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How To Determine A Caster’s Load Capacity

How To Determine A Caster’s Load Capacity

plate casters

There are a massive range of industrial casters available, and they all have a different load capacity. That load capacity can change depending on how many you have attached to any single object, or even if you’re using industrial casters.

If you load your casters with too much weight, it could cause a dangerous situation for workers or cause damage to your product and facility.

How To Determine Load Capacity of Your Industrial Casters

The exact load capacity per caster needs to be examined when purchasing your industrial strength casters and documented for future review.

There are three standard capacity levels for industrial casters:

  • Light duty casters can handle loads up to 500 lbs
  • Medium duty casters can handle loads up to 2000 lbs
  • Heavy-duty casters are required for loads over 2000 lbs

Individual load capacity for your casters isn’t what needs to be calculated; you need to determine the maximum load you want to move and add that to the weight of the cart or equipment doing the moving, and then add 33% on top of that for a safety buffer.

Once you have your total weight, you need to divide it by the number of casters that will be on your equipment, which tells you the minimum load capacity for each caster you need to buy.

As an example, you want to move 2000 lbs on a 100 lb cart using four wheels, that means you need four casters that can handle 699 lbs each, and if there aren’t any casters for that exact figure, you need to purchase up to the next highest caster load capacity.

Why Add a Load Capacity Buffer for Industrial Casters?

Adding a 33% safety buffer to the load capacity of your industrial casters may add additional cost, especially if it requires you to round up relatively high.

One of the issues with determining load capacity for casters is that it’s the maximum in ideal environments. Ideal environments for industrial casters mean non-continuous operation or load on smooth floors and at speeds under three mph.

If your environment & usage of the casters isn’t ideal, the safety buffer is a minimal cost increase to ensure the safety of workers and products. If that’s the case for you, contact us directly and we will help guide you on what decision to make.

What Factors Determine Load Capacity on Industrial Casters?

There are a range of factors that can determine the load capacity of industrial casters; understanding what and how each component determines the load capacity will assist you in finding the right caster for your job.

You’ll find below that each factor can have a significant impact on the load capacity by itself, which means you can factor in your requirements and find the right caster that gives you the most benefits rather than just picking one factor to increase load capacity.

If you’re unsure about the requirements or which casters will be best for your project, then it’s best to call us and we can help! We guarantee all casters sold by our in-house team of specialists.

Caster Wheel Diameter

One of the big factors in load capacity for casters is the diameter of the caster wheel. The larger the diameter of the caster wheel, the more weight overall a caster can hold.

As an example, with all things being equal on the same branded caster, the load capacity increases with the caster wheels diameter as such:

  • 6” heavy-duty casters have a load capacity of 2,000 lbs
  • 8” heavy-duty casters have a load capacity of 2,500 lbs
  • 10” heavy-duty casters have a load capacity of 3,000 lbs
  • 12” heavy-duty casters have a load capacity of 3,500 lbs

So, in general, you’re looking at a steady increase in additional load capacity per 2” increase in the caster wheel diameter. You also get the benefits of larger diameter wheels, of easier maneuverability, and the ability to handle rough surfaces easier.

You need to check on specific products though, as there could be other differences that impact the load capacity.

Caster Tread Width

A caster wheel tread that is wider has a larger load capacity than a caster wheel tread that is thinner. If you take the example heavy duty casters above with a 3” tread width and reduce that to 2.5”, then the load capacity goes down.

  • 6” heavy-duty casters with 2.5” tread have a load capacity of 1,500 lbs
  • 8” heavy-duty casters with 2.5” tread have a load capacity of 2,000 lbs
  • 10” heavy-duty casters with 2.5” tread have a load capacity of 2,500 lbs
  • 12” heavy-duty casters with 2.5” tread have a load capacity of 3,000 lbs

So, as you can see, a minimal decrease in caster tread width has a significant effect on the load capacity of the casters. This also helps you move around height restrictions, as you can increase caster tread rather than caster wheel diameter to get more load capacity.

Caster Tread Profile

A caster tread profile can impact the load capacity; you have the option of a rounded or flat tread profile. A flat tread profile on casters will allow them to last longer and support a higher load capacity by distributing the load over a larger surface.

However, casters with rounded tread profiles have superior maneuverability and roll much easier. So, depending on your budgets for the future and maneuverability requirements, you’ll need to pick the best caster tread profile for your requirements.

As an example, with the exact same industrial strength casters, the load capacity significantly changes between flat and rounded tread:

  • 6” heavy-duty casters with rounded tread profile have a load capacity of 450 lbs
  • 6” heavy-duty casters with flat trad profile have a load capacity of 600 lbs

Another significant difference in load capacity with a simple change on the same type of casters.

Soft Industrial Casters vs. Hard Industrial Casters

Typically, soft casters are quieter and more maneuverable using materials like polyurethane but have much lower load capacity when compared to hard casters using materials like steel.

Most manufacturers will have extreme industrial strength casters made from hard material and will leave the lighter and more fragile environments to the soft caster materials.

If you’re interested in learning more about casters, check out our blog for more information.