Our Rating Methodology
No system is perfect, but we have given our rating system a lot of thought. Our goal was to try to eliminate as much bias as possible. We do not test every board and even if we did, it would still be biased due to the fact that every skateboarder has a different system of evaluation. Some of us are expert carvers, others are novices. Some of us prefer fast acceleration, and others prefer slow acceleration. Some prefer shortboards, others prefer longboards, and along with the various board lengths and widths, some like it more flexible than others, some like bamboo, some like carbon fiber, most like convex, a few like concave, etc... Some want to use the board for commuting, others prefer all-terrain. I think you get the picture. Anyhow, the main reason why people look for ratings is so they can be empowered to make smart purchase decisions. Within any rating system though, it is important to understand the methodology to at least provide some confidence that numbers are not being arbitrarily assigned :-). All kidding aside, we do understand the electric skateboard market and we believe our methodology (although not perfect) is sufficiently sound to be trusted. For each of the over 100 skateboard products we review, we record over 30 columns of data in an excel spreadsheet. Using the data gathered, we then group them into five categories (performance, design, quality, value, and service) and assign a score in each category to arrive at our overall rating. Annually, we revisit each category for each of our past reviews especially in the performance (features get better every year), quality, value, and service categories in order to keep the ratings consistent with one another among the boards reviewed on this site. Note that we do not list all of the skateboards reviewed, but only the ones we feel have sufficient merit to be considered as a potential board worth owning.
Most buyers look at the board’s top range and top speed, but these should NOT be the only determinants. When evaluating performance, we also take into account the board’s motor type (belt, hub), number of motors (1, 2 or 4), motor’s power (W), battery capacity (Wh), maximum slope capability (% incline), and weight. Although these are stated numbers, we also sample user reviews to determine if the claimed numbers are realistic.
There are four areas which determine the design score:
- The appearance, feel, and dimensions of the board along with any external features such as headlights. Questions we ask include: Is the board easy to carry? How are the grips on the surface of the board?
- The drivetrain (motor and related mechanics parts (wheels, trucks, bearings)). Does the system have regenerative braking (charges battery when braking - this is not always a good thing since the brakes will not operate when the battery is full).
- The Lithium battery pack – Is it replaceable and what are the charge time from empty to full, the cell configuration, the discharge curve, and placement location underneath the board)? Last but not least, how safe is the battery?
- The control features which for most boards means the remote controller. Questions we ask include: How well the remote integrates with the drivetrain, battery system, and mobile app (if applicable). Is the control intuitive or difficult to manage?
Measuring quality is not an exact science. We take into account the history of the manufacturer in producing quality boards and using quality parts. We are well aware though that over time, manufacturers want to cut cost by cheapening the parts. We examine the quality of the board's components and sample reviews from users who have stress tested the board over time. Objectively, we record the board’s warranty period, the maximum load claimed by the manufacturer, and note any processes used to either weatherproof (able to withstood light rain and puddles - IP65) or waterproof (able to withstand being submerged in water - IP68) the exterior components of the board.
Once we have determined the performance, design, and quality ratings, we then determine a value rating for the board based on its price. Unless we make as much money as Warren Buffet, most of our purchases are based on value. Most buyer's goals are to maximize value - to spend as little as possible, while maximizing the board’s performance, design, and quality.
To determine the service rating, we segmented every manufacturer with an initial score in terms of the quality of post-sale customer support:
- Excellent – 9.0
- Good – 7.0
- Average – 5.0
- Poor – 3.0
- None – 1.0
We then adjust upwards or downwards depending on the reviews of users who have had issues and have commented on the responsiveness of the manufacturer in taking corrective action.