You are not alone if you have ever been in a situation where you could not tell the difference between a skateboard and a penny board. At first glance, they look the same. Only to the trained eye are there differences. If you are thinking that one can substitute for the other, it may not be as simple as swapping one board for another.
In this comprehensive comparison guide, we will help you uncover the differences between penny boards and skateboards, explore their pros and cons, and provide you with actionable tips to find the perfect ride for you.
Penny Boards: a Closer Look
Penny boards, developed by the Australian-based company founded by Ben Mackay, are compact, lightweight skateboards with a plastic core. They have gained popularity over the years due to their unique design and ease of use, similar to nickel boards.
- Lightweight: Penny boards are incredibly easy to carry, making them an ideal choice for short distances or to carry in public transportation.
- Highly Durable: Thanks to their hard plastic decks and bigger wheels designed for rougher terrain, penny boards are built to last.
- Cruising and Commuting: Their small size and smooth ride make penny boards perfect for cruising around town or zipping through crowded spaces.
- Limited Trick Potential: The small size and deck make learning advanced tricks more challenging.
- Less Stability: The small wheels may not provide the same level of stability as skateboards, especially in skate parks.
Skateboards: a Closer Look
The traditional skateboard, with its wood or composite deck and larger size, has been a staple of skate culture for decades. It offers a versatile and exciting ride that can be used for various purposes. The following are advantages and disadvantages that give you a clear understanding of this fun tool.
- Versatility: Skateboards are suitable for both cruising and performing advanced tricks, which means you can take them to skate parks and hone your skills.
- Stability: The larger wheels and deck provide more control and balance, making skateboards an excellent choice for beginners and experienced riders alike or higher speeds.
- Trick potential: Skateboards are the better choice for learning tricks due to their size and design.
- Weight and Size: Skateboards are harder to carry, less convenient for short distances, and inconvenient for public transportation due to their larger size.
- Durability: Wooden decks may wear out faster than plastic ones and small wheels may struggle on rougher terrain.
Similarities and Differences Between Penny Boards and Skateboards
Penny boards and skateboards are popular choices for riders looking for an exciting and fun mode of transportation. However, while they share some similarities, there are significant differences that set them apart.
In this section, we’ll delve into the similarities and differences between penny boards and skateboards.
We have broken the similarities into various factors to give you a better understanding of where both boards work the same way.
Penny boards and skateboards are primarily used for personal transportation, commuting, and recreation. They offer riders an exciting and unconventional way to traverse urban environments and cruise around town.
The boards have similar components, including a deck, trucks, wheels, and bearings. The fundamental structure and mechanics of both boards allow riders to push off the ground, steer by shifting their weight, and stop by applying pressure on the tail or using foot braking.
3. Skills Development
Riding either a penny board or a skateboard helps to develop essential skateboarding skills such as balance, coordination, and control. The boards allow riders to practice their foot placement, turning, and carving techniques, which can translate to other forms of skateboarding.
Similarly, the differences are grouped into factors to give you a complete view of where the boards differ.
1. Size and Material
Penny boards are smaller and lighter than skateboards, typically measuring around 22-27 inches in length. Manufacturers make them from a durable plastic material, which contributes to their lightweight nature. Skateboards, on the other hand, are usually larger, measuring around 28-32 inches in length, and are made from layers of wood or composite materials.
2. Deck Design
The deck design of a penny board is characterized by a shorter, flat, and flexible plastic sheet with a raised tail and a subtle, downward-curving nose. Skateboards typically have a longer, concave deck fashioned out of wood or composite materials.
They have a pronounced upward curve on both the nose and tail. Consequently, skateboards make for better control and the ability to perform various tricks than penny boards.
3. Wheels and Trucks
Penny boards generally have larger, softer wheels, which provide a smoother ride on rougher surfaces and a better grip while turning. Their trucks are also relatively wider, contributing to a more stable ride.
Standard skateboards, on the other hand, have smaller, harder wheels that allow for better sliding and performing tricks. Their trucks are narrower, providing more control and precision during turns and maneuvers.
4. Stability and Control
Penny boards offer less stability and control compared to skateboards due to their smaller size and deck design. This makes penny boards more suitable for cruising and commuting but less ideal for performing advanced tricks.
Skateboards, with their larger size and concave deck, provide better stability and control. As a result, they are ideal for more versatile skateboarding styles, including street, vert, and park.
5. Trick Potential
Penny boards are not designed for high-performance tricks, given their small size, plastic deck, and larger wheels. Skateboards, however, are perfect for learning and executing a wide range of tricks due to their deck design and wheel size. The skateboard’s shape and construction allow riders to perform ollies, kickflips, grinds, and other advanced maneuvers. Can penny boards do this? They do not have a design to do these tricks.
6. Suitability for Beginners
Penny boards, with their simplicity and focus on cruising, are better suited for beginners looking to learn basic skateboarding skills. Their lightweight nature and ease of maneuvering make them an attractive option for those new to the sport.
Skateboards, although offering more stability and control, can be more challenging for beginners due to their larger size and emphasis on trick execution.
Factors to Consider: Penny Board vs Skateboard
The following are key factors when deciding between a penny board and a skateboard.
1. Skill Level
When deciding between a penny board and a skateboard, consider your skill level. Beginner riders may find penny boards an excellent option for getting a grip on basic skills, while skateboards offer a more versatile option.
Intermediate and advanced riders may prefer skateboards for improved trick capabilities but can still enjoy penny boards for a fun, casual ride.
2. Purpose of Riding
Consider the primary purpose of your riding. If you’re into cruising and commuting, penny boards offer a compact, lightweight option, while skateboards provide more stability and control. For skateparks and advanced tricks, penny boards may not be the best choice, whereas skateboards excel in these areas.
3. Terrain and Environment
The terrain and environment in which you plan to ride can also influence your decision. For rough or uneven terrain, penny boards with larger, softer wheels might be a better option because of the balance they provide. On the other hand, skateboards offer more stability and control. In urban settings and smooth surfaces, penny boards are typically more maneuverable, while skateboards fit into different environments.
Making the Decision: Penny Board vs Skateboard
Keep your choice simple by focusing on the following points:
• Assess Your Needs and Preferences
To choose the right board, consider your skill level, riding purpose, and the regular terrain. Factor in personal preferences for size, weight, and design to ensure the best fit for you.
• Test Ride the Boards
Before making a final decision, try visiting a local skate shop, borrow from friends or other skaters, and test-ride a penny skateboard and a standard skateboard. Gaining firsthand experience will help you determine the right fit for your needs.
• Invest in Quality
Choose boards with higher-quality components for better performance and a longer lifespan. Research reputable brands for penny boards and skateboards and consider customer reviews and recommendations to make an informed decision.
In conclusion, while penny boards and skateboards share some similarities in their purpose and components, they differ significantly in size, material, deck design, stability, control, and trick potential. Both boards also offer unique advantages and disadvantages.
Penny skateboards are compact and lightweight, so you should get a penny board for cruising and commuting. While skateboards provide versatility and are better suited for advanced tricks and skate parks. By assessing your needs, and preferences, and testing both options, you can find the perfect ride for your skateboarding journey.