Understanding the Weight Limits of Caster Wheels (igphotobuzz.com)

Regardless of how and where you use caster wheels, you need to know how much weight they can support. The last thing you want is for your caster wheel to give out while you are transporting a heavy object. The amount of weight a caster wheel can support depends on a variety of factors including how many wheels you plan to use to support the object. Ideally, the object’s weight evenly balances between each of the wheels allowing for easy rolling and maneuverability. The wheel type, wheel diameter, tread profile and tread width all impact how much the caster wheels can support.

Wheel Type

Caster wheels typically come in hard or soft. Heavy duty casters can support larger weights and thus are made from hard materials such as phenolic resins, steel and cast iron. Soft wheels can be made of rubber and nylon ideal for smaller load capacities and more delicate flooring surfaces such as hardwood. Consider the flooring surface when selecting wheel material to prevent damage to the floor.

Wheel Diameter

Larger wheels can generally support more weight than smaller wheels. An iron core polyurethane wheel that is 12 inches in diameter can support up to 3,500 pounds. Meanwhile, a decorative caster three inches in diameter may only hold 95 pounds. Heavy loads need those larger diameter wheels to roll easier across the floor.

Tread Profile

For easier maneuverability and rolling, rounded tread profiles may be the perfect selection. However, flat tread profiles tend to wear better over time and thus last longer than rounded tread. For heavier items, flat tread profiles more evenly distribute the weight and tend to have larger load capacities than rounded tread even if everything else is identical.

Tread Width 

When the height of an object prevents you from having wider wheels, tread width may be the answer to holding more weight. Narrower treads cannot support as much weight as wider treads. Decreasing the tread width on the same wheel can subtract the load capacities of the wheel by several hundred pounds.

When considering the type of caster wheels you need for your business or home, it’s important to choose on that can handle the weight of the object you plan to move. Larger and heavier objects benefit from wider wheels and treads. Decorative casters don’t support as much weight but provide more options for style and look. Consider choosing casters that can handle weight limits higher than you think you need in case the load is uneven or shifts during movement.