The Difference Between Castors And Wheels And Which One Is Best For You

10 March 2022

Castors and wheels are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they're not quite the same thing. Here are the key differences you need to be aware of, as well as understanding which type is best for your needs.

Castors And Wheels Defined

Castors and wheels look fairly similar, but they have some subtle differences.

Essentially, a castor is a type of small wheel that is held in place by a mounting system or bracket, often known as a yoke or fork. It can be used to move a wide range of equipment, from office trolleys to furniture, waste disposal units and industrial roll cages. A standalone wheel doesn't have the same mounting system as a castor, but instead has a hole in its centre for an axle or spindle, which enables it to spin.

Since a wheel spins on a single axis, this means it can only move in one direction at a time. On the other hand, a castor has more flexibility of movement than a wheel, as some can swivel fully. Wheels can be much larger than castors and can be fitted to machines, vehicles and other equipment.

Wheels are also much older than castors; they've been around for several thousand years, whereas castors are much younger, having been patented just 150 years ago.

Uses Of Wheels And Castors

Wheels are handy for equipment that you only want to move in a straight line, whereas castors can be applied for many items of equipment that need a wider degree of manoeuvrability. In particular, swivel caster wheels allow you to move trolleys, cages or other equipment around in different directions, effectively allowing you to steer the item.

Wheels may be easier to use, however, and can give you greater control, so if you're looking for control over manoeuvrability or need to move over uneven or rough terrain, wheels are your go-to choice. Wheels may also offer greater durability than swivel wheels, especially if you're looking to move around heavy items of equipment.

When deciding whether to opt for wheels or castors, think about how the item will be used, whether outdoors or indoors, what area you need to cover and how much weight the load will bear. Wheels or rigid (fixed) castors tend to offer a higher load capacity than swivel wheels.

Noise Issues

Although wheels are easier to push and have the least resistance, they can sometimes be noisy when used over rough terrain or other floor types, so it's worth choosing a material type that comes with a quiet mark. This is especially important if the equipment will be used frequently throughout the day. Soft tread wheels, in particular, are quieter and won't wear the floor as much as hard types.

Easy Fit

If you're looking to fit the wheels or castors yourself, you may find fitting light duty castors is easier, thanks to having a mounting bracket, which makes for simple installation. You can even combine different castors (swivel and rigid) on a single item of equipment, for maximum benefits.


Whether you're looking for industrial swivel wheels, rigid wheels or wheels for DIY projects, you'll find a great choice of options in our online catalogue.

Image source: Pexels
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