Everything You Need To Know About Cheap Longboards

When you’re searching for a longboard, a lot of things matter over price.

A sturdy 8- or 9-ply deck will last longer than a cheaply-made, low-ply deck.

The quality of your trucks will determine how well, and how smoothly, your longboard steers.

Soft, quality wheels and good bearings will keep you rolling safely and comfortably.

Quality bushings will lend to the package, providing high-level shock absorption that is both easier on the board and on your body.

Basically, there’s a reason quality longboards are expensive.

They incorporate a lot of quality components into their designs.

But while good quality longboards earn their price points, they are definitely pricey – more expensive than quality skateboards by almost two-fold.

High-quality longboard completes average around $200, which can seem daunting to someone on a limited budget.

Here, we discuss when it might be a good idea to choose a cheaper longboard, what to look for when shopping for budget-friendly boards, and offer a few recommendations for less expensive longboards that are the most likely hold up .

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When Should You Buy a Cheap Longboard?

Ideally, you would never buy a cheap longboard just to save money.

Cheaper longboards are less solid across the board.

They are not as well-made and won’t hold up as long.

If you want your longboard to last, an average-priced, quality longboard is an investment.

That said, there are definitely times when investing in an expensive longboard simply doesn’t make sense.

Here are the times you might want to consider a cheaper longboard over a higher-quality board.

When you are truly constrained by budget.

Hey, we get it. Sometimes you just don’t have the funds for a higher-quality board.

If that’s the case, you have two options.

You can start saving up for a higher-quality board or you can buy whatever’s in your budget.

While saving for a higher-quality board might seem like the better option, there is actually some argument for buying what you can afford now.

And the argument is this:

When you buy a longboard, you are getting more than just one thing.

You are getting individual components, and those components all have value in themselves.

If you get a cheap longboard that only lasts a few months and then something on it breaks, you don’t have to replace the entire board.

You only have to replace the part that breaks.

So, if your longboard comes with decent quality trucks, wheels, bearings, bushings, and the lot, but a flimsy deck that breaks after a few months, you can buy a new deck and keep everything else.

The same is true if you get a sturdy deck, but poor working components.

Since you can replace components on a longboard as you go along, we say if you want to get rolling on a cheap board go ahead and get rolling.

Then, start saving your money.

If you get some decent components in your complete, you can simply replace anything on your board that breaks or stops working well, or even upgrade as you go along.

When you are buying for a kid.

We don’t recommend cheap longboards for kids just because they’re kids.

There are two reasons buying a cheap longboard for a kid can make financial since.

One, kids are more likely to give up on longboarding more quickly.

I know, it’s a terrible stereotype.

But, generally speaking, kids are more likely to get frustrated with the learning process and toss their boards into the shed, never to be touched again.

Two, kids are typically smaller, which makes cheaper boards less problematic for them.

One of the biggest issues with cheap longboards is that they have cheaper, flimsier components.

They often have lower-ply decks that hold less weight and trucks that don’t tune up as well.

A low-ply deck that rides perfectly fine under a 100-lb. person might snap when a 150-lb. person steps on it.

Trucks that can’t be properly tightened will dip too much under heavier riders, while riders that weigh less can be okay on them… for a while.

Basically, the less a rider weighs, the less pressure they put on the components of a longboard, and the less likely a cheap part will break.

When Shouldn’t You Buy a Cheap Longboard?

While there are times buying a budget longboard makes sense, there is one time in particular that buying a budget board seems to make sense, but actually doesn’t.

And that is:

When you’re just not sure if you’ll like longboarding.

Yes, it can seem logical to buy cheap equipment until you know if you like something, and we definitely don’t recommend buying a super expensive board if you’ve never longboarded before, but the longboard you start out on can actually determine whether or not you like longboarding. 

How well a longboard is made, and how quality its components, determines your experience on the board.

A well-made deck is sturdy, good trucks turn well, and solid longboard wheels, bearings, and bushings make your ride comfortable.

This is the essence of a longboard – a nice, stable ride that feels good.

Whether or not you like longboarding can be determined as much by the board you choose as in spite of the board you choose.

