The best wheel material to use depends on several factors, including load capacity required, type of floor the wheels will be used on, and special environmental factors such as extreme high or low temperatures, greasy floors and the presence of caustic materials. Special requirements for reduced noise or vibration can also influence which wheel material to choose. The list below will help you choose, and our Caster Selection Chart provides detailed information on capacity, temperature range, rollability and more. If you need more advice we are happy to help – just call us at 321-639-2145.
Pneumatic wheels provide excellent shock absorption for use when transporting delicate, breakable items. They have very good rollability and quiet movement.
Thermoplastic rubber is great for environments where wheels will be exposed to chemicals, alkali, oil, acid and/or wear. Cushioned and non-marking.
Soft rubber tread with a hard rubber core for quiet movement, a cushioned ride, and maximum floor protection.
The rubber provides quiet movement and cushioning, while a harder core – usually iron or steel – provides higher load capacity and strength.
Hard-rubber is impervious to oils, greases, and gasoline. It has a high-loading rating, good rollability, impact resistance, and good floor protection.
Polypropylene is lightweight and impact resistant, yet economical. It is non-marking and resists water and chemical absorption.
Polyurethane on Polypropylene
The polyurethane tread gives high load capacity and extended wear. It is non-marking and resists chemicals, caustics, acids, and oils. The polypropylene hub will not dent, mar, fade, or stain. Tread and hub are mechanically interlocked to eliminate tread separations.
The metal core allows these wheels to be used with extremely heavy loads, while the polyurethane cushions the ride and protects floors.
Phenolic resin is reinforced with macerated fabric. Phenolic wheels are very strong and impact resistant. They are non-marking, non-conductive, and spark-proof, and resistant to oil, gasoline and dilute acids.
Nylon has a very high load capacity. It is resistant to tear, wear and impact damage, has good rollability and is non-marking. The high melting point allows it to be used in high temperature environments.
The addition of glass gives these wheels a higher weight capacity. They have an operating temperature of -45° to +350° Fahrenheit. Glass filled nylon wheels have good abrasion and compression resistance.
Cast iron is hard with a very high load capacity. It is prone to corrosion though, and more brittle than (more expensive) ductile iron or steel.
Ductile iron is just as hard as cast iron, but the crystalline structure gives it more flexibility and tensile strength. Like cast iron, it is prone to corrosion. It is more expensive than cast iron.
Drop Forged Steel
Forged steel is the hardest wheel material. It has great tensile strength and is less prone to corrosion than iron. It is more expensive than iron.