Casters come in either swivel or rigid format. Swivel casters can rotate 180 degrees while being turned. Rigid casters are stationary and moved in a forward and backward direction.
Most caster cart configurations consist of two swivel and two rigid casters. The swivel casters make the cart easier to turn while the rigid casters (because they follow a straight line) help the cart track.
Swivel casters have many options you can add, such as swivel locks, swivel restrictors, sealed swivel sections, and brakes. Each of these options could increase the price of the caster.
Adding locks to a swivel caster allows you to make the caster stationary. This makes the swivel caster act like a rigid caster because of the ability to lock the swivel caster in one direction. Swivel locks can either be a weld-on version or a bolt-on version. Although this is not considered a significant modification, these add-on options change the cost of a swivel caster.
Swivel restrictors are another option for issues with caster flutter or uneven surfaces. Flutter is where the caster moves back and forth while tracking forward. Caster flutter is typically very noisy and adds to increased wear on the caster and hinders towing ability.
The other reason to use swivel restrictors is to keep the caster in the proper position if the casters come off the ground due to an unlevel running surface. Having the caster spin and be at the wrong angle when the wheels touch the ground can cause a variety of safety concerns when moving heavy loads.
Sealed swivel sections are an option for swivel casters when the caster is used in dirty environments, required for clean room applications, or desired for maintenance-free operation. Swivel sections are greased for proper lubrication before shipping. A sealed swivel section ensures that the grease does not come out of the swivel section.
Brakes are the second most common addition to a swivel caster. Brakes on swivel casters will stop the wheel from moving and holds the cart in place until disengaged for movement again. Brake options vary depending on the size of the caster and the wheel width. Some brake options only work with specific bearing configurations as well.
Because of their added functionality, swivel casters are more expensive than rigid casters. Each of the add-on features to a swivel caster can add to the price of that swivel configuration. Swivel Locks, swivel restrictors, sealed swivel sections, and brakes are all options that customers can add to a standard swivel caster to give it enhanced features.