What Are Pneumatic Casters: Best Applications
Victoria Forney

What Are Pneumatic Casters: Best Applications

What are pneumatic casters? Pneumatic casters have wheels filled with air, like a bicycle or car tires, versus the more common solid caster wheels. 

Before you spend money on upgrading or repairing your carts, pallets, or other wheeled equipment, learn more about pneumatic casters from Caster Central. We'll help you decide whether the casters in our inventory might improve the functionality of your existing equipment.


Construction and Design of Pneumatic Casters

We can answer the question "what are pneumatic casters?" by describing how manufacturers develop them. Pneumatic casters share many of their features with automobile tires and wheels. Caster wheels consist of a material that contains rubber, and they attach to a metal frame. 

In most casters, a fork connects the mounting plate to the axle that passes through the wheel. Some pneumatic casters have two wheels, one on each side of a shared fork. This design can allow pneumatic casters to support heavier loads.


Advantages of Pneumatic Casters

To appreciate the value of pneumatic casters, imagine what it would be like to drive your car with solid rubber or plastic tires. Without the cushion of air, you would have a rough, unpleasant ride. Your fuel economy would also suffer because the engine would have to work harder to maintain speed. 

For many applications, solid casters work fine. When you need additional stability and cushioning, pneumatic casters work better.

Pneumatic tires absorb shock better than solid tires. They assist in pushing carts over rough ground. They also help you support loads that are sensitive to shocks and vibration, such as medical devices, research equipment, or fragile products.


Limitations of Pneumatic Casters

As with car or bicycle tires, pneumatic casters can develop punctures if they roll over something sharp. One hybrid solution is the semi-pneumatic tire, which contains a shock-absorbing foam instead of air. The foam won't leak if there's a hole in the tire.  


The Use of Pneumatic Casters

The question "how can I use pneumatic casters?" is just as important as “what are pneumatic casters?"

Pneumatic casters are most appropriate for environments that require the smooth, quiet operation of wheeled carts, pallets, and gurneys. Let's explore a few settings and industries below that commonly use pneumatic casters.



Casters for medical carts should be as silent as possible. They help medical professionals hear each other and their patients in crowded areas where many carts are in motion simultaneously. Pneumatic casters also reduce the risk of patient injuries and complications resulting from sharp jolts, like a patient might experience when moving.



A noisy caster wheel in the dining area or the clatter of solid wheels on a kitchen tile floor can disrupt a customer's dining experience.



Pneumatic casters minimize damage from jostling books and delicate documents. Their quiet operation makes it easier to move large carts of books without disturbing anyone reading nearby.



Museums often need to transport valuable artifacts and other delicate items. The cushion of air in pneumatic casters lowers the risk of breaking an irreplaceable part of a museum's collection.


Research Facilities

Some volatile chemicals could lose effectiveness or injure researchers if exposed to shock. Pieces of research equipment can suffer wear and tear due to vibration or impacts. Pneumatic casters provide protection and limit these risks. 


Warehouses and Storage Areas

Many storage locations have uneven floors, gaps in concrete, or rough surfaces that can trip up solid casters, increasing the risk of damage to inventory. Choose pneumatic casters for smoother transit if you need to store and transport fragile products or materials.


Types of Pneumatic Casters

There are many ways to answer the question, "What are pneumatic casters?" Different varieties of pneumatic casters work best for different applications.


Rigid Casters

Rigid caster anchors position the wheel directly under the mounting plate and do not allow the caster wheel to turn. These casters are ideal for circumstances where you want to transport material in straight lines without worrying about the cart turning unexpectedly. The casters' increased safety and stability offset the reduction in maneuverability.


Swivel Casters

Swivel casters can rotate on an axis relative to the mounting plate, allowing the wheels to change direction. This ability gives carts and pieces of furniture maneuverability and makes the cart easier to turn. If you use swivel casters for particular applications that require casters to travel fixed paths, consider rigid casters or casters with grooves to travel on tracks.


Pneumatic Casters of Varying Sizes

You can purchase casters in many sizes, each most suitable for particular applications. Smaller 8-inch casters do not move as easily, which can be an asset if you want stability. Larger wheels make carts and furniture more mobile and increase their ground clearance.


Pneumatic Caster with Ball Bearings

Ball bearings within casters reduce friction, allowing the casters to swivel and roll more easily. They increase the longevity of the casters. They work best for applications where the casters do not have to bear heavy loads and maneuverability is a priority.


Stem-Mounted Versus Plate-Mounted Casters

Most pneumatic casters have plates that anchor the caster to a piece of furniture for additional stability and load-bearing capacity. However, some pneumatic casters attach via a central stem that screws into the furniture leg. The design of stem casters can make it easier to adjust how readily the caster swivels.


Choosing the Right Caster

With so many casters to choose from, many business owners wonder how to select the best caster for their application. The experts at Caster Central help customers from a range of businesses choose the most useful, long-lasting, and cost-effective casters.



Pneumatic Casters from Caster Central

Now that you're more familiar with pneumatic casters, we'd like to answer more of your questions and share our insights into how these devices can improve your workflow and safety.


What are pneumatic casters? Pneumatic casters are just one of the customizable caster solutions we provide at Caster Central. Call us at 1-800-445-4082 to learn more about caster wheel load rating and other caster details.