There are many types of chairs used in an office like the reception chair, high chair, and visiting chair, computer chair but the most comfortable of them is the chair with wheels. We generally refer it to as “Office Chair”.
The office chair is designed for use in an office. It is usually a swivel chair, with a set of wheels for mobility and adjustable height. Office chairs are generally more comfortable than other types of chairs, as they are designed to support the back and neck.
Out of all elements and features of an office chair, the most important feature is the casters or wheels. The wheels allow the chair to be moved around easily, which is essential for ergonomics. They also allow the user to move the chair closer to or further away from their desk, as needed.
Office Chair Casters or Wheels make it easier to move around, and they can help to reduce fatigue and discomfort.
What are Casters?
A caster or technically caster wheel is an undriven wheel that is attached to a bigger object like an office chair which enables them to move. These Office chair casters are little rollers placed at the bottom of the chair legs to allow movement smoothly.
Casters are also known as caster wheels. They are typically smaller and made from Rubber, plastic, or nylon. They are attached to different objects like shopping carts, chairs, furniture, etc to make them mobile and move in different directions.
Based on the Usage and application of the Caster wheels they are differentiated into many types like,
- Rigid Casters
- Swivel Casters
- Industrial Casters
- Locking and Braking Casters
- Kingpinless Casters
Rigid casters are mounted to the stationary fork of the object and are relatively fixed. Which means the movement of the object is somewhat fixed or rigid due to its nature.
The most common use of Rigid casters is seen in shopping trolleys.
Swivel casters do not have a fixed mount they are attached to a mount that can rotate 360 degrees. It allows more movement and great maneuverability.
The best example of swivel casters is office chairs.
Industrial casters are bigger casters used to move heavy industrial equipment and vehicles.
They can be used in maintenance equipment, storage boxes, waste bins, etc.
Locking and Braking Casters:
These casters come with a locking or braking mechanism, Caster wheels can move at a rapid pace if not controlled. There are times when the movement needs to be controlled or checked these types of casters are used in such cases.
For example stretchers, and wheelchairs where the movement needs to be checked at a certain point like applying a brake so that the object does not move at all.
Kingpinless casters are one type of industrial casters that are used to move larger objects with greater ace and better maneuverability. These casters have an inner raceway and an outer raceway with a ball bearing between them.
The common application of these types of the caster is aerospace, medical, automotive, etc.
So out of these five different types of casters, we will be discussing the swivel casters as it is commonly used in office chairs.
Different Parts of A Office Chair Caster
An office chair caster is a critical component of the office chair. It is designed to do a repetitive task every time. Let’s look at the different parts of the chair caster and how they function or contribute to the working of the caster.
- Swivel Bal Bearings
- Metal Brackets
- Wheel Ball Bearing
The stem is the top part of the caster and it connects the object with the wheel. There are different types of stems used in office chair casters like
- Threaded Stem
- Push Pin
- Metal Plate
When replacing your old caster you have to check the measurement of the stem height (as shown in the image) and stem diameter. So check these two things before ordering your new set of replacement casters.
Swivel Ball Bearings:
The swivel ball bearing is different from the wheel ball bearings. It is attached to the swivel part of the caster and it enables the rotation of the caster 360 degrees. The swivel ball bearing is at the top of the swivel joint as shown in the picture.
Metal brackets are the main part of the caster which holds the stem and the wheel together. It acts as a base for the caster wheel. These metal brackets are made of steel(industrial grade) or alloy steel. These metal brackets give agility to the casters while handling weight.
Wheel Ball Bearing:
The wheel ball bearings help easy and smooth gliding on any surface type like hardwood, carpet, low pile carpet, tile, concrete, etc. The wheel bearing must be made to precision to function correctly.
Another important part of the caster is the axle. The axle is the joint where the bracket is connected to the wheel and the caster rolls around it.
The wheel in this type of caster has two parts. The first part is the protective layer made from polyurethane which wraps around the wheel. The main purple of his protective cover or layer is to allow a smooth glide without damaging the floor.
One of the major concerns of office chair users is the damage to their floors irrespective of the floor type. Whether it’s carpet, hardwood tile, laminate, Marble, or concrete office chair casters can ruin it but with this protective layer, the floor can be saved from damage.
The inner wheel is the regular plastic or rubber wheel that rotates to allow movement n and around the desk or in the office.
