Swivel vs. Rigid Casters - What Caster Is Right for Your Application?

Swivel Vs. Rigid Casters

Casters are available in different materials, sizes, capacities, and designs. No matter how you’re planning to use your casters, there’s one out there that fits your project. For many people, the choice boils down to one question: should you get a swivel caster or rigid caster?

The answer depends on several factors such as the space you’re working in, the frequency of use, the average weight of the load, and how far you need to travel. You should know each type beforehand so you can determine which type best fits your needs.

What Are Swivel Casters?

Swivel casters are casters installed on ball bearings. They’re designed to allow 360-degree rotation, ensuring easy maneuverability, especially when transporting loads for short distances. They’re usually used in warehouses where carts have to respond to sudden changes in direction.

When looking into swivel casters, consider the several pros and cons.

Advantages of Swivel Casters

●Most swivel casters can hold up to 12.5 tons of weight.

●You can easily steer them in different directions

●They’re perfect for equipment for tight spaces.

Disadvantages of Swivel Casters

●They require more manpower to maneuver since it's difficult to get all the wheels to move in the same direction.

●Swivel casters can’t move in a single straight line. They aren’t ideal for transporting cargo over longer distances.

●Swivel casters are more expensive than rigid casters.

●You’ll have to invest in a brake or a locking swivel caster for better control.

●They’re more expensive to replace since they have many moving parts.

What Are Rigid Casters?

Rigid casters are casters that are mounted on a set of forks that can’t turn. Unlike swivel casters which move in all directions, rigid casters only move forward and backward. While they can’t make corner turns, they're more durable than swivel casters. They’re used for moving pallets since they’re stronger and can carry heavier loads.

You should consider the different pros and cons of rigid casters before tackling any project.

Advantages of Rigid Casters

●Unlike swivel casters, they carry higher weight capacities (up to 100 tons).

●If you prefer safety, rigid casters are your best bet. They don’t swivel around, meaning it’s easier to control. You don’t have to worry about accidents because they don’t roll in a different direction while operating.

●Maintenance is cheap. In most cases, you’ll only need to apply lubrication. Replacement parts are also cheap.

Disadvantages of Rigid Casters

●You can’t steer them. You must make sure that casters are all lined up beforehand to ensure smooth transportation.

●You’ll have limited application. You can only use rigid casters on equipment that travel in straight lines.

When Should You Use Both Swivel and Rigid Casters?

Using a combination of both types of casters is a superb choice for certain applications. Sometimes, it’s better to use both on the same piece of equipment. You’ll be able to travel across long distances while still keeping enough maneuverability to move sideways or steer around corners. You can safely move around and change directions without struggling to stay in a straight line.

There are plenty of applications that use both swivel and rigid casters. For example, shopping carts have swivel casters in the front wheels and rigid casters at the back. The swivel casters make it easier to turn corners, while the rigid casters keep the cart moving in a straight line. Another example is a flatbed cart. You’ll usually see flatbed carts in home improvement and grocery stores.

Choosing the Right Caster For Your Project

Choosing the right caster is important. You’ll need to determine which caster will move your equipment safely.

However, we can help. At LINCO Casters and Industrial Supplier, we have a wide range of products for you to choose from. Our industry experience means that you’ll always find quality and durable casters. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff members will help you find the best casters that meet the demands of your project and work environment. If you have questions regarding casters, contact us or give us a call at 866-306-9566 for assistance.