Caster Wheels: Caster Types

Chances are, your workplace has its fair share of caster wheels. Whether on your office chairs or used to move heavy machinery around your manufacturing floor, these little workhorses are everywhere.

Not all caster wheels are the same, however. Some are made of rubber and others made of steel. Some can carry the average employee, others can carry airplane parts weighing tons. One difference that is less obvious is the design of the caster itself, the piece that holds the wheel. Here are the major types and their common uses.

Rigid Casters vs Swivel Casters

Rigid caster wheels are designed to move either forward or backward. These have no swivel bearing to allow for turning.

Swivel casters do quite the opposite. They are built with swivel bearings to allow the attached wheels to rotate 360 degrees while in motion.

Both of these types have their advantages and specific applications.

Caster Mount Types

Depending on your needs, you can get either rigid or swivel casters in various designs. These designs differ at the point they are attached to whatever it is you want to move and are built to handle a variety of jobs.

Plate Casters

These casters attach wheels with a simple plate on the top of the caster. This is a fairly universal design and can typically have some of the higher weight limits as the plates disperse load better than other designs.

Stem Casters

These are the least expensive designs and attach a wheel with a stem, or solid pin on top of the mount. These typically come with a bracket that you’ll need to attach to your equipment, as well.

This type of mount has the lowest load capacity by design. As a result of the low price stage and capped weight limits, these are the most common type of casters and can be found on most office chairs, small cart setups, and most homes.

Leveling Casters

These are slightly more specialized casters than the previous two types. They typically made with plate attachments and add a leveling option. This can be done a few different ways depending on weight limit and accessibility needs.

These casters are used in a wide assortment of situations that call for the occasional adjustment of the object attached. The increased capability means a higher price tag for this type of caster mount and should only be used when leveling is likely to be needed over time.

Pneumatic Casters

These are among the most specialized casters. When you have to move delicate, fragile, or valuable cargo, these mounts provide the best system for ensuring safety along the way.

They are built with pneumatic shock absorbers that can cushion your cargo against bumps or dips while in transit.

There is a right and wrong tool for every job. Casters and caster wheels are no exception. Do your research before making a purchase.

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