Casters: A Buyer’s Guide

Before you jump headfirst into the world of casters, there are a few things that you should know about buying a good set of wheels. Consider this a buyer’s guide for finding and selecting casters. It isn’t a comprehensive overview, but it should be enough to get you started.

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1. Shop from the Right Manufacturers

The best casters come from companies that actually make and sell them. Don’t go through third-party vendors who sell casters alongside screws and hammers; they’re only suppliers, so they won’t be able to vouch for things like quality, durability and longevity. Buy your casters from a company that does nothing else but manufacture them.

2. Figure Out Your Sizing Needs

Casters come in many different sizes to suit a variety of needs. The trick is to make sure that you don’t confuse things like diameter, radius and height. If you’re ever in doubt about the size of a wheel in an online shop, pull out your measuring tape and create a mock-up at home. You might also be able to find size charts that compare and contrast different caster models.

3. Look at Special Features

Locking casters come with the ability to lock them in place without fear that they’ll keep rolling when your back is turned. There are also casters made with special braking and swiveling technology to ensure that you have 360° control over where they go and how they’re turned. There’s no “one size fits all” caster, so figure out what you need as an individual. Then find a set of wheels with those properties.

4. Read Reviews

What kind of reviews are floating around the web about your chosen casters? Are buyers generally satisfied with their purchases, or do they report rusting and breaking after just a few weeks of use? Would they buy from the same company again? Pay close attention to these kinds of opinions, especially if they’re negative. A few minor flaws in your chosen casters can be overlooked, but if customers report big problems, the brand might not be worth your time.

5. Stick to Your Budget

Be careful when looking at the price of casters on the Internet. Some companies sell them individually, so they’ll seem quite cheap until it’s time to buy a dozen; other companies sell them in bulk packages, so they can seem expensive until you do the math and figure out their price per unit. You’ll want to pay attention to these price tags before you bring out your credit card.

6. Check the Warranty

Last but certainly not least, you should always double-check the fine print to see what you’re getting into with your caster purchase. If the wheels stop working, will their manufacturers send you a replacement? If so, will you be responsible for the extra shipping charges? What if they’re damaged during transit? Get the answers to these questions before you sign on the dotted line. It’s the only way to be confident in your purchase decision.

These are just a few thoughts to knock around your noggin as you shop for casters. Whether you’re reinforcing a steel industrial cart or just adding wheels to the desk in your home office, it’s important to pick the right ones. Use these guidelines to help you make your decision.

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