What are Casters? Differences Between Casters vs Wheels

June 18, 2024

Casters and wheels are essential components for mobility in various applications, but they are not the same.

A caster consists of the rig (the part that holds the wheel) and the wheel. It mounts to the bottom of a larger object, such as a cart or dolly, so operators can easily move the object. Casters come in different materials, wheel diameters, tread widths, load ratings, and overall heights to give your equipment mobility in many kinds of work environments.

Here's a detailed explanation of each and their differences:

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Definition: Casters are assemblies that include a wheel and a mounting system. They are designed to be attached to the bottom of an object, allowing it to move easily.


  1. Wheel: The rotating part that makes contact with the ground.
  2. Mounting System: This can be a plate or a stem that attaches the wheel to the object. The mounting system often includes a swivel mechanism.

Types of Casters:

  1. Rigid (or Fixed) Casters: These only allow back-and-forth movement. They do not swivel, making them suitable for straight-line travel.
  2. Swivel Casters: These can rotate 360 degrees, allowing for more maneuverability. They are often used in combination with rigid casters for easier directional control.

Applications: Casters are used in furniture, industrial equipment, medical equipment, office chairs, carts, and many other items that require mobility.



Definition: Wheels are simple circular components that rotate around an axle. They are one part of a caster but can also be used independently.


  1. Wheel: The round part that rolls on the ground.
  2. Axle: A rod or spindle that passes through the center of the wheel, allowing it to rotate.

Types of Wheels:

  1. Solid Wheels: Made from a single piece of material, providing durability and strength.
  2. Spoked Wheels: Have spokes between the hub and the rim, often lighter and used in applications like bicycles.
  3. Pneumatic Wheels: Filled with air, providing cushioning and shock absorption, often used in outdoor or rough terrain.

Applications: Wheels are used in vehicles, machinery, toys, and various devices that require rolling movement.


Differences Between Casters and Wheels:


1. For Functionality: Casters provide a complete mobility solution, often including a swiveling mechanism for better maneuverability while wheels are basic rolling components that need additional hardware to attach to objects and provide mobility.

2. For Usage: Casters are typically used in applications where an object needs to be easily moved and often requires changing directions. Wheels are used where straight-line movement is sufficient or in combination with other components to create more complex mobility solutions.

3. For Complexity: Casters are more complex, involving multiple components and mechanisms. Wheels are simpler, often just a single rolling part.

4. For Installation:Casters are usually attached using a mounting plate or stem, involving more installation steps. Wheels are attached directly to an axle, which might be part of the object or a separate assembly.