Electric Skateboard Motor Buying Guide

Electric Skateboard Motor Buying Guide

Any electric skateboard build can't be done without a motor, and in the different scenarios you consider using you need different motors, I'll be covering what you need to know about motors in the article as well as recommending what kind of motor you should choose to help you find the right one for you.

Hub motor

Advantages of hub motor:

  • It's so quiet that you can barely hear anything if you don't listen carefully.
  • No maintenance is required because the motor is inside the wheel, so you don't have to worry about belts wearing out or getting stuck on rocks, etc.
  • The hub motor has no resistance when it is out of power and can be kicked to the destination like an ordinary skateboard.

Disadvantages of hub motors

  • Compatibility is weak; fewer types of replaceable tires and pneumatic wheels are also excluded.
  • It is prone to failure because the motor is inside the wheel, equivalent to the motor being wrapped in the tire skin and touching the ground. Failure is more likely to occur after a long period of vibration or impact.
  • Brakes are slow to react, and when you're driving fast, it usually takes a while for the brakes to stop.
  • The acceleration response is slow, and the acceleration of the hub motor is not asquick as that of the belt drive motor or the direct drive motor.

Summary: Hub motors are more suitable for beginners because they do not require any maintenance and accelerate gently, making them the best choice for novices on electric skateboards.


Belt drive motor

Advantages of Belt Drive Motors

  • The torque is large,and the belt drive motor is more powerful and can support climbing higher slopes.
  • Strong compatibility, compatible with almost all skateboard wheels.
  • The response speed is fast, there is almost no delay in acceleration and deceleration, and you can react quickly when riding.

Disadvantages of Belt Drive Motors

  • Frequent maintenance is required, and since the motor is exposed, the belt needs to be checked regularly and pebbles removed.

Summary: Summary: Belt drive motors are suitable for people at all stages. You can buy any configuration you need according to your requirements. This is the most popular set of driving methods, but the price of belt drive electric skateboards is usually relatively higher than that of hub motor drive electric skateboards.


Direct drive motor

Advantages of direct drive motors

  • Less noisy, not as quiet as a hub motor, but still virtually silent.
  • With high torque, the motor directly drives the wheelswith strong power, reducing transmission losses.
  • No maintenance is required as the motor drives the wheels directly with no belts or extra gears, so no maintenance inspections are required.

Disadvantages of direct drive

  • It is prone to failure. Since the motor is close to the ground, it is easy to damage the motor due to collisions with gravel or similar speed bumps on the road.

summarize: Suitable for off-roading or all-terrain, inflatable wheels are the best choice due to their low ground clearance.


Gear drive

Advantages of gear transmission

  • High torque, providing higher torque compared to belt drive motors.
  • Low maintenance, enclosed drive system reduces maintenance requirements.

Disadvantages of gear transmission

  • High cost, consisting of precision components and high material requirements, resulting in high manufacturing costs.


Power your motor

No matter what type of motor you have, you'll need an ESC to power it. The ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) is the brain of the electric skateboard. It reads the signal from the remote, gets power from the battery, and applies it to the motor. For electric skateboards, there are generally two types of common ESC.


Not programmable

This ESC has preprogrammed onboard data that tells your motor how it should operate. These devices require no programming, are 100% plug-and-play, and often come with a remote control. These are most commonly found on eBay and Amazon. Before matching the battery and motor, you must know what the maximum voltage these types of ESCs can withstand is. Otherwise, a short circuit or even a fire may occur!


The ESC is fully programmable when connected to your phone or laptop. One of the most popular is VESC (Vedder Electronic Speed Control), named after robotics engineer Benjamin Vedder, who developed an open-source software program for customizing various electronic motors. This software application allows you to dial in and program the ESC easily. The VESC is more expensive due to its programmable nature, but it is by far the most stable ESC you can buy. You can program battery type and motor type directly in the ESC, so one ESC can manage many different motor types and handle many different voltages.

Battery selection

The battery is what keeps the engine running. Many websites offer batteries, but how do you know which ones to invest in? Ah, well, it comes back to what you're going to do with your skateboard.


Series (S) and Parallel (P) (e.g. 10s1p, 12s2p) - are configurations of how battery cells are connected.

I follow these general rules of thumb:

Level 6: 15 - 20 mph, short commutes, moderate speeds on flat terrain.

