Guide to Roller Skate Bearings

Bearings for Skateboards, Roller Skates, and Inline Skates

Skate bearings fit inside skate wheels and allow the wheels to spin on the axles. Whether you are skateboarding, roller skating, or inline skating, quality skate bearings are an essential component for any skate setup. Bearings are often taken for granted by amateur skaters, but advanced skaters can tell the difference between junk bearings and good bearings. Even though bearings are small, they play a huge part in how fast and how smooth you skate. Choosing the right bearings is an important task for competitive skaters doing sports like skateboarding, speed skating, or roller derby. Different bearing materials suit different types of skating and skater preferences. Some skaters might need relatively basic bearings. Some skaters might require ceramic or “Swiss” bearings. It all depends on your level of skating ability and preference.

Heavy use, jumping or balancing maneuvers, and fast skating increases the friction between the wheel and axle and the pressure on the bearings. This friction and pressure can make bearings heat up enough to expand and sometimes break the bearing. In order to maintain your bearings and make them last longer, it is recommended that you clean, lubricate, and dry your bearings after each use. If you have old or dirty bearings, you will need to work harder than you would with new or clean bearings. Check out our articles on How to Clean Skate Bearings for great information on bearing maintenance!

Bearing Recommendations & QuickLinks

Skate Bearing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Below are the most commonly asked questions about skate bearings. If you have any other questions we don’t address here, please leave it in the comments and we will address it there and potentially move it up to the FAQ. We appreciate your assistance in keeping this page the most comprehensive and informative page about skate bearings!

How Many Bearings do I need?

Regardless of what type of skating you’re doing, you will require two bearings on each wheel. So, a pair of quad roller skates will require 16 bearings total to cover all 8 wheels. For inline skates, you wheel need two bearings for every wheel on your skates. So, if you use 3-wheel inline skates you will need 12 bearings to suit your 6 wheels. For inline wheels, you will also need spacers to go in between the bearings in each wheel. Finally, skateboarders will need a total of 8 bearings, 2 for each wheel.

Do I have 7mm or 8mm Bearings?

The fastest way to tell if you have a 7mm or 8mm bearing is to look at the bearing and search for “608” or “627” on the shield. 627 means you have a 7mm bearing and 608 means you have an 8mm bearing. In general, if your skate is old you might have 7mm bearings. If your skate is newer, it probably uses 8mm bearings. Another quick way to tell what size bearings you have is to simply measure the hole in the bearing with a ruler! If you don’t have something to measure the hole in the bearing, try sliding a #2 pencil in the hole. If it fits, the bearing is 8mm. If the pencil won’t go through, it’s a 7mm! What’s the difference? The only difference is the size and, in general, 7mm bearings aren’t used much anymore.

Who Makes the Best Skate Bearings?

There are many good brands of bearings on the market today for roller skates, inline skates, and skateboards. We feel like we’ve done the research for you and we can stand behind the recommended products on this page. Feel free to do your own research, too. You will probably end up finding the same products we’ve recommended below. Either way, if you take your time and choose wisely there is a very good chance you will get a good result.

What does ABEC Rating Stand For?

ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Council) uses a system to rate bearings. The rating doesn’t include how fast bearings spin, but are a fairly accurate indicator of a bearing’s quality by factoring in the precision the manufacturing process. A higher ABEC rating means a lower tolerance of error by the manufacturer. For example, if you choose a bearing rated ABEC 1, the bearings would feel less smooth and have less “roll-out” than a bearing rating ABEC 9. ILQ (InLine Qualified) bearings were designed by TWINCAM and trademarked in 2002. Keep in mind that just because a bearing is stamped ABEC-9 doesn’t mean it is actually manufactured with those tolerances. Unfortunately, the ABEC rating is somewhat compromised at this point.

What is the difference between ABEC Rated Bearings and Swiss or Ceramic Bearings?

The quickest answer is that Ceramic and Swiss bearings are generally for advanced skaters that require upgraded bearings. Not to say that beginner skaters cannot use ceramic or Swiss bearings, but these bearings would be “overkill” and could even be “too fast” for a beginner to skate on. To better understand standard ABEC bearings vs. Swiss bearings, please read our articles What are Swiss Bearings? and What are Ceramic Bearings? The content on Swiss and Ceramic bearings are a “must read” if you are an advanced skater that requires durability and quality in a skate bearing.

Should I choose ABEC Rated Bearings or Swiss Bearings?

