As a keen and serious skater, you know how exciting it is to whizz along with the wind in your hair and you probably want a perfectly quiet and smooth action from your roller skates.
One of the main parts that achieve this effortless action is the bearings.
However, it can be challenging to find the best roller skate bearings for a smooth ride.
Bearings help your roller skate spin around, take swift turns, and rotate on the wheel axle. They are extremely beneficial in protecting the wheels from metal grinding.
Bearings can be small but they play an important role in defining the smoothness and speed of your skates.
There are factors that you need to consider in ensuring that you select the perfect bearings for your skate such as ABEC rating.
Also, bearings come in different materials, and you can select the material you want depending on your preferences and requirements.
How Many Bearings Do I Need?
Regardless of what type of skating you are involved in; you need two bearings for every wheel.
If you have a quad roller skate, you need 16 bearings for all the 8 wheels in your skate.
If you have three-wheeled inline skates, for example, you will need 12 bearings for the 6 wheels. Five-wheeled inline skates require 20 bearings for the 10 wheels.
With inline skates, you will require spacers that you will put in between the bearings for each wheel.
Finally, if you have skateboards, you will require 2 for each wheel, meaning 8 bearings in total.
Our Rating - 100%
Our recommendation for the best roller skate bearings is the Bones Swiss Bearings. This is because they are the ultimate combination of Swiss Precision manufacturing and Bones skate-rated design. They are also professional competition-grade bearings when it comes to durability and speed.
Our Rating - 96%
If you are looking for affordable bearings, the Sure-Grip Qube Gold Swiss bearings are perfect for you. They are not only cheaper, but they are also made using a special 3D modeling process and better equipment to ensure that they are high in quality, and nothing has been overlooked in their design.
10 Best Roller Skate Bearings (2023)
To make it easier for you to choose, this article will provide you with information about the best roller skate bearings and everything that you need to know about bearings.
1. Bones Swiss Bearings
Best Roller Skate Bearings (Editor’s Choice)
Most of the world’s top professional skaters prefer the Bones Swiss Bearings because they last longer compared to other bearings.
When you buy these bearings, you are investing in high-end bearings that are high in quality, that is why they are best-selling in the U.S.A.
They come with a single, non-contact rubber shield that can be removed quickly to allow low friction and easy cleaning.
The high-speed nylon ball retainer in these bearings offers additional speed and strength.
When you receive your Bones Swiss Bearings, they are already lubricated with the Speed Cream racing lubricant to ensure that they are ready for use.
They are skate rated in terms of tolerances, clearances, lubricant, and materials to ensure that they offer the best durability and performance possible.
Everyone who rides using the Bones Swiss bearings knows how fast they are, and they choose these bearings because they want the best equipment and understand the difference between exceptional and ordinary.
2. Bones Swiss Ceramic Bearings
Made in Switzerland, the Bones Swiss Ceramic Bearings are much harder, lighter, waterproof, stronger, and longer-lasting compared to the finest steel ball.
These bearings have one non-contact nylon removable rubber shield which makes it easier for you to clean them and reduces friction.
They have greater speed and strength because of the high-speed nylon ball retainer, and they are already lubricated meaning they are ready for use once they arrive.
Bones Swiss Ceramic bearings have the best reputation in the industry since 1981 because of their quality and performance.
Skaters that use these bearings know that they last longer and ride super-fast compared to low-cost bearings.
3. Sure-Grip Qube Gold Swiss Bearings
Sure-Grip has been designing the best roller skates in the world for over 70 years, and now they have designed their first roller skate bearing.
Most professional skaters have been part of the design process of the Qube Gold Swiss bearings to ensure that these bearings provide a better roll and feel in the market.
This way you can trust the professionals as well as the bearings that are specifically made for roller skates.
The Sure-Grip Gold Swiss bearing uses the Qube 3D SWISS technology that incorporates everything that the company has learned about designing bearings.
The 3D modeling technology ensures that the bearings have the perfect outer and inner wall diameter, ball diameter, and groove depth to make sure that it is the best roller skate bearing available in the market.
The deeper groove is made possible using stronger steel which allows for a faster roll and minimum friction.
