Caster wheels for furniture add a degree of mobility and functionality to furniture that you just can’t get when it is standing directly on the ground. They are especially handy for chairs and carts (or for turning tables into carts).
Whether you are trying to replace casters on an object that has already been on casters or you are trying to add them to a piece of furniture that has never had them, there is a surprising amount to consider before you make a purchase.
That’s why we have put together this guide. First, you’ll get some tips for buying caster wheels that will help you to actually understand what it is you are buying and how to know it is appropriate for the piece of furniture you intend to use them for. Then, you’ll find some short reviews of our top 5 picks for best caster wheels.
*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table
For many of us, the world of caster wheels is more or less a mystery. You will probably be surprised at just how many different factors can affect the performance and functionality of something as seemingly mundane as a caster wheel. So to help demystify the shopping process, we’ve broken it down into the different factors that you will need to consider before buying caster wheels for furniture:
Caster wheels can be made of just about any material ranging from nylon to forged steel. But not all materials are equally effective at rolling on all surfaces. Here’s a general guide to which materials you want to choose from based on the type of floor that they will be rolling on:
Basically, for most home uses, you will want to stick with rubber or plastic caster wheels for furniture. These materials are soft enough to roll without scratching up or damaging most floor surfaces in the home. The only exception might be the garage in the event that there is oil, grease, or other solvents on the floor. In this case, you’d be better with metal caster wheels for furniture such as iron or steel.
As a general rule, the heavier and more dense the material, the higher the load capacity. However, you don’t just want to get whatever has the highest load capacity. You don’t need heavy duty forged steel caster wheels for an office chair, for example. They would be unnecessary and could end up damaging the floor.
So, if you can’t precisely weigh the piece of furniture that needs caster wheels, try to at least estimate it within a range and then get wheels that can withstand that capacity.
The diameter of the wheel influences both the load capacity and the mobility of the furniture. If you need something to roll around easily—like a cart, for example—you want a larger wheel because this will roll easier.
If you want something to be mostly stable in one place, you’ll want a smaller diameter so it doesn’t roll out of place so easily.
However, you can’t go too small because smaller wheels cannot withstand the same weight as larger wheels. While material is the strongest influence on wheel capacity, diameter also plays a role. Here is a quick breakdown of the smallest diameter you can go based on the weight of the piece of furniture in question:
You can go bigger than the recommended diameters given above but never go smaller for a given weight range.
If your furniture already has caster wheels and you’re simply replacing them, you want to get the same mounting type as the current wheels. If you are adding caster wheels to furniture that has never had them, you have freedom to choose how they mount. But do note that once you pick a mounting type, you will need to stick with that when it comes time to buy replacements.
There are 3 main mounting types to choose from:
One of the easiest ways to make sure you get the right mounting type is to just remove one of the caster wheels and take it with you when you are shopping.
Yes, additional features do exist on caster wheels!
For example, you can choose between a fixed or swivel wheel. Fixed wheels role back and forth in a single direction. Swivel wheels can rotate so that you can easily move the object in any direction you like. You can even find a combination wheel that can swivel into the required direction and then be locked in that direction so that you don’t accidentally role it too much to one side as you are going forward.
Another option you can choose is to have a locking mechanism. This is a mechanism that can be engaged to stop the wheel from rolling. This is useful if you need to role the object into place and then want to stop it from rolling out of place again. There are a few different kinds of locking mechanisms available.
Some also come with foot guards that will effectively prevent the wheels from rolling over your feet. That means no risk of crushing your feet underneath the weight of your dresser! And if you are worried about accidentally bumping into walls or other pieces of furniture and causing damage, you can also add bumpers that will prevent damage in the case of any such collision.
For industrial purposes or for garage equipment, the aesthetics of the wheels really don’t matter. These are just purely utilitarian. However, for furniture inside the home, you probably want to strike a nice balance between functionality and appearance.
In this case, you can get rustic caster wheels for furniture that will add a unique and interesting look to your furniture. These vintage caster wheels for furniture can also look more natural or coordinated with a vintage or antique piece.
If you’ve got a pretty modern or minimalist aesthetic going, then plain plastic or rubber in a suitable color will be enough to maintain a cohesive look. But for those unique older pieces, you want caster wheels that won’t look obviously out of place.
The following options represent a range of different kinds of caster wheels suited to different purpose. We wanted to not only show you the best but also give you a sense of the kind of variety you have to choose from.
This set of small caster wheels is ideal for furniture weighing in at under 400 pounds. Check out the key specs below:
The plate dimensions are 2.56 inches by 1.88 inches. And the bolt pattern is 0.213 inches by 0.938 inches. These are ideal for lighter weight items. While they can support up to 400 pounds, it is not recommended to load them with the maximum capacity (this is true of most caster wheels). Sticking to 350 or less will ensure years of service from these super affordable caster wheels.
These vintage caster wheels are ideal for mounting on an antique office chair or wood serving cart. They will keep with the antique look while still giving you swivel capability thanks to the ball style wheel!
These are ideal for mounting onto tables, file cabinets, chairs, racks, and smaller machines. The rubber material is gentle enough to roll across precious hardwood, tile, laminate, and slate surfaces. We do not recommend them for surfaces with a lot of solvents, grease, or metal chips, though. The two mounting options make them super versatile!
This set of caster wheels has a touch of vintage style and come with two different mounting options. Check out the key specs below:
These have a beautiful vintage look that will pair wonderfully with wooden furniture. They are perfect for use on vintage wooden office furniture. And while some vintage wheels can damage hardwood over time, these wheels are gentle enough to roll across hardwood and other hard surfaces without scratching or leaving marks.
The plate dimensions are 1 5/8th by 1 5/8th. The high quality rubber is soft but durable so it won’t damage hardwood floors or other hard surfaces but it also won’t bend out of shape from weight. These are ideal for hardwood, tile, marble, and other delicate surfaces. And they are perfect for mounting on chairs and other smaller furniture items.
Caster wheels are super functional and in some cases they can even add a new level of aesthetics to an elegant antique piece of furniture. However, there is a surprising number of things to consider before you buy a set of caster wheels. You want to make sure they will actually work with the furniture item you intend to mount them on.
But once you know what kind of load capacity you need, what kind of materials work best for your floors, and other important factors, you can purchase with 100% confidence, knowing that you have chosen the very best caster wheels for your purposes!