The Differences Between Casters and Wheels

When purchasing supplies or navigating industrial wheels and the like, it’s important to know things like the differences between casters and wheels. It would be awful to need new caster wheels and accidentally order a shipment of casters instead.

You need both for either to work, and there are many different caster wheel types to consider depending on your industry. Here are some of the major differences between the two.

What Is a Wheel?

Everyone knows about the wheel. You see them on cars, wheelchairs, and even airplanes. Industrial wheels, however, can handle heavy loads at deceptively small sizes.

One of the major differences between casters and wheels is in the type of materials they’re comprised. The fittings are typically only made of some kind of metal or plastic.

Some of the different heavy-duty wheels you’ll encounter include forged steel and polyurethane materials.

Forged steel wheels can withstand high temperatures, have a high weight capacity, and can be used in many different settings. Polyurethane wheels are considered one of the most ergonomic options due to their low resistance and maintenance requirements.

A wheel is usually attached to a shaft of some kind that allows it to turn and move forwards and backward. However, a wheel alone doesn’t provide a lot of versatility. That’s where the swivel caster wheel and the like come in.

What Is a Caster?

Casters, otherwise known as caster wheels, refer to an assembly of a wheel and a bracket. You can find casters attached to the bottom of pretty much anything you can think of, including chairs, shopping carts, and tool cabinets.

When you need to replace a wheel at the bottom of your cart, what you probably want to search for is a new caster. They’re more likely to break than the wheel itself.

Caster Wheel Types

In addition to the various types of industrial wheels in the market, you should know about the different caster wheel types.

Swivel casters are the most common type and where the “cast” in the name comes from. The center hub of the wheel revolves around a central swivel section, giving it rotation. A cart with swivel casters can move back and forth, side to side, and around corners with ease.

Rigid caster wheels, also known as fixed casters, roll forward and backward. While they aren’t great for turning around corners, they’re stronger than swivel casters. They’re best used for materials that only need to move in two directions maximum.

Knowing the Differences Between Casters and Wheels

The main benefit of knowing the differences between casters and wheels is in buying replacement parts. Most of the time, a broken wheel on a cart means it needs a new caster.

If a wheel somehow broke, then you were likely using the wrong caster, to begin with. Make sure to buy the right caster wheel types for the job.

If you’re interested in learning more about home improvement and more, check out our other articles.