To create even stronger steel, Sure-Grip uses a special hard anodize process while the combination of a double labyrinth seal with SSL oil creates a cleaner environment for a faster roll. The SSL oil helps to keep the heat down.
The Qube 3D SWISS is the most tested and fast-rolling bearing in Sure-Grip’s line.
4. Bones Super Swiss 6 Bearings
The Bones Super Swiss 6 Bearings have been the industry standard ever since they were introduced in 1983, and most professional skaters still consider them a favorite.
They remained unequal in their class because they are smooth, fast, and last longer. They have earned their fame by proving their superior performance and dependability for the best skater around the world.
These bearings contain 6 large balls instead of 7, that are durable, faster, and stronger. Their diameter is 20% bigger than the normal ball bearings to improve their distance and top speed.
Larger balls create less friction at the same wheel RPM, and since they do not have to turn as fast, they maintain a higher top speed.
These balls accelerate faster because there is one less ball and the races are thinner.
They roll farther because of the reduced ball rotation speed and friction. Finally, they are long-lasting because they are stronger.
The Bones Super Swiss 6 bearings have a removable, single non-contact rubber shield enabling you to clean the bearings easily.
The bearings are kept light and strong by the high-speed ball retainer that is made with nylon. They are pre-lubricated to ensure that you are ready to get skating when you receive them.
5. Bones Ceramic Super Reds Bearings
The Bones Ceramic Super reds are lightweight bearings that enable you to accelerate faster because the balls inside them are lighter.
This also means that they are much faster and create less friction compared to other bearings.
Ceramic balls will last you longer compared to a typical bearing because they do not rust.
The balls are ‘self-heal’ and help in re-polishing the steel race if the bearings get dirty because they are harder balls compared to the steel bearing balls.
These bearings feature a silicon nitride ceramic ball that is hot isostatically pressed and grade 5, with steel races that are high in quality and have a superior surface finish to ensure that they have a superior bearing.
The rubber shield is removable making it easier to take apart when you want to clean them, and they reduce friction to the ceramic skate bearings.
The ball retainer is made of nylon and is high-speed to enhance the strength of the bearings. These bearings are also pre-lubricated to ensure that they are ready to go right out of the boxes.
6. Bones Super Reds Bearings
Bones Super Reds bearings are specifically designed to be the best bearing in the market at their price range.
They are not just bearings with super surface finishing, but also, they are a superior quality bearing with better grade and quality balls as well as quality steel races. These bearings are faster, smoother, quieter, and last longer.
Super Reds uses laser engraving and a black shiel to differentiate themselves from the original Reds.
They feature a removable, non-contact, single rubber shield that is easy to clean and offers less friction to the bearings.
Bones uses the Speed Cream racing lubricant to lubricate the bearings so that you can start skating using them as soon as they arrive home.
The ball retainer in these bearings provides for greater speed and strength as they are made with nylon.
The Super Reds bearings are skate-rated for materials, tolerances, clearances, and lubricants to ensure that they last longer and perform better.
7. Bones Big Balls Bearings
Big Balls bearings are the newest addition to the Bones Bearings line and are manufactured in China using the same engineering as the Bones Super Swiss 6 bearings.
These bearings are used in skateboards and have 6 large balls instead of 7. They are also 17% bigger in diameter than the 7 ball bearings.
The large diameter provides for a higher top speed because they rotate longer. They are less susceptible to impact and dirt, making them durable and high-resistant.
They can withstand the high side loads of turning and high impacts of hard landings. Their performance is top-notch since they do not rattle but run smoothly and keep their speed for a long time.
The Bones Big Balls bearings are a perfect choice for skaters who are looking for durability and more speed in their bearings.
These bearings are the number one choice for most skaters because of their consistent speed, quality, value, and durability.
8. China Bones Reds Bearings
China Bones bearings are the most common bearings among skaters because of their great quality and affordable price.
These bearings are produced with the highest quality and are manufactured in China.
They are checked twice before they are sent to the clients to ensure that the skaters only get the best bearings.
These China bearings feature a rubber shield that is removable, non-contact, and single to ensure that there is less friction and ease of cleaning. To achieve enhanced speed and strength, the ball retainer is high in speed and made with nylon. They come pre-lubricated, making them ready for use once you get them.
