Roller Skating Rink

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A lot of our customers are confused about what an ABEC rating means. The following info is from an American bearing company that manufactures ABEC rated bearings and non-ABEC rated bearings.

What is ABEC?

ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineers' Committee. This committee works to determine the standards for bearings for the Anti-Friction Bearing Manufacturers Association (AFBMA).

The ABEC scale classifies different accuracy and tolerance ranges for bearings. The first column of this table lists the five ratings in the ABEC scale.

 ABEC Ratings

ISO Class


Class 0


Class 6


Class 5


Class 4


Class 2

The ABEC rating of a bearing is determined by the following (for a 608 size bearing):

  1. How close the bore is to 8mm in microns
  2. How close the outer diameter is to 22 in microns
  3. How close the width is to 7mm in microns
  4. The rotating accuracy in microns

The second column of the table lists the corresponding tolerance classes as defined by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. Both systems are widely used in the bearing industry but ABEC has been adopted by skate manufacturers.

Does ABEC affect the speed of your skates?
No. Not unless you are skating at 330 mph. That's based on a 608 bearing limiting speed of 32,000 rpm. Only in extremely high speed applications like ultra high speed motors and precision measuring instruments can bearings above ABEC 1 affect performance. Regardless of how fast you plan to go, speed is affected first and foremost by the choice of lubricant.

If we're going to talk about tolerances, the fit of your wheels and axles have a much greater effect on performance than ABEC rating. Wheels and axles for inline skates have extremely loose fits that allow you to press the bearings into the wheel by hand. This masks the benefits of a higher precision bearing by allowing it to slip on the axle or in the wheel. Slippage between the mating parts results in energy loss. Lost energy is lost speed.


What is it?

The two most common lubricants are grease and oil. Grease is basically oil with a thickener or soap. The thickener acts like a sponge to soak up the oil when not in use.

What does it do?

 Grease Oil
helps keep dirt out prevents material wear
can suspend contaminants requires frequent servicing
prevents material wear has low torque
requires little servicing does not last as long
increases torque
lasts a long time

From the above you can see that a greased bearing requires little servicing yet cannot run as fast as an oiled bearing. An oiled bearing is susceptible to dust and contamination so it needs to be serviced more often. As grease is thicker, it acts as a seal against dirt, but at the same time it can increase torque and slow down the bearing.

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