AA Battery: 20 - 25 mph at medium to high speed, decent range, not too difficult for ESC.

12 Batteries: Best Overall Speced 25 - 30+mph, medium to high range. It might be too much for some non-programmable ESCs or incorrect VESCs.

What about P (parallel)? I've noticed that parallel batteries tend to have better ratings in that range. Since you can mix the two, you can have any of the above and the following.

  • 2p battery: approx. 10-12 mile range
  • 3p battery: approx. 12-15 mile range
  • 4p Battery: approx. 15-20 mile range

These are general numbers. There are many other variables to consider. I just want to give you a general rule of thumb to help you plan your build.

wheel selection

Well, we can break it down like this:

If you plan to spend most, if not all, of your time in urban environments and the only trails you see occasionally hit the grass to avoid dog poop or angry joggers, you'll want to ride polyurethane street wheels Or smaller AT wheels with street tires. Both will give you a real thrill, and the smaller AT wheels are safer for new riders. If you're going to invade the local BMX track and jump doubles or tear up the local forest trails, big, gnarly AT wheels are the only way to go.


Motor mount

Mount and truck combinations are best as they are most likely designed to be used together and will be sturdier by design. If the mounting brand you choose to use provides mounting brackets, look for mounting brackets. Belt drive motors generally come in 50 mm and 63 mm. Your motor mount will fit one of these, depending on the first number in the motor size. Before purchasing a motor mount, make sure you know what kind of motor you purchase. Things to pay attention to when purchasing a motor bracket.

Pulleys and belts:

Remember, these are DIY builds, so there is always an area that gets little attention but can support the entire build. Enter the drive belt. Finding the right size belt can take weeks. Whenever you're shopping for a pulley set online and you're worried about whether the included belt will fit your setup, you can search for a belt calculator to help you!


Learn motor vocabulary

Model size (4 digits): The 4-digit number of the motor indicates its size. For example, a motor on a 6384 motor has a diameter of 63 mm and a length of 84 mm.

Kv Rating (RPM/Volt): The Kv rating of a brushless motor is the ratio of the motor's no-load speed to the peak voltage on the wire connected to the coil. Knowing the Kv rating of a motor will help you determine how fast the motor will rotate when a given voltage is applied to it. Tip: The lower the Kv rating, the higher the torque. The higher the Kv level, the higher the speed. Good intermediate ground Kv 190Kv.

Maximum Power (Watts): Watt Hours (Wh = Ah * Maximum Voltage) = Battery Capacity. The amount of power a battery can generate in one hour. Watt-hours are the total battery capacity and are a better indicator of range. The general rule of thumb is Wh/10 km = driving range.

Maximum current (amps): The amount of current a battery can provide. This affects top speed.

Continuous discharge current t = the number of amperes the battery can continuously supply without overheating. Most electric skateboards require the battery to last at least 30A.

Amp hours The amount of electricity a battery holds. This affects range. (The number of amperes that the battery can output after being fully discharged in one hour, that is, amperes/hour) 1000mAH = 1Ah.

Maximum Voltage (V): The torque provided by the plate. It also improves the efficiency of the battery, thereby increasing range. Industry standard = 36 V. If the voltage is too low, the board won't have enough torque. If the voltage is too high, the motor/EMS won't be able to handle it.

Maximum Torque (Nm): Torque is simply known as torsional force or the force that produces rotational motion or rotational force.

Motor Resistance (Ohms):  Ohms are defined as the resistance produced between two points of a conductor when a constant potential difference of 1 volt is applied across those points. The conductor has a current of 1 amp, and the conductor does not have any potential.

Sensorless and Sensored Motors: Sensored motors allow the ESC to detect the motor's position at all times, allowing for smoother starts. Sensorless motors, on the other hand, are often unstable when starting from a standstill and often require a bit of cranking to start smoothly.

Shaft diameter: The diameter of the output shaft of the brushless motor. Typical electric skateboards come in two axle sizes: 8mm and 10mm. Most electric skateboards use 8mm, while 10mm is usually reserved for larger, more aggressive all-terrain electric skateboards. 

Reading next

Mini electric skateboards, electric skateboards, fastest electric skateboards
Electric Skateboard Wheels Guide

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