Casters come in many different materials, sizes, load capacities, and design options. However, when picking out your casters, the most important decision you will need to make is whether you want swivel, fixed, or both. While the answer is generally both, there are certain cases where you should look for all rigid or swivel. Here is what you need to know about choosing between these casters.
Rigid Wheels Let You Roll Heavy Items in a Straight Line
Fixed or rigid casters don’t turn. That means they can help you move equipment or carts in a straight line but cannot be steered. While this limits the maneuverability of your equipment, the main benefit of rigid wheels is that they can handle more weight. Therefore, they are perfect if you have heavy items that need to be pushed along a straight path. For example, many people use them for loading and unloading pallets from trucks. That said, most companies prefer a combination of rigid and swivel wheels.
Swivel Wheels Let You Turn On a Dime
When you’re in tight spaces, such as a crowded government office, you need the maneuverability that swivel wheels offer. These casters swivel in every direction, so you can easily turn them. In addition, heavy-duty swivel casters turn on ball bearings so they can handle more weight. However, using all swivel wheels takes more effort from the operator because an extra push is needed to line up all the casters. Additionally, they can be difficult to push in a straight line over long distances when used alone.
Mixing Them Gives You Optimal Load Capacity and Maneuverability
In most cases, you’re going to want to be able to roll smoothly in a straight line and steer your cart. That is why the use of both swivel and rigid wheels together is so popular. Placing swivel casters at one end of your equipment and rigid at the other gives you the ability to roll in a straight line without veering but still allows you to steer when necessary. For example, think of the shopping carts at grocery stores. Plus, you can still load your carts with heavy loads because the rigid wheels can support this weight.
For the most part, people choose to use a combination of rigid and swivel casters to get extra load capacity and plenty of maneuverability. However, be sure to consider your situation and which configuration of wheels would be best for mobilizing your equipment.