Threaded Stem Caster: What Is It Used For?
Victoria Forney

Threaded Stem Caster: What Is It Used For?

Unless you are an engineer or construction expert, you may have never heard the term "caster" before. Casters are the small wheels that are either rigid or pivot with directed movement. The principal use for casters is to support and move items such as office chairs, shopping carts, materials handling equipment (platform trucks, hand trucks, etc.), and more. 

When a caster breaks, it may seem like the entire item has become useless. However, it is typically easy to replace casters (especially threaded stem casters) by yourself. You can save money by performing a simple DIY caster replacement at home instead of replacing the entire item. 

The most complicated part of caster replacement is choosing the correct caster. Today, the experts at Caster Central will break down common issues with casters, the type of caster you should use for your DIY repair project, and the applications of threaded stem casters. Keep reading to learn more.

Common Issues with Casters

The principal problems that you may have with caster wheels include the following: 

  • Capacity overload: Factories design each caster with a maximum load capacity in mind. If you overload your "vehicle," your casters could easily break. 
  • Uneven loading: If you leave loaded vehicles (mounted on casters) on uneven surfaces, you may accidentally place too much weight on a singular caster on your vehicle. Due to overloaded weight capacity, that caster will break. Furthermore, if you do not distribute the weight of your load evenly across the surface of your vehicle, it could place too much weight on one caster. 
  • Environmental damages: If you work in an industrial environment, extremely high or low temperatures can melt caster rubber, cause component failures, create cracks, or even shatter the caster. Casters on objects that you leave outside may become corroded with rust, clogged with dirt and debris, or break during extreme weather. 
  • Damaged top plates: If your item employs top plate model casters, the plates can become damaged. If a top plate becomes bent or dented due to improper acceleration or bumps, it can throw off the weight distribution and break. 
  • Broken rivets: It is common for rivets to become damaged on casters because they withstand significant force due to rotation and thrusting motions when the caster is in use. If this force is too significant or the rivets (aka kingpins) wear out over time, the caster can become damaged and break. 

What Type of Caster Should I Use?

Here are the characteristics of different types of casters:

  • Rigid: Rigid casters restrict the motion of a vehicle so it travels along a straight path. The components of this caster include a wheel attached to a stationary fork. 
  • Swivel: Swivel caster components also include a wheel attached to a fork, but there is an added swivel joint above the fork. The attachment of a joint allows 360-degree movement of the wheel. 
  • Industrial: Industrial casters often include a top plate to allow them to sustain more weight. These casters can hold up to 30,000 lbs (depending on the model) and can either swivel or remain rigid. 
  • Casters with brakes: Casters with brakes simply include a braking mechanism to stop the caster from moving. A caster with brakes either uses a mechanism that consists of a lever that pushes against the wheel and/or a mechanism that prevents shaft rotation resulting in braking.
  • Stem: Stem casters do not have a top plate and directly attach to objects via their stem. Threaded stem casters have a screw-like stem with ridges.
  • Kingpinless: Casters with kingpins often face swivel failure after sustained use. Kingpinless casters eliminate the kingpin by using two raceways with a ball bearing installed between them to mimic the same swiveling movement. 

What Are the Benefits of Using a Threaded Stem Caster?

Threaded stem casters are versatile and easy to install. You can use threaded stem casters for furniture (office chairs, tables, etc.), carts, and other objects that require full mobility. These stem casters can swivel 360 degrees and reduce the amount of time needed to transport objects.

You can directly insert the stem of these casters into a designated hole in your vehicle. Then, either bolt the threaded stem caster to the object or screw the stem into the threaded insert hole. To directly insert a threaded stem caster, you will need a caster of the correct length and diameter and a wrench. 

Finally, threaded stem casters are ideal for outdoor applications. The swiveling power of threaded stem casters makes it less likely that they will catch on uneven surfaces and break. Furthermore, you can buy a thread guard to prevent loose debris and dirt from damaging the components of your casters.

Threaded Stem Casters Vs. Top Plate Model Casters

If you are still unsure if threaded stem casters are the right option for your project, consider the amount of mobility that your vehicle needs, the amount of weight the casters must sustain, and the environment where you intend to use the casters. 

Top plate model casters come in both swivel and rigid varieties, meaning that they are a better option for anyone who needs casters that don't include 360-degree rotation. The installation of these casters is relatively simple as well. To install a top plate caster, you must use four bolts to attach the top plate to your vehicle. 

Top plate models are heavy duty casters that can handle larger loads than threaded stem varieties. Threaded stem casters also tend to be more expensive than top plate models.

Still, threaded stem casters are much easier to maneuver in high-stress environments like restaurants. These casters are practically necessary for office items such as swivel chairs and carts and allow for easy replacement if broken on accident. Threaded stem casters have a sleeker appearance than top plate casters as well. 

Other Stem Caster Options

Caster stems come in many shapes and sizes besides just threaded stems. Here are some other options for stem casters:

  • Grip ring: Grip ring casters are great for light furniture. To install this stem caster, you must compress the stem, insert it into the mounting hole, and let it click into place (when it expands). 
  • Grip neck stem: Grip neck stem casters require a metal or plastic socket to attach to a vehicle. You can only install these casters in wood, so you must drill a hole to mount a grip neck stem caster. 
  • Expanding adapter stem: Expanding adapter stem casters are similar to threaded stems. These casters use the base of a threaded stem with an attached grommet that expands to secure the caster to the vehicle. 
  • Round stem: Round stem casters primarily serve to transport scaffolding and heavy loads. A cotter pin located in a hole in the center of the stem attaches this kind of caster to the vehicle or item needing transport. 

Where to Buy Threaded Stem Casters Online

At Caster Central, we have over 150 years of experience providing our clients with high-quality material handling components and mobility solutions. If you need to buy a threaded stem caster (or any other kind of caster) online, look no further. We have one of the most comprehensive online caster product selections in the U.S.

Caster Central even offers free shipping on orders of $250 or more. Call us for more information on casters at +1 (800) 445-4082 today.

If you want to learn more about casters and their installation, check out helpful blog topics about casters, such as this article on caster wheel placement, on our blog!