In this buyer’s guide, we’ve reviewed the 7 best roller skate bearings for sale in 2020.
We’ll look at a few super-smooth ceramic bearings, as well as a few cheaper, low-maintenance options that are great for beginners.
Here are our top three picks:
Best Roller Skate Bearings
Let’s begin our reviews.
Here are 7 of the best sets of roller skate bearings you can buy in 2020:
- Bones Swiss Ceramic Roller Skate Bearings
- Yellow Jacket Stingers Roller Skate Bearings
- Cheezeballs Gouda Roller Skate Bearings
- Bones Reds Roller Skate Bearings
- Fireball Dragon Roller Skate Bearings
- Bionic ABEC-7 Roller Skate Bearings
- Heady Shake Pro Roller Skate Bearings
Bones Swiss Ceramics are one of the best-selling bearings on the market – and for good reason. Made in Switzerland, these bearings help you accelerate faster and roll farther, while also lasting longer than most other available brands.
Their longevity is due in part to the bearings’ Cerbec ceramic balls, which are harder and stronger than steel ball bearings. They’re also fantastic at resisting dirt and moisture, which prevents them from getting dirty and slowing you down while you skate. As an added bonus, the bearings feature non-contact removable rubber shields that make it really easy to clean them.
These aren’t cheap bearings. But if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line option, the price tag is worth it. You can’t do better than the Bones Swiss Ceramics.
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If the Bones Swiss are a little out of your budget, these steel bearings from Yellow Jacket can give you an incredibly smooth ride at a fraction of the cost.
Known for their high top speed, the Stingers are long-lasting and durable, partially thanks to their colorful seals. The seals, available in seven different colors, protect the bearings from dirt, stones and dust, minimizing wear and tear. This keeps them running smoothly, even if you skate outdoors.
A high-speed nylon bearing cage ensures smooth acceleration, and the stainless-steel roller cage comes filled with high-speed race lube. This means the bearings are ready to go whenever you are.
However, this speed isn’t the best for beginners – these bearings can make things a little difficult to control for new skaters.
The Stingers can also be a little noisy, but if you find that they are too loud for your liking, you can take advantage of the money-back guarantee for a full refund – no questions asked.
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These 8mm ceramic bearings are a great choice if you skate hard – playing roller derby, or skating at outdoor skate parks for example.
Made of a shatter-resistant grade of zirconium fiber ceramic, the Goudas are designed to handle hard hits, jumps, and falls – without taking damage.
The strength of the ceramic balls makes for smooth, fast bearings that also offer incredible durability. Sporting an ABEC-7 rating, the Goudas provide a long-lasting roll, meaning you can skate faster with less effort. You’ll pay for the advantage, as these bearings aren’t cheap, but this quality is definitely worth the investment in our opinion.
The Goudas also have rustproof chrome races and nylon retainers, meaning they require less maintenance and lubrication than most other bearings. And when you do need to service them, the design makes it really easy to get to what you need to access.
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If you’re looking for durable, high-quality bearings at a bargain price, Bones Reds are a great option. These economical steel bearings are almost as precise as the ceramic Swiss version, at a fraction of the cost.
The Reds are incredibly durable and have an impressive (but not too insane) amount of roll, so they’re great for roller derby. They’ll stand up to hard hits and knocks, while also helping you skate faster with less effort. A high-speed nylon ball retainer also adds to the strength and speed provided by the bearings.
They come pre-lubricated with Speed Cream racing lubricant, so they’re ready to go right out of the box. However, they don’t roll as smoothly as a bearing with ceramic balls.
For some reason, these bearings come in an eight-pack, so you’ll need two boxes to do an entire skate.
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You’ll have to be a bit patient with these bearings, as they can take a little while to break in. After a bit of skating though, the Fireball Dragons roll more smoothly and consistently than most other brands. And if you get fed up during this waiting period, there’s a money-back guarantee you can take advantage of.
More than anything, these bearings are known for being tough, durable and precise. For maximum protection from dirt and debris, the Dragons have dual-labyrinth shields on both sides of the housing. You won’t have to worry about these bearings getting dirty, making them great for outdoor skating.
This design also means you can almost “set and forget” them – maintenance is rarely required with these bearings.
When they do need service, they’re very easy to disassemble. You can also choose between two different lubricants, one designed for peak longevity and one for increased speed. The former is a great option for beginner skaters.
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This is another option that doesn’t need constant service. These low-maintenance bearings come factory lubricated with light race oil, and don’t require a break-in period. This means they’re ready to pop into your skates the moment they arrive.
However, these bearings still allow you to service them if necessary – they’re very easy to open up, and come with a tube of Bionic lube to help keep them rolling smoothly. Overall, the roll is pretty good for a steel bearing, but it’s not too fast, making it good for beginners.
Featuring a Delrin cage that’s 20% glass reinforced, these bearings are also Skate Rated, which is a sort of quality assurance system, guaranteeing excellent long-term performance. Unlike ABEC, this system is designed specifically rating skate bearings.
The Bionics are entry-level bearings, so if you’re a serious rink skater, you might want to consider a ceramic option.
But if you’re looking for durability – and a great spin – for outdoor or low-intensity skating, these ABEC-7 rated bearings are a great choice for beginners.
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If you find the Stingers to be too loud, the Heady Shake Pro bearings are a good alternative. This option is known for being incredibly quiet and smooth, while also being exceptionally durable.
Boasting an ABEC-9 rating, the Shakes have a spin time of more than three minutes. They come pre-lubricated with an ultra-fast race lube, allowing you to accelerate with ease.
