Are Caster Wheels Universal?
Victoria Forney

Are Caster Wheels Universal?

If you work in or run an office building, you deal with many office chairs. If you need to replace a chair’s wheels, you may be wondering, “Are caster wheels universal?”

As the experts in all things caster wheel, Caster Central explains everything you should know about your office chair casters and what you should consider while replacing them.

The Parts of Office Chair Caster Wheels

With employees working eight hours each day, you likely see the wheels of their office chairs wear out every couple of years. In addition to hindering movement and distracting other employees with loud noises, broken wheels can threaten chair stability, thus posing a hazard to worker safety.

If you’re replacing the wheels on your office chair, you’ll need to determine what types of the following pieces it uses.


The first piece of an office caster wheel is the mount. The mount holds the wheel in place and provides stability but, depending on the type, may also hinder some movement. Most office chairs use a stem mount because it provides more mobility.

However, while a stem mount is nearly universal, some office chairs may use a plate mount for greater durability. Your chair likely has these casters if you bought it to use on uneven surfaces, such as in an industrial setting, or if you’re a heavier person. You attach the plate to the chair using a screw in each of the plate’s four corners.


The caster wheel provides the mobility and support you need to move your office chair. You likely use caster wheels daily without even thinking about how prevalent they are!

Generally, you can choose an office caster wheel with a diameter of two, two-and-a-half, or three inches. A two-inch diameter is most common, but opting for the larger wheel offers less resistance when rolling over the carpet. When replacing the wheels, you can change your wheel size without complications to the chair.

You can also choose between a single or double wheel. While most chairs use the standard single-wheel casters, some high-end models use double wheels, which increases their carrying capacity and offers less resistance and smoother movement. 

While some double caster wheels require special construction, you can easily use others instead of standard single-wheel casters.


The caster stem is the standard mounting option for most office chairs, as it provides increased mobility at the expense of durability. Most office chairs don’t deal with heavy loads, so many people prefer stem mounting.

The stem is where you’ll find the most variability in your office chairs. This is where the answer to “Are caster wheels universal?” gets more complicated.

The first major difference in stems is the type of attachment it uses to fasten the wheel to the chair. The following are the most common:

  • Socket: This stem looks like a screw and threads into a concave socket that adds stability to the wheel. You can reinforce these wheels with a washer and bolts.
  • Ring: Also called a grip ring, this most common stem has a groove near the top that forms a small steel ring. It allows the wheel to snap into place by exerting tension in the socket.
  • Neck: The grip neck stem narrows at the top and has a thin, wider head. Much like the grip ring, it exerts tension once inserted into the socket and holds the wheel in place while allowing it to swivel.

In addition to the type of stem, the mounts can differ in length and diameter. Neck grips tend to be the longest, usually an inch and a half. Ring grips can have different lengths, including 1 3/8 inches, one inch, or 3/8 inches.

Next, measure the diameter of the stem. Most stems have diameters of 5/16, 3/8, or 7/16 inches. 

Replacing Your Office Chair Casters

Provided you find the correct caster wheel and stem type, you can easily replace your office caster wheels by using the following steps:

  1. Gather the tools you’ll need, including a flathead screwdriver and something to protect your floor, like a mat or old blanket.
  2. Lay down the blanket over your workspace.
  3. Place the chair with wheels up. Some people may find it more convenient to place the chair on its side instead.
  4. Pull forcefully on the wheel and pop it out, or use a screwdriver for more leverage. If you have a threaded stem, you can just unscrew it.
  5. Insert the new wheel and stem into the socket. If you hear a snap, you’ve installed it successfully!

Clean up your mess, and you’re ready to use your upgraded chair.

Maintaining Your Office Chair Wheels

You can avoid replacing the wheels of your office chair as long as possible by keeping them in good condition. You can perform regular cleaning, but if you neglect that, you should, at the very least, clean out the wheels when they become harder to move. Start by removing the wheels from the office chair.

First, take tweezers and clear out any larger pieces of debris you see around the wheel, like gum, hair, tape, or string. Next, use a gentle cleaning solution and either a wet rag or toothbrush to clean the wheel, socket, stem, and other exposed areas.

Wait for the wheels to dry, which can take a few hours. To guarantee they dry completely, leave the chair overnight and finish your maintenance the next day. Use WD-40 or a similar lubricant to keep your wheels moving smoothly.

Reassemble the chair and know that you’ve prolonged the life of your chair wheels. Clean them every six months for peak performance.

Visit Caster Central To Replace Your Caster Wheels

Are caster wheels universal? No, as you have several options for stem types and wheel sizes. Caster Central can help you choose the best casters, no matter your needs or type of business. 

Our online store has an extensive inventory, from hospitality industry casters to all types of accessories. To speak with a caster expert, call 800-445-4082.