Skateboarding has seen a huge resurgence in popularity in recent years. Small, portable cruiser boards like the penny board and nickel board have become a common sight thanks to their convenience and maneuverability.

But what’s the difference between these two mini cruiser boards, and which one is right for you?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the main differences between the penny board and nickel board come down to size, shape, materials, and ride feel. The penny board is smaller and more nimble, while the nickel is larger and more stable.

Penny boards are plastic while nickels have a wood deck. Ultimately the choice comes down to personal preference and what kind of riding you plan to do.

The History and Origins of Penny Boards and Nickel Boards

When and why the original penny board was created

The original penny board, also known as a mini cruiser, was created in the mid-1970s by a skateboard enthusiast named Ben Mackay. He wanted to design a compact and lightweight skateboard that would be easy to carry around and maneuver in tight spaces.

Inspired by the plastic skateboards popular in the 1960s, Mackay created a smaller version using high-quality plastic materials.

Penny boards gained popularity in the 2000s when skateboarding culture experienced a resurgence. Their small size and vibrant colors made them a hit among urban commuters and college students. The name “penny board” comes from the fact that the original boards were made from a plastic material similar to the texture and color of a British penny coin.

Today, penny boards are known for their durability, flexibility, and smooth rides. They are often used for cruising, commuting, and performing tricks in skate parks. With their compact size, they are perfect for riders who value portability and convenience.

The advent of the nickel board as a larger alternative

As the popularity of penny boards grew, riders began to demand a larger option that offered more stability and a smoother ride. In response, the nickel board was introduced as a larger alternative to the original penny board.

The nickel board shares the same design principles as the penny board but is slightly longer and wider. This additional size provides more stability and control, making it a popular choice for riders who prefer a more relaxed cruising experience.

The nickel board’s increased length also allows for a larger foot platform, making it more comfortable for riders with bigger feet. Additionally, the nickel board’s longer wheelbase provides a smoother ride and better maneuverability, especially at higher speeds.

Both penny boards and nickel boards have their advantages and are suited to different riding styles and preferences. While the penny board is known for its compact size and agility, the nickel board offers more stability and a more relaxed riding experience.

If you’re looking for a mini cruiser, consider factors such as your riding style, preferred terrain, and personal preferences. Experimenting with both penny and nickel boards can help you determine which one suits you best.

Size and Dimensions: Penny vs Nickel

Wheelbase, length, and width comparisons

When it comes to choosing between a Penny board and a Nickel board, one of the key factors to consider is their size and dimensions. The Penny board measures at 22 inches in length, while the Nickel board is slightly larger at 27 inches.

This difference in length may seem minimal, but it can have a significant impact on your riding experience.

The wheelbase, which is the distance between the inner edges of the wheels, also differs between the two boards. The Penny board typically has a wheelbase of around 12 inches, while the Nickel board has a slightly longer wheelbase of about 15 inches.

This variation affects how the boards handle and maneuver, making each suitable for different riding styles and preferences.

Additionally, the width of the Penny board is usually around 6 inches, whereas the Nickel board is wider, measuring around 7.5 inches. This difference in width can provide more stability and control for riders, especially when cruising at higher speeds or tackling rougher terrains.

It’s important to consider your individual preferences and riding style when choosing between a Penny board and a Nickel board. If you prefer a compact and nimble board for quick turns and tricks, the Penny board might be the better option for you.

On the other hand, if you prioritize stability and control, particularly for longer rides, the Nickel board’s larger size may be more suitable.

Weight differences between the two boards

Another factor to take into account when deciding between a Penny board and a Nickel board is their weight. The Penny board is known for its lightweight construction, typically weighing around 4 to 5 pounds.

This lightweight design makes it easy to carry around and maneuver, perfect for commuters or riders who frequently need to transport their board.

On the other hand, the Nickel board is slightly heavier, weighing around 6 to 7 pounds. While it may not seem like a significant difference, the extra weight can be noticeable, especially during longer rides or when carrying the board for extended periods.

However, the added weight also contributes to the Nickel board’s stability and durability, allowing it to handle rougher surfaces and provide a smoother ride.

Ultimately, the choice between a Penny board and a Nickel board depends on your personal preferences and intended use. Consider factors such as size, dimensions, and weight to determine which board best suits your riding style and needs.

The Shape and Construction of Each Board

Penny’s plastic deck vs nickel’s wooden deck

When it comes to the shape and construction of mini cruisers, the Penny board and the Nickel board have distinct differences. One of the main differences lies in the material used for their decks. The Penny board features a plastic deck, which is known for its durability and flexibility.

This makes it a great option for riders who enjoy a smooth and responsive ride. On the other hand, the Nickel board boasts a wooden deck, providing a more traditional skateboard feel. The wooden deck offers a sturdier and more stable platform, making it ideal for riders who prefer a solid and reliable board.

Grip tape, trucks, and wheels

Another aspect to consider when comparing Penny and Nickel boards is the grip tape, trucks, and wheels. Grip tape is the textured surface on top of the deck that provides traction for the rider’s feet. Both boards typically feature high-quality grip tape that ensures a secure grip during rides.

The trucks, which are the metal axles that hold the wheels, are designed to provide stability and maneuverability. Both Penny and Nickel boards come with well-built trucks that offer a smooth and controlled ride.

When it comes to the wheels, there are variations in size and material. Penny boards usually come with smaller and softer wheels, which provide a smoother ride over rough surfaces and make it easier to navigate tight turns.

