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What are Caster Wheels?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Caster wheels are simple wheeled devices that are used with many different types of household and industrial devices. The wheels may be constructed in designs known as compound, undriven, single, and double. Available in a number of sizes, caster wheels are sometimes constructed with heavy-duty plastic or metal components.

In some configurations, caster wheels are designed to roll forward or backward only. However, many devices equipped with caster wheels also make use of a pivot to enhance the function of the wheels. The pivot essentially acts as an intermediary between the object and the wheels, making it possible for the wheels to change directions with ease when necessary. Caster wheels mounted on pivots can move forward, then swerve to the left or right, and then move backward without the need to stop and realign the object for the change in direction.

While caster wheels were once made exclusively of metal components, wheels designed for use with objects that are relatively lightweight are often constructed with a combination of plastic and metal components or even plastic alone. However, casters intended for use in industrial settings are still manufactured completely with durable metal components, since they often are called upon to bear a great deal of weight.

Many homes contain at least a few devices that are equipped with caster wheels. Casters are commonly found on most types of computer chairs, as well as on a number of occasional or dining table chairs. Simple platforms mounted on casters are often employed to help move larger pieces of furniture around the home. Under bed storage units are often mounted on casters in order to make it easy to retrieve or store the units under a bed. Caster wheels can even be helpful outside when added to garden carts, as the casters make it easier to wheel the carts from one location to another.

Offices often make use of devices outfitted with caster wheels. Filing cabinets are sometimes mounted on casters, making it easy to move them from one location to another. Seating units for reception areas are often mounted on casters, making it easy to move larger objects while cleaning the space. Casters serving as chair wheels allow employees to move with greater ease between computer stations and nearby printers or fax machines. Carts used to deliver mail or office supplies to different departments are also made more efficient with the use of caster wheels.

While caster wheels tend to be durable, replacing one or more casters in the event of a breakdown is relatively easy. In most cases, the task requires nothing more than loosening one or two screws, removing the damaged caster, and sliding a new caster into place. Since many items utilize caster wheels that are standard sizes, replacement wheels can be found at office supply stores and most hardware stores.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including About Mechanics, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon314366 — On Jan 17, 2013

I had absolutely no clue what a caster was, and I was trying to help out a work client with it. I really appreciate your help!

By jmyers219 — On Nov 19, 2012

Thanks for sharing this article very informative about caster wheels. Getting these and using these will be great for anything.

By anon258630 — On Apr 02, 2012

Caster wheels are available in lots of different materials today. They also come in fun colors and unique designs. There is a larger variety of options online.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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