Which skate rails are best?
Perfect for when you can’t make it to the skate park or don’t have any decent street skating spots nearby, skate rails provide a portable obstacle for practicing slides and grinds. Skate rails are also known as flat bars, because they sit flat on the ground rather than at an angle like the handrails that accompany a stair set.
If you’re looking for a quality skate rail, the FreshPark Professional BMX and Skateboarding Grind Rail is a great choice, thanks to its durability, stability and length.
What to know before you buy a skate rail
Length and height
The length of a skate rail will determine how long you can grind or slide. When you’re just starting out with these types of tricks, you probably won’t get much distance, so the length of your skate rail isn’t all that important. But more experienced skaters will want a longer rail to work on their distances. Most buyers will ideally want skate rails between 6 and 8 feet long, but less expensive options can measure as little as 4 feet.
The height of a skate rail should be adjustable between roughly 9 and 14 inches. This allows riders to to practice grinding obstacles of different heights. Less experienced skaters will generally start with a lower height and work their way up.
Square vs. round rail
Should you buy a skate rail that’s round or square? Some tricks are tougher to perform on a square rail, such as feeble grinds and lipslides, but generally it’s easier to balance on and lock your trucks into a square rail. It’s harder to pull off most slides and grinds on a round rail, but if you learn them on a round rail, they’ll feel easy when you tackle them on a square rail at the skate park or on some squared-off obstacle while out and about. Conversely, if you learn all your tricks on a square rail, you might have trouble replicating them on round rails.
Buyers also might find some rails that are oval in shape, combining the increased stability of a square rail with the rounded edge that makes it easier to perform certain grinds and slides.
What to look for in a quality skate rail
Durability and stability
It goes without saying that you want a rail to feel stable when you skate it, but some are more durable and stable than others. Skate rails that weigh more generally have increased stability but are harder to carry around. The more often you intend to use your skate rail, the more durable it should be.
Ease of adjustability
The vast majority of skate rails are height-adjustable, but it shouldn’t feel like a huge chore to switch between heights. Ideally, a skate rail should have a peg or pin system that lets you adjust the height within seconds — if tools are required, look for a different model.
If you don’t have a suitable place to store your skate rail when you’re not using it, look for a fully weatherproof model that can stand up to rain and frost if left outdoors year-round.
How much you can expect to spend on a skate rail
The majority of full-size skate rails cost between $100-$200, though some smaller-length rails can be gotten for less.
Skate rail FAQ
What do you need to skate a rail?
A. You don’t need much to skate a rail — just your board. Since you’ll need to ollie into any grinds and slides you perform on a rail, you’re best off with a standard full-size skateboard. These kinds of tricks are tough to near-impossible on penny boards, cruisers and longboards. If you’re new to skating rails, it’s a good idea to wear pads and a helmet while you’re getting the hang of it, to avoid serious injuries if you fall.
Do you have to assemble a skate rail?
A. Most skate rails don’t arrive fully assembled, so you’ll need to put them together yourself. Luckily, assembly is generally extremely straightforward — one just needs to attach the rail part to the legs. Usually, assembly won’t even require any tools.
What’s the best skate rail to buy?
Top skate rail
What you need to know: This 6-foot-long model is a durable skate rail that’s great for anyone who wants a rail that can take plenty of wear and tear.
What you’ll love: The oval shape combines the best advantages of both round and square rails. It weighs 24 pounds, so it feels stable no matter how hard you skate. And it features an interlocking design that allows users to fit two or more rails together for more room to grind.
What you should consider: The paint will chip off over time, and the end caps don’t stay in place well.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top skate rail for the money
What you need to know: This affordable skate rail is lightweight for easy portability, though it doesn’t feel as stable as heavier options.
What you’ll love: It’s simple to adjust this rail between three heights. It measures 4.5 feet long, so it’s fairly easy to transport, and is made from durable powder-coated steel.
What you should consider: Buyers will receive either a blue or black rail, but don’t get a choice.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Offering a wide square rail that’s easy to balance on, this skate rail is great for skaters new to slides and grinds.
What you’ll love: Measuring 6 feet long, this model allows skaters to slide a good distance while perfecting their tricks. It’s height-adjustable between 10 and 13 inches and weighs in at 28 pounds, giving it a nicely stable feel.
What you should consider: It’s too large and heavy to be easily portable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.