Swivel Casters: Should You Choose Kingpin or Kingpinless?

When shopping for swivel casters, you may come across kingpin and kingpinless. Swivel casters, of course, are characterized by their ability to rotate in a full 360 degrees. Some casters can only roll forward and backward, but swivel casters can roll in all directions. While there are many different types of swivel casters, however, most of them can be classified as either kingpin or kingpinless.

What Are Kingpin Casters?

Kingpin casters are swivel casters that feature a kingpin. They leverage a pin-based assembly to achieve a 360-degree range of rotation. Known as a kingpin, this assembly typically consists of an upper race with ball bearings and a bottom race with ball bearings. The two races are held together by a central vertically aligned pin.

What Are Kingpinless Casters?

Kingpinless casters are swivel casters that do not feature a kingpin. They still offer a 360-degree range of rotation, meaning they can roll in all directions, but they don’t use the same design as their counterparts. Kingpinless casters feature a top plate with an integrated upper race and bottom race. They don’t have a central vertically aligned pin. Kingpinless casters have an upper and bottom race that lock together.

Differences Between Kingpin and Kingpinless Casters

While they are both types of swivel casters, kingpin and kingpinless casters aren’t the same. Kingpin casters feature a kingpin assembly, whereas kingpinless casters feature a simpler design consisting of a top plate with an integrated upper and bottom race.

Kingpin casters can be adjusted. The pin holding the two races together, for instance, can be tightened or loosened. Only kingpin casters feature a pin; kingpinless casters can’t be adjusted – at least not by tightening or loosening the pin.

Kingpinless casters, on the other hand, are better protected against failure. It’s not uncommon for kingpin casters to fail. The kingpin assembly is specifically prone to failure, which can lead to fluttering or shimmying of the wheels.

When compared to kingpin casters, kingpinless casters are better suited for heavier objects. They have a top plate that distributes the load of objects across a larger surface area. As a result, kingpinless casters can withstand heavier objects.

Without a central pin, kingpinless casters require less maintenance. You won’t have to worry about adjusting the pin. You can use kingpinless casters for many years, and without a pin, you won’t have to constantly adjust them.