Office chair wheels or casters as it is known by some is a vital part of modern office chairs, but it is also the most overlooked when it comes to the actual purchase. The wheels help you make small movements within your office without getting up from your seat. If you intend purchasing an office chair, you need to identify the most ideal wheels for your work environment before going ahead with the purchase.
If you have already purchased one before coming across this post, you don’t need to feel bad. There is a chance that the seat you purchased comes with casters that are suitable for your office floor. If not, you may have no choice but to shop for ideal replacements rather than going through the stress of returning the chair. If on the other hand, you find yourself with broken casters after a few months of use, you don’t need to panic. There are solid replacement casters you can purchase in order to get your seat back in good working condition.
We will be sharing some very important information in this post on office chair casters, how to identify the most appropriate, and how to install them.
Types of Casters
There are various types of casters that you can choose from, but you need one that is ideal for the surface you intend using it on. You can make a choice from the different types below if you already have an idea of the floor surface on which the caster is to be used.
Standard casters are also known as carpet casters. The wheels are designed with hard tread materials in order to provide ease of mobility on soft surfaces like carpets. Materials that are frequently used in the construction of the wheels are cast iron, steel, polyolefin, nylon and urethane. These materials are not just tough but have good maneuverability which prevents your carpet from getting damaged. This is the major reason why most office chairs are equipped with standard casters.
Hardwood casters are almost like a direct opposite to standard casters. If your office floor is made of hardwood, then you must avoid purchasing standard casters as they are designed from hard materials. The reason why you should avoid standard casters is that the hard materials which they are made of exert a strong force on your hardwood floor and this can leave irreparable trail marks.
Hardwood casters are made of soft materials such as soft rubber, urethane, polypropylene or nylon. These materials exert less force on your hardwood floor thereby making your chair wheels move smoothly and easily on it. The soft wheels on your hard floor prevent trail marks, or a worse damage to your floor surface.
Reverse Locking Casters
If you want to add an extra bit of safety to your office chairs, then you should consider purchasing the reverse locking casters. They work simply by locking the casters in place when weight is applied to the chair. This prevents the wheels from making any kind of movement until the weight is removed from the chair. The reverse locking casters are perfect for people with a certain disability that needs extra care when sitting on an office chair. You may also consider purchasing it if you are the type that loves reclining for a nap on your office chair.
Choosing the Best Office Chair Casters
Whether you are purchasing a brand new office chair, or you simply want to replace your broken office chair casters, you need to know how to choose the most ideal for your work environment. It is a bit straightforward to know the type of casters required for your office chair. However, you may not be able to tell which set of wheels are the most appropriate. Below are some of the vital features you need to consider before determining the most appropriate wheels for your work environment.
The most common type of wheels used in office chair casters are dual and single wheels. The dual wheel design combines two similar wheels to create a wider surface with the ground. This effectively distributes the weight of the load on the wheels thereby reducing the possibility of damage to your casters. It also prevents you from tipping over while relaxing or making short movements with the chair. Twin casters have the ability to roll and swivel at the same time. This allows you to change direction quickly without the fear of tipping over.
Single wheel casters employ only one wheel, and while you may expect it to be less reliable than dual wheel casters, the opposite is the case. Single wheel casters are designed to be stronger and they tend to last better too. This is because they have less moving parts compared to their dual wheel counterpart. They are rarely used in office chairs so your best replacement option still remains the dual wheel casters.
Caster wheels are made from a variety of materials including plastic rubber, cast iron, forged steel, aluminum steel, and a few others. Each of the materials is best suited to certain surfaces. However, rubber wheels are widely used due to the elasticity they provide, as well as the ease at which they travel through uneven surfaces. Rubber wheels provide good friction on hard surfaces, however, they can easily become deformed from carrying load for an extended period of time.
Metal wheels, on the other hand, are best suited to soft surfaces. They are stronger and can carry load for a long period of time without getting deformed.
