How to Choose the Right Motor

How to Choose the Right Motor

Electric Skateboard Motor

Photo from Amazon

About Electric skateboard motors:

Your electric skateboard isn’t any different from an ordinary board if the motor isn’t capable. The core of your electric skateboard is the electric motor. It gives your board the capability to perform well in extreme environments. it also plays a big role in handling and board stability. Motor stats, type, and wattage are some of the factors you need to consider in choosing the right board or motor. The same also applies when you’re choosing boards available in the market. Don’t be afraid to research before investing first so you won’t regret your decision later. If you want to read more about electric skateboards, you can check out our off-road electric skateboard, all-terrain electric skateboard, and the top 10 fastest electric skateboard articles. Also, check out this brushless motor from Alomejor on Amazon and upgrade your electric skateboard today. Without waiting any longer, here is our guide on how to choose the right motor for your electric skateboard.  

Factors to consider when buying an electric skateboard or motor parts:

Power requirement:

Your board not only requires power from your motor to move but also your board’s weight. The heavier the board, the more power it’ll need for it to move. But at the same time, the higher the motor battery would also draw more power from the ESC, and other parts. You need to know the motor and battery’s wattage. Also, take note of the motor is a belt-drive or hub motor. Belt drive motors have more power going up hills and other terrains.  


Usually, the size would be an unimportant factor in deciding what kind of motor you want for your board. But in this case, size can also determine the type of motor that you’re using. This is so you know how it’ll fit in with the rest of the parts of the board. Saying this, hub motors may vary only slightly in size. Belt drive motors are more or less the same and out of the way of the board’s underside. You can go to the last part of our how to choose the right motor guide to see the different sizes of motors and pulleys.  


Hub VS Belt

Photo from Fabi’s video via YouTube

There are two main types of motors to distinguish between- hub and belt drive motors. Let’s discuss each of them by continuing to read our how to choose the right motor guide:  
Hub Motor:
As the name implies, hub motors are usually present inside the wheel/near the wheel itself. Because of their design, they’re able to take electrical input from the battery. It then directly rotates to give movement. These motors are usually directly attached to the trucks and inside the wheel in most cases. They deliver raw power from the battery directly to the wheel either from inside or outside.  
Belt drive motor:
A belt drive motor is the developed version of hub motors. It works using either a metallic or most commonly a rubber pulley. Belt drive motor mechanisms stand out and are visible from behind the board. They also serve an aesthetic purpose. They are inside metallic and plastic casings and tend to have sophisticated builds. It drives a board by taking the battery power and uses it to move the wheels of the board. It indirectly uses a pulley mechanism. This gives the belt drive mechanism better stability, handling, and control of the wheels and board’s movement power in motion. A belt drive motor may also in certain cases be able to deliver more power to the wheels, and be less prone to failures or other issues.  

Various Belt-drive motor pulley types:

These are some motor pulley parts that you can use for your electric skateboard. The first part of the name signifies the number of teeth on the wheel design. The third part of their naming states their width. Continue reading the entries below to find out how to choose the right motor to suit your needs.  

16T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley:

16T HTD5 12mm

Photo from Ollin Board Company

The 16T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley is a metallic double bore pulley for your belt drive motor. Here are its main specifications:
  • This motor is mainly steel to give more durability for the motor belt to attach to without damaging it.
  • It gives you a keyway slot of 3 mm by 3 mm to attach the wheel and has an 8 mm bore to give you space for attaching the wheels.
  • The 16T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley is 12 mm wide. This width is enough to handle large belts and wheel parts.
  • 16T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley has a total diameter of about 25.4 mm.

16T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley:

This is the wider version of the previous motor pulley. Its price starts at $16- $17. Here are its specifications:
  • The 16T HTD5 15mm motor pulley is also steel for long term durability.
  • The keyway slot measures 3 mm by 3 mm, and has the same 8 mm bore as in 16T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley.
  • 16T HTD5 15mm motor pulley has a 15 mm width to give you more space for your belt.
  • The flange diameter is the same and measures about 25.4 mm.

14T HTD5 12MM motor pulley:

The 14T HTD5 12mm motor pulley is available in several variants depending upon the number of teeth you want.
  • The 14T HTD5 12mm motor pulley is also a metallic component and is even different in terms of bore size. You can get it in either 8mm or 10mm.
  • This is also a metallic component made up of steel and varies in the number of teeth. It’s available from 12T and 20T variations.
  • Moreover, the 14T HTD5 12mm motor pulley is also available in different widths. It has 9, 12, and 15 mm variants. However, the 9 mm width variant doesn’t support 12 and 15T teeth variants.
  • The flange diameter for 14T HTD5 12mm motor pulley stays the same at 25.4 mm.