For durability and better performance, these bearings are skate rated for lubricant, materials, tolerances, and clearances.
9. Speed Master ABEC-7 Bearings
The Speed Master ABEC-7 bearings are made with polished chromed steel to ensure that they last longer.
They have a grooved raceway for heat dissipation and to ensure that they provide a superior roll, they are lightly oiled.
If you are looking for an excellent, high-quality bearing with an exceptional price, the ABEC-7 is a good choice for you. It comes in 16-pack or either 8mm or 7mm bearings.
10. Rollerbones Bearings
Rollerbones bearings are the latest the Bones line of affordably priced and high-quality bearings.
They were designed to be an affordable alternative to the Bones Swiss bearings. They come pre-lubricated with the low viscosity Speed Cream racing lubricant.
The Rollerbones bearings are one of the best bearings in the market today because they offer a combination of durability, performance, and low cost. If you want to experience the ultimate roll, get yourself these 16-pack bearings.
They provide a smooth ride because they are free from resistance, making it last longer because of less friction.
The special cream also helps in preventing corrosion which means they will stay in top shape for longer.
You can easily clean these bearings because the nylon ball cages are removable.
Like all Bones bearings, they are skate rated for materials, clearances, tolerances, and lubricants to offer great performance and last you longer throughout your skating adventures.
These bearings are standard-sized, and they can fit into wheels of almost any size.
What Is ABEC Rating System?
ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Committee, and it uses a system to rate bearings. Bearing follows this rating to explain their ability with predetermined tolerances.
The creation of this rating scale by ABEC is to show the efficiency, precision, and speed capabilities of the bearings. A higher rating enables you to roll faster as well as make the bearings last longer.
The ABEC rating measures tolerance strictness, thus, the bearings made with specific tolerances attain their assigned ABEC rating.
Bearings are tested using a machine that spins faster, harder, and longer compared to any human.
However, other factors can influence the performance of the bearings. Heavy use and faster skating may increase the wheel and axle friction making these bearings heat up.
The heat will cause these bearings to expand and distort. Therefore, periodical cleaning, drying, and lubrication of the bearings after every use will ensure durability.
The rating does not include the speed of the bearings spin. A higher ABEC rating means that the manufacturer tolerated fewer errors, for example, ABEC 1 is less smooth and does not roll out like ABEC 9.
Do I Have 7mm or 8mm Bearings?
The 7mm or 8mm value represents the bearing diameter as well as the size of the wheel axle the bearings fit in.
The easiest way to know if you have an 8mm bearing or 7mm is by searching for 627 or 608 when you look at your bearings. The number 608 mean you have 8mm bearings while 627 mean you have 7mm bearings.
If you have a newer skate, it is probably using 8mm bearings, and if you got an older skate, you might be having a 7mm bearing.
The only difference is the size. The quicker way to also know the size of your bearings is by using a ruler to measure the hole of the bearing, if you don’t have a ruler use a pencil and slide in the hole;
If the pencil fits in the bearing hole it means it is 8mm, and if can’t go through, it means it is 7mm. Generally, the 7mm bearing currently is not much used.
The Difference Between ABEC bearing Vs Swiss Vs Ceramic Bearing
The following are the differences between ABEC bearing, Swiss bearing, and Ceramic Bearing:
A lot of roller skate bearings are rated using the ABEC system. The higher the ABEC rating, the faster you roll, and the longer the durability of the bearing.
ABEC rating is strictly a measurement of tolerances. Therefore, the bearings will meet the ABEC rating if they are within specified tolerances.
What is not said about the ABEC rating is that they are tested on a machine that spins harder than humans could ever achieve, thus, posing as a joke to the consumer.
This shows the difference between ABEC rating bearings from other bearings.
They originated in Switzerland. They have a unique technological piece that helps them offer smooth acceleration to the wheels. They use advanced technology for Swiss bearings compared to the standard bearings.
The elements of these bearings are the outside shield, casing, and an inside race. Therefore, any bearing qualifying for these technologies is referred to as Swiss bearing.
The Swiss bearings do not go by the ABEC rating system. They are rated as Swiss. Therefore, their durability and technology should comply with the original design of Swiss bearings.
