Polyurethane vs Rubber Casters: Which Should You Choose?
Victoria Forney

Polyurethane vs Rubber Casters: Which Should You Choose?

If you're getting new chairs for your business or home office, choosing between polyurethane vs. rubber casters is essential. However, not everyone knows how these popular products compare to each other. Once you know, you can make a more informed purchasing decision. 

Carrying everything from caster wheels and bumpers to floor locks and leveling mounts, Caster Central is the business you need for top-notch caster-related products. In this guide, we'll explain polyurethane vs. rubber casters and explore vital traits of each you should consider.

Contact Caster Central to learn about our high-quality casters, wheels, accessories, and more.

Understanding the Differences Between Polyurethane and Rubber Casters

While our business recognizes the many benefits of rubber and polyurethane casters, it's good for you as a customer to see how they may differ.

Wear and Tear

Polyurethane casters can resist extensive daily wear and tear, making them an effective long-term solution for your office chair needs. If you have a large call center or facility that needs plenty of chairs for employees, these casters are sure to deliver on quality and dependability for years. 

Rubber casters are less resistant to chemicals, oils, and spills, making them slightly harder to clean. You might notice tread wear over time. In addition, the conditions of your space can contribute to the lifespan of your polyurethane or rubber wheels.

Cushioning and Resilience

Rubber can grip the floor and absorb shocks well, making it a solid option if you're worried about hitting anything. In addition, rubber casters can make a chair less likely to move around and fall over.

Polyurethane casters are good in quiet and calm environments and incredibly durable, making them ideal for office spaces. 

Shore Hardness

The shore hardness of a caster is how hard the material is. When it comes to polyurethane vs. rubber casters, you'll find that polyurethane casters often have a higher shore hardness rating, meaning that they handle normal wear and tear much better.

Rubber casters have a sufficient shore hardness as well, but they are going to wear down easier over time. While rubber is a reliable material for casters and wheels, it offers less of an easy glide than polyurethane. However, both caster types have a hardness of at least 40 or more, with their maximum ratings in the 90s.

Floor Conditions

Polyurethane casters decrease your chance of experiencing dirty, scuffed, and discolored floors, especially if you have wood, laminate, or something similar. These caster types have a smooth glide and don't pick up much dirt, debris, and loose dust from the floors as they roll across. They create an easy and comfortable riding experience for most people that use the chair.

Rubber casters work best on hard flooring materials, such as concrete, but can cause some damage to smoother surfaces. In addition, rubber can easily trap debris as it rolls, including hair, dirt, and anything else that can wear the treads. This may lead to early deterioration and replacement of the casters sooner than you expect.

You may become frustrated to find that your floors have unsightly scuffs or noticeable black marks, especially if they are relatively new. In this case, polyurethane casters would likely work better since they can prevent potential scuff marks. On the other hand, a rougher, more durable flooring type may fare well with rubber casters. The choice ultimately comes down to your flooring type, the caster traits you prioritize, your budget, and what you're looking to get out of the casters.

Roll Resistance

Your casters need to roll smoothly and easily across the floors in your office, but both polyurethane and rubber casters are excellent for roll resistance. Deciding between them may depend on the type of flooring you have (such as carpet or hardwood), your budget, and other factors.

Polyurethane casters are often easier to move with less resistance. They also perform better against chemicals, drink spills, and other substances that might hinder a smooth roll. Finally, they make less noise when moving and last longer, making them the top pick for roll resistance. 

Load Capacity

Load capacity is a vital consideration for choosing between casters. Casters need to handle large amounts of weight to support a variety of bodies and offer maximum performance. If you need something for short-term use and are looking to save money, rubber casters are an excellent choice.

While polyurethane casters typically cost more than rubber, they make up for the cost with their long lifespan and ability to handle more weight. They're less likely to scuff and damage flooring too. Choosing between them depends on the needs of your office and how much weight you'll need them to hold.

If you have a business with many employees, you might consider polyurethane to handle several years of use. They're an investment that certainly pays off and are less likely to need replacement.

Why Polyurethane Casters Are Beneficial

Polyurethane casters are a wise investment as they will work for many employees' needs. If multiple people use chairs with polyurethane casters over time, they can withstand the changing weights well. Additionally, they're perfect in offices that come in contact with solvents and chemicals.

With increased comfort and dependable performance, you can never go wrong with polyurethane casters. They're not going to crack, split, or break easily under increased pressure, and you can use them in both indoor and outdoor settings. However, rubber casters have their advantages too.

Why Rubber Casters Are Beneficial

Rubber casters may transfer some of their coloring (gray or black) onto your flooring, but this isn't always the case. This caster type can hold lighter weights and are durable for rougher flooring, like tiles and concrete. It also absorbs shocks incredibly well, which is perfect for long work days. 

If you want a product that's accessible and trustworthy, rubber casters are it. They give workers a soft riding experience, but do have a couple of drawbacks that may make people wary of using them, such as being harder to maneuver. Choosing between them depends on what you prioritize.

Choosing Between Polyurethane vs Rubber Casters: The Bottom Line

Now that you've explored the differences and similarities between rubber and polyurethane casters, it's time to decide which is a better fit for you. Determining the better caster is subjective, as both offer many perks. If you're looking for an affordable option that offers traction and quiet movement, rubber is a great choice. On the other hand, polyurethane casters hold up well against heavier loads and with extended wear. They also are outstanding in environments where spills, chemical exposure, and other substances happen often. Many users find them more comfortable for their chairs.

You can learn more about polyurethane wheels application and other related caster topics by checking out our blog. Caster Central has industry experience and extensive knowledge surrounding wheels, accessories, and casters, proudly sharing that with our customers. We also have a helpful support team available to answer any of your questions and discuss your needs.

Caster Central provides top-quality products with a satisfaction guarantee and rapid shipping times. We can help you choose the right items for your business or home at an excellent price. Our goal is to help each and every client enjoy high-quality products and outstanding customer service.

We hope our guide provided some clarity surrounding rubber and polyurethane casters. Call us today at 800-445-4082 to explore your caster products options in greater detail, including polyurethane vs. rubber casters. We're ready to assist with your needs.