That depends on your skating style and needs. In general the follow rules apply: Most kids and beginners should use abec 3-5 rated bearings. Intermediate skaters should use abec7 or abec9 rated bearings. Advanced skaters that shred, rip, speed, and dance should use ceramic or Swiss bearings. The most important thing to do is make sure you get bearings with a reliable brand name because regardless of what abec rating is stamped you will most likely get something of quality if you choose a good, popular brand.

How should I Maintain My Bearings?

Cleaning, lubricating, and maintaining bearings is smart, especially if you spent a lot of money on quality ceramic or Swiss bearings. It is important, so important we actually made an entire page about maintaining your skate bearings. Check it out and let us know if we should add something!

What is the Difference Between Shielded or Sealed Bearings?

Shielded bearings are the most popular type of bearings on the market today and feature a “shield” the protects the balls from dirt and grime. Sealed bearings are completely sealed so that you cannot add oil or clean the actual balls. Clean balls are a must, but the cost of shielded bearings just doesn’t make sense! Concerning yourself with sealed bearings is not a rational decision – you have skating to do! Pick out some shielded bearings and get on with it.

When Should I Replace My Skate Bearings?

Are they making noise? Are they rusty? Are they caked with grime even after you cleaned them up? These are all signs you might want to replace your bearings. Bearings should be relatively quiet, spin freely (though not necessarily fast), and be rust and grime free.

Do I Need a Special Tool to Replace Bearings?

It is advised that you use a bearing tool to remove and install your bearings. Why should you buy such a tool? Though the bearings do take quite a beating, there are sensitive areas of the bearing that if damaged could affect the roll of your wheels. The best tool is the Devaskation Bearing Snatcher or the Bones Bearing Puller.

Which Bearing Oil is the Best?

There are quite a few options when it comes to bearing oils, but frankly they are all the same. Don’t get too caught up on which oil you use. Just make sure it’s specifically made for skate bearings and you’re fine.

Does the Number of Balls in a Bearing Matter?

Ultimately, yes. Will you ever know the difference in real life use? Probably not. Look, the discussion is simply around friction vs. durability. If you have fewer balls, each ball in the bearing must bare more pressure or load. Therefore, the fewer the bearings the more likely a ball might fail due to pressure. Conversely, the fewer the balls in the bearings the less friction the bearing has. So, supposedly you will go faster. The chances that you will find a noticeable difference between 7 balls and 8 balls in your bearings is extremely unlikely. Don’t worry about how many balls are in your bearings. Just get good bearings.

Check out our recommendations below and you will be sure to find the best bearings to suit your needs and level of skating! Though you can use roller skate bearings or inline skate bearings for skateboards, these skateboard bearings are specifically for skateboards and are probably recognizable by skateboarders.

Standard Bearings (ABEC & ILQ Rated) Recommendations:

ABEC Rated bearing are great for 90% of all skaters. The recommendations below are some of the most reliable and popular brands on the market. They represent quality and durability. Many of the brands have a warranty associated with the bearings. These bearings will work on roller skates, inline skates, and skateboards. All of these bearings have removable shields so they are easy to clean and maintain. Make sure you get enough bearings for your skates or skateboard.

Roller Bones Reds

RollerBones RedsThe Roller Bones Reds Bearings are extremely popular for skaters and skateboarders. They’re inexpensive and fairly reliable. These won’t last for forever if you skate a lot, but they are easy to replace with a bearing tool</>.

BankRoll Dimes ABEC-9 Bearings

BankRoll DimesThe BankRoll Dimes ABEC-9 Bearings are great for roller skates, inline skates, and skateboards. No issues with indoor/outdoor use and are comparable to other bearings on the market. They are 8mm, rated ABEC-9, and roll great with any wheels. Speed skaters should upgrade to Bankroll Ceramics. These bearings are intended for indoor or outdoor use and can be used by any level of skater!

Fireball Dragon 608 Bearings

Fireball Dragon 608 BearingsThe Fireball Dragon 608 Bearings are extremely popular and reliable. These bearings are marketed as “high precision” and are lubricated with a signature oil formula to ensure that right out of the box you will have an unmatched, smooth, fast ride.

Bionic ABEC-7 Bearings

Bionic ABEC-7The Bionic ABEC-7 Bearings are some of the best ABEC-7 bearings on the market. They are lubricated with speed oil before they are packaged so they are ready to put in your wheels the moment you get them and require no break-in period. These bearings would be great for skaters of all experience levels!

