Longboard vs Skateboard vs Cruiser (Beginner Breakdown)

By: Billy James | March 27, 2024 | Longboards

The difference between a longboard, skateboard, and cruiser is the deck shape, trucks, and wheels. Longboards are usually larger, have softer wheels, and can better handle higher speeds. Skateboards have a double-kick shape (easiest for flip tricks). And cruisers are a crossbreed of both.

If you’re deciding between these three, you should also look into longboards vs surfskates.

Longboard Decks

Below are average longboard lengths/widths (subjective).

Longboard Lengths: 34″ – 46″
Longboard Widths: 8.5″ – 10″

loaded tan tien longboard
Loaded Tan Tien

You’ll first notice that longboards are… (you guessed it) longer.

Because they’re longer, so are their wheelbases. A longer wheelbase makes riding more stable at higher speeds.

Longboard decks are commonly made from Canadian maple, which is stiff and strong. Some companies, like Loaded Boards, use bamboo to make their decks flexible. An example would be the Loaded Chinchiller or the Tan Tien.

If you decide to get a longboard and have no idea where to start, refer to my longboard beginner’s guide.

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Skateboard Decks

Average skateboard lengths/widths (subjective).

Skateboard Lengths: 31″ – 33″
Skateboard Widths: 7.25″ – 8.5″

double-kick street skateboard
Popsicle street skateboard

When people say ‘skateboard,’ they usually refer to double-kick street skateboards. They have a steep kicktail/nose because their main purpose is for flip tricks.

Cruiser Decks

Average mini cruiser lengths/widths (subjective).

Cruiser Lengths: 28″ – 34″
Cruiser Widths: 8″ – 10″

cruiser skateboard

Cruiser skateboards are a crossbreed between longboards and double-kick skateboards. Their kicktail/nose is usually more subtle.

You can still do flip tricks on these, but it’s not ideal. They’re mostly used for those wanting something portable and occasionally ollieing up a curb if needed.

Learn more about cruiser skateboards here.


reverse kingpin and traditional kingpin trucks

Most common truck types used on longboards, skateboards, and cruisers…

Reverse Kingpins

Trucks on a longboard are typically reverse kingpins (One on the left in the above image). Their kingpins face the outside of the deck.

RKPs are more stable at higher speeds and sit higher off the ground to accommodate larger wheels.

Traditional Kingpins

TKPs are often found on skateboards and cruisers. However, there are exceptions, like the Loaded Ballona. Their kingpins face the inside of the deck.

They’re lower to the ground, lighter, and better for grinding since the kingpin is behind the hanger. They’re more agile because they have a higher baseplate angle.


longboard wheels vs skateboard

Longboard and cruiser wheels are usually softer and wider (78a-85a range) than skateboard wheels (95a-101a+). The softer the wheel, the better for cruising on the street because it absorbs terrain better.

Rolling over rocks/pebbles will be easier if you have soft wheels.

Smaller and harder wheels are used on skateboards since they’re easier for tricks and less forgiving if you get wheelbite.

Cruiser wheels are usually a crossbreed of a longboard and skateboard wheel. They are smaller than a longboard wheel and softer than a skateboard wheel. Reference my favorite cruiser wheels here.

longboard vs skateboard vs cruiser

How To Choose?

Now that you have a rough idea of the differences, how do you choose? Especially if you’re a beginner, you probably wonder which is the easiest.

Flip tricks, grinds, skateparks

If you want to learn tricks, you’re best off with a double-kick skateboard.

Is it easier to balance on a longboard or a skateboard?

A longboard is easier to balance on than a double-kick skateboard because there’s more deck space. It also handles speed better because it has a longer wheelbase and reverse kingpin trucks.

Reference my beginner longboard guide if you’re a newbie.

Portability with occasional flip tricks

A cruiser skateboard is probably your best option if you want to cruise in rougher environments and portability is a priority.

Reference my favorite cruiser skateboards here.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this helped you understand the differences between a longboard vs skateboard vs cruiser.

It’s all about figuring out what fits your riding style.

Just don’t get too hung up on the technicals. Decide because it’s all about getting outside and having fun.

Billy James

I've been skating for over 20 years and it's had an incredibly positive impact on my mental health. My mission is to show the world the power of cruising and carving.

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