap out components on a pre-built board, but, if you’re swapping out a lot of components, you may as well skip the complete board and start from scratch.

Completes also don’t typically have optional components, such as shock pads. So, even with soft bushings, you may not have as smooth of a ride as you could.

In summation:

  • Complete skateboards are rarely “just right.”
  • Complete skateboards are not made with the highest quality parts available.
  • Complete skateboards don’t have optional components that can improve your ride.

Complete vs Custom Skateboard

Asking whether you should buy a complete skateboard or build a custom is like asking if you should buy pants off the rack or get them tailor-made.

The two things simply aren’t comparable.

Complete skateboards are mass-produced with reasonably-priced components for a wide consumer marketplace.

Custom skateboards are built to skateboarders’ personal tastes and riding styles.

So, of course, a well-designed custom board is going to be a better board. It’s a perfect fit.

However, many people, especially when first starting out, won’t know what their personal riding style is or what components they need to make their skateboard “just right.”

That makes a complete skateboard an ideal entry point.

Some commuter/cruiser skateboarders find a pre-built board does everything they need it to and never have to upgrade to custom boards.

Basically, if you are considering a complete skateboard, a complete skateboard is probably fine for your immediate purposes.

Common Questions About Complete Skateboards

How much is a complete skateboard?

When it comes to cost, complete skateboards are all over the place.

There are full-size completes on Amazon for under $20.

These boards are usually marketed as “for beginners,” which is a chill way of saying, “For Christ’s sake, don’t try to do a trick on this.”

Tony Hawk has lent his name to a series of complete skateboards in the $40-50 range.

But these are still absolutely beginner boards.

Then, there are completes that cost upwards of $300.

When you start reaching the $200s, you have to start asking yourself if a complete skateboard is a good value.

You can build a helluva good custom skateboard in the $200-300 price range.

So, eliminating the very low quality boards and the overly expensive boards:

  • Complete skateboards cost between $50 and $200.
  • Complete longboards cost between $50 and $250.

How much does it cost to ship a complete skateboard?

Ideally, when you buy a skateboard, standard shipping is free.

Indeed, most of the retailers we’ve highlighted have a free shipping option.

However, if you do need to pay shipping for your complete skateboard or need to sell your complete board, you might need to know the cost of shipping.

Shipping a skateboard deck alone can cost around $20 or more. That is simply due to the length of the package.

Add in trucks, wheels, and hardware, and the weight and expense goes up substantially.

When it comes to skateboard shipping costs, there is no true average because deck length and total weight factor in.

These numbers can vary a lot, depending on which trucks, wheels, and hardware you put on the board.

However, if you’re shipping a complete skateboard, or have to pay to have one shipped to you, you can expect to pay upwards of $50.

Get Started on a Complete Skateboard

Complete skateboards often get a bad rap, but they certainly have their purpose.

If you’re new to skateboarding or like the feel of a company’s complete boards, there’s no reason a complete board can’t be perfectly serviceable.

And, if you find the board isn’t doing everything you want it to do, if you’d like it to have a little more pop or a little more speed, you can always upgrade as you go along.

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