Wheels are used for a wide variety of projects today. They greatly facilitate moving things, be it an office chair, a grocery cart, or a dolly loaded with heavy furniture.
When it comes to caster wheels, there are two types of wheels available based on their movement (or lack thereof): casters and swivel wheels.
What Is a Rigid Caster Wheel? What Is a Swivel Caster?
A rigid or fixed wheel does not swivel from right to left; the wheel simply spins around a fixed axis. A swivel caster has a fixed axel, but they are made so that the entire wheel can turn and rotate 360 degrees.
When To Choose a Rigid Caster?
Rigid casters can actually carry more weight than swivel wheels, as in up to 100 tons per skate! However, they are difficult to steer because of their fixed axel and mainly move forward and backward. Sometimes rigid caster wheels are a better choice for moving pallets, for example, because of the amount of load they can bear, but they are not so suitable for tight spaces.
When To Choose a Swivel Caster?
Swivel caster wheels are a good choice when you need to maneuver something in tight spaces or in a precise way. They can only carry a fraction of what rigid casters can and can only travel short distances due to their instability. However, their added maneuverability is helpful in many situations.
Can You Use Both?
If you need to, you can combine rigid and swivel wheels on the same cart or project. An excellent example of this concept is a standard shopping cart. The wheels on the back are rigid, helping give it stability and the ability to bear more weight. The swivel wheels on the front allow you to move the cart easily, turn it as you walk, and get it easily to your car after checkout. Both wheel types work together to make getting groceries a more effortless experience.
What About Professional or Industrial Applications?
There are different designs involving different combinations of wheels for industrial applications to maximize stability, power, and maneuverability.
The best way to ensure you’ve got the right wheel for the job is to consult an expert in caster skates and wheels. They can help you analyze your project and your needs in terms of load weight and then help you to design or choose the best wheel combination for you.