Braking casters are distinguished from all other casters by their use of a braking system. They still feature an undriven wheel in a frame or assembly, and you can still mount them on the bottom of carts, chairs or other objects. Only braking casters, however, have a braking system. Engaging a caster’s braking system will immobilize it. The wheel won’t move, so you won’t have to worry about the object rolling away.
Braking vs Non-Braking Casters
All casters fall under one of two categories: braking or non-braking. Braking casters feature a braking system. Even when placed on an unlevel surface, you can prevent them from rolling by activating the braking system. Non-braking casters lack a braking system. The wheels will rotate freely, which may result in the object rolling away when placed on an unlevel surface.
One of the most common types of braking systems used by casters is cam. It involves the use of a foot-activated lever or pedal on the side of the wheel. Pushing this lever down will immobilize the wheel. The lever will press against the fork of the caster, thus squeezing the wheel.
Some casters use a top lock braking system. The top lock braking system consists of an arm that goes over the caster and wheel tread. It’s larger than that of the cam braking system. But like with the cam braking system, you can activate it by pushing a pedal. Pushing the pedal on a top lock braking system will cause the arm to drop onto the wheel.
Another common type of braking system used by casters is tech lock. The tech lock braking system consists of a foot-activated lever that works in conjunction with a brake pad. Pushing the lever will engage the brake pad. The brake pad will press against the wheel — similar to how automotive brake pads.
There’s the total lock braking system available for casters as well. The total lock braking system does more than just prevent the casters with which it’s used from rolling; it prevents them from swiveling. If you’re planning to buy a swivel caster, you may want to opt for a total lock braking system.
There are several different types of braking systems used by casters. Some of the most common include cam, top lock, tech lock and total lock. They consist of different parts, but they are all designed to immobilize the wheel.