Their high-quality titanium coating gives them unparalleled resistance to corrosion and rust. A rubber shield helps keep out dirt and dust, and the retainer is made of an incredibly strong nylon, which provides even more durability.
A pack only includes eight bearings, so you’ll need two packs per skate, but the low price means this isn’t a big deal. The pack also includes spacers and a waterproof sticker, and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.
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Roller Skate Bearing Buyer’s Guide
Bearings are what actually allow your roller skate wheels to rotate. They affect how fast you can accelerate and how smooth your ride is. Therefore, finding the right bearings is exceptionally important.
Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting bearings for roller skating.
What bearings should I use as a beginner?
As a beginner, you don’t want to spend too much on your bearings. If you’re completely new to roller skating, or if you’re replacing the bearings on your first pair of skates, going for a low maintenance or sealed bearing is a good idea. These options are relatively cheap, and are often designed with new skaters in mind.
However, you also need to consider how much roll your bearings provide. As a beginner, you don’t want too much roll, because this makes it harder to control where you’re going. Stick to ABEC-5 or ABEC-7 bearings if possible.
For more on what these bearing ratings mean, keep reading!
Can I use skateboard bearings for a roller skate?
Yes – roller skate and skateboard bearings are interchangeable. What matters most is whether or not the bearing will fit inside your wheel.
To find out what size bearings are in your wheel, look at the number stamped on the side:
- “608” means that you have 8mm bearings. This is what most new skates use.
- “627” means that you have 7mm bearings.
How many bearings do I need?
You’ll need two bearings per wheel, so a pair of traditional quad roller skates need 16 bearings. If you’re looking for bearings for inline skates, multiply the number of wheels by two, and then double that for the pair of skates.
The different types of bearings
There are two main types of bearing: standard bearings and Swiss bearings.
Standard bearings are typically made of steel and are have seven or eight ball bearings inside of them. These options are normally pretty durable and also relatively inexpensive. Standard bearings are great for casual or beginner skaters who are skating recreationally.
Swiss bearings on the other hand are made of ceramic, and are great for more serious skaters. These types of bearing are considered to be the best of the best.
Ceramic bearings have less friction, which leads to a longer roll out, increased speed, and reduced noise. Since these types of bearings are extremely hard, they also resist dirt, moisture, heat and rust better than steel bearings. This makes them longer-lasting, and they also require less maintenance. However, ceramic bearings tend to be much more expensive.
Does the bearing size and number of balls matter?
Bearings come in different sizes, though most skates have 8mm axles. These bearings are called 608 bearings. Other sizes, such as 7mm (AKA 627) or 6mm are rarely used in roller skates, but it’s a good idea to check your skates before you purchase new bearings to see what size you need.
As mentioned, standard bearings usually have seven or eight balls. This provides a good mix of roll, durability, and speed. Eight-ball bearings have smaller balls, and are especially great for quick turns and short sprints.
If you’re looking for maximum roll, bearings with six balls are ideal. This is because the balls in a six-ball bearing are larger, so they generate less friction and can rotate more smoothly.
Think about what’s most important to you – speed or maneuverability – and then select bearings with the number of balls that works best for you.
Skate bearings will naturally accumulate dirt and dust over time, so regular cleaning is important to extend the life of your bearings and prevent them from becoming too noisy. Clean bearings give a smoother, more consistent roll, and help to improve the lifespan of your skate’s wheels.
Regular use and sustained high speeds can also cause your bearings to wear out slightly faster. This is because the amount of friction between the wheel and the axle is higher at higher speeds or with heavy use. To reduce the friction, you’ll want to clean, lubricate and dry your bearings regularly.
Some bearings come pre-lubricated, but you still need to add more on a regular basis. You’ll want to use a low-viscosity lubricant, as well as bearing oil, to keep your bearings rolling smoothly.
While lubrication is important for reducing friction, drying is also crucial for preserving your bearings. Damp bearings are at a higher risk of rusting or corroding, which will hinder the smoothness and speed of your roll.
Some bearings require more maintenance than others, so think about how much time you want to put into cleaning and maintaining your skates before you buy.
Sealed vs. serviceable bearings
Bearings also come in two types in regards to maintenance.
Serviceable bearings have removable shields or plastic retainers that you can take off for easy access to lubricate and clean them. This serviceability is particularly important for serious skaters who want consistent, long-lasting performance from their bearings.
Sealed bearings have shields that aren’t removable. While this helps keep out dirt and debris, since these bearings can’t be cleaned, you’ll have to replace them once they start accumulating grime or wearing out. Sealed bearings are great for casual skaters who aren’t concerned about bearing maintenance.
What are bearing ratings?
Bearings are rated based on how much roll they have. Standard bearings are generally measured on the Annual Bearing Engineers’ Committee (ABEC) scale. ABEC is a group that determines the ratings for all different types of bearings – not just skate bearings.
The ABEC system includes grades one, three, five, seven and nine, with nine being the highest-ranked bearing. The higher the number, the longer it takes the wheels to stop spinning. The longer the wheels spin, the farther and faster the skater can go with the same amount of effort.
Swiss bearings generally avoid ABEC ratings and go with “skate rated” certifications that indicate that the bearing was tested and approved for use in skates. It doesn’t provide as much information about how long the wheels will spin, but it does ensure that the bearings will work with your skates.
This is the end of our buyer’s guide!
Hopefully you’ve found the perfect bearings for your pair of roller skates.
If you’re still not sure what to buy, drop us a comment below and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
About the author
Matt is the newest face on the Lift Your Game team.
He’s a former college football player, and also played soccer and tennis in high school.
In his spare time, you’ll either find him at the gym, or on the couch playing Madden!