What keeps skateboard wheels
going? Or that spin bike
that you ride every morning at the gym? Well, there is the energy and will of course but then, to make all that possible, there are small balls at the center or inner circle of the circular rolling object: ball bearings. But how do you know the right ones to use? Knowing what factors to consider ahead of time will help steer you towards the best ball bearing for your unique needs. So, what exactly should you consider? Let’s find out.
First things first, are you looking for serviceable bearings or sealed ones? The prior comes with removable shields that enable you to clean and lubricate when necessary. The high-end ones will more often than not promote once-in-a-while service to allow longevity and optimize the rolling experience.
Sealed bearings, on the other hand, have non-removable shields that protect the balls from what might keep them from not rolling efficiently or at all. Since there’s no servicing here, that means you can only replace them when deemed to be unfit for rolling. Consider the scaled option if you don’t want to perform maintenance procedures; they’re fit for use in longboards and scooters
. Beware that they might limit you in performance, though.
If you’re familiar with ball bearings, you might have heard of AEBC, SG, and ILQ. They refer to standards that represent scales. These levels describe the tolerances needed to keep the proposed mechanism and will range from 1 – 9. The large numbers imply higher performance when it comes to smoothness and rolling sustenance measures. Rating is used by every manufacturer to compare the different bearings within the same brand. That should tell you that the same rate on two products from different brands doesn’t mean they perform the same.
Size is, of course, another factor; but don’t worry about this unless you know very well that you need to be specific here. Many bearings will possess a standard 6mm, which can also be referred to as the 608 size. Specialization may fall on a few skate ball bearings, which have a specification of 7mm on the axles. Below are other factors you should keep in mind to ensure that you get the best ball bearings.
Nobody wants to spend more than what’s necessary, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to compromise on the quality. For good ball bearings that will function appropriately without too much trouble, the prices can range from $5 to $16 and anything between. So, what brings about the difference in pricing? Well, going with a premium model means that you gain better sealing of the balls, more inner ball bearings, and high-quality material.
However, if you’re looking for bearings for some lightweight tasks, there are several great low-end bearings that you can choose from. These models come with more reasonable price tags, but with relatively good performance. Still though, be careful to avoid buying cheap ball bearings; these will likely be less efficient and made of lower-quality materials compared to their slightly more-expensive counterparts.
With the many different types and sizes of ball bearings out there, choosing the best one can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some of the important features to look out for when you’re out on the prowl for the best product:
- Size - A common and most popular size is the 608-sized bearings. But you’ll need to confirm if the one you wish to buy will fit your application.
- Design - There is generally two types of ball bearing designs, including the pre-lubricated and miniature. Choose one based on how you intend to use your bearings.
- Sealed or open-style bearing - Open-style have a shield to protect the balls and are not removable. They’re good for spinners and are lubricated. For the open types, you can see the balls. They’re easy to clean but can also get dirty pretty fast.
- Shielded Bearing - Some come with shields on both sides to offer protection. The balls are quite safe inside, but not completely sealed. The shield is, however, removable for cleanup purposes.
- Material - The type of material used will greatly affect your bearing’s performance and longevity. Some of the materials to choose from include metal, ceramic, steel, and titanium.
- Count - How many ball bearings will you need for your application? Choose a package that includes the right number of ball bearings you need.
- Warranty - This ensures that you get a money-back guarantee in case the bearings you order have some defects or aren’t according to your specifications.
Construction and Design
This is what defines the make, quality, and durability of what you’re going to use. For the bearings to be functional in accordance to your preferences you have to be choosy of the material that they’re made of; otherwise, you’ll mess up. As we discuss, just keep in mind that the smoothness of operation increases the further down the list we get.
The most basic and common material is the steel metal. For these, almost every part is steel. Other specifications may include having chrome, alloy, or carbon types of steel. Sometimes such bearings will have the cage or separator made of nylon.
Plastic bearings, on the other hand, are made of nylon and sometimes come with glass balls. They are indeed cheap, but they’re not a favorite of many due to something you might call rugged smoothness or not having a smooth ride.
More expensive ones will claim to have ceramic or full ceramic. They’re quieter than the ones mentioned above, and the most common material is silicon nitride. On the higher end is the hybrid. They’re made of ceramic, but the inner and outer rings are made of steel. The combination gives them their name.
Performance and Ease of Use
The best bearings will either be made to protect the balls from getting clogged up with dirt or be open to enable cleaning up. While those made to seal the balls require less cleaning maintenance, open types have to be cleaned after every single use; when the need arises, they are the easiest to clean. Any bearing type is suited to withstand wear and tear. However, the high-quality models are designed to bear more work routines.
Pre-lubricated models, come ready to use right out of the box, which makes them hassle-free to use. Moreover, they’re maintenance-free as you don’t have to keep on lubricating them to ride smoothly and with high precision.
From bikes to skateboards and virtually every other machine with moving parts, the best ball bearings should be durable enough to help reduce friction. Above all, they should come at a price that meets your budget. Check out our best five ball bearings review and choose the right one for your needs.
Yellow Jacket has earned itself a great reputation as a global leader in the manufacture of high-quality ball bearings for skateboard enthusiasts. By ensuring only quality products reach the market, the company has garnered a huge number of satisfied customers.
A popular product among skateboard enthusiasts worldwide, Yellow Jacket’s Premium Bearings are designed to provide high speeds and precision. The balls boast a high-quality chrome steel build, so that they offer a top-notch and ultimately enjoyable skating session. To further enhance this experience, these bearings are also pre-lubricated with ultra-fast lube so that your speed is practically unfettered.
Featuring a versatile design that can be used for multiple boards, they feature an engraved yellow seal to ensure the bearings remain clean and free of particles. Better yet, by buying these bearings you’re guaranteed of genuine quality, as each of these bearings is formally inspected before they’re available for purchase. And still, if that wasn’t enough, this brand offers a hassle-free money-back guarantee just in case there’s something wrong with your bearing; it can’t hurt to give them a try. If you want these bearings but in a different color, you’re in luck! There’s a huge eleven colors to choose from including blue, orange and red.
As one of the most popular and leading brands, TRB RC has over 30 years of experience in the manufacture and retail of wide-ranging products for its esteemed customers. Since its inception, the company has seen great success in providing high-quality lubricants and fastener replacements, miniature ball bearings, and precision balls globally.
The Traxxas Replacement Precision Bearings are made of chrome steel for excellent surface quality, high hardness, and high load-bearing capacity. They also come rubber-sealed to provide the ultimate protection from dirt and debris, giving you a smooth, durable, and precise drive. To make these bearings even better, they have minimum friction and generate less heat than some others, making them smoother and more efficient. And finally, they provide high speeds with hardly any noise—is there anything not to love about these high-quality bearings?
We hope our review was helpful to your finding of the best ball bearing for your unique application. If you’re still undecided, however, you may check out other models that our top five brands have in store for you.