When you’re shopping for caster wheels for your home, shop, or office, there are a variety of considerations. You’ll need to know the size you need, the style of caster, and the load limits of each. Among the more important distinctions from wheel to wheel is the wheel material itself.
Different materials are made for different purposes and surfaces. Each material type comes with its pros and cons, as well. Knowing these differences can ensure that you get the wheels you need. These are the most common wheel materials and what makes them stand apart from the rest.
Rubber wheels are the most common caster wheel type. They are also the least expensive. These wheels offer a very soft and smooth ride as they have some give to them. They also provide the best protection to your floors.
While there are various rubber hardnesses available in most wheel designs, they all share some downsides. Because they are among the softest types of wheels, they can scuff tile or cement floors as they turn. They can also be tougher to roll over some surfaces. Rubber wheels generally have the lowest load capacities and shortest life spans, as well.
Polyurethane wheels offer a great combination of load capacity, soft ride, and floor protection. While these wheels tend to last longer and carry more weight than their rubber counterparts, they do provide less cushioning and tends to be slightly louder.
While they are quite durable, polyurethane cannot compete with steel when it comes to load capacity. As these wheels fall squarely between rubber and steel in many performance metrics, they are usually in the middle price ranges, as well.
If you run a warehouse that moves heavy loads regularly, steel is the way to go. You can opt for forged steel or ductile steel for most applications depending on your needs. Either way, these wheels are the heavy lifters in the bunch.
Steel does very little to either cushion the ride or protect your flooring, so it is not often recommended for nonindustrial environments. These wheels are also the most expensive of the bunch, so be sure you need the added load capacity before purchasing steel wheels.
Whether you’re moving heavy equipment or installing rolling desks in your office, there is a wheel for everyone and every use. When you know what the options are and how each might perform for your needs, you’ll be better prepared to make a smart purchase.
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