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While office chair wheels are relatively inexpensive, some command higher prices than some budget office chairs. In fact, a caster like the blue and colorless Erik Xian Trolley goes for as much as twice the cost of the cheapest task chair.
Even with the promise of sturdiness, you’ll want to ensure that you got the suitable casters when spending such amounts. Not to mention, such pricey options are pretty unpopular.
So, are office chair wheels universal?
Office chair casters are not the same as they vary in stem types, number per unit, and floor compatibility. Moreover, office chair wheels are not standard size, with the smallest at two inches to around four inches. So, while some have such branding, office chair wheels are not universal.
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Are Office Chair Wheels Universal?
Office chair wheels differ in shapes, sizes, and colors. While some have simple cylindrical shapes, others look like spheroids. Some even have an almost circular outline.
The construction materials differ too, which impacts the hardness and weight capacities of each. Some have polyurethane construction; some include steel, others have aluminum, some come in wood, among others.
No office chair wheel is usable with all office chairs. The most versatile options are compatible with around 95% of office chairs.
Even with other things ignored, there’s no way you’ll use a bolted caster on a screw or grip socket and vice-versa.
Are Office Chair Wheels Standard Size?
The usual diameter of desk chair wheels ranges between two to 2.5 inches. If your workstation is somewhat higher, replacing your small wheels with larger sizes is an easy and affordable option to raise office chair height.
You can pick between three and four-inch casters for an incremental one or two inches.
Larger wheels also move more freely. Because of their size, they more readily carry loads exerted on them.
Are All Office Chair Casters the Same?
Besides sizing, here are the top dissimilarities between office chair casters.
The stem secures the caster to the chair’s base. The most popular caster stem design is the grip ring stem. Each category is further detailed below.
Grip ring casters: Grip ring casters feature stems with grooves on top, covered with split steel rings. The ring’s tension keeps it firmly attached to your chair’s base.
Grip neck casters: These have broad bases small heads with stems resembling radio antennas. The stem’s lower piece is thicker than its higher section, allowing it to slide into the wheel socket fully. Only a few office chairs have this style of caster stem.
Threaded casters: Their stems resemble screws that twist into the wheel socket. Threaded stems are pretty secure. However, they aren’t as common as grip ring wheels.
Stemless casters: These casters fit into office chairs with attached stems. You can’t replace such stems or remove them. In this case, the socket is on the caster rather than the chair’s base.
Dual or Single-Wheel Casters?
Single-wheel options are readily available and come in numerous designs. Conversely, dual-wheel casters have limited design alternatives.
Single-wheel versions tend to roll easier, while dual ones distribute your weight better. Still, single-wheel versions carry hefty loads.
Notably, two wheels bear more weight than a single one with similar size and construction as one of the twin casters. Likewise, a smaller dual-wheel caster may carry the same weight as a bigger wheel of similar material.
So, twin casters achieve similar weight requirements while having your chair at a lower height.
However, dual-wheel options are more challenging to clean as you have to disassemble them to get out all the dirt. Besides, having a groove between them eases the ability of dirt to lodge into them.
How Do I Know What Size Casters I Need?
You know what size casters you need based on your desk height and weight capacity demands. If you need a slight height raise, get a larger caster.
If you acquire casters with similar materials to your old ones, get the same-sized wheels if you want a similar weight capacity. This capacity adjusts proportionately.
How Do You Measure for Replacement Casters?
You measure for a replacement caster depending on what you want — if seeking similar sizes, detach a caster and get its diameter and thickness.
Tie a rope around the wheel’s rolling surface to get its circumference. Next, insert the dimensions, circumference units, and diameter units in a converter tool to determine the diameter.
Alternatively, measure with calipers.
Once you get the measurement, maintain — size up, or down to achieve the desired seat height.
Do Casters Come in Different Sizes?
Casters come in different sizes, both in diameter and thickness. The thicker the wheel, the more load it can withstand. Similarly, diameter is directly proportional to weight capacity, keeping width constant.
While the smallest office chair wheels have two-inch diameters, the largest is around twice that size.
What’s the closing line, are office chair wheels universal? No, they aren’t. Hence, you need to consider their differences before getting your office chair’s replacement wheels.
Color and sizes are minor issues, particularly on height-adjustable chair casters. However, aspects like stem type, floor-type compatibility, and weight capacity are must-checks.
Andrew Smith is the founder of CozySeating, is a father of 2, and an engineer from one of the leading furniture stores in the country. Due to his 10 years of experience, he has proved to be the best person to offer advice to clients regarding different seating furniture based on their needs and performance. Besides, he is a specialist in product reviews and always keeps up with the current trends in the market.
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