Caster Wheel Design Calculations: How to Choose the Best for Your Application
Victoria Forney

Caster Wheel Design Calculations: How to Choose the Best for Your Application

There are many factors to consider regarding equipment form and function in any industrial environment. Choosing the right equipment for your application affects ergonomics, employee safety, noise, productivity, cost savings, and more. The correct caster wheel design calculations can help you make the right choice, and Caster Central can help with all your caster needs.

Selecting the Right Casters

Casters come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and types. Many factors go into selecting the right casters for your equipment or application. Getting any one of these factors wrong could damage your equipment, cause injury to an employee, or affect the function of your equipment or application.

Load Capacity

The casters selected for your equipment or application should be rated to handle the maximum load of the equipment itself plus any cargo carried. There is no one absolute formula for caster wheel design calculations; however, a standard total is:


         Equipment Weight + Carried Load Weight

------------------------------------------------------------------- = Minimum Load Per Caster

                    Number of Casters


This calculation considers the combined weight of the equipment and anticipated loads. The combined weight divided by the number of casters determines how much load each caster must hold.


At a minimum, the caster you select must be rated to handle that load. However, we recommend a margin of safety, especially in industrial applications. Factoring in more weight than you intend to use will accommodate any errors or misuse in handling.

A good margin of safety is approximately 30%. With that in mind, standard caster wheel design calculations become:


 (Equipment Weight + Load Weight) + 30% of that total weight

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ = Minimum Load Per Caster

                                    Number of Casters


In this calculation, you increase the total weight by 30% before dividing by the number of casters. This result becomes the new minimum load that each caster should be rated to handle. Load size can impact caster size in that larger wheels generally handle larger loads and smaller wheels handle smaller loads.


The next factor to consider is how you want to mount the caster to your equipment, which depends on its intended use. Some questions when determining mounting include:

  • Does the application require swivel casters or fixed position casters?
  • Are the casters screwed or plugged into the equipment?
  • Is leveling or angling needed?

The answers depend on whether the equipment requires a certain turn radius, will be used ruggedly, or will be used on a complex surface. Based on these answers, several mounting options are available. Whatever type of casters you need, Caster Central is here to help with an extensive selection and experienced staff.


Once you determine how to mount the casters and what load they need to hold, consider maneuverability. Maneuverability considers the turning radius and how easily the equipment needs to move. These considerations include:

  • Swivel resistance, which is the ability of the equipment to turn or rotate.
  • Starting resistance, which refers to how easy it is to move from a stationary position.
  • Rolling resistance, which refers to its ability to continue moving smoothly once started.

Load, wheel size, caster material, floor type, and bearings all affect these resistance factors.

Tread Material

Consider what type of floor your equipment will be used on when choosing caster materials. Casters have hard or soft treads that can be made of rubber, steel, wrought iron, or polyurethane. Polyurethane is ideal for many applications as it protects the floor while withstanding larger loads.

Generally speaking, equipment mainly used on harder floors requires a softer wheel material to prevent damage to the floor. Equipment that is primarily used on more delicate surfaces requires a more rigid wheel material to remain firm in its movement and account for obstructions.

Whether a caster is hot or cold stamped in production also impacts quality and strength. Cold forged casters are cheaper, but the load and functionality of the casters are limited. Hot stamping is more expensive but allows for a thicker caster design, resulting in higher quality and strength.

Bearing Types

Bearings play a large part in rolling and mobility. The proper bearings must meet load requirements, maneuverability requirements, durability, and environmental requirements.

There are multiple types of bearings available, and the best choice depends on how you plan to use them.

  • Plain bore bearings are simple, cost-effective, durable, and corrosion-resistant. These bearings are ideal for light-duty equipment used at low speed and used only intermittently.
  • Roller bearings are sturdy, robust, require little mounting space, and have low resistance. These bearings are ideal for frequently transporting heavier loads.
  • Central ball bearings are light-running precision bearings ideally designed for synthetic casters and intended to handle minimal loads.

Environmental Influences

The environment plays a significant role in caster durability. Consider whether the equipment is outdoors; exposed to heat, humidity, or rain; or whether it will have continuous contact with obstructions, debris, or aggressive chemical substances. These factors affect how long the casters can function correctly and whether or not corrosion or material damage is likely.

Additional Criteria

Any additional criteria considered in caster wheel design calculations depend on the purpose and functionality of the equipment. For example, if you need braking or locking features, we can help you find casters that meet those needs.

Caster Central

A lot goes into the proper selection of casters used for industrial or office equipment design, as each feature we’ve discussed affects efficiency and functionality. If you’re unsure about the best caster for your equipment or application, speak with a safety or engineering consultant to review your caster wheel design calculations.

No matter your industry or equipment functionality, Caster Central has what you need. We’ve been in business since 1866 and have the most extensive inventory at competitive prices. Our experienced sales staff can help you select the casters that work best for you while ensuring employee and equipment safety.

Email Caster Central at or call (800) 445-4082 today for more information.