Penny boards get a bad rap in skateboarding.
Some of the complaints are valid (their plastic decks are bad for the environment).
Others are subjective (they’re just not good skateboards).
As far as we’re concerned, penny boards are neither inherently bad or good.
They are just one more option for skaters.
But penny boards do have their faults. And their advantages.
In this article, we break penny boards down into their most frequently asked questions and a simple overview to help you determine if this type of board might be right for you.
(For the sake of the article, we are talking about penny boards in the generic sense – small, plastic skateboards – not brand name Penny boards, unless otherwise stated.)
Penny Board FAQ
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about penny boards.
What is a penny board?
A penny board is a small skateboard, considerably smaller than a standard skateboard, with a plastic deck.
Why is a penny board called a penny board?
Penny Board was originally a brand name, and it still is.
Like many products, the popular plastic Penny Boards spawned copycats.
These copycat boards, collectively and generically, came to be known as penny boards.
The original Penny Board was named after the creator’s sister.
Are penny boards good for beginners?
Penny boards are not ideal for beginners.
Since penny boards are smaller than standard skateboards with shorter, narrower decks, they are harder to balance on which makes them harder to ride.
Most full-sized skaters cannot get into a proper skating stance (feet shoulder-width apart) on a penny board.
This not only makes learning more difficult, but can lead to adopting bad skating techniques.
However, if you are talking about Penny boards as a brand, they do have some good options for beginners.
Today, the Penny company makes plastic skateboards in multiple sizes.
Some of these skateboards are sized like standard boards and would be fine for most beginners.
How much weight can penny boards hold?
Despite their diminutive sizes, penny boards are pretty powerhouse when it comes to their weight capacity.
The weight limit on most penny boards is around 200 to 225 pounds.
This is on par with 8- or 9-ply wooden skateboards.
Can adults ride penny boards?
Absolutely, adults can ride penny boards.
The question is, will a penny board be comfortable and for how long?
As discussed above, penny boards limit the space skaters have for their stances, which can make riding a penny board both less balanced and less comfortable than riding a standard skateboard.
Adults can certainly ride pennies.
It’s more a matter of whether they want to.
Do penny boards break easily?
Since penny boards are plastic, it’s not easy for them to snap or break.
But, like wooden skateboards, it can happen under certain conditions.
Generally, a penny board will break only after taking a lot of abuse, and you will typically know there’s a problem before it snaps completely.
Before penny boards break, they usually develop some cracks. (An extremely hard hit or a lot of intense grinding can put micro-fissures in the plastic.)
Once a penny board starts to crack, you will hear it when you step on the board.
If your penny board is making crackling sounds, there’s damage somewhere and you should stop riding it immediately.
So, while penny boards don’t break easily, they do occasionally break.
Like with skateboards, lower-quality penny boards are more likely to break than a higher-quality penny boards.
How much does a penny board weigh?
Penny boards at the standard penny size of 22” long and 5-6” wide weigh approximately 4 pounds.
As you can see, a penny board doesn’t weigh much.
Which size penny board should I get?
Any penny board smaller than the original Penny size of 22”(L) x 6”(W) is too small for most adults.
Penny boards under 20” in length and only 4-5” in width are only appropriate for very small children.
However, if you are talking about branded Penny Boards, you have several options –
- If you already know how to skateboard and want the most portable option available, get the 22” Penny Board.
- If you are new to skateboarding, get something easier to learn on like the Surfskate or 32” skateboard.
- If you plan to use your skateboard to commute, get a comfortable cruiser like the Surfskate or Longboard.
- And, if you want to learn tricks, there is only one Penny Board for you – the 32” Skateboard.
Are penny boards good?
Whether or not penny boards are good isn’t for us to say.
What we will say is pennies have their purpose.
But penny boards are NOT good for beginners and are harder on the environment than traditional wooden skateboards.
What are penny boards good for?
Penny boards are lighter and more portable than standard wooden skateboards.
For many penny riders, this is their main selling point.
When not in use, a penny can be strapped to a backpack or even carried onto a plane without a lot of bulk.
Penny boards are also good for skating in tight spaces where full-sized skateboards may be hard to maneuver, like when commuting on city streets.
They also come in slightly cheaper than wooden skateboards of similar quality.
Penny Boards Overview
Still not sure if a penny board is the right fit for your skating needs?
Here’s a basic overview of penny boards and what they have to offer.
Penny Board Size
The original Penny Boards manufactured by the Penny company measured 22”(L) x 6”(W) and still do.
Today, small plastic skateboards in the generic category of penny board fall within a range of sizes.
Some skateboards marketed as “penny boards” drop as low as 15-17” long and 4” wide.
These boards are only appropriate for small children.
As far as branded Penny boards, the Penny Company now makes multiple sizes of skateboards.
Current Penny sizes can be found in our article Skateboard Size Guide & Size Chart.
Penny Board Deck
The thing that really sets a penny board apart from a standard skateboard is its deck.
Penny board decks (both branded and generic) are made of molded plastic instead of plies of wood.
Wooden Penny Board
Though you will find some small wooden skateboards categorized as penny boards, by definition a penny board deck is never made of wood.
The definition of a penny board is a small plastic skateboard.
Penny-sized skateboards with wooden decks are actually considered mini or youth skateboards.
Electric Penny Board
There are several electric skateboards on the market today that market themselves as electric penny boards.
However, when you start digging into the sizes of these “electric penny boards,” you’ll discover none of them are true pennies.
By definition, penny boards are smaller than standard skateboards in both length and width, and every electric skateboard we can find on the market is slightly larger than penny board size.
There are, however, a few electric skateboards that would meet the definition of “nickel board”.
Best Size Penny Board for Beginners
If you are just getting into skateboarding and are determined to ride a penny board first, you should stick with the standard penny board size of 22”(L) x 6”(W).
Anything smaller than that will make learning even harder, and anything bigger isn’t really a penny board.
If you are a beginner skateboarder looking at Penny branded boards, you’ve got a few good options for learning.
The Penny Surfskate is a wide cruiser that will give you the most stability.
The Penny Longboard also has a nice wide base that will balance easier than the smaller skateboards in the line.
The 32” Penny Skateboard is (almost) standard skateboard size, so isn’t quite as stable as the Surfskate or Longboard, but is more stable than the 22” or 27” boards.
If you are looking to casually cruise/commute, we recommend the Penny Surfskate or Penny Longboard.
If you are looking to ride freestyle and learn tricks, we recommend the Penny 32″ Skateboard.
The cost of a penny board comes in somewhat lower than a wooden skateboard (when comparing quality to quality).
You can find penny boards for $25-30 that hold 200-225 pounds.
Wooden skateboards in the same price range typically have fewer wood plies and lower weight limits.
If you are talking about branded Penny Boards, those are a little more expensive.
Branded Pennies are more on par with standard skateboard prices.
For example, the smallest branded Penny Board – the 22” – costs $109 (USD). You can get a pretty decent complete wood skateboard for less than that.
Penny Boards for Casual Cruising
Penny boards have always been casual cruisers.
They were not built for learning tricks or for long commutes.
If you need a board that is highly portable or you skate in crowded places, however, the diminutive size of a penny board does have some advantages.
Just keep in mind penny boards are harder to learn on and limited in what they can do.
But if you are comfortable on a penny and don’t have far to ride, there is no reason not to make a penny board your skateboard of choice.
When you’re ready to start hunting for your perfect penny board, see our Cheap Penny Boards That Hold Up (Penny Board Buying Guide).