Different Types of Office Chair Casters
Based on the materials used, installation type, and usage office chair casters can be of different types. Let’s discuss them in detail.
According to Mount Type:
There are 4 different types of chair casters generally found online or in different stores. They are
- Push Pull Pin
- Top Plate
Push Pull Pin:
These are the most commonly used and found chair casters. They are universal fit and there is more than a 95% chance that they will fit into any type of chair.
The stem or mount is made up of metal and the installation of these types of casters is very easy. You just have to pull out the broken casters and push the new casters into the socket of a chair leg.
After push and pull type casters the threaded is the second most popular. This type of caster has a threaded stem and it takes a bit of work to install them. If you want to learn how to replace old casters with new ones then read this guide.
In this type of caster, the top does not have a stem but rather a top plate. It has holes on four corners which are attached to the chair leg through screws.
These types of casters have a socket as a stem and use an extension in order to fit into the chair legs.
According to Wheel Type:
Circular Caster Wheel:
Round and circular caster wheels are most commonly found in office chairs. They are widely used because of their great maneuverability features. These are widely used in Office chairs, wheelchairs, stretchers, shopping carts, vehicles, etc.
Round Ball Caster Wheel:
Round ball casters have round balls instead of circular wheels. Though they are commonly used nowadays you can find them in objects where large heavy objects are rolled with little to no height from the floor.
The best example is storage cabinets small sofa, bench, coffee table, etc.
These types of casters are also used in wooden table casters, ottoman cabinets wheels, sewing machine tables, recliners, dressers, toy chests, vintage liquor cabinets, kitchen carts, and more
According To Features:
If you classify the chair casters based on their individual features then they can be divided into four categories.
- Heavy-Duty Chair Casters:
- Rollerblade Chair Casters:
- Double Wheel Chair Casters:
- Casters With Brakes:
Heavy-Duty Chair Casters:
Traditional chair casters were made from cheap plastic and could not handle too much weight. But heavy-duty chair casters can even handle up to 2500 lbs of weight. They are made from rubber and PU coverings with precision ball bearings to handle the weight and still be flexible in movement.
These casters are generally wider and bigger than normal casters so as to handle more weight. The brackets are made up of metal mostly steel which can handle more weight than basic chair casters.
Rollerblade Chair Casters:
Rollerblade chair casters are the best in terms of agility and maneuverability. They are easy to roll and glided on any kind of surface be it hardwood concrete carpet, tile, marble, low-pile carpet, or high-pile carpet.
Rollerblade chair casters are inspired by skating boards that have these kinds of caster wheels. They can glide on any kind of surface easily.
Double Wheel Chair Casters:
Double or dual-wheel casters are quiet, easy to glide, and give a comfortable seating experience. There are two rollerblade-type wheels in each caster with double ball bearings. They are quieter than traditional chair casters. These casters can be used on any type of floor and do not scratch them.
Casters With Brakes:
The last type is a caster that comes with a braking mechanism. These casters come with an in0built locking or braking system that can be applied to lock the position of the chair.
Though they are not used in office chairs widely. They can come in handy if you have a tall chair that needs to stay in one place while you work.
Factors To Consider While Buying Office Chair Casters
If you are looking to buy a new set of casters for your office chair then you must take into account the following factors. These factors can play a crucial role when deciding to replace your old chair casters.
Type & Fitting:
The first and foremost thing that you need to look at is the fitting of the caster into your chair leg socket. First check the type of your old casters if they are pin type, threaded stem, top plate, or other types.
Once that is done you have to measure the diameter of the stem and height of the stem. Though most pin and threaded chair casters are universal it is better to measure and confirm while ordering.
The next thing that you should consider is the ease with which it can glide on a floor. A good chair caster will roll smoothly on all kinds of surfaces. With easy-gliding casters, you can move freely on the chair on all sides on any surface. Check if they are fit for your type of floor or not.
Easy To Install:
Replacing old chair caesars can be difficult sometimes as they are in use for some time now. Removing them from the socket takes a bit of labor.
Pin-type casters do not require any tool to install, you just have to pull the old ones and push the new ones into the socket. Threaded casters need a wrench or spanner to remove and fit them into the legs’ sockets.
Fit For Your Floor:
Different offices have different floors like carpets, laminate, tile, marble, concrete, and hardwood. So the next thing that we should check is if it glides well on your type of floor.
