What exactly is a caster? What is a caster wheel?

caster is made up of the rig (the part that holds the wheel) and the wheel. It mounts to the bottom of a larger object such as a cart or dolly, so operators can easily move the object. Casters come in different materials, wheel diameters, tread widths, load ratings, and overall heights to give your equipment mobility in many kinds of work environments.

CASTER RIG CASTER WHEEL COMPLETE CASTER
Twergo Wheels 55 Series Caster With Twergo Wheel

Types of Casters

Rigid Casters

A caster can be one of two types, either a rigid caster or a swivel caster. A rigid caster consists of a wheel mounted to a stationary fork. The fork’s orientation is fixed when the caster is mounted. These rigid casters utilize straight-line travel, as in rolling forward or backward. An example of this is the wheels found at the rear of a shopping cart. They restrict vehicle motion so that the vehicle travels along a straight line.

Swivel Casters

Like the rigid style caster, a swivel caster wheel is mounted to a fork, but an additional swivel joint above the fork allows it to freely rotate about 360°, enabling the wheel to roll in any direction. This makes it possible to move the vehicle easily without changing its orientation. Most carts have a combination of both rigid and swivel casters to make turning easy but also giving the cart the ability to track in a straight line.

Types of Wheels

When choosing industrial wheels, safety, weight capacity, ergonomics, and environmental conditions can all come into play. All these factors help determine what type of wheel and wheel material you need. Polyurethane is very popular due to its many beneficial characteristics (chemical resistance, heat resistance, rolling resistance, etc.) that you can formulate a wheel to your specifications. Forged steel, iron, and mold-on rubber are also some other available options that make up wheels.

Carts with wheels made from harder materials are generally easier to get moving than wheels made from softer materials. Harder wheels have a lower rolling resistance which makes them easier to push.  However, wheels made from softer materials are generally quieter and more forgiving when moving something because they transmit less vibration.

As a whole casters offer many benefits. Their ergonomic benefits include reducing the effort to move heavy objects to reduce injuries and the associated costs. They also can be designed to withstand high temperatures, corrosive elements, and take a lot of abuse when properly reinforced.

Many components and intricate features go into the making of casters and caster wheels. And while knowing all this information can help you make a better choice,  it can also be overwhelming. We’ve also included a video below that explains the difference between a caster and a wheel. We hope this helps!