How to Choose the Right Casters for a Project

Casters that lock both the wheel and the swivel action prevent tools and cabinets from moving until you want them to.

Q:

How do you pick the correct casters for various projects? I talked to “experts” in every building supply store and lumberyard, and they almost never agree. Is there a formula to determine which caster to use on concrete floors and on carpets?
—Ferris Pinniger, Powers, Ore.

A:

Let your choice be guided more by what’s above the casters than what’s beneath them, Ferris. Start by determining the weight of what you want to put on wheels. Then, divide the weight by 4, and choose a caster with the next highest weight capacity.

Solid rubber or plastic tires work on hard or carpeted surfaces. But a solid rubber caster under considerable weight can, over time, develop flat spots from standing in one place. For a sturdier alternative, use casters with a rubber outer “tire” on a plastic or metal hub, such as the one shown above. Though they’re harder to find than rubber casters, those with solid polyurethane wheels or polyurethane “tires” on a plastic or metal hub resist flattening. For projects you move frequently over a variety of surfaces, look for casters that ride on ball or roller bearings instead of just a metal axle. Larger-diameter wheels run better over carpet or rough surfaces than small-diameter ones. Remember to account for the larger diameter when figuring the height of your project.

Tip of the Day

Stop rounded edges with this corner-sanding block

When sanding the edge of a workpiece, it’s easy to accidentally round the edges slightly, but I... read more