Soft Floor Casters vs Hard Floor Casters: What is the Difference?


Soft Floor Casters vs Hard Floor Casters: What is the Difference?Who knew that it even mattered what type of caster you needed depending on the type of floor you have? Well, that’s the kind of privileged world we live in today. Options! There are plenty of them, and when you’re shopping for casters, there are some things to consider if you want to:

  1. Get the most out of your purchase.
  2. Have your casters working efficiently.

Sure, you can purchase a standard caster just because it might cost you less, but the fact of the matter is if you’re using it for any other purpose than what it’s designed for, chances are you’ll be purchasing a replacement sooner than you thought. And a lot of this has to do with whether your caster will be performing on a hard or soft floor.

What’s the Difference?

When we refer to a soft floor, that means the floor is carpeted. Hard floor refers to a hardwood flooring, laminate, tile, or concrete. The type of caster you use for these floors will make a difference in how well they perform and how much money you’ll save long term.

So let’s talk about exactly what kind of casters you’ll need for the type of floors you have.

All About Casters!

If you’re in an office setting, chances are you may have carpeted floors. We realized that not all offices have carpet. Some of the more modern styles have hardwood flooring and perhaps even a finished concrete for that industrial look. Then there is the actual industrial flooring for warehouses. You also have the laminate flooring that’s typically used for mailrooms, and some older government buildings. Let’s not forget other industries like the food and beverage that may have a more decorative laminate and the more sterile environments like healthcare facilities.

Where Casters are Used 

All of these business and industries mentioned above is going to require some sort of transporting tool. Whether it’s you rolling your office chair from your desk to the printer, pushing computer equipment from one conference room to the next, loading a pallet full of supplies for shipment, or transporting a patient from the surgery to the recovery room, a certain type of caster is sufficient for each job and the experienced material-handling professionals at Douglas Equipment will tell you what they are.

Soft Casters for Hard Floors

Soft floor casters are ideal for hard floors. Because the floor itself is already hard, there needs to be some traction on the wheel of the caster so that it rolls smoothly. It’s very much similar to tires rolling on a pavement. If you didn’t have the rubber and just rolled on the rims, the ride itself wouldn’t roll well at all.

The rubber on the tire makes the ride much better. So it is for the soft caster to a hard surface. When rolling soft casters around, you won’t have to worry about the wheel damaging your floors like a hard caster would. One thing you have to take into consideration is the amount of weight that will be placed on theses casters. The soft casters will be able to absorb that weight making it easier to maneuver on a hard floor.

Here’s an example of a soft casters to use on hard flooring:

  • Shepherd’s Eclipse Threaded Stem Model 

This caster is ideal for transporting medical equipment, utility carts, food service equipment, and seating. The break system is built into the caster to provide an easy smooth locking system. You can also get a RoHS compliant caster, but this is only available by request.

The thread width measures at 15/16” with a wheel diameter choice of 3” or 4”. Each caster has a dynamic load of 120 – 125 lbs. with a mounting height of 4 5/16” or 5 3/8”. Depending on the size wheel you prefer, the swivel radius is either 2 ½” or 3 ¼”. The bearing type is also contingent on the type of wheel you prefer. For instance, if you want polyurethane, then you’ll have a Delrin bearing type, and if you want a clear urethane, then you’ll have the Precision Ball. Learn about the other Eclipse Threaded Stem Models here.

And this is the type of hard floor casters you’d use for soft floors: 

  • Colson’s Kingpingless Enforcer Swivel

This zinc-plated finish is the kind of caster you want for your carpet. When you consider the amount of weight that will be placed on your casters, it’s best practice to realize how much of that weight the carpet itself will absorb. It doesn’t matter if you have a little or a lot of padding. Whatever you’re trying to transport will to sink slightly into the carpet. Therefore, a hard caster is the best choice for this application.

The Enforcer has a kingpinless swivel design that eliminates performance failure. It has a 3/8” x 3” wide fork legs, a ¾” hollow axle with a grease zerk and locknut. The wheel diameter for this model is offered in 6”, 8”, and 10” with a thread width of either 2 ½” or 3”. These casters have the capacity to hold up to 4,500 lbs. depending on the kind you want. The wheels are offered in phenolic, cast iron, v-grove, forged steel, Moldon Rubber Ironcore, Performa Rubber (Flat Black), Polyurethane HI-TECH, and Moldon Polyurethante Ironcore.

Learn more about the Colson’s Enforcer model here.

What More Do You Want? Seriously. We Have It.

Douglas Equipment has a massive selection of caster manufacturers that offers a wide variety soft and hard casters for any application you need. We recommend talking to one of our representatives to further discuss your caster application needs. If for some reason, you’re not able to find the caster you need, we can arrange for one to be custom made for you.

Contact us today at 1-800-451-0030. If you’re local to the Miami area, then call 305-888-3700. You can also inquire about our casters through our online form here. We look forward to hearing from you soon.