When the weather’s good, you’ll occasionally see electric skateboarders out and about. Kids and adults everywhere are fascinated by electric boards because they look fun, and literally every day I ride mine, I have someone stop me and ask me about my Boosted Board Dual+ (2nd Gen).
Maybe you’re here because you found me riding in person and I gave you the link to this page, or maybe you’re stumbling through the Internet trying to decide whether to buy one or not.
TLDR? Yeah, you should buy one, but I’m sure you have a lot of questions. Below, I’ve answered all the most common questions.
This is the definitive guide to answer the question, “should I buy an electric skateboard?”
Regardless whether someone is buying an electric skateboard for their self, a friend, or their kid, people have the same questions on their mind.
But, there are many different types of electric skateboards for every budget range. Do your research on E-Skate Central to get a sense of the range of boards available– we have a fantastic search engine just for electric skateboards.
Do you like your electric skateboard?
In fact, I love mine so much, I’ve bought more than one, and I know many people with 3-4 boards at any one time. My daily driver is now the Boosted Boards Dual+ (2nd Gen) (which is the older version of the Boosted Plus), and I have two extended range batteries.
But, it’s the sport itself that’s fun, not necessarily the individual board you buy. You can have just as much fun on a cheaper board such as the Meepo V3 as on a $3,500 Kaly.NYC XL40, but obviously the higher-end models can provide more thrills in the form of better acceleration and hill climbing ability. Flying up a hill at 20 mph on a board–effortlessly– is an absolutely amazing feeling that you can’t get any other way, and if you pass a biker struggling to pedal up the hill they will be surprised.
How fast does it go?
Some boards top out at 13 mph, which is fast for a beginner, but others can hit 30 mph without breaking a sweat.
Serious enthusiasts that build their own boards can make theirs go 40 mph or higher, and there’s some companies that have built “extreme editions” of their boards that go 60 mph.
In general, reputable manufacturers will impose speed caps on their boards for safety reasons, even though the motors and batteries can be pushed harder.
For a novice, a 13 mph board like the Yuneec E-Go 2 might be fine. I owned the first generation E-Go for several years and it was a blast to ride. Realistically, in the city, you won’t go faster than this on the sidewalks due to the cracks and pedestrian traffic. If you’ve never skateboarded or snowboarded before, it’ll take a while to become comfortable at that speed anyways.
After a while, everyone wants more. This is where the higher end boards like the Boosted Stealth or Evolve Bamboo GTR come in. Higher end board such as these can hit 20-25 mph easily, which is a decent speed. On narrow bike trails or smoother pathways this will feel like you’re flying, and you’ll be able to pass most bikers with ease (except the serious bikers that wear spandex, who can generally pass you pretty easily).
If you’re a city dweller and become more experienced, you can take your board into the street (in the places where this is legal) and you can easily pass cars in traffic or keep up with them on roads with a low speed limit.
The hard truth: I’m at the point, personally, where I can hit the top speed of 22 mph on my Boosted Board without flinching. Honestly, I want more top speed, but I won’t buy a board that goes significantly faster because it’s a safety concern. Falling at 22 mph is extremely painful and potentially deadly if you don’t wear a helmet, and beyond 30 mph most people recommend full-face helmets and motorcycle armor.
How far does it go?
Again, this depends per-board.
Some boards, like the Boosted Mini S, are designed to be lighter-weight commuters and can travel 4-7 miles depending on how hard you push the throttle. Some manufacturers choose to use batteries under 100 Wh to make them TSA-compliant. Because of this, you’ll see a lot of boards with a reported maximum of 7-ish miles. Generally, expect 5-6 miles per 100 Wh of battery capacity.
Others like the Evolve Bamboo GTX and Evolve Carbon GT can go upwards of 30 miles on a single charge. Unless you’re an experienced skateboarder, going 30 miles in one go is extremely tiring on the legs and feet, and the extra weight of the batteries can make carrying the board difficult.
Most other boards fall somewhere in between, at around 10-15 miles per charge. Some of them also allow you to swap batteries on-the-go. My Boosted Dual+ (2nd Gen) is like this, and I often carry an extra battery or two on group rides.
The hard truth: Many manufacturers overstate their range or calculate it based on some “Eco” mode, which has less torque and a lower top speed. Once you get a board, you won’t ever ride it in “slow” or “Eco” modes unless you’re really trying to push the range. The faster modes are just too much fun.
Some boards have swappable batteries (like the Mellow Drive), meaning you can purchase additional batteries and swap them out mid-ride for more range. This is great, but additional batteries are usually expensive. The Boosted Stealth and Boosted Dual have replaceable batteries, but require a 4mm allen key to do so (unlike the tool-less Mellow).
If you want something for a daily work commute, a lighter board like the Boosted Mini S or Boosted Mini X, or a custom short deck with the Mellow Drive might be best. You can easily carry it on public transit and use it as a last mile vehicle, and stash it by your desk at work.
If you’re looking for something to hit the bike trails with on the weekends, the Evolve Bamboo GTX and Carbon GTR or Metroboard X with AT Wheels might be a better fit. They’re heavier and bulkier, but you won’t have to stop in the middle of your shredding session to charge.