The Nickel board, on the other hand, typically features larger and harder wheels, which are better suited for cruising at higher speeds and rolling over obstacles with ease.

Ride Quality and Performance

Stability, maneuverability, and ease of pushing

When it comes to ride quality and performance, both the Penny Board and Nickel Board have their own strengths.

The Penny Board is known for its compact size and lightweight design, making it highly maneuverable and easy to push. Its smaller deck size allows for quick turns and nimble movements, which can be great for navigating through crowded streets or tight spaces.

Additionally, the Penny Board’s narrow width provides a stable platform for riders, allowing them to maintain balance while cruising around.

On the other hand, the Nickel Board offers a wider deck, providing more stability for riders, especially for those who are just starting out or prefer a more relaxed riding experience. The wider platform allows for a more comfortable stance and easier weight distribution, making it easier to maintain balance and control.

Additionally, the Nickel Board’s larger wheels contribute to a smoother ride, absorbing bumps and cracks in the pavement more effectively.

It’s important to consider your own riding preferences and skill level when choosing between the Penny Board and Nickel Board. If you prioritize maneuverability and agility, the Penny Board may be a better choice.

However, if stability and ease of pushing are more important to you, the Nickel Board might be the right option.

Ability to handle various terrains and conditions

Both the Penny Board and Nickel Board are designed for cruising on smooth pavements and sidewalks. However, they may not perform as well on rougher terrains or uneven surfaces.

The Penny Board’s smaller wheels and compact size make it better suited for urban environments with smooth surfaces. It excels at navigating through crowded streets, weaving between pedestrians, and performing quick turns.

However, it may struggle on rough or bumpy terrains, as the smaller wheels may have a harder time absorbing shocks and vibrations.

On the other hand, the Nickel Board’s larger wheels and wider deck make it better equipped to handle various terrains and conditions. Its larger wheels provide better grip and stability, allowing for a smoother ride on rougher surfaces.

This makes the Nickel Board a good option for riders who want to explore different types of terrains or venture beyond the city streets.

It’s important to note that while the Nickel Board may have an edge in versatility, it might sacrifice some of the agility and maneuverability that the Penny Board offers. Ultimately, your choice will depend on your riding preferences and the type of terrain you plan to ride on.

Price and Value Comparison

Penny boards are generally cheaper than nickels

When it comes to price, penny boards definitely have the advantage over nickel boards. Penny boards are known for their affordability, making them a popular choice for those on a budget. These compact skateboards are typically priced lower than nickel boards, making them a great option for beginners or casual riders who don’t want to break the bank.

You get what you pay for in terms of quality and ride

While penny boards may be more budget-friendly, it’s important to consider the quality and ride you’re looking for. Nickel boards, on the other hand, tend to be a bit pricier but offer a superior riding experience.

With their larger size and wider deck, nickel boards provide more stability and comfort, especially for riders with larger feet.

When it comes to value, it’s important to weigh the cost against the benefits you’re seeking. If you prioritize affordability and portability, a penny board might be the right choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a smoother ride and enhanced performance, investing in a nickel board might be worth the extra cost.

Ultimately, the decision between a penny board and a nickel board will depend on your personal preferences and needs. It’s always a good idea to try both options if possible, to see which one suits you best.

Whether you go for the budget-friendly penny board or the premium nickel board, both can offer hours of fun and enjoyment on the streets or skate parks.

Which Board is Best for Different Riding Styles

Penny boards for cruising short distances

If you’re looking for a mini cruiser board that is perfect for cruising short distances, then a Penny board might be the best option for you. Penny boards are known for their small size, lightweight design, and maneuverability, making them great for quick trips around town or campus.

Their compact size also makes them easy to carry and store, allowing you to take them anywhere you go. Whether you’re commuting to work or school, running errands, or just cruising around for fun, a Penny board will provide you with a smooth and enjoyable ride.

According to a study conducted by Skateboard Science, Penny boards are specifically designed for cruising and are not recommended for tricks or high-speed riding. Their narrow width and plastic deck may not provide the stability and control needed for advanced maneuvers.

However, if you’re a beginner or simply enjoy a relaxed cruising experience, Penny boards are a fantastic choice.

Nickel boards for longer commutes and rougher rides

If you’re looking for a mini cruiser board that can handle longer commutes and rougher rides, then a Nickel board might be more suitable for you. Nickel boards are slightly larger and wider than Penny boards, providing a more stable and comfortable ride.

Their increased deck size also allows for better control and balance, making them a great option for riders looking to tackle longer distances or navigate uneven terrain.

According to a review by The Skater’s Journal, Nickel boards are designed to be versatile and can handle a variety of riding styles, including cruising, carving, and even some light tricks. Their larger wheels and wider trucks provide better stability, allowing riders to confidently tackle rougher surfaces such as cracked pavement or small bumps.

It’s important to note that while Nickel boards offer better performance for longer commutes and rougher rides, they may not be as compact and portable as Penny boards. If you’re looking for a board that you can easily carry around or store in a backpack, a Penny board might still be the better option.


In summary, penny boards and nickel boards both have their advantages and are great options for compact, portable cruising. Penny boards are best for quick, nimble riding over short distances in urban areas thanks to their small size and plastic deck.

Nickel boards offer more stability and a smoother ride for longer commutes and rougher surfaces with their larger size and wooden construction. Choose the penny for ultimate portability and maneuverability or the nickel if you prioritize comfort and stability.

Either mini cruiser is a great choice for enjoying the fun of skateboarding anywhere you go.

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