Buying a Cheap Skateboard: Learn From My Mistakes

What Does a Cheap Skateboard Cost?

A good skateboard is going to cost some money. You also will want to just buy a complete rather than making a custom board. Below is a chart I compiled of some of the most popular and best skateboarding companies.

A quality and cheap skateboard costs between $80-$90 for a complete set-up. Most skateboards that cost lower than this price range sacrifice quality and are more difficult to skate and break quickly. It is possible to occasionally find good complete set-ups from quality brands for cheaper than $80 on Amazon.

You really do need to buy from a reputable company when it comes to skateboards as there are so many shady and cheap skateboard manufacturers out there selling great “beginner skateboards” for $35. Don’t trust this.

BrandPrice Range on Company Site ($)Price Range on Amazon ($)Where Should You Buy?
Element$95-$100$90-$120Doesn’t Matter
Alien WorkshopN/A$85-$115Amazon
Girl$100N/ACompany Site
enjoi$80-$105$90-$115Company Site
Santa Cruz$105$85-$120Amazon
Almost$80-$110$80-$90Doesn’t Matter
Zero $100-$110$95-$110Doesn’t Matter
Plan B$115$100-$140Amazon
Powell Peralta$100$85-$100Amazon
Price ranges and where to buy popular skateboard brand completes

For a decent skateboard that will last for a long time, $80 is a cheap price. It is possible to get boards cheaper than this if you get them on sale or through other means, but this is a good price to expect to pay.

This might be more expensive than you were hoping, but you get what you pay for, and buying a quality skateboard is cheaper than purchasing replacing a cheap skateboard.

If you want to see my complete breakdown of the cost of complete and custom skateboards by brand, then check out my guide.

What Are the Best Cheap Skateboards

Almost and enjoi are two well-respected companies that offer complete and quality skateboards in the range of $80-$85 so I’ll focus on these companies. Almost is a company founded in part by skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen and enjoi is a company founded by skaters who emphasize living a full and fun life. Yes, they insist that the “e” be lowercase.

I will also include a couple of other brands such as Alien Workshop in this list, although these other brands are just slightly more expensive than the other two skateboard brands.

Almost Blend 8.0″ Complete

Founded by legend skater Rodney Mullen, Almost produces quality and affordable skateboards and also a few more expensive pro models. The Almost Blend Skateboard is a simple graphic and complete set-up that is perfect for beginners. The deck is 8 inches wide to give better control and stability on the board itself.

Almost skateboards are the same price on Amazon and the company website so just order from whichever is more convenient.

Alien Workshop Abduction 8.0″ Complete

I included an Alien Workshop complete here because it is just barely more expensive than the enjoi and Almost skateboards and it truly is a quality skateboard. Actually, I first started skating on an Alien Workshop board in elementary and middle school so Alien Workshop has a little bit of nostalgia for me.

I also simply love the graphics they produce so look around for a design you like. This board has an 8-inch deck which is recommended for beginners as it is wide enough to give better control and stability.

Purchase your Alien Workshop complete setup from an online retailer like Amazon. You can only purchase Alien Workshop decks from their company website.

enjoi Microchip Black 8.0″ Complete

This enjoi skateboard is completely set up and perfect for beginners or experienced skaters alike. The trucks are Tensor brand which is a well-respected skateboard trucks brand and the wheels and deck are from enjoi. The board itself is 8-inches which is the most common board width and is recommended for beginners. It is wide enough to give stability on the board for beginners.

There are also loads of different graphics available other than this one so feel free to search around for a graphic that you personally enjoy. You can find boards from the company site for as cheap or even cheaper than Amazon so I recommend checking there first.

Santa Cruz 8.0″ Contra Allover Complete Skateboard

Santa Cruz Skateboards is a classic skating company founded in the early 70s in California. They supply quality skateboards, cruisers, and surfboard materials and have been doing so for decades now.

This complete setup is a bit wider than the other boards at 8.25″ inches. This wider deck is perfect for adults beginning for the first time and provides maximum stability. The board can be harder to do pop and flip tricks with though so keep that in mind.

If you want to find the cheapest Santa Cruz boards, then you’re better off heading to their company site where they have a bigger selection than Amazon and often a cheaper price. Expect to pay at least $85 for a complete Santa Cruz board.

Element 8.0″ Complete Skateboard

Element Skateboards have sponsored huge names such as Bam Margera and Nyjah Hudson and they made reliable and quality skateboards to boot. Their decks are nice and weighty 7-ply maple and their completes usually come with harder wheels which are perfect for tricks.

This board has an 8-inch deck width which is standard for most skateboards and recommended for beginners. Normally their decks are more expensive, but you can find deals on Amazon. For instance, I found an Amazon Element complete for $82 which was discounted from $95.

I’m currently skating a Nyjah Element board right now actually as I just bought a new setup. It skates amazingly well and has great bushings that handle turns like a charm.

I just got a new Element skateboard. It skates like a charm, but you need to find a deal to get one for cheap.

Are Cheap Skateboards Good For Beginners?

If you are just getting started with skateboarding, you might not want to spend $80 on a skateboard and then more money on pads and a helmet on top of that. That’s understandable as it’s a lot of money.

