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Polyurethane vs. Steel Industrial Casters

Polyurethane vs. Steel Industrial Casters

There’s a reason there are multiple options when it comes to picking industrial casters, and that is different casters provide different benefits, and you should be picking the right caster for the job.

Two of the most popular options when it comes to industrial casters are polyurethane casters and steel casters. Do you know the benefits or reasons for using one over the other? If not, then follow along below as I go over each option so that you can make the best decision.

So, polyurethane vs. steel casters, which do you need?

Benefits Of Polyurethane Casters  

Industrial & Heavy Duty Casters | Caster City

Polyurethane industrial casters are a great option that provide a range of benefits; listed below are five reasons you should be considering them.

Reduced Noise  

Polyurethane casters are superior to steel when it comes to noise reduction. They provide shock absorption and cushion that prevents noise that would be heard with steel and other types of casters.

You’ll also find that polyurethane casters will absorb any bumps in the ground you’re going over, which may be beneficial for a smoother, safer ride for anything being transported.

OSHA regulations may even require polyurethane casters over steel in extreme noise situations.

Can Take Heavy Loads  

Polyurethane casters can take heavy loads, though their capacity is lower given the same size wheel. If you don’t need the extreme load-bearing that steel provides, then polyurethane casters may be your next best choice for how much weight can be carried.

Protect Your Floor  

Polyurethane casters are the best choice when capacity and floor protection is essential. Repairs can be costly.

Great Grip And Traction  

Polyurethane casters provide more grip and traction than steel caster wheels on a wet floor while still being able to bear a lot of weight. Whether you’re on rough or smooth surfaces, polyurethane casters will adhere better than steel wheels, preventing slippage.

As a locking mechanism, will not prevent the wheel from rotating if the wheel lacks traction.

Corrosion Resistant  

Polyurethane casters have varying levels of corrosion resistance. Select polyurethane caster wheels that matches your environment, taking into consideration exposure to chemicals, heat, cold, moisture, or anything else that can cause corrosion to your casters.

Benefits Of Steel Casters  

Industrial & Heavy Duty Casters | Caster City

Steel casters are a good option for most environments and for most people looking for industrial or heavy duty casters. Consult a product application specialist at Caster City to determine which is better for specific environments.

Can Take Heavier Loads

While polyurethane casters can take quite heavy loads, there is no comparison to similar steel casters, often taking 25-50% more load than a comparable caster in any other material.

If your casters won’t be taking extreme loads, then the benefits of polyurethane outweigh the negative floor wear caused by steel.


Steel casters are almost impervious to damage, so they won’t allow pockets, dents, scratches, or other areas where dirt and germs can survive and live. Often steel casters are coated with chromium oxide, making them even more impervious to almost any form of microscopic agent.

While hygiene may not be necessary for all industrial environments, hospitals, labs, high-tech facilities will find the hygienic nature of steel casters to be a huge benefit.

Visually Appealing  

Steel casters are some of the most visually appealing options available, appearing clean, shiny, and modern in almost any environment. This type of benefit isn’t always needed, especially in industrial applications. But high-tech firms trying to present a specific appearance would find this a significant advantage.

Environments that are using the casters to carry products and present to buyers will see benefits from a more visually appealing overall look.


Steel casters are more durable than polyurethane in extreme environments. This can include constant heavy loads, temperature extremes, and changes between those temperatures. You’ll also find that heavy chemical exposure will be less of a problem for steel casters.

This isn’t to say polyurethane casters aren’t durable, but when compared side by side in extreme situations, the steel casters will survive longer.

Ease Of Care  

Steel casters require very little care; they’re durable and won’t require replacing in most situations, and to clean, you can just blast them with water. There’s not going to be much that will stick to steel casters.

Polyurethane or Steel Casters: Which Is Right For Your Needs?  

Ultimately what you need your industrial casters for and what type of environment will determine whether you go with steel industrial casters or polyurethane industrial casters.

Both materials can be used when you need industrial casters with locks and provide similar locking ability, so that shouldn’t play a factor in your decision. However, some cheaper materials won’t come with the same quality or strength of lock.

If you need expert advice on your specific situation, or you’re ready to purchase high-quality industrial casters, then you’ll need to contact a our sales team who can help you with specific needs.

Polyurethane Industrial Casters  

Polyurethane casters can provide protection to your flooring and are a quieter material, so if those are important in your environment, then polyurethane will be a much better choice.

You’ll also find that polyurethane casters have better traction and grip, so they may be better in environments that need to go over slippery surfaces or up and down elevations. If you have polyurethane industrial casters with locks, then you’ll also have less chance of slipping while the lock is engaged.

Steel Industrial Casters  

Steel casters can provide much more weight-bearing than polyurethane, but that can come at a price. So if heavy loads but costlier industrial casters work for your needs, then steel casters will likely be a better choice for you.

When implementing steel casters, you will find that they can be more durable in extreme environments, such as cold, heat, chemicals, moisture, and are a much easier material to clean and use in environments that require sterile or hygienic surroundings.