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Swivel Casters vs Rigid Casters

Swivel Casters vs Rigid Casters

When considering the right caster for your needs, there are two general types of casters to keep in mind while shopping: rigid casters and swivel casters (also called hydraulic caster). Each type of caster has advantages and disadvantages.

Both fixed and swivel casters have their pliers that allow them to move the wheel back and forth along a path. This movement can be applied to turning the wheel or applying force to move the load vertically. On fixed casters, this force is applied by a bearing that is mounted on the inside of the caster. In a swivel caster the bearing is mounted on the outside of the wheel.

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Black Polyolefin Swivel Caster

There are many differences between both rigid and swivel. On one hand, both provide excellent manoeuvrability with a heavy weight, but a fixed bearing wheel can only be moved in a vertical direction. Additionally, on a fixed caster the wheels are not able to turn in a direction parallel to the wheel path. To their advantage however, they do provide a high level of safety with their locking mechanisms. As a result, the rigid casters have a small advantage over swivels in this area. When considering manoeuvrability with a heavy load, a swivel caster is clearly the way to go. Essentially, a fixed caster is only capable of rolling backwards and forwards

However, it is important to note that the advantages of the fixed casters are more apparent in terms of straight-line travel. They are easier to steer, less drag and they’re steadier than their counterparts. With swivel casters the movement of the weight can be more closely controlled, but difficult to manoeuvre at long, straight distances. Rigid casters allow the user to create a smooth and safe travel pattern for themselves and their equipment. They can accomplish this without a great deal of friction or effort.

The swivel caster is a great choice for a variety of applications because the mechanism allows a certain amount of freedom of movement for each individual wheel. This allows the user to select a combination of wheels that are best suited for the application. For instance, a swivel caster that has a large grip profile will work well for picking up objects and securing them at the same time. On the other hand, if the lifted area is narrow the user may want to choose a smaller profile that will allow for a safer, snuggly fit.

Additionally, when comparing straight-line travel with swivel casters the user is going to find that the locking mechanisms used are often found to be more convenient. The lockable wheels generally work better when picking up heavy objects, especially on corners or short distances between points. The locking mechanism is often found to be more effective in tight areas than the screw-like wheels of swivel casters.

Considering the size and overall design, swivel casters often offer more flexibility to the user. You may be looking to occasionally move industrial equipment or tool chests using this swivel casters. With a straight-line caster the ability to manipulate the equipment and pivot it into place doesn’t exist. Therefore, if the user is not interested in changing the path on a regular basis or moving around frequently, they are often better off with a choice of fixed casters.

When considering a rigid caster vs a swivel caster, there are a few things to take into account:

  1. How large is your equipment?
  2. Does it only need to go in a straight line?
  3. What is the weight?
  4. Does it need locking mechanisms?
  5. What is the width of the equipment & the size of area it’s in?

As previously mentioned, swivel casters offer a higher degree of portability. Therefore, consumers who need casters for industrial or commercial applications may find it more convenient for their needs. However, not all needs are the same.  Each of these designs offers a different level of portability. When picking out your casters, you should be certain that it will fit into the space you have available as well as offer enough flexibility to meet your unique needs. From industrial casters designed for heavy-duty applications to those suitable for home use, we offer thousands of options online. Once you make your selection, we’ll deliver it straight to your doorstep.