In life it is often best to spend the money to get a better quality item that will last longer, and this is usually a sound philosophy overall. However, when it comes to casters, a higher price many not necessarily mean that it’s the best choice for longevity and performance. While getting the most expensive caster may not be necessary, it’s important to know how the price of the casters you’re considering compares to its performance characteristics and useful life.
What is my Minimum Requirement?
Ask yourself what task you need completed. When looking at casters, it is important to remember that the dynamic load capacity of the casters is how much weight a single caster can hold. This means you need to know what your maximum dynamic load will be and how many casters you will be using. If you want to hold the weight of a 280 pound load on a cart that has four casters you will need a caster that can hold a dynamic load of 70 pounds. Some casters that would fulfill these minimum requirements might include:
- Shepherd Baron Series: These casters have double ball bearing raceways for smooth motion, and are ideal for furniture, fixtures, medical equipment and office equipment. They have a dynamic load capacity of 70 to 80 pounds and the 2″ model is heat treated for better wear, has a hard synthetic spherical polyolefin wheel, and comes in a variety of finish options to ensure that they match the rest of your décor. The units can even be RoHS compliant upon request.
- Shepherd Pacer Twin Wheel: These swivel casters come in two sizes and can handle loads form 75 to 100 pounds. They have nylon or urethane tread material and come in a Flat Black, Satin Chrome, Windsor Antique, Bright Chrome, and Brass Plate finishes. This caster can include a brake in the design if required for your application.
These casters are of the highest quality and have the load capacity required for this task. You could choose a set of any one of these casters to suit this need. They are all reasonably priced and will function on this hypothetical cart quite well. However, there are other things to consider beside the minimum weight load that can affect whether or not these casters are actually right for your application.
Is Bigger Always Better?
You also need to consider the size of your caster. Generally, a bigger caster will give the item you’re attaching them to better maneuverability and a smoother ride. But can a caster ever be too big? The goal is always to find a caster that will last longer than the one you’re replacing. A larger caster with a better bearing assembly is going to roll better and last longer, which is why choosing the largest wheel you can use for your application is often better.
However, a bigger wheel will also make your load ride higher and change its center of gravity. So one of the exceptions to this rule is in cases where a higher center of gravity can increase the risk that the load will tip over and pose safety concerns for workers.
Ultimately, it’s usually best to begin looking at your more expensive options and work your way down until you find a good balance between performance, reliability, long life and price. We have some very good quality casters that are a bit larger than those mentioned above. These casters are more expensive, but offer additional features that may or may not be needed for your application.
- Colson 1 Series: This caster comes in two sizes with capacities of 60 and 75 pounds. It has a mechanical swivel, a nut and bolt axle, and is going to out roll and outlast any plastic twin wheel caster. The wheel options are Performa Rubber, Polyolefin, Cushion Rubber, Hard Rubber and Polyurethane HI-TECH, many of which are suitable for carpeted surfaces. This is a basic caster design that works well in many applications.
- Colson G Series Lo Pro Top Plate Swivel and Rigid: These casters are ideal for business machines and housekeeping carts. They come in a Cushion Rubber or Hard Rubber Wheel with capacity of 120 to 210 pounds and features a zinc plated finish that is attractive and durable, full double ball hardened raceways for better performance and greater durability, a low profile design offers low load height and quick swivel response and thread guards are standard on all except 3″ brake model.
- Colson Specialty Business Machine Casters: These casters have capacity of 500 to 1200 pounds and feature corrosion-resistant zinc finish, full double ball hardened raceways for better performance and greater durability, operating temperature rating -45°F to 180°F and ultra-tough, thermoplastic wheel, resists hard impacts and supports a high dynamic load.
It is important to remember that there will always be more expensive and less expensive caster options available than the one you will likely want for your application, and although the most expensive option might not be necessary, it may actually be better than the cheapest one you can find because it will offer better performance and last longer.
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If you’re not sure which casters would best meet your needs, contact us today! We can show you a few options in several price ranges and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each as it pertains to your particular situation.