5 Best Caster Wheels for Outdoor Use
Victoria Forney

5 Best Caster Wheels for Outdoor Use

Are you looking for the best caster wheels for outdoor use? Modern materials and manufacturing techniques give businesses access to many durable and economical caster wheel solutions.

Caster wheels contribute to the functionality, safety, and durability of wheeled carts, furniture, and other devices for carrying loads. Outdoor environments can make it more difficult for people to move heavy objects from place to place. The additional design and ergonomic constraints increase the importance of casters with features that support outdoor operation.

Caster Central provides casters for many applications for loads of varying sizes in different contexts. If you need casters for outdoor events, learn more about your options from an expert in caster design and functionality.

Characteristics of Effective Caster Wheels

Every caster needs to support a load while allowing the object that supports that load to move in a controllable speed and direction. The nature of the movement could be different from one situation to the next. However, casters should possess certain qualities, some more relevant than others to particular tasks and contexts.


A small turning circle and the ability to change direction quickly can be a prerequisite for many applications. Swiveling enhances the ability of caster-mounted furniture to pivot or move sideways quickly.


An essential feature of casters is their ability to enable carts, gurneys, and other conveyances to move quickly. Mobility streamlines time-sensitive processes, such as ferrying products through a warehouse or getting a gurney from one room to another in a hospital.


In some situations, casters that move too easily are a disadvantage. Caster-mounted tables and chairs, for instance, should stay in place most of the time but move with some effort to allow you to rearrange the furniture when you need to.

Ground Clearance

Ground clearance is necessary for movement over rough or uneven terrain. If casters are too low to the ground, small objects in the cart’s path or furniture could cause damage or bump the cart.


Outdoor environments are likely to cause more wear than most indoor environments. Casters must last a long time to minimize repair and replacement costs and safety issues caused by sudden caster failure.

Stain and Bacterial Resistance

In commercial, research, or medical contexts, it might be important for casters to be easy to clean and non-porous, so they do not absorb stains and harbor bacteria or contaminants.

Shock Absorption

If you move a caster-mounted cart or furniture over uneven or rough terrain, the vibration and bumping transmitted through the caster can jostle fragile loads. 

Quiet Operation

If casters squeak, vibrate, or rumble as they move, they could cause problems in some locations, such as libraries, courts, schools, and hospitals, where noise could be disruptive. 

The best caster wheels for outdoor use might pose problems when you bring them inside. If you need casters for mixed-use applications, such as luggage carts that go out to a parking lot and into hallways, lobbies, and elevators, your wheels should work well in both environments. 

Do not neglect features like floor protection and ease of cleaning so that your rugged outdoor casters do not cause damage if you bring them inside.

Outdoor Uses of Casters

When we envision wheeled furniture or carts, indoor environments like warehouses, schools, offices, and stores might come to mind most readily. However, casters play a role in many outdoor events and circumstances, such as:

  • Transporting a sick or injured person from their home to an emergency vehicle
  • Catering an outdoor celebration such as a wedding reception
  • Field research at outdoor sites
  • Moving supplies between buildings on a campus or industrial park
  • Setting up or removing outdoor product displays

Challenges of Outdoor Caster Use

Outdoor environments tend to increase the need for durability, shock absorption, and ground clearance. Stain and moisture resistance will also be vital to consider if you need to avoid tracking mud and slush indoors. Many caster wheel materials and designs provide the rugged yet supportive characteristics that work best for outdoor casters.

Caster Wheel #1: Pneumatic Caster Wheels

Air-filled wheels provide more of a cushion against impacts and rough terrain. One downside of pneumatic wheels is the risk of puncture, but using durable caster wheel materials will minimize the risk. You can get pneumatic casters in swivel and rigid varieties, in 8” or 10” diameters.

Caster Wheel #2: Phenolic Caster Wheels

Phenolic wheels have the toughness you need for moving heavy loads over uneven or broken ground. They also tolerate high temperatures, which protects your caster wheels if they traverse asphalt on hot days, move through hot environments, or roll over hot liquids. 

Phenolic caster wheels range from 3” to 12” in thicknesses from 1.5” to 3”. Thicker caster wheels can support over 3000 pounds.

Caster Wheel #3: Polyolefin Caster Wheels

Polyolefin wheels are a sound choice if you expect your caster wheels to take a lot of punishment. They are the best caster wheels for outdoor use in aviation and auto care because they resist impacts, water, and fuel spills.

Polyolefin caster wheels have load capacities under 1000 pounds and come in sizes ranging from 1-5/8” to 8” in diameter.

Caster Wheel #4: Performa Rubber Caster Wheels

Performa rubber is a sturdy, durable material that appears in mats and other household products. Performa rubber wheels are dependable for general use indoors and outdoors. They roll quietly, hold up well to impacts, and are easy on flooring.

Performa rubber wheels are gray and can support loads up to 675 pounds. The Defender D4 Series Colson Casters include Performa rubber wheels.

Caster Wheel #5: Caster Wheels With Treads

Increase the traction for your casters by using wheels that grip the ground. As with automotive tires, caster wheels with treads will do better on puddles, wet ground, oil slicks, and other surfaces that reduce friction. 

Mounting Caster Wheels for Outdoor Applications

A caster wheel can only function well if the caster securely anchors the wheel and can withstand impacts, vibration, and contact with potentially corrosive materials. The diameter of the wheel could affect your choice of caster since larger wheels will lift the caster off the ground, potentially protecting it from collisions and splashes.

Zinc-coated stainless steel casters resist rust and corrosion, so they will last longer under regular outdoor use. Casters with springs and other shock absorbers integrated into their design protect the cargo and the caster wheels from some impact force.

You will also need to choose between swivel caster mounts and fixed caster mounts. Getting the most out of your caster wheels means choosing an optimal pairing of caster and caster wheel for every application.

Customization of Outdoor Caster Design

If none of the casters above address the needs of your ideal outdoor caster, consider a custom caster. Three-dimensional printing and other new materials and construction technologies give manufacturers more flexibility than ever in creating or modifying caster designs for specific applications.

Casters for All Occasions From Caster Central

The choice of caster wheel diameters, materials, shapes, and features can seem complex, but weighing the pros and cons of caster types when you purchase them can pay off later in increased efficiency and lower repair and replacement costs.

Explore the expansive inventory of quality casters and caster wheel products on the Caster Central website.

If you need help evaluating your caster choices, contact Caster Central. Our caster experts give all our customers the information they need. Talk with a Caster Central representative today about the best caster wheels for outdoor use in your business.