Best snowboard 2021: From beginner boards to lean, mean carving machines

Hitting the slopes this winter? We've found the best snowboards for every type of rider, whether you're just getting started or chasing big air

best snowboard: Burton
(Image credit: Rossignol)

Today's best snowboards have come a long way since the late, great Jake Burton started designing them way back in 1977. There are now boards for every type of rider, whether their preferred stomping ground is powder-coated Alaskan backcountry steeps, or the banked turns of a snowboard cross run. Luckily, our guide to the best snowboards includes models designed for a wide range of riding styles and skill levels, helping you source your perfect stick, no matter what terrain you're most likely to be found on.

From budget-friendly boards to pro-designed rides, this winter's been a brilliant season for snowboard launches, butthe one which we're most excited about strapping into is the Endeavor BOD. Reduced camber – the upward curve (or in this case, lack of) you'll see on a snowboard when they're viewed side-on – gives it the feel of a lean, mean speed machine, although it's still got plenty of pop, thanks to strategically-placed carbon beams. It's a board which offers a fun, speedy ride and brilliant stability on every type of terrain, whether it's deep powder, heavily-groomed parks or end-of-day slush. 

However, it might not suit you, so read on for our full list of the best snowboards around. While you're in the process of kitting yourself out, check out of ranking of the best snowboard boots, and keep yourself dry and protected with one of the best ski jackets (or the best women's ski jackets specifically).

The best snowboards to buy now

best snowboard: Endeavor BOD

(Image credit: Endeavor)

1. Endeavor BOD

The best snowboard for most people

Specifications
Size: From 143-161cm
Shape: Twin
Reasons to buy
+Made with top quality materials+Urethane sidewalls reduce 'chatter' and minimise leg fatigue+Tip and tail carbon beans offer the perfect blend of flexibility and stability 

If you're looking for a great all-rounder, the best snowboard for you is the Endeavor BOD. This is a board for riders who are just as happy in the park as they are slashing through waist-deep powder. Its shape – a twin profile with a nose and tail which begin their upward slope slightly earlier than expected – give this board's fun factor a major boost, while the risk of catching an edge is reduced thanks to something known as 3D camber profiling. which refers to the slightly raised position of the board's main contact points. Smoothride Urethane Sidewalls reduce chatter and minimise leg fatigue, whether you're riding rails or carving up the backcountry, and the board's stability is boosted by the presence of a Durasurf sintered 4001 base, which won't just help keep you at upright at high speeds, but will hold wax more efficiently, too.

best snowboard: Salomon Huck Knife Pro

(Image credit: Salomon)

2. Salomon Huck Knife Pro

The best snowboard for big air

Specifications
Size : From 148-158cm
Shape: True twin
Reasons to buy
+Blunted front aids manoeuvrability+Eye-catching graphic design

This Salomon stunner takes the second spot in our best snowboard buyer's guide because it's epic to ride and designed with big air in mind, though in truth there's little it can't handle. A low swing weight – the result of the blunted nose – makes it easy to control, both in the air and on the ground. A generous amount of camber gives it some serious pop and its medium flex allows for just the right amount of flexibility. Call us shallow, but we love the graphics too.

best snowboard: Rossignol After Hours

(Image credit: Rossignol)

3. Rossignol After Hours

The best snowboard designed specifically for women

Specifications
Size : From 145-156cm
Shape: Directional
Reasons to buy
+Full-length urethane strips provide unbeatable shock absorption +Glides effortlessly over powder+Incredibly responsive and quick to turn 

Next up comes a snowboard specifically designed for women: the Rossignol After Hours. This beauty was developed with the help of three-time Freeride World Tour champion Marion Haerty, who wanted to create a board which offered the holy trifecta of stability, speed and smoothness. Rossignol rose to the brief by adding stiffer tips and a softer waist to boost the board's pop, while the brand's legendary L.I.T.E. Grip Technology allows for maximum control with the use of integrated urethane strips which flex towards and away from the board's edge. In a nutshell? Although it's not the most playful of boards – if you spend the majority of your time in the park you'll need something with more flex – the After Hours is a fantastically fun ride which won't let you down, whether you're ripping up groomed slopes or tackling powder-packed tree runs. 

best snowboard: Burton Family Tree Pow Wrench flat top snowboard

(Image credit: Burton)

4. Burton Family Tree Pow Wrench flat top snowboard

The best snowboard for powder

Specifications
Size : 142cm-158cm
Shape: Tapered directional
Reasons to buy
+Feels incredibly stable+Handles deep powder incredibly well+Good for pisted slopes as well as powder 

Love slashing through the white stuff? The Burton Family Tree Pow Wrench is the board to do it on – a short, wide speed machine which guarantees a smooth floaty ride over through the deepest of powder stashes. Its symmetrical profile means it delivers equally well when riding regular or switch, while the combination of a swallowtail and a slightly wider nose allows you to pull long, smooth turns in deep powder without risking either a bail or a dead leg. The absence of a camber ensures maximum stability, but don't make the mistake of assuming this is codeword for boring – when it comes to a fun, floaty ride you'll struggle to find a better board than this one.

best snowboard: Salomon Dancehaul

(Image credit: Salomon)

5. Salomon Dancehaul

The best freeride snowboard

Specifications
Size : 143cm-157cm
Shape: Tapered directional
Reasons to buy
+Longer nose provides brilliant float over powder+Extra width and directional shape offer maximum agility +Performs brilliant in a wide range of conditions 

The Salomon Dancehaul is a nippy, nimble board that has the feel of a skateboard, thanks to its radial side-cut for brilliant maneuverability whether riding either regular or switch, and an undulating profile which uses varying thicknesses of wood to maximise pop and snap for riders with a love of air time. In terms of flexibility, it comes in on the softer side of medium, although its extra width means you can bust out long carving turns without the risk of toe-to-snow contact. The star of the show is undoubtedly Salomon's basalt-reinforced Ghost construction, which use stringers (strips of material which affect the board's flex) made of basalt (carbon is usually the material of choice) for softer landings and added bounce.

