What Are Ceramic Skate Bearings?
Ceramic bearings include balls that are made from a compound called Silicon Nitride. The Silicon Nitride compound is far lighter than your run of the mill steel bearing, 60% lighter in fact, and they are significantly harder than that of their metal counterparts. These bearings operate at an 80% faster speed than that of standard bearings and they also self lubricate. Not only are they made to withstand extreme physical impact, they also perform exceptionally when under harsh circumstances, such as high temperatures, lack of lubrication, and in high corrosion environments.
Ceramic bearings for skates and skateboards are popular because they are stronger, reduce friction, and last much longer than the typical metal ball bearing. Many companies produce ceramic bearings today and many serious skaters prefer them for the best ride.
Check out our additional information and recommendations below as well as our full selection of bearings in the Bearings section of our website, and you will be sure to find the best bearings to suit your needs and level of skating! We would also love if you would let us know how much you usually spend on bearings in our poll. Last year, the big winner was $21-$50 with $51-$100 right behind them.
|Ceramic Bearing Information and Recommendations|
How do Ceramic Bearings Differ from Standard Bearings?
Ceramic bearings, due to their chemical makeup, are built to last forever. Not like that highschool romance crap, but like forever and ever. These bearings have been known to last for an upward of 20+ years, performing as they did the first day they were put to use.
Ceramic bearings are built to withstand greater impacts and harsher temperatures. Your standard steel bearing can and will expand under extreme heat. Between the friction created from your wheels continually spinning and the rising temperatures of your summer hot spot, the steel ball bearings will actually expand and hinder their own ability to provide that smooth glide and easy ride you’ve grown accustomed to. Ceramic bearings, however, will not expand. The ceramic compound has been proven to stay true to its makeup through temperatures reaching 1320 degrees Celsius. Your bearings would survive far longer than you would in temperatures that great.
Don’t get me wrong, standard bearings are a great way to get your feet wet (figuratively, not literally, please don’t try skating in a lake with your new standard bearings) when skating, however, once you realize you love this amazing sport you’ve found, you’ll never want to quit. Ceramic bearings will keep you rolling and rolling and rolling.
Abec Rating vs. Ceramic
ABEC rating on a bearing is defined by a bearing’s ability work within predetermined tolerances. The Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) created the ABEC scale to show a bearing’s precision, efficiency, and speed capabilities. The higher the bearing’s rating, the better the performance it will have.
Ceramic bearings do not fall under any ABEC scale. They don’t need to. Ceramic bearings are so precise in their abilities that they rate themselves as themselves. Due to the ceramic bearing’s ability to withstand extreme shock resistance, intense heat, and severe wear and tear, they don’t compare to any other bearing on the market. They stand alone as the most prestigious bearing used today.
Standard Bearings and Ceramic Bearings Differ Significantly in Cost
The main reason that ceramic bearings cost more is that Silicon Nitride, the compound used to create the ceramic ball bearing, is extremely difficult to produce at bulk quantities. The process of creating a ceramic bearing is far more time consuming and specified, whereas creating mass production of steel bearings is practically done in one’s sleep.
Are Ceramic Bearings Better?
We certainly think so! Cost wise, not so much, but you definitely get what you pay for. These bearings will out live any steel bearing you put it up against! Do you NEED ceramic bearings to be an amazing skater? Nope. Do you NEED ceramic bearings to cut those turns like it ain’t nobody’s business? Nah. Do you NEED ceramic bearings to skate faster than the wind? Not really. Do you NEED ceramic bearings to last and rarely fail you? Yes, yes you do.
Ceramic bearings will provide you the best of the best in quality and longevity. They will keep rolling smooth until you decide to hang up your wheels for good. In all honesty, ceramic bearings will hold up, keep up, and they won’t let you down. You won’t need to replace them in 6 months like you may with standard steel bearings, and you can skate worry free when cruisin’ through tougher terrain or gliding like an ice angel on a newly waxed floor.
What are the Best Ceramic Bearings for Skates?
By all measurable standards ceramic bearings are your best choice if you’re an avid skater. However the cost can make them out of reach for some skaters and just plain overkill for others, such as children, Bambi, and beginner skaters. Many skates have and continue to use and perform at a high level using various types of steel bearings, but the quality, longevity, and performance of ceramics will always be superior to steel.
What is the Best Bearing for Skateboards?
There is no clear answer to the best bearings for every skateboard, however on a skateboard your entire weight is riding on just 4 wheels and 8 bearings as opposed to roller skates where that number is doubled. This is one reason that ceramic bearings are highly recommended for skateboard wheels. Skateboards (particularly longboards) can achieve faster speeds and for longer durations, making ceramic a natural choice.
Ceramic Bearings Recommendations
BankRoll Ceramic Bearings
The BankRoll Ceramic Bearings bring quality and value together to make an awesome bearing for indoor/outdoor use! These bearings utilize a compressed ceramic compound making these bearings roll much smoother and faster than the steel ball bearings. These are incredibly popular and relatively inexpensive compared to other ceramic bearing brands.
Yolo Ceramic Bearings
World Speed Skating Champions Doug and Julie Glass designed these bearings specifically for the high performance and longevity demanded by true competitive skaters. With precision ceramic balls, 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!
Moto Ceramic Pearl Bearings
Moto Ceramic Pearls are the ultimate in ceramic skate bearings. These bearings are pre-spun to ensure there is no break in time for the skater and are smoother, rounder, harder, and lighter than almost any other bearing out there.
For more information on skate bearings, please check out our guide to skate bearings.
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. Take a look at these most commonly asked questions below and some great maintenance packages to keep your bearings in the best condition.
Do Ceramic Bearings Need to be Lubricated?
No, ceramic bearings are self lubricating, however in humid and coastal environments using a small amount to keep the steel casings free from rust is a common practice.
Are Ceramic Bearings Waterproof?
Nope. Although the ceramic balls will not be affected by rust, the steel casings of each bearing are still vulnerable to the elements. Basically, steer clear of any of those puddles and take advantage of such an obstacle by practicing your awesome jumps and frickin’ bomb.com transitions.