Recommended Swiss and Ceramic Bearings:

First, what is a Swiss Bearing? “Swiss” bearings are ideal for intense skaters who want a low-maintenance bearing that outperforms other bearings with lesser quality manufacturing and materials. Ceramic or Titanium bearings, when compared to steel bearings, encounter less friction, don’t need as much lubricant, and don’t expand when heated by friction. Avid skaters tend to prefer a more heat-resistant material when choosing bearings. Heavy use and fast skating on a non-heat resistant bearing can cause friction between the wheel and axle. Swiss bearings are popular due to their ability to accelerate faster and roll farther than traditional steel bearings. These bearings also handle dirt, moisture, and rough surfaces better because they are hard and chemically resistant. They typically roll smoother than most other types of steel bearings.

BankRoll Ceramic Bearings – (most popular)

BankRoll CeramicBankRoll Ceramic Bearings are extremely popular in the USA and great for indoor/outdoor use. These bearings are comparable to other high-end ceramic bearings on the market, but they are typically half the price of other brands. They are rated ABEC-9 (sized 8mm) and roll great with any modern wheels. These bearings are intended for advanced skaters, skateboarders, inline skaters, or speed skating. They can be used by any intermediate skater with quad skates, inline skates, speed skates, and skateboards!

Bionic Swiss Bearings

Bionic SwissThe Bionic Swiss Bearings are made of titanium and roll forever! These bearings have deeper grooves, double honed races for smoother, faster and longer lasting bearings. They also utilize shields to protect the internal parts of the bearing from dirt and liquids, enhancing their longevity.

Bones Super Swiss 6 Bearings

Bones Super Swiss 6The Bones Super Swiss 6 Bearings are a value-line swiss bearing that has 6 ball bearings. Rollerbones is one of the most popular brands world-wide and are reliable and durable. These are solid roller skate or skateboard bearings at a reasonable price.

Oldboy Premium Ceramic Skateboard Bearings

Details Coming Soon!

Yolo Ceramic Bearings

Yolo Skate BearingsWith precision ceramic balls made in Japan, double honed inner and outer races, and deeper grooves specifically for skating, these Yolo Ceramic Bearings will last. They are ready right out of the package and easy to clean, too!

Recommended Bearings for Roller Derby

If you plan to skate at a high speed in your derby jams or when you’re racing around the track, then you need bearings that will allow for it. Derby requires bearings that will hold up to the rigorous skating the players are involved in and choosing the right bearings for your needs is important. We highly recommend inexpensive, durable, quality bearings for derby players. Roll-out is a factor of bearing performance. If a bearing is said to have a good “roll-out”, then you will skate rolling farther with each stride – so you don’t have to take as many strides to keep ‘rolling’. Basically, you can skate faster and with less effort to get farther with more roll-out. Some derby tracks and rinks are certainly more smooth than others, and if you need a smooth roll, then you also need to focus on keeping your bearings clean.

Bionic ABEC-7 Bearings

Bionic ABEC-7The Bionic ABEC-7 Bearings are some of the best bearings on the market. They are lubricated with speed oil before they are packaged so you’ll be ready to get in the game in minutes. These bearings would be great for derby players of all experience levels and will last for seasons!

BankRoll Ceramic Bearings – (Best Value)

BankRoll CeramicThe BankRoll Ceramic Bearings are great for roller derby players and are comparable to other high-end ceramic bearings on the market. They are rated ABEC-9 and roll great with any modern 8mm wheels for roller derby. These bearings don’t require any break-in period and will last several seasons if you take care of them.

Moto Deluxe Bearings

Moto DeluxeThe Moto Deluxe Bearings are built to the highest specifications and constructed from the best parts available. These bearings are tested and skate rated, meaning that they will withstand the roughness skating brings. Like all Moto Bearings these are pre-spun to ensure there is no funky break-in period.

Bones Super Swiss 6 Bearings

Bones Super Swiss 6The Bones Super Swiss 6 Bearings are a value-line swiss bearing that has 6 ball bearings. Rollerbones is one of the most popular brands world-wide and are reliable and durable. These are solid roller derby bearings at a reasonable price.

Recommended Bearings for Inline Skates

If you plan to skate outdoors with inline skates, we have the bearings for you! We carry a variety of awesome inline bearings that our customers just love. The most important thing to remember about inline skate bearings is that they need to be fast AND durable. So, you’re looking for a mix of both when it comes to the best inline skate bearings. That puts Ceramic bearings at the top of the list and high-quality steel bearings next in line.

Bionic ABEC-7 Bearings

Bionic ABEC-7The Bionic ABEC-7 Bearings are some of the best bearings on the market. They are lubricated with speed oil before they are packaged so you’ll be ready to get in the game in minutes. These bearings would be great for inline skaters of all experience levels and will last for years!

