Penny boards are great for beginners who want to get into skateboarding. They are small and portable, and they come in various sizes and a huge range of fun and playful designs.
Longboards, however, are heavier and more durable. They offer better control, ideal for cruising and commuting.
If you’re shopping for a child or a beginner just setting out on their skateboarding journey, which one should you choose?
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There are several types of skateboards, such as penny boards, longboards, cruiser boards, and street boards.
Each type offers its own benefits. For example, Penny boards are ideal for beginners because they are easy to ride and maneuver. On the other hand, longboards are usually more stable and safer so are good for long rides.
Neither a longboard nor a Penny board will be what your child needs if they want to pull tricks in a skate park. So let’s look at each in more detail to see if they’ll be right for your child.
Standard Penny Board
A Penny board is a small plastic skateboard made for cruising.
It’s important to note that there are various sizes of Penny boards available. In order to fairly compare a Penny board to a longboard, you need to understand these differences:
- Mini Penny Board – This model of Penny board is ideal for young children. It has a smaller deck (22″), small wheels, and a smaller wheelbase than a standard skateboard. Mini Penny boards are perfect for children or those who need an extremely small and compact ride. They’re not great for older beginners.
- Skateboard Penny Board – This model is designed specifically for kids. It usually has a small deck (27″), smaller wheels, and a smaller truck design than a standard skateboard. Also known as a Nickel Board, the skateboard Penny board is also ideal for children, it would suit your tweens and teens learning to skate.
- Cruiser Penny Board – This type of Penny board has a slightly wider stance than a standard Penny board and is slightly longer (32″). Cruiser Penny boards are considered durable and highly maneuverable boards good for an experienced skater looking for a comfortable ride.
- Longboard Penny Board – This type of board has a wider stance than a cruiser Penny board. Coming in at 36″ it’s comparable to other longboards, giving the rider a stable and balanced ride, though it’s not as maneuverable as the others listed here.
It should be noted that “Penny board” can be used as a generic term to describe any small plastic skateboard. “Penny” is, in fact, a brand name and this will be clearly marked as such on the plastic deck with the distinctive waffle-pattern deck.
Beware impostors; if the skateboard seems “cheap” – it’s probably not the real thing. Penny boards are affordable compared to many custom-built skateboards but by no means “cheap”, they’re a quality product built to withstand your child’s treatment!
Penny boards range in price between $100 to $150 depending on the model and spec.
Penny boards come in a huge range of colorful designs which can also be appealing for kids as they can pick the type of board that best suits their personality.
A longboard is the name given to skateboards made with flat wooden decks. They come in many different designs and can often be mixed up with cruisers and traditional skateboards.
Despite the name, not all longboards are ultra-long! The key distinguishing feature between a longboard and a skateboard is the shape. A skateboard curves up at the nose and tail in a paddlepop shape, whilst most longboards are completely flat.
Generally speaking, a longboard will have a thick wooden deck that is at least 8 inches to 10 inches wide. The length of a longboard can vary greatly, but generally speaking, you’re looking at 33 inches to 59 inches long.
Longboards are designed for cruising, traveling long distances, and skating downhill. They give a smooth and comfortable ride.
Their actual design can vary significantly as you can see in these examples:
Differences Between Penny Boards And Longboards
Before we can determine which of these two options is best for a child, we need to understand exactly how they’re different from each other.
Longboard vs Penny Board: Size
Longboards are generally larger than Penny boards. This means that they have a longer wheelbase and wider stance. In addition, longboards typically weigh more than Penny boards.
The size differences between these two types of skateboards also affect how you will be able to ride them. For instance, Penny boards tend to be smaller in width and length, so easier to maneuver.
Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean better for kids; the larger deck of a longboard can provide a beginner with more stability.
Longboard vs Penny Board: Wheels
Another important factor when it comes to choosing between Penny boards and longboards is the wheels used.
While both types of skateboards use similar-sized wheels (larger than a regular skateboard), there are some subtle differences. Most longboards have larger, softer wheels, designed for all different terrains.
Longboard vs Penny Board: Stance
When it comes to stance, longboards have a wider stance than Penny boards. A wider stance allows you to stand farther away from the center of gravity of the board. This gives the rider more stability and balance.
Longboard vs Penny Board: Price
Contrary to the belief that Penny means cheap, you’ll find a Penny board costs about the same as a longboard for beginners – if not more.
There are cheaper small cruisers that come in at a price point substantially below that of an original Penny board.
Longboards are variable in price depending on what type you go for and if it’s ready-built and off the shelf or custom-made.
There are a lot of ways you can customize your longboard. Depending on the parts you use, and the labor cost if you’re getting a skate shop to build your first ride for you, then the longboard can end up costing a lot more than a Penny board.
An off-the-shelf longboard though will set you back about $50 to $100 USD, whilst an original Penny board is likely to cost you more like $100 to $150 USD.
You can see our comparison of cruisers vs longboards over here if you are still confused between the different types of skateboards!
Should I Buy A Penny Board Or A Longboard?
The choice between these two types of skateboards mostly depends on your child’s skill level and personal preference. Unless you are looking at a longboard Penny board, they are really two quite distinctly different skateboarding experiences.
In helping your child choose the right type of skateboard for them, they may want to consider are they riding with friends or alone?
- If they are planning to ride and cruise along with friends, then a longboard is preferential.
- If they will ride alone, then a Penny board might be a great choice for a solo rider that will neatly fit away in their bag.
Size is also another important factor, that is your child’s size, taking into account the size of the deck:
- Standard Penny boards are quite narrow (7.5″). This can work well for a beginner with small feet, but they take a bit of skill to balance.
- A longboard has a wider deck which is more stable and easier to balance on, but harder to maneuver or do tricks on.
- Longboards are a lot heavier. A child beginner may find a longboard too heavy to carry.
Of course, there are many other factors to take into consideration such as material composition (e.g., carbon or cedar), color, graphics, hardware, and brand, but these are just a few examples.
Each type offers something unique. Work through with your child what they love about trying out skateboarding. If the opportunity is there, try standing on a few boards in a shop before you make your final skateboard buying decision.
And remember – if your kid really picks up on skating they’re bound to end up with more than one board for different purposes! Make sure their first board is one they can easily learn on and develop a passion for the sport.
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