Caster wheels are one of the most common parts to find on worktables, heavy equipment and even furniture. There are many different kinds to choose from when looking for replacement wheels or designing your mobile workspace. With some general knowledge of the various features, you can quickly and easily narrow them down to the type you need.
Swivel or Rigid
The two main types of casters are swivel and rigid or fixed. The other features or kinds, like pneumatic or spring loaded casters, are subcategories of these two and can often be found in both groups. Caster wheels use either a kingpin, a bolt holding everything together, or a track and ball bearing system to swivel and sometimes lock into place when needed. Many household carts will have mixed casters, so there are two swiveling ones on the steering side and two fixed ones on the following side. Heavy-duty casters of both types will have a plate attachment, while light-duty ones will attach with a stem.
Braking and Locking
Casters with brakes and locks are generally swivel-type and can lock into place like a fixed caster when needed. Brakes will keep the wheel from rolling, while locks will keep the caster assembly from turning, but some are marketed as locking casters with both features. Parking brakes and locks are handy when you need to pause your cart on a slope or when your workbench needs to travel securely between sites. Be sure to check which type of locking mechanism your casters come with because you can find wheel-brakes, central locking units or total locking ones.
Choosing casters will ultimately be up to your project’s specifications, but you can narrow down your options by selecting fixed or swivel, heavy or light-duty, and whether you need locks and breaks. Swivel casters are often easier to find with the other features you may be looking for and can have locks to keep them rigid when needed.