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  • 17Aug

    How to Choose the Right Castor

    • August 17, 2018
    • admin

    Choosing the right castor for your needs is vital for ensuring optimal productivity in a safe environment. The possibilities can seem endless, but considering the following factors before making your choice will help lead you to the perfect castor for the job.

    ‘Castor’ refers to the combined wheel and frame that holds it. ‘Wheel’ refers only to the wheel part of the whole castor.

    Benefits of Choosing the Right Castor

    Choosing the right castor helps reduce costs in the long-term and provides the following benefits:

    • Increased productivityUsing the right castor for the job will increase productivity by ensuring loads are easily rolled and managed. Opting for cheaper wheels and castors for lighter loads can lead to floor damage, extra manpower required to move loads and broken equipment.
    • Improved safetyUsing excessive strain to move heavy equipment can lead to personal injury and is a health and safety concern. Ensuring castors are suited to the task will reduce the effort needed to move loads around and minimise risk of injury.
    • Improved working environmentCastors should be selected based on ergonomic principles to ensure equipment is designed around the needs of employees. One example is installing swivel castors to make load manoeuvrability easier for employees. Ergonomics can help to increase productivity and minimise workplace stress and injury.
    • Reduced damage to floorsCastors can cause immediate floor damage, as well as gradual deterioration. Ensuring castors are as floor-friendly as possible, while meeting other important requirements, can help avoid flooring replacement costs in the long-term.

    Castor Considerations


    Castors vary greatly in price and your budget will play an important part in choosing the ideal castor. However, it’s important to consider the castor application, as well as equipment and personnel needs, in tandem with price. This will help you avoid unsuitable, cheap castors that could cause problems in the future.

    Load rating

    Each castor has a maximum load rating that indicates its performance capability. However, these ratings are only a guide and are usually based on slow manual operation over even floors in an ideal environment. Various factors, like substandard flooring, overloading and obstructions, can drastically reduce the load rating for each castor. For this reason, we recommend selecting a castor that has a higher load rating than required.

    Calculating Load Rating

    Calculate your required load rating using these simple steps: Example:
    Determine the maximum expected load, including the weight of the equipment used to carry the load. 150 kg (load) + 25 kg (equipment) = 175 kg
    Add a safety margin of 20–30 per cent. 175 x .3 = 52.5 kg
    175 + 52.5 = 227.5 kg
    Divide total by the number of castors used to find the required load rating for each castor. 201.5 / 4 = 56.9 kg
      Required Load Rating is 57 kg.

    Wheel Diameter

    When it comes to wheel diameter, bigger is usually better. Larger wheels reduce vibration and improve rollability. Often castors with smaller wheels have the same load rating as those with larger wheels. In this case, opting for the larger wheel will increase performance and improve safety.

    NOTE : Wheels should be large enough to roll over cracks and obstructions without difficulty but should not be so large that they change the load’s centre of gravity, as this could lead to tipping.

    Wheel Material

    Castor wheels come in a wide variety of hard and soft materials, including :

    • Polyurethane
    • Rubber
    • Nylon
    • Glass-filled nylon
    • Aluminium
    • Cast iron
    • Pneumatic (air-filled)

    Choosing the right wheel material is crucial to ensuring castors and floors are not damaged during operation. Each material has its own ideal environment and potential benefits, so it’s important to match the material to the expected environment and operating conditions. Our printable resource on wheel materials and their ideal environments can help you make the best choice.

    Frame Type

    Castor wheels use either rigid or swivel frames and come with or without brakes. Brakes are an important feature if loads will be manoeuvred down ramps or over uneven surfaces. Rigid castors only allow the equipment to move in a straight line – backwards or forwards. Swivel castors allow the equipment to be steered.

    Benefits and Drawbacks

    Frame Type Benefits Drawbacks
    Rigid Castors Easier to set in motion Cannot be steered
    Swivel Castors Respond instantly to directional changes Harder to set in motion Heavy loads may not travel straight when needed

    Swivel castors often come with a locking feature that can effectively turn them into one-directional, rigid castors. This can be an excellent feature in the right environment, but it can also be unnecessary and time consuming. The best option is usually to use a mix of rigid and swivel castors to allow for optimal manoeuvrability, minimal effort and increased safety.

    Mounting Type and Bearings

    The mounting type you choose will depend on the equipment you use. For flat equipment bases, castors can be easily attached using a welded or bolted-on top plate. For bases with extending tubes, castors are optimally attached using a stem and bolt system.

    Bearings determine the rollability of castors and should be chosen with care. A quality precision ball bearing helps to initiate and sustain rolling with ease.

    Castor Placement

    Castor placement is especially important when using a mix of frame types. View some ideal placement options and their benefits here.

    Finding the Perfect Castor

    All of these factors are essential considerations when trying to find the perfect castor for your needs. If you need more help narrowing it down, call us to discuss your unique requirements with our castor specialists.