A good compromise might be to get a board with a swappable battery, which would allow you to carry a backpack with a couple spare batteries, while still having a lighter board for the weekday commute.
How much does it cost?
Electric skateboards can range in price from around $200 on sale, to $500 in the mid-range, $1500 in the upper-mid range, and $2000 or more for specialty boards. Not everyone needs an all-terrain-convertable-mega-board, but I strongly recommend investing some money into the hobby to get a reliable board.
Quality varies between different price points, as with any product. You can realistically get some well-built and reliable boards like the Yuneec E-Go 2 for $200-$300, but this is largely the exception. Personally, unless you find a reputable board like the E-Go on sale, I don’t think you should spend less than $400 on a board.
At the upper-mid-tier starting at around $1200, you have premium brands like Boosted Boards, Evolve, Inboard, and others. These are usually completely custom boards, designed in-house. At this point, you get significantly more reliable hardware that can take the abuse of a multi-mile commute or weekend shredding sessions. Each of these brands still has tradeoffs, whether it’s range, weight, or other problems, but do your research and you’ll likely be happy with any board in this price range.
Any board over $2500 is usually specialized, and if you are really reading this page, I honestly think you should reconsider a board in this price range unless you know what you’re getting into. It’s an extremely large investment for a brand new hobby you may or may not like. If you are sure you’re ready for a board this expensive, you’ll be in the range of extremely high-power boards like the CARVON EVO 4WD or all-terrain capable boards like the Kaly.NYC XL40 These boards are serious business– they have high top speeds, massive amounts of torque, and in the case of AT boards, they can literally be ridden off-road. Some of these boards even come with bindings so that you can lock your feet onto the board so it won’t go flying out of under you on a rough trail. With any of these, you should be prepared to put significant time learning how to ride the board properly, since the amount of power they pack can be dangerous.
The hard truth: You should expect to spend a minimum of $500 on an electric skateboard, plus budget some extra money for repairs after riding it a year or so. It’s a longboard– it will break or need service at some point since you’re riding it on uneven pavement and subjecting it to physical abuse. If you can’t justify the investment, I strongly suggest you avoid the pain you’ll experience when you buy a cheap $100 board that breaks in 10 minutes.
Is it safe?
The hard truth: Yes and no. An electric skateboard is like any other sport and comes with inherent risk. But, unlike snowboarding, you’re traveling fast on pavement. And unlike a regular longboard, you can hit really dangerous top speeds.
Be prepared to hurt yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a longboarding newbie or a pro, you will fall and hurt yourself. I find injuries and falls come from several main sources:
- You were going to slow and hit a crack that threw you off. Yes, you sometimes are better off going fast over a crack in the sidewalk, since the momentum of the board will be too great for the crack to stop it.
- You were going too fast and are too inexperienced, and got speed wobbles. This is one of the most dangerous scenarios because it means you’re probably going to hit the ground at a high speed. Don’t wish you had a helmet as your head is going towards the pavement– buy a helmet before you ride, and use it every time you go out. We have a guide for this.
- You were overconfident and pushed yourself too far, making a risky maneuver that you didn’t pull off correctly.
- You weren’t being careful enough. Yeah, if a car decides to pull out in front of you and turn, it’s probably their fault, but you have to expect that drivers can’t see you and you have to ride defensively. Being legally in the right here doesn’t prevent a broken collar-bone.
But, as long as you have the proper safety equipment, you’ll be fine. You’ll end up with road rash at some point, but you likely won’t have any permanent injuries. I will keep saying this– get a certified helmet, which I have a convenient list of, and possibly some other safety gear.
Can you ride it in the rain?
Though some boards are advertised as water resistant like the Mellow Drive, I strongly recommend against riding a traditional electric skateboard with polyurethane street wheels (the smooth ones) in any water.
This isn’t just because there’s the potential to damage the electronics, but the smooth skate wheels are not designed to be ridden in wet conditions. Much like a car with bald tires, a skate wheel can hydroplane easily and the extreme power-to-weight ratio of the board will cause you to lose traction much more easily than you’d expect.
So, should I buy an electric skateboard?
You should ask yourself several questions before you really commit to buying an electric skateboard:
- Are you ok with the price? It’s an expensive hobby, and though it’s a lot of fun, it’s not realistic for everyone to own an electric board. This is a personal decision you have to make. Truthfully, once you buy one board, you’re going to soon want one that goes faster.
- Are you, or the rider, ready to commit to learning how to ride an electric skateboard? It’s not easy, but it’s also not super difficult to pick up. If you’ve longboarded or snowboarded before, you’ll have a significantly easier time to pick it up.
- Are you ready to fall and hurt yourself? You will fall and hurt yourself. Period. As long as you have the proper safety equipment (wear a helmet), you’ll be fine, but even experienced riders fall because they get overconfident and can break a bone. You have to be ok with this possibility. Older riders should be especially careful and always ride within their means and with all of the safety equipment.
If you’ve done your research and still want an electric skateboard, by all means buy one. It’s a fantastic hobby when it’s sunny out, and you can meet a lot of cool people if you search for electric skateboard meet-ups in your city.
Good luck, and I’ll see you on the streets!