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Aluminum Hand Truck for Kegs - Loop Handle - 10" Flat Free Wheels
Aluminum Hand Truck for Kegs - Loop Handle - 10" Flat Free Wheels
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Caster Info
Casters and Wheels
A wheel is a cylindrical or spherical object that has a hole through the center of it. This hole, also known as the wheel bore, is where an axle or shaft will go to affix the wheel to some other object. A wheel cannot function properly unless it has a fixed axle on which to spin.

A caster is an assembly consisting mainly of a wheel, a frame (also known as a "yoke"), and an axle. Casters are installed on various objects with the purpose of making these objects mobile. Caster yokes have two "legs" with an axle hole in each leg. The wheel goes between these legs, and the axle is then inserted from the outside of one leg, through the axle hole, through the wheel bore, and then through the axle hole in the opposite leg. Usually, the axle will be a hex head bolt with a hex nut. The hex nut is installed after the axle is inserted completely. Caster yokes also have some type of mounting hardware at the base of the legs used to attach the caster to an object. There are swivel casters, those that rotate 360 on the mounting hardware; and there are rigid casters, those that do not rotate.

This is a general depiction of how a caster is assembled:

General Applications
The first step in finding the right caster is to consider exactly what the application is and choose a general family of casters in which to search. For example, if you are putting casters on furniture, you will probably want to begin your search in the Furniture Casters category. If you are going to be using casters in wet or corrosive environments, then Stainless Steel Casters would be a good starting point. If you need to roll your application over rough terrain such as gravel or grass, then Pneumatic Casters would most likely offer the best solution. These are just some examples of general considerations to make when starting your search for the right caster. If you scroll over our home page, you will see many other general categories that might help you in getting started, and if you still are not sure, just give us a call.

Mounting Hardware
How would you like to attach your casters to your equipment? That should be one of the first considerations in selecting a caster. Some mounting options to consider are plate mount casters, threaded stem casters, expanding stem casters, grip ring stem casters, and hollow kingpin casters. All of these options have various mounting hardware sizes available. Plate mount casters typically have a 4-hole plate that requires bolts or screws for attaching to equipment. Threaded stem casters are used when the application already has a threaded hole for screwing the threaded stem into, or when the stem will go through part of the equipment to have a hex nut installed on it to hold the caster in place. Expanding stem casters have a rubber bushing around a threaded stem. When a special round nut is tightened onto the threaded part of the stem, it compresses the rubber bushing, causing it to expand. The rubber bushings can be square or round. A grip ring stem is a steel stem with a separate steel compression ring around it. The ring is slightly larger in diameter than the stem, and compresses when installed in a hole the size of the stem itself to hold the caster in. Hollow kingpin casters have only a blank hole for mounting. Usually, a separate bolt will be used to attach these casters to equipment. Other mounting hardware not discussed here is available; these are just some of the most popular types.

Wheel Size
Wheel measurements include wheel diameter, tread width, hub width, and bore diameter. Wheel diameter is the distance from the top to the bottom of the wheel. Tread width is the distance from one side to the other on the part of the wheel making contact with the floor (the tread). Hub width is the distance from one side to the other at the center of the wheel. Bore diameter is the diameter of the hole through the center of the wheel.

A wheel with a larger diameter is going to roll more easily than a smaller wheel, but that does not mean that bigger is always better. Remember that a bigger wheel is going to increase the height of your application, making the center of gravity higher, and possibly making the application top-heavy.

Wheel Material
Caster wheels are available in a variety of materials and combinations of several materials. Some of the most common types of caster wheels are phenolic wheels, cast iron wheels, polyurethane wheels, v-groove wheels, pneumatic wheels, polyolefin wheels, forged steel wheels, rubber wheels, and nylon wheels. Many times, two of the previously listed materials will be combined to construct a wheel. An example of this would be a cast iron wheel with a rubber tread, also known as a mold-on rubber wheel. For more examples, please visit our Caster Wheels page.

Selecting the right wheel material is very important in selecting the right caster. Harder wheels will normally hold more weight than softer wheels, but will also offer less floor protection to the surface they will be rolling on. If you plan on putting casters on an object that will be remaining stationary for a long period of time, softer wheels may not be the best choice because they can develop flat spots in that situation. Another factor to keep in mind is environmental factors such as chemicals and oils coming in contact with your wheels. Certain types of wheels will not withstand certain types of environments. If you are not sure about a wheel you are interested in, please contact us with your questions.

Weight Capacity
The weight of your application will help determine your caster options. Caster weight capacities start as low as 75 lbs. per caster, and go as high as 30,000 lbs. per caster. The weight capacities listed on our website are per caster. So, if you have four casters on one piece of equipment, the total capacity is four times the capacity of one caster. For example, a 1,000 lb. piece of equipment can be supported with four casters rated at 250 lbs. each. However, it is always a good idea to go a little higher in weight capacity than the total weight of your equipment. Institutional casters, threaded stem casters, and expanding stem casters have capacities up to 350 lbs. each, anything more than that would be considered a heavy duty caster.

Locking Casters
Most casters are available with or without a wheel brake. Casters with brakes allow the user to keep the equipment from rolling by engaging a brake pedal located on the side or top of the caster. Another form of braking caster known as a total lock caster, has a brake pedal that when engaged keeps the wheel from rolling, and keeps the caster from swiveling or rotating. Swivel lock casters are another option. This type of caster has a device that when engaged, will keep a swivel caster from swiveling, but allow the wheel to roll.

Wheel Bearings
There are also several styles of wheel bearings available for many caster wheels. These include, but are not limited to roller bearings, precision ball bearings, delrin bearings, and tapered roller bearings. Precision ball bearings offer the least rolling resistance for a wheel and are maintenance free. This means that they are ergonomic, and do not require regular grease application. Delrin bearings are made of low resistance nylon and because they do not have metal parts that can rust, they are the ideal choice for stainless steel casters.

Let Us Help
While we have provided the information above to assist you in selecting the best caster for your application, we would still like to offer our personal assistance to your search. Our sales staff has over 30 years of experience in helping customers with their caster needs. Please give us a call or send us an email and let us get you up and rolling.
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#01HD Rigid Caster - Poly on Iron 5" x 2"
#01HD Rigid Caster - Poly on Iron 5" x 2"
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1700 Roseneath Rd.
Richmond, VA 23230