How to Stop Caster Wheels from Rolling: Best Practices
Victoria Forney

How to Stop Caster Wheels from Rolling: Best Practices

When shopping around for caster wheels, buyers want the ones that roll the smoothest and fastest. However, when it comes to caster wheels, not rolling is just as important as rolling, and there are several instances when you don’t want your caster wheels to move. Today, the team at Caster Central is here with this guide on how to stop caster wheels from rolling. 

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Why Would I Want Caster Wheels to Stop Rolling?

There are several reasons you would want your caster wheels to stop rolling, at least temporarily. You want them to stay stationary when loading materials onto the cart or when the cart is on a slight incline. If you are sitting in an office chair, you might want to stop the chair from rolling so you can stay in the same position. 

In general, you want your caster wheels to stop rolling whenever it could present a safety hazard. For instance, if you have children or seniors in your home, caster wheels with no resistance can increase the chances of slipping and falling. In industrial settings, caster wheels that roll with little to no resistance can make it more difficult to handle materials, increasing the chances of accidents and damaged goods. 

Stopping Caster Wheels from Rolling

Below are some simple solutions on how to stop caster wheels from rolling. 

Use a Rug

The simplest method is to just place a rug under where the wheels are rolling. The padding and texture of the rug will keep the wheels from moving unexpectedly when someone applies a small amount of pressure. Using a rug is an effective solution if you have an office chair that you want to stop from rolling. If you don’t have a rug, you can move your chair or cart to a room with carpeted floors. 

Buy Locking Casters

For industrial applications, including those involving rack casters, you can buy locking casters. Locking casters have a small switch on the side that you can engage to stop the wheels from turning. Locking casters are one of the most effective methods to prevent casters from rolling unexpectedly. There are two main types of locking casters: Cam locks consist of a small metal plate that swivels into position, while vertical shaft locks are mounted under the yoke base of the caster. They lock the wheel into place and are primarily used for heavy-duty applications. 

Use Braking Casters

Instead of locking casters, you can also use braking casters. Braking casters have a small lever on the side of the caster that you can depress to slow the wheels. When you want the wheels to roll again, you release the pressure on the level, and the brake will let up. Braking casters are a good idea because you can engage and disengage them easier than locking casters. This feature makes them useful if you are just trying to stabilize on uneven ground. 

Install Floor Locks

One other option to stop caster wheels from turning is to install floor locks. Floor locks, or caster stoppers, attach to the end of casters and touch a friction surface to the ground to stop wheels from turning. A standard floor lock design is a vertical metal shaft with a flat, rough friction pad on the bottom. Engaging the floor lock pushes the friction pad against the floor, keeping the cart or trolley anchored in place. You can buy floor locks and attach them to carts with bolts or pins. You can also buy carts that have welded floor locks built-in. 

Roll Resistance and Caster Wheels

Each caster wheel has a specific roll resistance that determines how hard you have to push to move the cart. Caster wheel roll resistance depends on several factors, such as:

  • Wheel material (e.g., rubber, polyurethane, nylon, etc.)
  • Floor material (e.g., concrete, epoxy, carpet, etc.)
  • Caster wheel bearings
  • Caster wheel size
  • Equipment weight
  • Floor condition
  • Load inertia (i.e., shape and dimension of load)

If you are looking for ways to stop your caster wheels from rolling unexpectedly, consider the above features. For example, rubber wheels on concrete create a high amount of friction, meaning caster wheels are less likely to move unless you specifically want them to. The right combination of wheel and floor materials can give you the maximum control over material handling applications, increasing efficiency and safety in the home and in the workplace.

Tips to Stop Caster Wheels from Rolling

Aside from buying caster locks or braking caster, below are some additional tips on how to stop caster wheels from rolling unexpectedly.

  • Make sure that cart or trolley loads are distributed evenly. Uneven loads can cause the cart to move easier to one side than another, which can cause the cart or trolley to roll unpredictably. Distributing loads evenly ensures the cart won’t lurch to one side.
  • Keep your floors clean. Dirt, oils, and grease can cause caster wheels to slip and slide, even when the locks are engaged. Keeping hard floor surfaces clean ensures that wheels and locks can gain traction on the floor, stopping the cart from moving. 
  • When engaging caster locks, make sure the lever is completely depressed. Failing to fully engage the lock mechanism can cause the wheels to slip and may damage the casters. 
  • Keep your caster wheels in good condition and inspect them for damages monthly. Routine maintenance and lubrication keep your wheels and ball bearings in good condition so they roll as expected. 
  • Make sure that the caster and wheel materials match the application. For instance, you would not try to move heavy industrial loads with plastic casters and wheels that are on office chairs. 

Caster Wheel Products

Caster Central proudly offers a wide range of high-quality casters and caster wheels for industrial applications. If you have any questions about how to stop caster wheels from rolling or about our caster swivel lock solutions, contact us online or call today at (800) 445-4082!