Casters 101

Caster 101

Casters are a complete assembly of a Wheel and Yoke (or frame), which when attached to items or equipment, allow that item to be moved.

Casters can range from extremely basic to very complex designs. Everything from your basic shopping cart caster to a motor powered multi-directional caster used in the robotics industry. We are here to help make caster buying as easy as possible, so you can get rolling again.

All casters can be broken down into two categories: Rigid or Swivel

                                   caster-101-rigid.jpg  caster-101-swivel.jpg


To state what might be obvious, the rigid caster stays in a fixed position while the swivel caster is able to turn 360 degrees. For example; Most shopping carts have Rigid Casters in the rear and Swivel Casters on the front. The most common caster applications follow this model, using one set of Rigid Casters and one set of Swivel Casters.


Before deciding what caster is best for your application I want you to ask yourself a few questions.

  • How much weight do the casters need to hold individually? (Weight of item and load that the item needs to carry divided by the number of casters needed)
  • How do the casters need to attach to the equipment? See Fasteners - Top Plate or Stem?
  • How tall can the casters be? This will raise the height of your item so keep that in mind.
  • What type of floor will these need to roll on? ie; A rough uneven concrete floor vs a smooth concrete floor, or carpet. A steel wheel does not roll over pebbles as easily as something with a shock absorbing tread. See our Wheel Material Guide.

This information will start you on your caster journey. If you are ready to get into the nitty gritty details of caster buying see our other guides: