Skateboards, penny boards, and longboards all have unique features and are designed for different purposes. This article will discuss the differences between a penny board, a skateboard, and a longboard.

Penny Board vs Skateboard vs Longboard: Differences Explained

If you’re thinking about getting into the sport of skateboarding or using a skateboard to commute to school or work, you’ll quickly realize that not all skateboards are the same shape, size, or style.

Learning more about each can help you pick the board that works for you.

Length and Width

The biggest difference between skateboards, penny boards, and longboards is their size.

person standing on a skateboard

Skateboards measure between 28 and 32 inches long from the nose to the tail. They’re usually between 7.5 and 8.25 inches wide.

woman holding a longboard behind her back

Longboards are, as their name suggests, longer, and measure between 33 and 59 inches from nose to tail. They’re usually between 9 and 10 inches wide at the widest point.


pink penny board on concrete

Penny boards are 22 inches long and about 5.9 inches wide at the widest spot. The exact width of each board can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer.

Material

Most skateboards and longboards are made of plywood. The wood, which can be bamboo, maple, oak, birch, or nearly any other variety, is applied in layers. Most skateboards and longboards feature between two and 11 layers.

Some skateboards and longboards are made of fiberglass, or fiberglass is paired with wood for a stronger, more durable board. Sometimes a combination of different types of wood is used to combine the strength and durability benefits of each variety.

Penny boards are most commonly made of plastic that has been molded into a waffle pattern.

Weight

Skateboards tend to weigh between 7 and 11 pounds, depending on their size, what they’re made of, and the brand. Because they’re longer and wider, longboards weigh more. They can weigh between 8 and 11 pounds, but most are closer to 11 pounds.

Because they’re made of a lighter material and are much smaller in size, penny boards usually only weigh between 5 and 6 pounds.

Shape

Skateboards are shaped somewhat like a popsicle stick, and standard skateboards are often referred to as popsicle boards. These boards are the same width from the nose to the tail. The nose and tail are both rounded.

Longboards narrow at the nose and tail, and the tail is much narrower and longer than the nose. The widest part of the board is located just after the front wheels and runs to the middle of the board.

Penny boards are shaped more like longboards. Like longboards, their nose and tail are more narrow and elongated than those of a skateboard. The tail of a penny board is usually squared off, however, and doesn’t taper as much as the tail on a longboard.

Penny board vs Skateboard vs Longboard – Differences table

Penny BoardSkateboardLongboard
Size: 22″ x 5.9″Size: 28″-32″ x 7.5″ x 8.25″Size: 33″-59″ x 9″-10″
PlasticPlywood, fiberglassPlywood
5-6 pounds7-11 pounds8-11 pounds
Narrow with square tailSame width nose to tailNarrow width nose and tail
Wheels= 2.323″ diameterWheels= 1.92″- 2.95″ diameterWheels= 2.717″ diameter
No grip tapeUse grip tapeUse grip tape
Use: CommutingUse: Performing tricksUse: Riding on streets
Less durableMore durableMore durable
More difficult to balance onEasiest to learn onEasier to balance on

Wheel Size

On skateboards, longboards, and penny boards, the wheelbases are often called trucks. The trucks on a skateboard are more narrow than the board itself, and the wheels are relatively small.

Longboards and penny boards feature wider trucks, so the wheels stick out past the width of the board. The wheels are also much larger.

These bigger wheels provide more speed, but it can take more time to accelerate than with small wheels. These larger wheels also make wide turns more of a necessity. Smaller wheels can make sharper turns.

The diameter of the wheels is different for each board. Penny board wheels have a diameter of 2.323 inches. Skateboard wheels have a diameter of 1.92 – 2.95 inches. Longboards have a diameter of 2.717″.

Grip

The tops of skateboards and longboards, where the feet rest, are covered in grip tape. Grip tape is basically sandpaper that has an adhesive backing and can be applied to any surface.

Grip tape keeps shoes from sliding around on the board, which is essential if you want to perform tricks or make sharp turns.

Penny boards don’t have any grip tape. Instead, the waffle patterning of the plastic provides all the necessary traction.

girl riding a skateboard in a park

Purpose

Traditional skateboards can be used for getting from place to place, but they were mainly designed for performing tricks, and they’re still mostly used for this purpose.

The even shape of the board, medium length, and medium weight provide just the right amount of balance for tricks. The smaller wheels help riders make sharp, precise turns and movements, and the board’s grip tape top offers plenty of traction.

Longboards were mainly designed for riding on streets. They can be used for tricks, but their larger size makes them cumbersome in skate parks. People riding a longboard often think of it as similar to surfing, and the board’s length and shape do create a wave-like ride.

Penny boards were specifically designed for commuting. They’re small and lightweight, so they’re easy to carry when you reach your destination, and it’s simple to stow them out of the way.

They’re also speedy, and they generally cost less than skateboards or longboards. In addition, these boards are easier to transport because they don’t have any grip tape.

Grip tape can scratch any surfaces it rubs up against, including skin. Penny boards, however, can’t really be used for performing any tricks.

girl holding a penny board

Durability

Skateboards and longboards are designed to be durable. If a quality skateboard or longboard is well taken care of, it can last for many years, but it will require some upkeep.

These boards were designed to be ridden often, and they were made to stand up to the wear and tear of flips, kicks, falls, and high speeds.

Penny boards aren’t generally as durable as longboards or skateboards. However, they are waterproof. The wood of a skateboard or longboard, on the other hand, can warp when exposed to water or prolonged direct sunlight.

Ease of Learning

Longboards and skateboards are the easiest boards for learning to ride. The larger size of a longboard, plus the broader wheelbase, provides better balance, making the board feel more comfortable for inexperienced riders.

If you want to learn any tricks, however, it’s best to start with a skateboard. Tricks are much harder to perform on a longboard. If you learn to ride on a skateboard, though, it’s relatively easy to make the transition to a longboard or a penny board.

Because they’re smaller, penny boards are a bit harder to balance on. The flexibility of the plastic is also harder to balance on and control. Most penny board riders have a good deal of experience on skateboards and want to use a penny board to get around town quickly.

man holding a longboard behind his back

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