Best snowboard: K2 Simple Pleasures

6. K2 Simple Pleasures

The best snowboard for carving and freeriding

Specifications
Size: From 151-156cm
Shape: Directional
Reasons to buy
+Highly manoeuvrable+Versatile and flexible+Tough design

The wide nose and waist of the K2 Simple Pleasures snowboard ensures you'll float effortlessly over powder, while the camber makes it brilliantly responsive, and a shorter effective edge means it's a board which reacts quickly and provides an incredibly fun ride. It's best described as a board for riders who want to love every run. It performs fantastically at high speed and at a slower pace, thanks to the combination of camber and a tapered tip – a combo which makes it much more versatile than many carving boards.

K2's skate deck-inspired Bambooyah core is basically a centre made from cross-layers of bamboo and fibreglass ply. It offers riders the best of both worlds: the lightness of bamboo and the toughness of fibreglass. This results in a snowboard that can take its fair share of knocks, but which is great fun to ride. Its wider and shorter design gives it more manoeuvrability than many of its rivals, but a carbon-infused sintered base (which basically means less drag) ensures it's still lightning quick.

Best snowboard: Burton Ripcord

7. Burton Ripcord

The best snowboard for beginners

Specifications
Size: from 145-162cm
Shape: Directional
Reasons to buy
+Smooth, easy rider+Adjustable mounting system+Super lightweight

This snowboard is designed to push beginner riders onto bigger things, without giving them a huge snowy shove out of their comfort zones. The symmetrical shape adds up to an easy, enjoyable ride, with a soft, directional flex making it easy to control in any condition. The Burton channel system has been around for a few years, and beginners will love it. Why? Bindings are mounted on two thin channels, rather than two plates attached to the board. This system enables you to quickly change stance position; essential for new riders finding their footing. The Burton Ripcord has a softer flex than many other entry level snowboards, so it's more forgiving. It's one of the lightest boards around, thanks to Burton's super-light FSC Certified Fly 900G Core.

Best snowboard for kids

best snowboard: Burton Kids Family Tree Hometown Hero

(Image credit: Burton)

7. Burton Kids Family Tree Hometown Hero

The best snowboard for kids

Specifications
Size : 130cm and 140cm
Shape: Directional
Reasons to buy
+Directional nose aids stability and control+Blend of woods reduces weight without affecting performance+Easy to maintain 

If you're looking for the best snowboard for kids, the Burton Kids Family Tree Hometown Hero is our top pick. This is a great board for youngsters still figuring out if they're happiest popping out 180s in a half pipe or busting through back country powder stashes. The heavily-rockered, upturned nose allows riders to float effortlessly over uneven terrain without risking a face plant, and a carefully tapered tail allows for easy, effortless turns in all conditions. There's plenty of brilliant woodwork going on here too. Highlights include the Super Fly 800G Core, which uses a combination of hard and soft woods to reduce overall weight without limiting performance, and the areas of Dualzone EGD engineered wood grain – you'll spot these on the toe and heel edges, where they're used to crank up edge hold and responsiveness.

Best snowboard: The different types of board

Snowboards fall into three different categories. The kind you pick will depend on what you want to use it for.

Freeride snowboard
Designed for all-round use, these snowboards have a more directional shape. In most cases, this means a narrower tail.

Freestyle snowboard
Light and flexible short boards for riders who love hanging out in snow parks.

Carving snowboard
Long, stiff boards designed for carving down the mountain. This board typically has a flat tail and a 'shovel tip' only at the front unlike a freestyle board, which has one on both ends.

Best snowboard: a person snowboarding on the Ride Burnout

(Image credit: S.Wolf Rider L.Labertrande)

Best snowboard: Buying advice

First things first. Unless you're a seasoned pro, always seek out expert advice – staff at specialist winter sports stores such as Snow and Rock, Boardwise and the Snowboard Asylum spend a huge amount of time on the mountain and can offer brilliant advice about the features that will best suit your style of riding. 

The other reason to seek out expert advice? The lingo. And we're not just talking about camber (the board's upward curve), core (the material – usually wood – between the base and the top sheet) and torsional flex (the flex across a board's width). Subtle changes to a board's design can have a huge effect.  

For example, a rockered (raised) tip and tail gives the board a floatier feel, while a higher degree of edge bevel reduces the risk of catching. This is especially handy for park riders keen to avoid a face plant.

The sheer range of snowboard brands is another reason. Brands like Burton, Salomon and K2 have been around for years and have a brilliant reputation, but don't dismiss younger brands such as Endeavor, known for their innovative approach to board design, and Yes, a brand founded by three of the world's best riders.