Plastic and old-type casters tend to scratch the floors thus damaging or leaving permanent marks on them.
Chair casters tend to damage the floor with continuous use so check if it fits your floor type. Modern rollerblade-type casters which come with an outer layer covering to protect the floors are a good option to buy.
High Load Capacity:
Not all are the same some people are taller and bigger and they require chairs that can handle more weight. The weight of the chair and person is transferred onto the caster while in use. The casters bear a lot of movement with the load.
If they can not handle the weight they will either jam or get damaged and will need replacement. Check for heavy-duty chair casters that can handful high load capacity.
Some chair casters can handle weights up to 2200 lbs. These casters are wider and taller, and some with twin wheels that have additional ball bearings for better movement under stress.
Casters play an important role in the overall ergonomics of the office chair. An ergonomic hair is one that allows maximum body movement while supporting the body. It must give a comfortable seating experience while we sit for long hours.
Casters provide agility and flexibility to move in all directions. So check if the casters are ergonomically designed.
You can not replace casters every fall they need to last longer. Cheap plastic casters wear out easily and also get damaged if too much weight is put on them for a long time. They tend to crumble under pressure, get jammed, and do not move freely.
Modern rollerblade casters, heavy-duty casters are durable that are made from rubber with a PU covering with metal brackets. These casters are designed to bear weight and still last longer.
Last but not least is the noise level of the chair casters. Most ignore these but when their chair starts to make noise while gliding they repent their decision. So it is better to check beforehand.
The new rollerblade type casters that come with rubber wheels protected with an outer PU covering are the best option. They are quiet and glide smoothly on any surface.
Casters VS Glides
Casters and glides work opposite in nature. Casters are used to make things mobile while glides are used to make things stationery. Glides are small round shapes that act as the base of the chair. They also come with stems just like caster wheels to attach them to the chair leg sockets.
If your floor is getting damaged and to protect it you can use glides. Glides convert your mobile chair to a stationary or fixed chair.
These glides come with felt pads or rubbers at the bottom so as to protect the floor and don’t allow chairs to glide. They can be used on different kinds of floors like hardwood, carpet, laminate, or tile.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Use Instead Of Casters?
If you are looking for an alternative to casters, there are several options available. One option is to use glides.
- Glides are devices that attach to the bottom of furniture legs and it makes the chair stationary.
- Another option is to use furniture pads. Pads are placed under the legs of furniture and can help to protect your floors from scratches.
- Thirdly, you can use felt pads. Felt pads are placed under the legs of furniture and can help to reduce noise.
Can You Put Casters On Any Chair?
Casters, or wheels, can be added to most chairs to make them easier to move around. In general, any chair with legs that are at least 3/4″ in diameter can accommodate casters.
Generally, all casters are universal though heavier chairs may require wheels that are specially made to support the extra weight. You can check with the manufacturer of your chair to see if they offer wheels that are compatible with your model.
Always check the compatibility of the casters before replacing the casters with new ones. Some manufacturers like IKEA have very different casters and other casters will not fit their chairs.
How Do I Know What Size Casters I Need?
Casters come in a variety of sizes, and choosing the right size for your application is important. To find the right size caster for your office chair check the stem’s(head of the caster) Diameter and height.
What’s The Difference Between Wheels And Casters?
Wheels and casters are both can be attached to furniture or other objects to make them easier to move. However, there are some key differences between these two.
Wheels are typically made of hard materials like plastic or metal, and they roll on any surface. Casters, on the other hand, are made of softer materials like rubber or nylon, and they can rotate in any direction.
If you need to move heavy objects, then wheels are a better option. If you need something that can rotate in any direction, then casters are a better choice.
Are All Chair Casters The Same?
No, they are of different shapes sizes, and of different materials. The casters that will fit your chair will depend on the make and type of the chair.
Do Bigger Casters Roll Better?
Larger casters tend to roll better than smaller ones. This is due to the larger surface area of the caster, which creates less friction as it rolls. The material of the caster does not seem to have a significant effect on rolling performance.
What Is The Difference Between Soft And Hard Casters?
Read our detailed Guide on Soft Vs Hard Casters.
The office chair is an important element in everyone’s life these days because we use it for an average of 6-7 hours on a daily basis. The office chair has to be comfortable so that we have a pleasant seating experience. And to have a smooth rolling chair we need a set of quality office chair casters.