You may think that chair casters are all the same, but there are significant differences in chair wheels designed for use on carpet vs hardwood.
We’ll examine the variances and how each type works on the surface it’s designed for.
There are various factors to take into account when deciding on what type of wheels should be attached to your office chair.
You will need to know whether the chair will be used on a carpeted or hardwood surface.
If the wheels are being used on a carpet, the type of castor you fit will depend on whether the carpet is short pile or deep pile.
If the wheels are being used on a hardwood surface, you need a type that will not gouge or damage the floor.
Table of Contents
- What Types of Casters Are Available?
- Can You Use a Chair with Wheels on a Carpet?
- Do Hardwood Casters Work on Carpets?
- Which Casters Work Best on Carpet?
- Will a Chair with Wheels Damage a Hardwood Floor?
- Comparison of Office Chair Wheels for Carpets vs Hardwood
What Types of Casters Are Available?
Different types of casters are on the market: each type is designed with specific functions.
Single wheel casters are more durable than dual-wheel as they contain fewer moving parts that could malfunction.
Dual casters are the ones we most often see fitted to office chairs.
They create a larger surface area which translates into more effective and stable weight distribution.
You are thus less likely to topple the chair over as you roll it across the floor.
Twin casters roll and swivel, so you can quickly change direction.
Ball casters are manufactured in various colors and styles allowing you a wide range of styles to match your decor.
These castors allow for multi-directional movement, as opposed to wheels that only move in one direction at a time.
Some casters are fitted with automatic locks which activate when the chair senses weight — usually the person sitting down.
The lock is only released when the weight is removed again.
This prevents you from inadvertently sliding on a floor that may have got wet or been polished to a high sheen..
Floor glides are also a type of locking mechanism which are fitted to the chair to stabilize it and stop it sliding.
You can also adjust the height of floor glides to level uneven surfaces.
Can You Use a Chair with Wheels on a Carpet?
Whether you work from home or in an office, the chances are that you use an office chair, sometimes sitting for many hours a day.
Can office chairs with wheels be used on a carpet?
Yes, they are used extensively on carpeted areas.
Office carpets tend to be hardy with a short pile, as these are more durable and easier to clean than deep pile carpets.
Deep pile carpets may be used as a feature in the CEO’s office, but not for daily use with a rolling chair.
Most office chairs have either four or five wheels.
Those with five wheels are more stable and can accommodate heavier people as the weight load is distributed over a greater area.
Office chairs are usually fitted with standard 2” – 2 ½” casters, but you may want to change these to 3” for greater stability and less resistance.
Although it is possible to use a chair with wheels directly on the carpet, you may want to put down a chair mat.
This will protect your carpet against any tracks from chair wheels as well as accidental spills and stains.
Do Hardwood Casters Work on Carpets?
Casters designed for hardwood should not be used on carpet: it makes little difference whether the carpet is deep pile or soft pile.
Hardwood caster wheels are made from materials like neoprene rubber and polyurethane, which are not suitable for rolling on carpeted surfaces.
Softer casters have greater flexibility on a hard surface but this would make it difficult to maneuver on a carpet, especially if it has a deep-pile.
Which Casters Work Best on Carpet?
The rule of thumb to remember is that opposites attract: soft casters work best on hard surfaces including wooden floors, and hard casters are designed to work best on soft surfaces like carpet.
Any chair will mark a carpet with extended use, especially if it’s the same spot each day.
Casters made from strong, durable materials such as rubber, hard plastic and nylon are best for use on carpet.
Nylon casters work on both short and deep pile carpets.
You could also fit metal ball casters to your chair, as these will easily roll through a deep pile carpet.
Will a Chair with Wheels Damage a Hardwood Floor?
A chair with wheels will not necessarily damage a hardwood floor, but the correct casters must be used.
Wheels made of softer substances must be used on wooden floors to avoid damaging them.
Metal wheels should never be used on hardwood floors as this will practically guarantee permanent damage.
Casters made of polyurethane can be used on wooden floors without fear of damage.These are durable and can carry heavier loads of up to 100lbs per wheel.
On the other hand, nylon plastic wheels are a poor choice to use on wooden floors.They do not roll smoothly but tend to adhere to or slide over the wood.
These plastic wheels attract a lot of dirt and debris such as hair and dust, which may also stop the wheels from turning properly and gouging your floor.
You should also bear in mind that all woods are not equal.
According to the American Hardwood Information Center indigenous hardwoods are different from tropical hardwoods, which are both different from softwoods.
Examples of indigenous hardwoods include:
Tropical hardwoods include:
Indigenous softwoods include:
Casters that are suitable for carpets can also be used on softer wooden floors.
Comparison of Office Chair Wheels for Carpets vs Hardwood
Types of casters
How different casters work on carpet
How different casters work on hardwood
|Rolls well on carpets and provides better cushioning.||Can only carry a light load on hardwood and has a shorter lifespan.|
|Rolls smoothly through short and deep pile carpet.||Can slide out of control on hardwood floors. Can be punctured by sharp objects.|
|Has a high mechanical and tensile strength, so can move easily across carpet.
Has a smooth movement and low noise impact.
|Prone to scratching hardwood floors.|
|Too soft to use on carpet, especially deep piles.
Provides less cushioning.
|Good shock absorption therefore rolls better on hardwood without scratching or gouging.
Has good traction and low noise impact.
Office chair castors are designed for different and specific applications.
If you try to use a soft caster on a carpet, it may dig in and get caught up in the carpet fibers.
This may not only damage your chair wheel, but also your valuable carpet.
Using metal or hard plastic castors on your hardwood floor could cause scratches or furrows, which may be impossible to remove.
Purchase the best quality office chair wheels you can afford, and you will have a chair and carpet or hardwood floor that will last for years.
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.