Bearing Buying Guide
ABEC, ILQ & SG
These scales refer to the tolerances needed in machinery applications and will range on a scale from 1-9. On this scale, larger numbers refer to higher performance in terms of smoothness of the bearing and how well it will sustain roll. Rating systems are best used to compare bearings within the same brand as each manufacturer has different quality thresholds that will affect the performance. For example, one brand at ABEC 7 may not perform as well as another brand with the same ABEC 7 rating. If you do not have any past experience to reference brands that perform best, ask your friends or call us for recommendations.
Many high-end bearings, such as the popular Bones Bearings, forgo the numerical rating system in favor of terms that are specific to skating. These are specifically engineered for skating to prioritize speed and smoothness over extremely high machinery tolerances. These bearings will be priced according to their performance.
This is the highest rating and refers to the manufacturing process. Not all, in fact very few Swiss bearings are made in Switzerland. It remains important to remember that not all brands rated Swiss will perform equally. Brand awareness and past experience help considerably when looking to spend money on Swiss bearings. If needing assistance choosing a respected brand in the price range you are looking for, we are happy to help.
Most bearings contain 7 ball bearings that allow for spin. The material used greatly affects the bearings overall performance. While most bearings feature steel balls, high-end bearings will use materials like titanium and ceramic to create an ultra smooth, low resistance bearing.
Serviceable Vs. Sealed
Serviceable bearings feature removable shields (or rubber retainers) that allow you to clean and re-lubricate your bearings. Most high-end bearings will be serviceable to allow you to maintain optimal roll throughout the life of the bearing. Sealed bearings have non-removable shields to keep out harmful elements. They are not serviceable and would simply be replaced when not performing as desired. They are great for those skaters not interested in bearing maintenance, but can lack performance aspects as well.
The vast majority of bearings offered are standard 8mm (also referred to as 608) size. Unless you have specialty trucks or wheels, this is the size you will need. All bearings on our site are "Standard 608" bearings unless otherwise noted. Specialty sizes would be for the few skates that use trucks with 7mm axles and specialty wheels like Bont's FX line. If you are having a hard time finding these sizes please give us a call at 800.366.3070.
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