There has been a lot written about hub- vs. belt driven skateboards. I don´t want to bore you, let me just wrap up the “must-know”-stuff.
Get the wording straight
First of all: get the wording straight – both hub and belt driven skateboards rely on brushless electrical motors. Typically these motors are either directly part of the wheel (“hub”-driven) or placed underneath the skateboard deck with a belt that connects the motor to the wheels (“belt”-driven). There are some exceptions (hybrids) like “geared hub” or “direct drive” which I do not consider here for simplicity.
At the beginning, ALL electric skateboards were belt-driven. The first electric skateboards with hub motors entered the market in early 2016. Since then, hub-technology has advanced but still the belt-driven systems seem to be more mature.
If you consider buying an electric skateboard TODAY, I`d consider the following pros and cons of HUB-driven boards:
+ looks pretty much like a regular skateboard + not easily brakeable + less prone to wear out (critical parts are better covered) + often fully water resistant + skateable like a regular board when battery is empty + slightly higher efficiency esp. when it comes to braking
- rather young and therefore less perfect technology - typically slower acceleration (no gearing) - cannot easily change wheels for fun - tendency for a harder ride (simply missing some suspension from a full wheel) - prone to heating or other failures (motor slipping inside the wheel) - noise can be an issue
There are exceptions and the pros & cons actually depend very much on the specific board.
Try it yourself
As you can see, the decision whether or not to go for a hub-driven skateboard comes down to the decision what type you prefer personally. Before actually buying a hub-driven electric skateboard I thus strongly recommend to check both drives yourself – in the street! I am sure every local e-skateboard shop will give you the chance to try out before buying.