You must have heard a lot about office chair casters. But do you know what are office chair casters? Where are they placed and what are their different types?
Most people don’t know about them and those who do pay little attention to picking the right office chair casters. But no one can deny these essential components of office products, especially office chairs.
Therefore, in this detailed article, we will discuss what are office chair casters and which type of caster is suitable for which flooring. By the end, you will be aware of all about casters and be able to differentiate them from wheels as well.
So, without wasting a second, let’s dive into the real deal!
What are Office Chair Casters?
Before getting into the details of an office chair caster, let’s first identify what are office chair casters. So, a caster is a wheel device that is mounted at the bottom of an office chair to help it move and glide easily.
Typically, traditional office chairs don’t come with wheels and casters, which is why they lack easy rolling on different floor types mainly hardwood floors.
Components of a Chair Caster
Knowing the parts of a caster will help you better identify which castor best fits the office chair needs of your company. So, there are three basic components of a chair caster. These include a mount, stem, and wheel.
However, there are some additional components that vary depending on the use and type of the caster. For instance, some castors come with a castor hood that acts like a fender. It hides all the dirt a caster collects during its roll and spin.
Let’s get into brief detail about each of the three basic components of a caster!
On a plate mount caster, there is a plate bolted to the bottom of the chair leg that helps keep the caster in place.
The plate gives a wider area of distribution for the load thus letting the chair’s legs carry heavy weight.
Plate mount casters are generally used under office file cabinets and other office furniture.
Oftentimes, a stem is used in place of a plate to fit the castor to the chair leg. The stem is inserted into the chair leg allowing it to remain in place. Stem casters are beneficial for those chairs that don’t have enough room on their mounting surface to accommodate the mounting plates of plate casters.
For buying such caster wheels, it is paramount to identify the accurate measurements of the stem size. There are different types of office chair caster stems. These include the grip neck stem, grip ring stem, and office caster threaded stem.
The grip neck stem comes with a wide base and a narrow head. You cannot easily replace or install this type of stem without professional help. Then comes the grip ring stem. The grip ring stem has a groove at the top that’s protected with a split steel ring.
The grip ring stem is the most widely used in office chairs. The third type of stem is the threaded stem, which resembles a screw in its appearance as well as working.
The wheel is the main component of all castors. Without a wheel, you will not get the roll and spin you dream of while sitting in your office chair. Office chair wheels are made up of different materials.
Generally, the materials used in the manufacturing of these wheels include elastomer, stainless steel, nylon, etc. The working, durability, and cost of each material are different, hence the variation in prices of different castors exist.
Apart from the material, the size of the wheels is also an important thing. Small wheels function differently while larger wheels have different working. Smaller wheels cause more stress when in use and thus are difficult to roll on the floor or on the carpet.
On the other hand, larger wheels are preferred for frequent use, especially on a high-pile carpet. In short, your usage requirements dictate which wheel type best suits your office chairs.
4. Other parts
Other than the three main parts, multiple other components are part of most of the castors. These include the main load bearing, retainer, horn, roller bearings, yoke, brake, etc.
All these additional parts have different functions and require keen attention when you install casters to your office chair.
What is the Difference Between Casters, Wheels, and Glides?
Now that you know what are office chair casters, the next question you would ask is “what is the difference between casters, wheels, and glides?”. Typically, casters and wheels are considered as one thing, but that’s not the case.
Wheels vs casters
A wheel is a part of a chair caster, which is a complete assembly and is composed of multiple components other than just a wheel. On the other side, a wheel is a single element that only moves on a single axis.
Casters are used if you want to roll in a 360 direction. They come with a complete mounting system that holds the wheel and provides you the ease of rolling, which the wheels independently lack.
Casters vs glides
Glides are discs made up of plastic or metal, which are attached to the bottom of a chair helping it to glide across different floor types. These glides act more like a standard foot of the chair and because of the extra protection, they can glide across the floor or carpet without much damage.
The main difference between glides and castors is that glides control the movement of a chair, which makes them a perfect fit for seating options in meeting rooms. Glides allow you to glide but the free movement is restricted. Casters, on the other hand, work well in relaxed working environments where you need free movement.
What Features does a Good Office Chair Caster Provide?
Your choice of an office chair caster totally depends on your office needs and requirements. But while on a caster hunt, you should keep some features in mind that will help you pick the best caster out of many.
