Wheels vs. Casters: What’s the Difference?

Some people use the words caster and wheel interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. To avoid confusion, let’s discuss what a wheel is and what a caster is so that you know the difference between the two.


What’s a Wheel?

A wheel is a simple machine – one of six. The origin of the wheel is not known, but it has been used for thousands of years and has been a building block in the formation of civilization. In the simplest of terms, a wheel is an object that is round with a hole located in the center where an axle or spindle can be placed. It rolls on flat surfaces and makes it easy to move heavy items while conserving energy.

caster wheels


What’s a Caster?

There are two kinds of casters used in many industrial applications – swivel and fixed. Swivel caster wheels use rotating mounts that allow them to rotate 360 degrees and change direction easily. Fixed casters do not rotate and the wheels move either forward or backward, allowing individuals to steer.

A caster is not the same as a wheel – a wheel rolls either forward or backward. Casters, however, include a mounting system that allows them to move in several directions if they swivel. Casters allow objects to be moved in multiple directions to make it even easier to move objects like bins, machinery, and furniture.

Casters support heavy objects and move along surfaces with no hassle, increasing efficiency and making it easy to get objects where they need to be. When choosing casters, it is important to make sure that they fit with the specifications and requirements for the job. Casters have weight limits, so make sure that you have the right caster for your needs by doing thorough research and knowing your needs beforehand.