Longboard vs Skateboard vs Cruiser (Compared)

By: Billy James | January 11, 2024 | Longboards

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

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

Longboard Decks

Below are average longboard lengths/widths (subjective).

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

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, and carving won’t be as snappy.

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

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

Skateboard Decks

Average skateboard lengths/widths (subjective).

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

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. Reference this post for more info about cruisers.

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.

Trucks

reverse kingpin vs traditional

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.

They’re inverted compared to traditional kingpins. RKPs are more stable at higher speeds.

Traditional Kingpins

TKPs are often found on skateboards and cruisers, but some cruisers have RKP trucks. 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.

Wheels

longboard wheels vs skateboard

Wheels on longboards and cruisers 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 they absorb 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. Smaller than a longboard wheel and softer than a skateboard wheel. A popular example of cruiser skateboard wheels is the Fatty Hawgs.

longboard vs skateboard vs cruiser

How To Choose?

Now that you have a rough idea of the differences, how do you choose?

Flip tricks, grinds, skateparks

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

Bomb hills, throw slides or larger setup

You’re most likely best off with a longboard if you want a larger setup. However, there are several types of longboards. If you’re a complete newbie, reference our beginner longboard guide.

Portability with occasional flip tricks

A cruiser skateboard is probably your best option if that’s the case. Maybe something like the Landyachtz Dinghy or Arbor Pilsner.

Bottom Line

You’ll want to know the basics to pick a board that fits your riding style. Just don’t get too hung up on the technicals.

Decide because it’s all about getting outside, shredding, and having fun.

Billy James

I've been skating for over 20 years and it's had an incredibly positive impact on my life. My mission is to get more people into skating and help them carry it as a lifelong passion.

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