All of the nuts and bolts on your skateboard use standard fittings, so you could always create a toolkit out of normal tools for your board, however, using one of the best skate tools on our list below will make the job much easier.
Using standard tools you have around the house might seem like a good idea, but they take up more space and are therefore more hassle to take with you when you go skating.
While a skate tool may seem like an unnecessary expense, they are reasonably priced and If you only have one tool for the job, you’ll always remember to pick it up before you head out for a skate.
What is a skate tool?
For those of you who aren’t sure what a skate tool is, it is an essential piece of kit for any skater. It is basically a toolkit for your skateboard that has a tool for every size of bolt on your board and an Allen key and Philip’s head screwdriver.
This means that you can tighten every bolt on your board at home, at the skate park or in the streets.
Skate tools don’t take up a lot of space in your bag, and they are extremely handy! You never want to get caught short when you have wobbly trucks!
Do skate tools have all the tools a skateboarder needs?
Pretty much, yes.
A skate tool has sockets for your wheel bolts, the kingpin bolts and the bolts that fix your trucks to your board.
They also have a separate Allen-key and screwdriver so you can tighten up your truck bolts.
When we get to our list of skate tools, you’ll notice that some come with more stuff than this, but basic tools, come with everything mentioned here.
The only thing that your skate tool cannot do is help you grip your board as Skate tools don’t have a knife on them, for good reason!
Skate tools are designed so that you can put them in your bag and take them with you everywhere; knives shouldn’t be taken with you to the skate spot.
How tight should my skateboard bolts be?
Most of these decisions will be subjective, but we’ll let you know what our preference is for each component below;
These are the bolts that hold your trucks to your board, also called hardware. We have a whole article about the best skateboard hardware so make sure you check that out too.
Hardware needs to be tight, however, don’t tighten up your hardware too tight! On a new board, you want your trucks to be secure, but remember that the wood will move slightly as the board wears in. This means that you’ll need to tighten the bolts again a few skates after you set up your board.
So, make sure your truck bolts are tight, but not tight enough that you are putting too much stress on the board, otherwise your get pressure cracks. Now, pressure cracks may not do too much structural damage, but they are best to be avoided.
Ah, wheel bolts, the most debated of all the bolts.
In our opinion, wheel bolts should be tightened until there is just a little movement in the wheels. You should be able to hear a little movement when you move the wheel from side to side.
We also keep the washers on the trucks too. These little washers come with the trucks and are intended to go either side of the wheel. We have no idea what they do and really don’t mind if we lose them, but when we set up new trucks and wheels, we keep them, others don’t, that’s up to you.
Kingpin bolts are the bolts on your trucks that dictate how loose or tight your trucks are.
These bolts differ from the other ones because they should be as tight or loose as you feel comfortable with.
Some people like very tight trucks, while others like loose trucks. The choice is yours.
We recommend experimenting with your trucks to find the best position for you.
When you buy new trucks, they come very loose. When you first ride your new trucks, you may want to keep your skate tool in your pocket and adjust them as you go. You’ll be able to find the sweet spot for your trucks pretty quickly, but this spot can change as your trucks wear in.
A selection of the best skate tools
So, we’ve discussed how tight all your trucks bolts should be, but what are the best tools for the job?
Well, we’re glad you asked! Here are the best tools we have used on our boards, some are standard skate tools, others have some really helpful bits included in them as well as the standard stuff!
Spitfire T3 Skate Tool
This Spitfire skate tool is a basic tool with all of the stuff you need to maintain the tightness of your skateboard’s bolts. The reason we choose this skate tool over another basic tool is that it is made from solid stainless steel. This means that it’s robust and will probably last you most of your skating life. For our money, this the best basic skate tool in the world. It is lightweight, perfect for your skate bag and will last you years!
Silver Spectrum Skate Tool
This Silver skate tool has all of the sockets you need to keep all of your skateboard’s bolts tight. The wheel and kingpin bolts are very simple, but the truck bolt socket is all fancy and stuff. This socket is on a racket, so it speeds up taking your truck bolts off or tightening them up. This makes swapping boards really quick which is awesome! This tool also speeds up gripping your board too. The file on top of the tool can be used to file the edge of your board to find the line of the board ready for cutting. However, in a pinch, you can actually just keep filing with the file on this tool and actually use it to grip your board by itself, it will just take a while!
Independent Skate Tool
This is one the best skate tool ever made, in our opinion. You don’t get the racket system with this one, all of the sockets are basic, but it is the addition of other tools that make this the best skate tool. With this tool, you get a thread cutter for your truck bolts. This can be used with old trucks when the bolts no longer go on nicely. This can save you from the horrible situation of taking your old wheels off to replace them with new ones only to find that your trucks are so knackered that you can’t get your bolts on anymore. This tool also comes with a bearing press and remover. So, you don’t need to fight with your trucks to get your bearings off, this tool can do it for you, with a bit of elbow grease. This tool is very well made, it will last you years and save your butt in so many situations!
So, these are our favorite skate tools! All of them are great; it just depends on your preferred method of putting together your board and maintaining it.
Now, don’t forget to check out our other articles about skateboard stuff and all our articles about skate tricks! We have the best skate stuff in the world on here and some handy tips to help you land tricks too.