So, ideally, you should buy a board at the cheaper end of the quality longboard spectrum than just a cheap board in general.

Best Cheap Longboards

When it comes to quality longboards at budget prices, we’re talking around the $150-175 range.

That’s just how much quality longboards cost.

If you’ve got that kind of money to spend, these boards offer some of the best skating for the lowest prices.

Globe Longboards (Cheap Longboard Cruisers)

globe cheap longboards

When it comes to budget meets quality, Globe longboards sit in a really good place.

Several Globe longboard designs come in just north of $150.

However, Globe’s low prices reflect that classic longboard trade-off of size for price.

Best price: evo and The House

The cheapest Globe longboards are all cruisers around the 33-35” range, which make them barely longboards at all.

None of Globe’s cheapest boards are drop-throughs or true pintails, so you will be limited in how you can ride them.

Still, if you’re looking for a good cruiser that gets the job done, a Globe board will keep you rolling for a while.

Sector 9 Highline Shine (Cheap Carving Longboard)

sector 9 HIGHLINE SHINE

If you are looking for a quality carver, but aren’t that concerned about deck size, you can find it in the Sector 9 Highline Shine.

The Highline Shine comes in closer to the $150 low end of the quality board spectrum, but also comes in smaller.

Best price: at Sector 9

At 34.5”(L) x 8”(W), the Highline Shine is little for a longboard, but solid.

As for its shape, we’ll call the Highline Shine “pintail enough,” which is to say we like the back tapering a little more than we like the front.

Still, it’s a good, cheaper carver, regardless.

Arbor Fish Bamboo Longboard (Cheap Pintail Longboard)

Arbor Fish Bamboo Longboard Complete

Want a little more pin and a little more deck? The Arbor Fish can provide.

It’s still not big at 37”(L) x 8.4”(W), but it’s getting closer.

Best price: at evo

The bamboo deck is designed for extended rides, while added risers put more dip in your carves and ensure better wheel clearance.

Just a good little pintail all around. Little being the operative word.

Sector 9 Ledger Mosaic (Biggest Cheap Pintail)

sector 9 LEDGER MOSAIC

The most expensive pintail on our list, the Sector 9 Ledger Mosaic still comes in cheaper than your average quality longboard.

But, unlike the other boards on our list, you don’t have to give up any deck space to get the deal.

Best price: at Sector 9

The Ledger Mosaic is big – 40” long, 9.25” wide big. It is solidly a longboard, and we love that you get so much deck for the price.

If you are looking for a big pintail that really lets you feel your landsurfing, you won’t find much better for much cheaper than this.

Penny Longboard (Cheapest Cheap Pintail)

It’s not often we recommend a Penny board over a wooden deck, but if you’re looking for a cheap pintail that does what it should, you would be remiss to reject this board out of hand.

Penny’s Longboard is almost as long as the Arbor board at 36”, but considerably wider at 9.5”.

This makes it a great board for beginners who want to save a little money, but still long for the stability of a wider deck.

As on all Pennies, the trucks and wheels on the Penny Longboard are exceptional for the price point, and that plastic deck is hella sturdy.

Plus, it comes in cheaper than the rest of the boards on our “best” list, which is reason enough to consider it.

Santa Cruz Longboards (Cheap Drop-Through Longboards)

Santa Cruz Flame Dot Drop-Down Longboard Complete

Drop-through longboards, overall, are more expensive than pintails or cruisers.

They are rarely made in reduced sizes the way pintails and cruisers are, with the smallest quality boards coming in around 37” (L), as opposed to 33-34”(L).

That extra deck means extra material, and drop-through prices reflect that.

Buy at: The House or Amazon

One quality longboard brand you can often find on the cheap is Santa Cruz. Several Santa Cruz drop-through designs come in well below average for good-sized boards – 40”(L) x 10”(W).

Good Cheap Longboards

As already mentioned, high-quality longboards take a lot more material to produce, so cheap is relative.

If you want something cheaper than what we’ve listed, the best way to get your hands on a cheap high-quality longboard is to buy second-hand or wait for a sale.