14T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley:

The 14T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley starts at $16 or $17, depending on the make.
  • 14T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley is steel and has a keyway slot of 3 mm by 3 mm.
  • This component has a double flange design like other motor pulleys.
  • 14T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley also has an 8 mm bore size.
  • The 14T HTD5 15mm motor pulley has a 15 mm width across the wheel cross-section, for the belt.

18T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley:

This 18T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley is wider. It also has 18 teeth on the wheel for a better grip. Here are the main specifications:
  • Solid steel construction for long term durability.
  • The 18T HTD5 15mm Motor Pulley also has a double flange design and an 8 mm bore size, with a keyway slot measuring 3mm by 3mm.
  • This motor pulley also measures about 15 mm in width, giving more space for the belt to clamp on to.

12T HTD5 9mm Motor Pulley:

Since this is a narrower version of the belt-drive, it is hard to come by. Nonetheless, here are its main specifications:
  • The 12T HTD5 9mm Motor Pulley has 12 teeth around its wheel circumference and made of steel.
  • The keyway slot measures about 3 mm by 3 mm.
  • The 12T HTD5 9mm Motor Pulley also has the standard 8 mm bore size for your wheel.
  •  Moreover, the 12T HTD5 9mm Motor Pulley also has a narrow 9 mm width.
  • You can also get 14T HTD5 9mm Motor Pulley with the same width, just varying teeth.

13T HTD5 20mm Motor Pulley:

This wider pulley offers you more traction and control. Keep in mind that this would need thicker belts.
  • The 13T HTD5 20mm Motor Pulley has 13 teeth engraved along the circumference and made of steel.
  • The keyway slot measures the same 3 mm by 3 mm and the bore size is the standard 8 mm across.
  • The main reason you want this motor pulley is for its wider width. It measures 20 mm across.

15T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley:

The 15T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley is in the medium width segment. It offers a decent grip and space for your belt. Here are its specifications:
  • As per the name, the 15T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley has 15 teeth around its circumference and made of steel.
  • It has the same 3 mm by 3 mm keyway slot as the other mainstream belt motor drive pulleys.
  • Moreover, the 15T HTD5 12mm Motor Pulley also has about 8 mm bore size and measures 12 mm across in width.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy a motor for my electric skateboard?
Usually, you can get additional/replacement motors from the site or shop you bought it from. They’re usually available in a package and can also come as part of the package you bought if you’re paying for a 2 in 1 option. The best case is to buy from shops and dedicated sellers online and your nearest hardware and hobby shops.
How much is the cost of a motor for my electric skateboard?
If you’re constructing a custom belt drive motor, the total cost can go above $90 or $100 minimum. Buying hub motors usually start at $20- 50, whereas, belt-drive motors cost thrice or twice as much as hub motors. So, a belt drive motor can start at $100-150 depending upon the model and make. Moreover, motor pulley and repair kits can cost you extra, and they also vary in price depending on the material, size, and power requirements.
What’s the best brand of a motor for my electric skateboard?
The best brand you can choose for your electric board is the same make as your board. This is because makers keep the performance and design in mind and compatible motors work best for your electric skateboard.
What are the different types of motors for an electric skateboard?
The main different motors that you can get are brushless direct powered hub motors and belt drive motors. The hub motors focus on more power as they run by directly converting electrical into kinetic energy. On the other hand, belt-drive motors run indirectly by bringing a motor pulley into play. Then it transfers kinetic energy to the wheel and axle.
Are motors waterproof?
No, hub motors or belt drive motors are usually not waterproof. You may see that your board is water-resistant to a certain certification. However, as moving parts, it is not possible to make motors to be water-resistant. Belt drive motors can have water-resistant parts, but this property deteriorates over time with wear and tear.
What is the main difference between hub and belt drive motors and which one should I choose?
The main difference between a hub and belt drive motor lies in the mechanism of energy transfer. Hub motors get direct electricity input and convert it to kinetic energy. Whereas belt-drive motors use a pulley motor to run smoothly and efficiently in rough and street environments. Where hub motors deliver more power, belt motors deliver control in your skateboard.
Where can I buy belt drive motors and accessories?
Belt drive motors are not usually available as standalone or generic parts.  They are available in the shop or e-store of the manufacturer of your electric skateboard. You can also get repair kits, casings, belts, and motor pulleys for your belt-drive motors from the same shop. Ideally, it is best to go for Amazon and in the shop for better guidance and seeing any other requirements that you must have.
Is brushless or brushed motor better for my electric skateboard?
Usually, brushless motors are more expensive, silent, and durable. It is also available in premium electric skateboards as a kit installation. But brushed motors are good for DIY projects. It is more affordable and is usually a hobbyist’s preference.