How To Choose The Best Castor For The Surface You Want To Roll On

19 April 2022
Every castor you pick needs to be suitable for the surface substrate you're transporting your goods on. Without an appropriate choice of wheel, rollers may suffer from excessive wear-and-tear, slower movement and turning speeds, and unexpected jams and failures.
Many types of specialised castors are available from Rolltek to fit unique and demanding industrial roles. Here's our quick reference purchase checklist.

Anticipating Average Load Weights

How much bulk are your casters going to support? Heavy-load castors (e.g. elastic rubber, metal, phenolic, and polymer wheels) can safely accommodate large carry loads. High downforce is ideal for large-load, by-hand warehouse-to-warehouse shifts on flat, smooth surfaces.

If you're transporting small-to-medium loads by trolley or roll cage, lightweight plastic and pneumatic rubber increase manoeuvrability and flexibility at the cost of high traction. Softer solutions open up the possibility of using omni-directional swivel mounts, too.

Safe Outdoor Usage

Warehouse loading bays, supermarkets, multi-building facilities, and outdoor businesses (e.g. farms, leisure parks, stadiums) use small-scale rolling vehicles to transport goods and equipment. Inevitably, outside transit exposes castors to unpredictable weather, long-distance journeys, bumpy surfaces, and in the case of supermarket car parks, customers and vehicles.

Unstable trolleys are unsafe and can cause injury to staff and customers, and damage customer vehicles. Flexible, stable, and waterproof (i.e. anti-corrosion) castors are the best at surviving the elements and ensuring a safe transit across uneven outdoor surfaces. If your outside surfaces are flat and treated (e.g. hardwood decking, smoothed concrete, tarmac), heavy, high-resistance, high-downforce phenolics are superb. Rust-free oil-proofing allows phenolics to be safely left outside, too. Alternatively, try a high-quality, extreme-wear polymer such as polyurethane.

Beating Bumpy Rides

If you're hauling your slates over unpredictable lawns, gravel paths, or the countryside, you'll need hard-wearing, miniaturised road tires with decent 'give' to act as your castors. Rubber, pneumatic or Microcellular puncture proof wheels with solid spring protectors and a large surface footprint can help you evade risky punctures, scrapes, and spills. The same broad principles will work with uneven surfaces indoors, too.

Surviving Temperature Extremes

Warehouses and production facilities often include extreme changes of temperature between environment-controlled storage areas – e.g. freezer and ambient storage, greenhouse areas (for certain plants), cold rooms etc. While almost all wheels can work under average indoor, commercial, and outdoor temperatures (5-30 °C), you'll need something more robust to withstand surfaces heated or cooled beyond those limits.

Due to their construction, high and low-temperature resistant castors are always heavy. Look for solid metal and phenolic makes first and foremost - they'll survive anything up to 300 °C and down to -40°C. Avoid plastics and polymers around furnaces and fires - especially thermoplastics.

Special Considerations

Need anti-electrostatic, shock resistant, or extra-light tread castors? Soft composite and moulded PVC options are available to meet the needs of ultra-sensitive, ultra-clean interiors. 

Specialised Castors, Fittings, And Mountings From Rolltek


At Rolltek International, we supply industrial casters and wheels to fit any surface, space, and challenge. Please get in touch to find out more.

Image source: Unsplash
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