BankRoll Ceramic Bearings

BankRoll CeramicBankRoll Ceramic Bearings are extremely popular in the USA and great for indoor/outdoor use. These bearings are comparable to other high-end ceramic bearings on the market, but they are typically half the price of other brands. They are rated ABEC-9 (sized 8mm) and work great with inline skates. These bearings are intended for advanced skaters, skateboarders, inline skaters, or speed skating. They are durable and fast.

Yolo Swiss Bearings

Yolo Skate BearingsYolo Swiss Bearings are a great choice for a high-end bearing. These bearings have precision steel balls, deeper grooves specifically for skating, nylon retainers, and non-contact rubber coated steel shields which make them great to skate on and easy to clean.

SEBA ILQ Bearings

Coming Soon!

Rollerblade Sg9 Bearings

Coming Soon!

Recommended Bearings for Skateboards

If you plan to skateboard we have the bearings for you! We carry a variety of awesome skateboard bearings that our customers just love. Check out a few of our favorites below and then check out our full link of skateboard bearings!

BankRoll Ceramic Bearings

BankRoll CeramicThe BankRoll Ceramic Bearings are great for indoor/outdoor use and are comparable to other high-end ceramic bearings on the market. These bearings will work with any modern skateboard wheel and offer a value impossible to find elsewhere. These bearings last quite a bit longer than the typical steel bearings.

Fireball Dragon Skateboard Bearings

Fireball Dragon 608 BearingsThe Fireball Dragon 608 Bearings are extremely popular and reliable. These bearings are marketed as “high precision” and are lubricated with a signature oil formula to ensure that right out of the box you will have an unmatched, smooth, fast ride while skateboarding. Can also be used for longboards, obviously.

Rollerbones Bones Reds Bearings

Rollerbones Bones Reds BearingsThe Rollerbones Bones Reds Bearings are extremely popular bearings that have been skated on since the 1980s. Rollerbones makes a ton of popular bearings that people love. This is only one of the most popular bearings in their line.

Shake Junt Skateboard Bearings

Shake Junt Skateboard BearingsYou’ll definitely get where you need to be quickly with these awesome Shake Junt Skateboard Bearings! Choose from OG’S ABEC-5, Triple OG’S ABEC-7, and Reynolds Pro Bearings and go as fast as you want to for a price you’ll love. The Triple OG’s ABEC-7s are a customer favorite and seriously, who wouldn’t want dollar signs on their bearings!? Use your new speedy roll to hit those tricks with extra speed.

Spitfire Skateboard Bearings

Spitfire Skateboard BearingsThe Spitfire Skateboard Bearings are designed specifically for skateboarding so you know you’ll get what you need. The removable shields will allow you to keep these bearings super clean so they’ll last you countless hours of serious board time. For those of you that run through wheels and bearings like water, grab a few sets of the cheapshots for an unheard of price!

Suggested Bearing Maintenance for Indoor and Outdoor Skating

Just a reminder! Whether you are Fresh Meat or a seasoned skater, we want to remind you to clean and check your bearings regularly! They will last longer, remain smooth on the track, and even help you skate better. With just a few minutes of cleaning and lubricating bearings after each use, or as often as you can, you maximize the lifespan, durability and speed of your wheels.

Bearings are small, but essential to the quality of your derby jam! DevaSkation is dedicated to offering the highest quality skate gear to assure your every skate goes smoothly – whether on the track or for leisure. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments and don’t forget to vote for your favorite brand above!

Outdoor skating is popular and a lot of fun. Wheels are bearings are incredibly important if you’re going to skate outdoors often because, unlike indoor skating, outdoor skating causes your bearings to gunk up faster. Wherever you are skating, you’re going to need to clean your bearings occasionally. Check out our articles on Guide to Skate Maintenance and How to Clean Skate Bearings for even more great information! If you are going to skate outdoors regularly, you might want to pick up a PowerDyne Dual Purpose Bearing Tool for removing the bearings and inserting bearings back into wheels.

BankRoll Bearing Snatcher Tool

BankRoll Bearing SnatcherThe BankRoll Bearing Snatcher is a nice little tool to install and remove bearings from wheels. It is a must have for any skater that swaps out wheels and bearings often.

Roller Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit

Roller Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit The Bones Cleaning unit makes it easy to take care of your bearings! This package includes everything you need to remove your bearings and clean them: Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit, but you will want a bearing tool to take the bearings out and put them back in the wheel.

Bearing Test – Video

We know, we know…there would be a dozen more structured tests we’d need to do to find the best bearings. We just couldn’t help being curious about which ones would spin the longest straight out of the box. None of the bearings in this video were adjusted in any way from the box to the wheel. It does make us want to put a set of Moto Deluxe and Yolo Ceramics in our skates and see if we can feel the difference though!


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