They are slightly expensive because of their superior technology. If you want to buy these bearings, look for the brand that uses the latest technology. When buying Swiss bearings, focus on the quality and brand rather than ABEC rating.
These bearings are manufactured using a compound known as Silicon Nitride. The Silicon Nitride is considerably harder than its steel and metal counterparts and is much lighter. They are approximately 80% faster than standard bearings.
They self-lubricate and can withstand extreme physical impact. They can perform under harsh circumstances like high temperatures, lack of lubrication, or highly corrosive environments because of their chemical makeup.
These bearings gained popularity because of their reduced friction, strength, and durability over other metal ball bearings. They are built to last forever and are advisable for long-term use.
These bearings cost slightly higher than standard bearings and are worth spending every penny on them.
What Is The Difference Between Shielded And Sealed Bearings
The most popular type of bearings in the current market is the Shielded bearings and features a shield that protects the balls from grime and dirt. Sealed bearings have been sealed completely and you can clean the actual balls or add oil.
Having clean balls is great but the shielded bearings cost can be high, but when you concern yourself with sealed bearings, you may not make a rational decision.
Therefore, you’d rather pick yourself the shielded bearings for the sake of your skating.
How Often Should I Replace My Bearings?
Roller Bearings can last between 12 and 18 months. The quality and material determine the durability of the bearings.
The high-quality equipment and the good care of the skate increase the lifespan by years, and it can even last decades.
However, you can replace your bearings if you have left them to rust and you find that they are making some bad noises. You can also replace them when you have cleaned them, and they still don’t roll well.
After you have replaced them, make sure you put the old bearing in the recycle bin so that they don’t go to the landfill because they are recyclable.
It is recommended that you use a special tool when replacing bearings to avoid damaging the sensitive parts of the bearings.
Does The Number Of Balls In A Bearing Matter?
The number of balls in a bearing affects several factors such as bearing strength, bearing speed, and bearing life. When you reduce the number of balls in the bearings, friction is reduced, and each ball carries more load.
If the number of balls is increased, friction increases, and the load each ball has decreases. The result of these two leads to faster bearings.
Traditionally, skate bearings have seven balls for a good balance in acceleration, durability, roll, and speed. Bearings with six balls use larger balls that roll longer and offer less friction making them perfect to sustain a high speed.
Bearings with eight balls are small to help withstand the side loads for aggressive turning or high speed.
How To Clean Roller Skate Bearings?
Cleaning the bearings may take time because you need to take them off the skates first. Therefore, to avoid this time-consuming activity, check your skates well before you start the cleaning.
Flip your skate and spin the wheels to see if the bearings require immediate cleaning.
Check the spin of the wheels and if there is any engrossing noise. If there is any grinding or crunching, there may be debris or dirt and your bearing needs a clean-up.
Place your bearings on the newspaper and spray the cleaner on the bearings. Repeat applying the cleaner until you can see no more dirt.
Do not use water to rinse off the cleaner. Air-dry your bearings before lubricating.
How Often Should I Lubricate My Skate Bearings
Ideally, you should lubricate your bearings after every use. However, if you are the kind of person that likes their bearings running smoothly all the time, then cleaning your bearings every three months to be able to lubricate them is a good option.
If you don’t care much about your skates, you can clean them once you hear your skate making noise and not being able to spin freely. For professional skaters, it is good to clean and lubricate your bearings before your competition.
After cleaning your bearing, apply lubricant on them. Look for good lubricators from good brands because a heavier lubricant lasts longer.
Do not lubricate your bearings before cleaning because there could be dirt and debris making them hard to clean.
There are plenty of bearings in the market and it is easy to get confused when selecting a suitable one for your roller skate.
However, the information provided in this article should help you with deciding on the best bearing for a smooth and fast ride.
Our choice for the best roller skate bearings is the Bones Swiss Bearings (16 Pack) because they are long-lasting, high in quality, stronger, higher speed, easy to clean, and has less friction.
When deciding on skate bearings, there is a difference between someone who is skating casually and one who wants to make skating a long-term career.
If you are skating casually, choose a bearing that is in the lower range of the price tag but if you want to be a professional skater, invest in long-lasting high-priced bearings.