Businesses across industries use caster wheels due to their versatile applications. The wheels make moving things around the workspace easier and more efficient. Casters use a wheel attached to a metal frame either rigid or swivel to move objects across a flat surface.

The wheels may be made up of rubber, steel, nylon, hard rubber, polyurethane, phenolic or polyolefin. The wheel is one component of the caster. The frame determines how the caster moves the object in question.

Rigid Frame

Rigid casters use a wheel attached to a rigid frame. The object can move forward or backward in a straight line. The rigid frame doesn’t allow for turning. The casters are rarely used by themselves on an object unless the item only needs to move in a straight line.

Swivel Frame

Swivel casters use a wheel attached to a swivel frame. The frame allows the wheel to move around. The freedom of movement allows for more than just backward and forward movement. The object may be turned or rotated depending on the number of swivel casters used.

caster wheel

Using Combinations

Sometimes it is beneficial to use both rigid and swivel casters on the same piece of equipment to easily direct it across the floor. The type of caster materials used for the frame and wheel depends on the environment, floor conditions, weight capacity and needs of the caster wheel.

Caster Location

Standard applications for caster wheels have the wheels located on the four corners of an object. Heavier, bulky equipment may feature two rigid casters in the middle to support the additional weight. Tilt carts often feature a pair of larger rigid casters in the middle allowing the cart to maneuver around easily and stay on a straight path.

These carts are handy in warehouses and stores. The caster wheels are attached to items in a variety of ways including mounting plates, with expandable rubber stems, welded, threaded stems, lock nuts or octagonally shaped stems. Holes are drilled, filled or taped.

Caster Applications

Caster wheels are used in a variety of settings and applications. Office personnel enjoys them on the bottom of their desk chairs. Grocery and retail stores use the wheels to move the product along aisles from and to the stock room. Shopping carts are a classic example of a well-loved use for caster wheels. A furniture dolly is another popular use of swivel casters.

Regardless of your profession, you have likely used or seen caster wheels. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Their versatility and durability make them a mainstay in both commercial and residential applications.