This is another important factor worth considering before purchasing your office chair or replacing your caster wheels. The diameter of any wheel has a lot to do with the stability of the load it carries. If you want to stay balanced on your office chair, you need to consider purchasing casters with larger wheels. There is, however, a limit to the size of wheel your office chair can accommodate. If you purchase something way bigger, you will offset the center of gravity of the chair and this could cause you to tip over while stretching or relaxing on the chair.
Stationary and Dynamic Loading Capacity
The stationary loading capacity of your caster is the maximum weight it can carry when it is standing in one position. The dynamic loading capacity is the maximum weight it can carry when moving. Casters are designed to support a certain range of weights. it is therefore important that you estimate the maximum weight your office chair is bound to carry before purchasing replacement casters. Supposing nobody weighs more than 200 Lb at your office and the chair uses a total of 4 casters, divide 200 by 4 and you will have 50. This means that the casters you intend purchasing should have a loading capacity of 50Lb or more.
The ease at which your caster moves on any surface is known as rollability. This is determined by the bearing of the caster and the wheel size. It is somewhat difficult to see the bearings on an office chair caster because of the way it is built but the ease at which the wheels rotate when you spin them could give you an idea. Just like we’ve hinted before, larger wheels equate to better stability, but rollability is also important.
How to Replace your Office Chair Casters
So let us say you have purchased the ideal casters for your office chairs based on our advice above and now you are wondering how to remove and replace the faulty ones. You really don’t need a carpenter for this. It probably will be the least technical activity that you have ever engaged in. Simply follow the laid down steps below and you will see how easy it is to replace your office chair wheels.
Step 1 – Check for Wheel Obstruction
At times, your office ergonomic chair wheels may stop rolling not because they are damaged, but because something is obstructing them from moving freely. Such obstruction can be caused by carpet thread, fibers, or other dirt that may have been caught up amidst the wheels. What you should do is turn the chair upside down on a desk, a table, or on the floor. Now, look through the casters for a possible obstruction. Remove all forms of dirt you find using a long-nose plier, a pair of scissors, a sharp knife, or any other sharp pointed tool. Once you are sure that all the dirt is out, turn the chair back up and check if the wheel now rotates freely. If it does, simply apply two drops of lubricating oil on all of the axles and return the chair to normal use.
Step 2 – Remove the Damaged Caster
Okay, let’s say you have followed step 1 and the problem still persists. You now know that the only option is to remove and replace the casters. A lot of casters can be removed simply by pulling it outwardly away from the chair. You can use a towel to strengthen your grip on the caster while pulling it out. If it feels stuck and wouldn’t come out, get a screwdriver or any other sharp pointed tool and pry the area surrounding the stem of the wheel. This will make the caster feel free a bit and you can now pull it out.
Step 3 – Find a Suitable Replacement
We have discussed extensively on how you can identify a suitable replacement for your damaged caster in this post. We, however, advise that you purchase casters that are very similar to the ones your office chair came with. In order for you to have an idea of a suitable replacement, you will need to follow the first two steps above to remove the damaged caster. Now with the damaged caster in your hands, you can examine your available options to find the most suitable replacement. Bear in mind that it is not compulsory for you to purchase exactly the same type that came with your office chair. Some people have a great deal of experience with casters. If you are one of such persons, you can purchase a totally different product which you feel would be best for your work environment.
Step 4 – Install the replacement
Installing your new casters is pretty straightforward. All you need do is to push the new casters down the socket below the office chair. Push it with as much force as the strength of your hands can go and you will probably hear a click. If you don’t, turn the chair back up and sit on it. Your weight will help push the stem into place and you should hear the “click” sound indicating that it has been successfully installed.
There are probably two reasons why you could be shopping for new casters today. It could be that the ones on your office chair got broken and you need a replacement. It could also be that you just feel uncomfortable sitting on your office ergonomic chair and need to try out new casters. Whatever be the reason, we have discussed extensively on how to identify the most ideal casters for your office.
In summary, the first thing to consider is the surface on which they are to be used. This gives you an idea of the type of material to purchase. Now you can go ahead to select an appropriate wheel diameter, loading capacity, and rollability depending on what you want from your casters. After purchasing the ideal casters, follow the simple steps outlined above and you will have your new casters installed in no time.