Stay Away From Expensive Ceramic Bearings

A while ago I bought a bunch of skateboard bearings from reputable brands to see if there’s any difference. It also included two sets of Bones ceramics bearings and one set of Bronson Speed Co. ceramics.

I tried them myself and handed them out to a few local skaters that ride in all conditions. These guys were stoked! Oh wow, ceramic bearings!

The hype surrounding these bearings is real, but in reality expensive ceramic skateboard bearings aren’t worth it. They may arguably perform a bit longer compared to regular steel bearings but they still rust, aren’t faster, or give any advantages while skateboarding.

Even though I suspected ceramic bearings to be worthless, it was still a disapointment. Since I gave away the answer already, let’s look at a couple of frequently asked questions and some cheaper alternatives.

Bones and Bronson ceramic skateboard bearings

What Are Ceramic Skateboard Bearings?

I always assumed ceramic skateboard bearings were 100% ceramic, turns out it’s only the bearing balls. Bearings can be called ceramic even if only one of the balls is made of ceramic material. It’s actually a good thing, ceramic may be lighter and harder than steel but they are still fragile.

Full ceramic bearings do exist but they aren’t suitable for skateboarding. They can’t handle impacts very well and will fracture, never go full ceramic.

Ceramic skate bearings are steel bearings with a number of ceramic balls that have less friction. The ceramic balls are made from silicon nitride which is 60% lighter than steel and also harder.

Here’s also where the first problem surfaces. If the ceramic balls are harder than the steel races, they will eat into the steel components over time.

Ceramics Are a Ripp Off

The expensive ones at least. Here’s a quote from a bearing company I spoke to a while ago:

Bones are a great example of a ripoff.They use lightweight ceramic balls to keep their shipping costs down.  We use ceramic balls that are 26% harder but they’re no lighter than steel so no good for a big corporate like Bones has become.They also use stainless races and we all know stainless gets surface rust so they’ll slow down plenty quick.We use automotive coating on our races which is incredibly hard and means zero corrosion.Another thing that p*sees me off about Bones is the lightweight bearings they use have a different expansion rate than steel – so they get slower in certain temperature conditions – this is why they won’t use ABEC ratings and use “skate rated” instead – basically they have to manufacture looser bearings to compensate.Not only is our ceramic harder, it has virtually the same expansion rate as steel so we can spec ABEC-11 balls.

David (last name redacted)

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Bearings

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of ceramic skateboard bearings. Fortunately, the cons greatly outnumber the pros, meaning you can keep your money in your wallet and spend it on something more useful.

Pros of Ceramic skateboard bearings:

  • They seem perform a bit longer compared to standard bearings (only slightly).
  • They require less maintenance.
  • They seem to perform better when it’s freezing compared to steel bearings*.
  • You can brag about your expensive bearings to your peers.

* I received an email from Denis who had a very interesting take on ceramics:

I find that ceramics roll much better when frozen compared to steel bearings but once everything rolls and the bearings start to heat up, the difference disappears. But then again, I only skated that one time at -15C to see how ceramics roll when freezing.


That’s it, these are the only benefits of ceramic bearings now let’s look at the cons:

Cons Of Ceramic Bearings:

  • They are too expensive.
  • They aren’t any faster under normal circumstances.
  • Decent regular skateboard bearings cost 80% less.
  • They rust just like any other bearing.
  • They still require lube and maintenance.
  • They aren’t any stronger.

Ceramic Skateboard Aren’t Faster

Despite having lower friction because of the ceramic balls, ceramic skateboard bearings aren’t faster compared to basic quality bearings. Bearings are always fast when they are brand new. In the end there is no difference in speed between decent skateboard bearings and ceramic bearings.

Ceramic Skateboard Bearings Don’t Last Longer

Ceramic skateboard bearings can last over 5 years when properly maintained according to comments on Reddit. If they get wet and dirty they won’t last longer than 1 year, just like regular bearings. Compared to a set of Bronson G2’s, ceramic bearings perform slightly better over time and require less cleaning.

This is purely anecdotal though and honestly it will take a long time before I can give a final answer. We’ve been just riding them for a relatively short time (8 months). I’ll update this blog once I know more.

The only thing I can tell you is that one of my local skaters has been riding them for a while and they now start to rust and squeak. I specifically asked him to ride in the worst conditions possible, so let’s see what happens.

Ceramic Skate Bearings Need Lubrication

Bones Ceramics bearings

Ceramic skateboard bearings need lubrication, only full ceramic bearings can run completely dry. There is still friction between the ceramic balls and the steel components which requires silicon lube. Ceramic bearings aren’t ‘self lubricatiing’, the ceramic balls can still chew through the steel races due to friction.

You’ll notice when unpacking Bones Ceramics and even more so Bronson Speed Ceramics, that they’re super greasy. Neither companies produce full ceramic bearings.

If you live near the coast, the salty air does erode them much faster than usual. Skating on wet, dusty or muddy streets also will make them wear much faster.


Over here you pay 120 Euros for 8 Bones ceramics, and you don’t even get spacers and washers included. If you really have to, consider Bronson Ceramics which are just as good and way cheaper. They come with spacers, washers. and a cleaning unit (no lube included).

Stick with standard bearings, or slightly more expensive bearings that last a little longer. Forget about ceramics, don’t fall for the hype.

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Ruben Vee

I love skateboarding but my age is catching up. I decided to use my experience to skate less and write more. 20 years of skateboarding allows me to offer original and unique insights for many styles of skateboarding.