Why Is Zinc Plating the Best Choice for Your Caster Wheels?
Victoria Forney

Why Is Zinc Plating the Best Choice for Your Caster Wheels?

Zinc plating is a less expensive alternative to bare stainless steel that protects metal casters from corrosion. Rust from water spills, puddles, and humidity can ruin metal caster wheels over time. The financial costs of degradation of casters and other steel or iron materials can be considerable, including:

  • damaged equipment
  • loss of inventory
  • damage to brand reputation
  • reduced workplace ergonomics
  • risk of workplace injuries

If your caster wheels routinely encounter water and moisture, do not overlook the value of corrosion resistance. Zinc plating allows you to reap the benefits of iron and steel—their strength and durability—without suffering the negative impact of rust.

What Are Zinc-plated Caster Wheels?

Manufacturers usually create zinc-plated caster wheels by placing the metal parts of the caster in a solution containing charged zinc particles. The zinc gradually deposits onto the metal surface, creating a thin layer. Unlike iron and steel, zinc does not rust, preventing moisture from reaching the steel and extending its life.

Zinc is naturally gray or silver, so zinc-plated steel produces a metallic silver color and retains that appearance even after exposure to water. Zinc plating offers functional and aesthetic benefits.

Types of Zinc Coating

Although the coating process is essentially the same for different types of zinc plating, some zinc coatings include other metals, such as chromium and magnesium. These other metals change the properties of the coating and mitigate some of the drawbacks of a solid zinc coating.

Zinc coating types include the following:

  • Silver
  • Chromate
  • Phosphate

Post Sealers

After coating casters in zinc, manufacturers can dip the zinc in a post sealer that provides benefits such as increased corrosion resistance.

Create Long-lasting Products Your Customers Can Rely On

Zinc caster wheels can be a smart choice if you develop mobile furniture for consumers running at-home businesses or working in larger industries. Corrosion protection is a viable selling point for consumer products such as:

  • Toys
  • Mobile shelving units
  • Wheeled carts
  • Furniture with pre-mounted wheels

If you use iron or steel parts for your products, you might recoup the cost of zinc plating through increased product sales, heightened customer satisfaction, and reduced product liability. If a customer sustains an injury due to a caster failure, you might be in a stronger position to assert that you provided a durable, high-quality product.

Why Are Zinc-plated Caster Wheels Different?

Another popular option for water-resistant cater wheels is stainless steel, an alloy containing iron and other elements, such as chromium. The manufacturing process for stainless steel is more complex than the process for electroplating metal caster parts with zinc. Applying zinc plating to custom and off-the-shelf components makes it easier and less expensive.

Zinc metal plating is also subtly different from galvanization using the hot dip method. Unlike zinc plating, which uses an electric current to deposit zinc onto a metal surface, the hot dip method uses a furnace to melt the zinc and then coats the caster in liquid metal. 

The hot dip method requires more equipment to heat the zinc to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit and apply the coating safely. The heat that the method produces makes it unsuitable for temperature-sensitive components.

Other caster materials, such as plastics, do not rust or corrode, but they are typically not as sturdy as metal casters. Plastic casters work well for light-duty applications such as office chairs. However, metal casters can more easily support heavy loads like solid wood furniture or pallets.


Zinc is a malleable metal, meaning it is easy to bend zinc and hammer it into shape. Zinc is not prone to cracking, which enhances its effectiveness as a barrier coating. Whenever you coat a machine or furniture component with a brittle material, it could chip or crack.

One downside to zinc’s malleability is its susceptibility to scratches. Some forms of zinc plating contain other materials, such as aluminum or magnesium, to increase their scratch resistance.

Resistance to Rust and Corrosion

When zinc gets wet and oxidizes, it forms a layer of zinc oxide that stays on the caster wheel. Unlike rusty iron, it does not flake off, so it can still serve as a barrier to moisture. Corrosion resistance protects against threats to the integrity of caster wheels. For example, a caster that suffered water damage could be more vulnerable to breakage.

Reduction in Repair Costs

Corrosion and rust lead to the degradation of casters, eventually causing them to break or not roll smoothly. Using corrosion-resistant caster wheels increases the lifespan of your casters.

Damaged casters can take furniture and conveyances out of service during crucial periods, bringing business to a halt. Business owners can create a more reliable inventory of equipment that they can count on when needed.

Protection for Your Cargo and Employees

A malfunctioning caster can cause caster wheels to stick or become unstable while in operation or break suddenly under a load. If a caster fails, it could cause employees to suffer injuries or the cart to tip over, damaging its contents.

If you face litigation when an employee suffers a workplace injury, every material, piece of equipment, and contextual factor could face scrutiny.

Easy Cleaning and Sanitization

Rusty, pitted, or scratched casters have pits and indentations that can hide stains, bacteria, viruses, and allergens. The buildup of dirt and contaminants on casters could make them less safe for some applications, such as their use on hospital grounds. Zinc-plated casters will help your cleaning staff work more efficiently and reduce risks to your customers. 

Achieve a Clean and Modern Yet Classic Look

Your equipment reflects your company’s brand image and core values. If you are using casters for equipment in customer-facing applications, they should put your best foot forward by being polished and immaculate. Even if your cleaning staff and service personnel are scrupulous in maintaining your equipment, the insidious effects of rust on cast-iron caster wheels can mar the appearance of your equipment.

Zinc is a relatively inexpensive metal, but it has a silver metallic color that gives zinc-plated equipment a new, even futuristic, look.

A metallic sheen has a long history of symbolizing technological innovations, from the stainless steel surface of the Chrysler Building to the chrome on classic cars. The glint of clean, polished metal wordlessly conveys positive aspects of your brand image.

Zinc plating shows the world that your business has a solid foundation and roots in the past, even as it reaches out to the future with optimism. It also safeguards valuable business assets, including your employees, customers, and reputation.

Combine Zinc Plating With Other Caster Features

Get the most out of your zinc-plated casters by choosing wheels with properties that complement zinc’s look and corrosion resistance. A non-porous, easy-to-clean caster wheel with a durable, waterproof polymer is a good choice if your casters get wet. Rubber, polyurethane, and polyolefin are common wheel materials for zinc-plated casters.

Find Zinc-plated Caster Wheels for Your Business From Caster Central

If you have not considered the value of zinc-plated caster wheels for your business, now is the time to discover the benefits of the latest caster designs. Browse the Caster Central inventory online or talk to an expert in custom casters.

Every application for caster wheels presents challenges. Contact Caster Central if you need assistance deciding whether to use metal casters, evaluating the risk for moisture and corrosion damage, or selecting the appropriate caster wheel materials. 

Learn more about casters, caster wheels, and assorted hardware for casters using zinc plating from the professionals at Caster Central.