If you are serious about progressing and skateboarding then you shouldn’t waste your money on a cheap skateboard. A cheap skateboard is more difficult to skate and will break very quickly costing more money in the long run than a quality skateboard. Cheap skateboards aren’t good for anyone who intends to learn tricks or skate for a long time. Sometimes buying a cheap skateboard first to see if you’re interested in skating is an option.

Once you are trying to learn any tricks, a cheap skateboard will just hinder your progress and cost you more money. It’s a bad investment. Skateboarding also has a steep and unforgiving learning curve so it doesn’t make sense to make things harder on yourself when you first get started.

Why Is a Cheap Skateboard Bad?

A cheap skateboard simply is a bad investment if you actually intend to skateboard. You are not actually going to save any money, but instead will end up spending more.

A cheap skateboard is cheap because costs were cut in the manufacturing process and cheaper materials were used. Typically, a cheap skateboard will have much thinner trucks that break easily and bushings that are from cheaper material and making turning difficult. The boards themselves also tend to crack and break much quicker. You will need to replace a cheap skateboard much more often than a quality skateboard.

Let me illustrate with some examples. I recently bought a very cheap complete from a company called Schenkel. I liked the idea because it came with a skate tool, was only $35-$40, and I was moving in a couple of months anyway. It would surely last that long.

Well, it didn’t. I’ve been recording my skate sessions so I actually know exactly how long it lasted. It lasted just about 15-16 hours of skating before a truck completely snapped. Before this, I thought the board would snap first as it had already started to delaminate and there were multiple large cracks growing.

The truck completely broke after only about 15 hours of skating over one month.

Another example was from a couple of years back when I just started skating again. I figured I’d just get a cheap blank deck to start with from Amazon. I got a deck from Moose I believe. I didn’t record how long I skated it, but remember that it broke within a month.

Each time I ended up spending more money than if I just bought a quality board to begin with.

Are There Best Skateboards for Girls, Kids Aged 7, Advanced Skaters, etc?

You will see lots of lists on the internet detailing how this board is the best for commuting and this one is best for kids aged 5 for instance. There is virtually no difference between a board that a beginner should use and a more advanced skater should use. Additionally there are only small differences when it comes to getting a board for cruising and commuting and that comes down to wheel hardness and deck width.

Anything else you read are from people who are simply trying to rank in Google and sell you something. It’s insane to say one pro model deck is best for tricks compared to another and not explain why they think this. Most beginners should only be concerned about deck width and the price of the board when starting out.

Small children need small and more narrow boards to skate. Otherwise the nuances in details aren’t really important at this stage. So please don’t fall for the “37 Best Skateboards for…..” type articles. It’s mostly bull and they’re just pretending it matters for affiliate commisions.

What To Avoid When Buying a Cheap Skateboard

Buying From an Unknown Brand

The skateboard market is full of companies that sell cheap boards that are of low quality. These companies survive by selling boards cheaper than anyone else, but usually, these boards are crap.

It is also expected that skate companies give back to the community by sponsoring riders, hosting contests, and in other ways. The skating community values authenticity and these unknown companies don’t take the time to contribute to the skate community. They just want to sell products on the cheap.

If you see a board that you want to buy, search the brand. If they are well known and have team riders, then you should know that the board will likely be of good quality.

If you’re just getting started as an adult skater, check out my guide with a reality check.

Buying the Absolute Cheapest Board

You get what you pay for.

You might think that you are saving money by buying a cheap skateboard, but in reality, you will be paying more money as you will likely replace that cheap 3 times before you would replace a quality skateboard.

You know the story about how it’s expensive being poor. The workman who can’t afford nice quality boots for $200, must buy the cheap $60 workboots. The cheap $60 workboots wear out every year and he needs to buy new ones. While the good workboots last 5+ years saving the person who bought them money.

The same is with skateboards. Don’t go for the absolute cheapest board. Skateboards wear out quickly enough already.

Buying From Walmart or Target

Just don’t buy a skateboard from Walmart or Target.

These boards are cheap, but do not skate well and break incredibly quickly. I would not try to learn on one because it will make you progress slower as the board itself will make simple things like turning harder. The boards they sell at Walmart are targeted at parents buying a skateboard for their kids and impulse buyers who don’t know any better.

Please go to your local skate shop instead and ask for some help getting started.

Buy from a reputable skate brand or from a professional you like. Steve-o isn’t a pro skater, but he’s a great person and also sells skateboards for instance.

If you want to practice so that you can progress and improve fast, then check out my guide to effective skating practice.


It’s ok to want to save some money and buy a cheaper skateboard, but more often than not you get what you pay for. A cheap Walmart board or highly discounted blanks from unreputable companies will be more difficult to skate and break very quickly.

If you only want to cruise or if you think your kid will give up on skateboarding after a week, then the boards might hold up. But, you really should expect to pay at least $60+ for a decent and cheap skateboard. Anything less than that will suffer in quality.

There are no luxury skateboards. There are boards that skate well and last longer and then there are boards that are hard to skate and break quickly. I recommend spending more to get a board from a reputable brand.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.

Board and Wheels

I am a tech guy who skateboards and longboards for fun. I started skating in elementary school, quit in highschool, and started again in grad school.

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