Some of them are flooring-friendly, ease of roll-ability, noise absorbance, and maximum weight capacity. Let’s have a closer look at all of these features!
Prevent your flooring from scratches
Sometimes your chair might ruin your carpet or hardwood floor. So, you have to make different choices for your office chairs depending on whether you have carpeted or hardwood floors. If you have hardwood floors or they have laminate, tile, or bamboo, you should go for soft casters.
Similarly, if your office has a carpet, you should specifically look for casters that don’t damage your caster.
In any case, a wrong caster choice gives your wood or other floor types plenty of scratches and indentations. You shouldn’t use hard casters on a hard floor because this will cause your chair to wear out in the longer run. So, it’s always recommended to choose good quality casters and wheels for your office chairs when you have tile or hardwood floors.
Ease of rolling off your chair
The ease of rolling your office chair directly depends upon the caster you attach at its bottom. In this reference, casters are categorized into two types such as rigid casters and swivel casters.
So, as the name suggests, a rigid caster doesn’t allow much maneuverability to your office chair. It only allows you to roll back and forth.
On the other side, swivel casters allow 360 degrees of spin. So you have the ease of rolling in every direction. Ease of rolling is particularly important in case you have a carpet or rugs in your office or at home.
Caster wheels that struck with your carpet or rugs and need to be pushed every time you move your office chair aren’t a good option. Most offices use chair mats to protect their carpets and floor.
Another benefit of a good office chair caster is that offers shock and noise absorbance. If your office chair caster doesn’t roll smoothly and produces sharp sounds while you move back and forth, you need to replace it.
Such types of casters not only produce noise but also damage your floors.
Look for casters that have precision ball bearings and are manufactured from polyurethane material. Such types of casters will give you noise-less roll on all types of carpeted and non-carpeted floors.
Maximum weight capacity
Casters allow your office chair to bear weight when sitting for long hours on your office desk and protect you from slipping. So, it’s important to choose a caster that aligns with your requirements regarding the weight capacity of your chair.
If you have a heavyweight, go for a caster that supports maximum weight capacity for your chair and allows you to sit for long hours on your office tables. This has a lot to do with your chair wheel type as well. You should choose a chair wheel that provides you with sufficient maneuverability on different floors.
Choosing the Right Casters for Your Office Chairs
Now that you are well aware of all what are office chair casters and their benefits, it’s time to replace your existing casters and install a new set instead. But before you actually buy one, it’s important to measure the caster stem diameter.
The diameter can be easily measured by removing the caster from the chair. Although the standard diameter of the caster stem is 7/16”, you need to measure the diameter of your office chair stem to avoid any mismatch.
Once these measurements are finalized, it’s time to go on the casters’ hunt. For this, you should give attention to the material used in them.
Material of the caster and wheel
Office chair casters are manufactured from various materials such as cast iron, forged steel, rubber, stainless steel, plastic, neoprene, polyurethane, nylon, etc. Hence, the features of casters vary because of the material used in their manufacturing.
So for example, if you want a caster that can be a good noise absorbent, buy a caster made out of neoprene. Similarly, if you don’t want streaks on your floor having a PVC top coat, don’t go for plastic casters because plastic does that.
Moreover, you need to see if the metal material is used in the casters or not because metal construction gives strength to casters.
Apart from that material of the wheels also matter and not all office chair casters and wheels are made out of the same material. Most office chair wheels are manufactured using cast aluminum allow hence they are lightweight and strong, so work well for your office chair.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the price, the better the quality. But keeping in mind a variety of users, a standard can be made. A typical chair caster costs you an average of $15.
So, keep a price range between $10 and $30 while you shop for a caster for your office chair. Don’t buy casters for a price lower than this because cheap castors wear out quickly and will eventually cut down the life of your office chair.
Conclusion – Last Thoughts!
Lastly, casters are the most essential parts of office furniture, and in the case of office chairs, you cannot rule out their importance. A chair caster has a number of components but the most important of all, typically, includes the mount, stem, and wheel. These three directly affect the functionality of casters.
As far as the features are concerned, some of the loveable features of casters have to be the prevention of the different floor types from indentation, ease of roll ability, noise absorbance, and durability. Always keep them in mind while you shop for office chair casters.
However, the top consideration when choosing the right office chair caster is its material. You get many options in different materials under $30 from Amazon. So, what are you thinking about? Start making your sitting experience comfortable.