Imagine getting your office chair wheels broken in the middle of a workweek. You need to change your wheels right away, but the company that made your office chair doesn’t have replacement wheels.
What do you do now? Can you even buy casters from other brands?
There may come a point when your office chair wheels break. However, knowing you can replace them with the same or better set of casters is a great relief.
Office chair wheels are often standardized, with 2, 2.5, and 3-inch differences in terms of wheel height. However, the diameter of the caster stem can vary.
This is why you need to know the diameter of this part so you can find the right new set of casters that will fit your office chair.
So it’s about two things—knowing whether the casters you used are universal, and knowing how to choose the right wheels to replace them with.
Table of Contents
Are all office chair casters the same?
Not all office chair casters are the same. In fact, casters come in different types and sizes.
Casters vary in size, type of attachment, design, and type of movement they can make.
Let’s talk about size first. There are three generic sizes for the wheels: 2, 2.5, and 3 inches.
If you’re using an office chair with an adjustable height, then the height of these wheels will not matter that much since you can adjust your seat for the added height. However, if your chair doesn’t have a height adjustment, it’s best to pick the wheel that will maintain your preferred seat height.
There are two types of attachment, mounting plate and caster stem. The mounting plate is ideal for chairs that have a large flat surface while caster stems are for those with holes underneath the chair’s legs.
You’ll see mounting plate types more common as casters for office cabinets and drawers. This is mainly because the flat surface underneath these pieces of furniture allows for the plate to be attached properly.
As for the design, you can choose between a single-wheel or a twin-wheel. Single-wheel designs are more common now thanks to the versatility of rollerblade wheels.
And when it comes to movement, casters either have a lock or not. The lock will be found by the fork of the caster.
With that said, not all office chair casters are the same. It’s important to identify what you’re looking for in office chair wheels to know which ones you should buy.
Can casters be added to any chair?
What you should also ask yourself before you even search for casters is whether your chair can even have casters.
If your chair doesn’t have wheels, then check if it has a flat surface. If it does, you can use a mounting plate caster. To do this, you have to create holes on the surface where you can screw the plate into.
On the other hand, if your office chair has wheels, then you can definitely have the wheels replaced.
It’s important to note that generic and branded chairs can generally use office chair casters from any brand. However, if your chairs are from IKEA, then their caster requirements may not be compatible with generic ones.
And if you’re wondering, no, you don’t need to be an expert to replace your office chair casters. At most, you’ll be needing a flathead screwdriver (for casters with stems) or a drill and a small screwdriver (for mounting plates).
Is there a standard size for office chair wheels?
There are three standard sizes for office chair wheels, namely, 2-, 2.5-, and 3-inch wheels. But if we’re talking about stem casters, the standard diameter of the stem is usually 7/16 inches (approximately 11 mm).
You can choose any height of caster wheels as long as your chair’s height can be adjusted. This is to account for the additional height the wheels can give.
To add to that, stem casters will also add half an inch to the wheels. So we can assume that the whole caster will add 2.5 to 3.5 inches to your chair’s height.
In picking the wheel height, the 3-inch casters are often for thick and fluffy carpets. The large wheels help in easily navigating through the thickness of the carpet.
Larger wheels can also carry heavier weights, but the max capacity differs per brand. It’s best to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure.
How are office chair casters measured?
To know what office chair casters are compatible with your office chair, you have to first measure the diameter of the hole under the leg. You can also just measure the diameter of the stem of your old casters.
Doing this will give you an idea of what kind of casters to look for. At the same time, you won’t waste money buying office chair wheels that don’t fit under your chair.
To measure your office chair casters, place a ruler on top of the stem head and look at the diameter in millimeters or inches. The diameter of the stem casters will range from 5/16–7/16 of an inch.
You should also measure the hole underneath the chair’s legs so you have a second measurement that will help you find the right casters.
If you plan on using mounted plates for your chair casters, you don’t really need to measure the stem. All you need to know is the surface area of the legs that you’ll connect casters to.
For example, if your chair’s legs have a flat surface underneath, measure that part with a ruler to know how big the mounting plate will have to be.
In these cases, it’s important that the mounting plate is smaller than the chair’s surface because the screws of the plate are at the corners. Getting a mounting plate that’s bigger will not be stable for your office chair.
How to choose the right wheels/casters for your office chairs?
There are several things you have to consider when choosing the casters for your office chairs. The most common factors are the floor you’ll be working on, caster type, weight capacity, and design.
Your office floor will be one of the most important considerations. Carpeted floors will need casters that can smoothly glide through the thickness of a carpet.
On the other hand, hardwood floors need casters that can glide smoothly on the floor without producing a squeaking sound. They shouldn’t be leaving scratches or marks on the floor too.
This leads us to talk about caster types. Caster types vary in where you can use them.
For example, the most common casters today are rollerblade office chair wheels. These wheels can be used on all floors, even on carpets!
Rollerblade office chair wheels are made of polyurethane which makes them durable and all-purpose. They have general sizes and because they’re at least 2 inches tall, they can carry heavier weights.
Another common caster type that you will usually see is the carpet casters. Carpet casters usually sport a twin-wheel design.
Twin-wheel design is one of two designs existing for office chair wheels. As stated in its name, it uses two wheels connected by an axle on top.
The other design is a single-wheel caster. This is what rollerblade casters look like and it will usually be a large 2.5-inch wheel that is made of polyurethane material.
Single-wheel casters are usually better on a number of flooring types, but they are not the smoothest in terms of turning movements. That’s the advantage of twin-wheel casters.
Lastly, there’s the weight capacity. Each caster brand will have different maximum weight capacities.
In general, rollerblade casters are the type of casters that are meant for heavy loads. But if we’re talking about weight distribution, twin-wheel casters are still the best for this thanks to the larger surface that it covers.
So when picking the right wheels for your office chair, keep these four things in mind. There are other considerations (like budget, look, etc.), but these four will be enough for you to find the right casters.
Not all casters are the same. Some vary in size, height, design, and the type of attachment that can be done on an office chair.
There are generic sizes for office chair casters and they can be used for most office chairs unless the chair is from IKEA or didn’t originally have casters on it.
To know what office chair casters to buy, you have to consider a variety of different things, ranging from the size of the stem to the type of wheels that you want to use. Knowing these things will prevent you from buying the wrong set of casters.
It’s always best to measure the diameter of the stem of your old casters (if you plan on using stem casters) or the surface of the legs (if you’re using a mounting plate). The measurements will help you find the right casters for your office chair.
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.