Casters play an essential role in industrial equipment, carts, and other machinery that require easy mobility. Casters come in various sizes, shapes, materials, and durometers. Durometer is the measure of hardness or softness of a caster’s wheel. The right durometer for your caster wheel will determine its longevity, noise level, grip, and rolling ability. Therefore, choosing the right durometer for your caster wheels is crucial. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the right durometer for your caster wheels.
Understanding Durometer: What is it and How is it Measured?
Durometer is a measure of a material’s hardness or softness. It is typically measured using a device called a durometer, which presses a needle into the material to measure its resistance. Durometer is expressed as a number, with higher numbers indicating harder materials and lower numbers indicating softer materials. The most common scale used for caster wheels is the Shore A scale, which ranges from 0 to 100. Below are examples of everyday household items that can give you reference for a casters durometer.
0-30 Durometer: Very soft, like a rubber band
30-50 Durometer: Soft, like a pencil eraser
50-70 Durometer: Medium, like a car tire
70-90 Durometer: Hard, like a hard hat
90-100 Durometer: Very hard, like a bowling ball
Types of Caster Wheel Materials
Caster wheels can be made from a variety of materials, including rubber, polyurethane, nylon, and metal. Each material has its own unique properties that can impact its performance, such as durability, load capacity, and noise level.
Rubber wheels are a popular choice because they are durable, absorb shock, and provide good traction. However, they can be noisy and have limited load capacities.
Polyurethane wheels are another popular choice because they are durable, quiet, and have high load capacities. They also provide good shock absorption and traction.
Nylon wheels are lightweight, durable, and have high load capacities. They are often used in industrial settings where heavy loads need to be moved.
Metal wheels are the most durable and have the highest load capacities. However, they can be noisy and are not suitable for all surfaces.
Soft vs Hard Durometer Wheels
Soft durometer wheels are typically more comfortable to use and provide better traction on uneven surfaces. They are also more shock-absorbent, making them ideal for delicate equipment or items that need to be transported carefully. Hard durometer wheels are more durable and have higher load capacities. They are better suited for smooth surfaces and heavy loads.
Choosing Durometer for Different Applications
When choosing the right durometer for your caster wheels, you will need to consider the specific application you will be using them for. For example:
For light-duty applications, such as office chairs, a durometer of 70 to 75 is sufficient.
For medium-duty applications, such as hand trucks, a durometer of 80 to 85 is recommended.
For heavy-duty applications, such as machinery, a durometer of 90 to 95 is ideal.