Sales are awesome when longboard shopping. Many complete board sellers have sales throughout the year (sometimes up to 50% off).

These are the best deals on longboards you’ll get anywhere.

With a good sale, you can get a $200 board (the average price for a quality longboard complete) for around $100.

This is, by far, the best quality board you will get in the $100 price range.

Trusted brands are trusted for a reason.

Buying a quality board will save you money in the long run.

That said, we get that $100 is still a lot of money to spend on something if you don’t have it.

So, here are a few boards that bring it in cheaper and should be decent enough for beginners or longboarders who want to test out a different kind of board.

Longboards Under $100

When shopping for longboards at the lowest prices, you should focus on the components of each board.

A sturdy deck matters (you certainly don’t want your longboard snapping under you), but the working components are even more important.

When reading reviews for longboards, we suggest focusing on the parts in this order and watching for the following issues:

1 – The trucks.

Decent longboard trucks should be easy to adjust.

Don’t worry if reviews say trucks are too tight. That is easily fixable with a small adjustment of the kingpin nut.

To better understand this, see How to Loosen and Tighten Skateboard Trucks.

However, be wary of boards where the trucks are too loose.

Loose trucks may be able to be tightened. But a truck that is fully tightened and still feels loose can indicate a problem with the truck.

2 – The wheels.

Longboard wheels need to turn well.

That should go without saying, but it doesn’t mean all cheap longboard manufacturers agree.

Plenty of budget longboard manufacturers throw cheap bearings into their wheels to cut costs, which has the unfortunate consequence of making their wheels barely turn at all.

If you see any indication a budget longboard’s wheels are slow, sluggish, or, well… crap… choose another board.

You can’t ride without decent wheels and bearings, so if you end up with a board with bad wheels, you’ll have a useless board until you can replace them.

3 – The deck.

Don’t get us wrong, the deck matters a lot on a longboard.

To safely ride, you need something sturdy enough to support your weight and movement, so we highly recommend paying attention to weight limits and returning a board if it feels too flimsy.

However, you CAN ride on a flimsy deck.

We don’t recommend it, but it can be done.

Is it possible the deck might snap?

Yes, absolutely.

But a deck that snaps on a longboard can actually prove less dangerous than a truck that breaks or a wheel that suddenly stops turning.

Ideally, ALL of the components on your cheap longboard will be decent enough.

But we worry less about the deck than the parts that make the longboard move.

Now, some boards:

Longboards Under $50

Under $50, things get quite a bit sketchier, and drop-throughs disappear, but there are a couple of boards you might swing for this price.

Is it cheaper to buy a complete longboard?

Generally speaking, it is cheaper to buy a complete longboard than to build your own board.

But it’s important to keep in mind completes are cheaper for a reason and you get what you pay for.

In some instances (with quality manufacturers), completes are cheaper because they are “package deals” where you get a bit of a discount on each part in the set-up.

But many completes are cheaper because they use cheap components.

They put on lower-quality trucks, lower-quality wheels, and include lower-quality hardware, like bearings and bushings.

This can make a cheap longboard a little less cheap, as many of these components will need replacing to get the smooth, comfortable ride longboards are known for.

What is a good price for a longboard?

If you can get a quality board – sturdy high-ply deck, smooth trucks, good bearings – for $150, you’re getting a good deal.

On sale, you can find these same longboards right around, or even slightly under, $100 on occasion.

Then, it’s a great deal.

Best Cheap Longboard For You

The best budget longboard is the one that’s right for you right now.

We like the longboard that gets you (safely) riding as soon as possible.

If you can swing it, we do recommend starting out on a board by a trusted brand.

A high-quality longboard will give you a better ride and truer sense of what longboarding has to offer.

The best cheap boards listed above are about the best you can get for the most reasonable prices.

Yes, there are cheaper longboards available.

Yes, you can find a few decent ones that will hold up.

But the components on a longboard matter. A lot.

It doesn’t matter how good a board looks, or how cheap it is, if it doesn’t roll and respond as it should.

If you want a smooth ride that truly inspires you to step on your board each day, stick with the brands that have made a name for themselves.

You’re a lot less likely to be disappointed.

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