The Different Types of Office Chair Casters (Complete Guide)

In this guide, we are going to have an in-depth look at the different types of office chair casters and wheels and how to buy the right one for your type of floor or intended use. 

What are Casters?

Casters are wheeled parts that are mounted to the bottom of the chair leg and allow the leg to turn and move easily.

The basic components of any caster include the mount, stem, and wheel.

Office chair casters come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used on both hard and carpeted surfaces.

Most office chairs use casters made of plastic or rubber, which are fine for use on a hard surface such as tile or hardwood flooring.

However, if you plan to use your chair on a carpeted surface, you’ll want to choose a caster made from a material that is safe for indoor use, such as plastic or rubber.

Parts of office chair casters

Wheels casters include three main parts; The stem, wheel, and mount.

Stem

The stem is the part of the caster that extends up to the base of the chair, where you attach the caster to the bottom of the chair leg. The stem can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, or plastic.

Wheel

The wheel is the part of the caster that actually rolls and is the main component that you see when you look at the caster from the bottom of the chair leg. The wheel can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, rubber, or plastic with rubber tread.

Mount

The mount is the part that allows the caster to be attached to the chair leg.

Bushing

Office caster bushing is the mechanism that allows the caster to turn. The bushing fits inside the mount and is secured in place with a bolt or screw. 

The bushing can be replaced when it wears out, or if it is damaged. This part of the caster is designed to allow the caster to move smoothly and quietly on hard surfaces, while still providing enough resistance to prevent your chair from moving across the floor on its own.

Office chair caster hood

Office caster hood is a feature that looks like a fender that is attached to the stem of the caster. The hood protects the internal mechanism of the caster from dirt and other debris that may get inside the hood when the caster is in use. 

The hood is designed to allow the caster to move easily on hard surfaces, but still provide enough resistance to prevent the chair from moving across the floor on its own. 

Some caster hoods may also include a lip to help keep debris and dirt out of the hood while the caster is in use.

The hood is often made out of plastic or metal and can be used to help prevent injuries when the caster is in use.                                                                                          

Types of office chair casters

The different types of casters that are used on office chairs include carpet casters, hardwood casters, reverse-locking casters, top plate casters, and floor glide casters. Each type of caster has its own benefits and drawbacks, which you can learn more about below.                                                                                                 

Carpet casters

This type of caster features a plastic/hard nylon wheel, or sometimes metal wheels that are designed to roll easily on carpeted surfaces while providing enough resistance to prevent your chair from moving across the floor on its own. 

Carpet casters are a great choice for home offices and other spaces that are used infrequently, as they are easy to clean and maintain. However, they tend to wear faster from frequent use.

Hardwood casters

This type of wheel caster features a plastic/rubber wheel that is usually designed to roll more smoothly on hardwood floors than carpeted surfaces. 

These casters are more durable than carpet casters and typically last longer in heavy use. Hardwood casters tend to be quieter than carpet casters.

The wheel is often designed to roll on hardwood floors or other hard surfaces. 

Some hardwood casters are available with locking features, which allow you to lock the caster into place so that it does not move on its own if you accidentally step on the caster.

Reverse-locking casters

These casters feature a lock mechanism that prevents the chair from rolling on its own. Locking casters provide additional safety and functionality to office chairs. 

They lock in place when weight is applied to the chair and can be rolled around the room once the weight is removed.

READ: Best Ergonomic Office Chairs with Lumbar Support

Factors to consider when buying office chair casters

When looking to purchase office chair casters, you will need to consider a variety of factors, including the type of chair that you have, the flooring in your office, the size of the room, and the style of the office and the purpose for which you will use the caster.

Different casters are designed to meet the specific needs of different types of chairs and flooring, which you can learn more about below.

Type of chair

When shopping for casters for your office chair, you will need to consider the type of chair that you have. 

Some office chairs have caster mounts that are built into the chair, while other office chairs require a separate caster mount. 

If you have an office chair with a caster mount, you will need to purchase a caster that is designed to work with the caster mount. 

However, if you have an office chair that requires a separate caster mount, you may be able to purchase a universal caster that will work with both the caster mount and the caster without having to purchase additional parts.

Type of flooring

Most office chairs are designed to work best on carpeted floors, but some office chairs are designed to work best on hardwood floors. 

If you have carpeted floors in your office, you will likely want to purchase the best carpet casters for your office chair. 

However, if you have hardwood floors in your office, you may want to purchase a hardwood caster for your office chair so that you can ensure your chair moves smoothly across the floor.

Choosing the right office chair caster ensures maximum functionality and safety when using the chair.

Size of the room

Consider the size of the room in which you will be using the office chair. Some office chair casters work best in small spaces, while others are best for larger spaces. 

If you have a large office, you may want to purchase casters that allow you to roll your chair from one side of the room to the other.

However, if you have a small office, you may be able to purchase a caster that works well in your small space.

Use of the chair

Will you be rolling your chair across the floor when you walk into your office? If so, you will likely want to choose casters that allow you to roll your chair across your hardwood floors. 

On the other hand, if you are planning on sitting in your office chair when you walk into your office, you will likely want to choose casters that allow you to move your chair just around the room.

Types of office caster stem styles

There are a variety of different types of caster stem styles, including the grip ring, the grip neck, and the threaded stem. When shopping for office chair casters, you will want to consider the type of stem style that works best with the style of the caster that you have chosen

Grip ring caster stem

The grip ring caster is one of the most common styles of the caster. The grip ring caster features a stem with a groove at the top that is covered with a split steel ring. 

The steel ring exerts tension outward on the rubber securing it, allowing the caster to grip to the floor. 

This type of caster stem is great for ensuring that the caster stays secure on your chair, regardless of the angle at which you press down on the chair.

Grip neck caster stem

The grip neck caster features a caster stem with a narrow head and a wide base. 

When the caster is installed, the head of the caster expands to create a tight grip. 

This allows the caster to stay secured in your office chair regardless of the angle at which you press down on the chair.

Threaded stem

The threaded caster stem is essentially a screw that can be threaded into the caster socket and may be reinforced with nuts and washers. 

It is a great choice for those who have a hard time finding the right-size socket for their caster. 

The threaded caster stem allows you to adjust the tightness of the socket, which allows you to get a snug fit. This prevents the caster from wobbling or moving while you are using the caster

What are the different caster sizes?

Office chair casters are typically 2 inches or 2.5 inches in diameter. You can upgrade to a larger caster size of 3 inches in diameter.  

Most office chairs will have the option to upgrade the size of the wheels that come standard with your office chair.

Larger wheel casters create less resistance when rolling and allow your chair to easily overcome obstacles, including high-pile carpet. Larger casters offer more durability and versatility than do smaller casters and allow you to move your office chair around with less effort than smaller casters. 

READ: How to Attach a Headrest to an Office Chair

FAQ

Are office chair casters universal?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Office chair casters are designed to work with specific types of chairs. However, most standard office chair casters are generally designed to work with a large range of office chairs regardless of the brand. This means that some casters are universally compatible with most office chairs.

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