Office chair wheels can be annoying when they’re so hard to control – the struggle, the waste of time, and the annoyance of having to put so much effort to get the wheels going where you want it to go.
So it’s a great thing that we can already replace those stubborn wheels into newer, more smooth-gliding casters.
This process can be confusing because there are so many casters to choose from. So I’ve come up with a how-to guide that will help you find the right casters and install them in no time.
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How to Find the Right Caster Size for Your Office Chair
When it comes to caster size, we can talk about two things – the size of the wheels and the size of the stem. Let’s talk about the wheels first.
Casters have varying wheel sizes. To know which one is best, you have to consider the height and the ease of movement the casters will make.
If your office chair’s height is adjustable, a tall rollerblade caster will not be a problem. The added height can be solved by adjusting your seat.
Moreover, larger wheels are better on thicker and fluffier carpets because of the added height.
It’s not all the time that you have to buy large casters. Usually, large casters are ideal for medium to heavyweights. And if your chair’s height isn’t adjustable, best to look for a smaller wheel, say twin wheels.
Now for the size of the stem. These need the measurements of the stem head and your office chair’s base.
To measure the stem head, all you need to do is place a ruler right on top of the stem to know the diameter. Then you do the same for the whole underneath of the office chair’s base.
Knowing these diameters will give you an idea if your new casters will fit your chair’s legs. While there’s a workaround for those difficult to insert, it’s still more convenient to find the right-sized casters.
How to Know the Right Caster Type for Your Office Chair
Another important factor to consider when picking out casters is the type of caster. When we talk about types, we’re referring to the kind of wheels that will be compatible with your floors and the movement you want to have.
For example, you can choose from a carpet-type caster or a hardwood type of caster. As their names suggest, their uses are for specific types of floors.
On the other hand, other types include reverse-locking casters, floor glides, and rollerblade casters. These casters differ depending on how smoothly they move against a surface and if they have a locking mechanism.
The first thing you have to consider is the floor that your office chair will be moving on. If it’s carpeted, then best to go for a carpet-type caster or a smooth-gliding caster that’s big enough to withstand the friction the carpet has on the wheels.
Of course, if you’re choosing casters for hardwood floors, the best type of casters would be those that don’t leave dents on the floor. You should also consider casters that have less surface area to lessen the friction against the floors.
The second thing to look at is the ease of movement. No one wants to have casters that need to be pushed with so much effort just for them to move.
Single-wheel casters are often better than twin-wheel casters because they glide more smoothly on any surface. A common example of single-wheel casters is rollerblades.
What if you want the chair to lock to its position? You’re going to need a reverse-locking caster for that. The wheels don’t move when weight is applied (when you’re sitting down), but it does so freely if there’s no weight on the chair.
What’s the Difference between Single-Wheel and Twin-Wheel Casters?
Based on their names, you already know the main difference between these two casters. The single-wheel only has one wheel for every caster unit while the twin-wheel uses two same-sized wheels attached to an axle.
Besides that, these two can be different in how they operate, hence affecting how they move. Let me explain further.
A single-wheel caster is attached to the fork. Since it’s the only movable thing in the whole caster, it has more friction when you have to turn the chair in different directions.
On the other hand, twin-wheel casters use an axel that helps in making turns a lot easier. Instead of the wheels doing the twisting, the axel does it for them.
The axel can do this easily because it can be twisted 360 degrees. There are no barriers on it and it isn’t just meant to move in straight lines.
So despite the awe single-wheel casters receive from the ease of movement it does on carpets and hardwood floors, they’re not the smoothest in terms of changing directions.
Twin-wheel casters can move more smoothly, but the only problem is that there’s a lot of space for dust, hair, and fur to get stuck in between those wheels. This is mainly the reason why people dislike twin-wheel casters.
Nonetheless, you still have to try out the casters before you decide to buy them. That way, you have an idea of how smooth they glide on your office’s floors.
Where to Buy Office Chair Wheel Replacements
There are many places (both physical and online) where you can buy office chair wheel replacements.
Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces that sell a wide range of casters. You can find single-wheel and twin-wheel casters as well as those using a stem or a mounting plate.
If your office chair brand has an online or physical store, however, it’s best to check from them too. They will most likely have a compatible set of casters for your chair.
You can also go to your local hardware store and ask if they sell office chair wheel replacements. The only problem is that not all stores have the right casters for your office chair.
So I would still say that buying online would be the best and most convenient option.
How to Replace Office Chair Wheels
There are two ways of replacing your office chair wheels and these depend on the casters that are currently attached to your chair and the ones you’ll replace them with.
If your chair’s casters use a caster stem, you can remove the old casters by just pulling them away from the chair’s legs. In most cases, you’ll hear a popping sound when you remove the casters.
Sometimes, you can slowly twist the whole caster so that it gets removed quickly from the leg.
But what if the caster won’t get off? That’s when you’ll have to use a flathead screwdriver. To remove the casters, place the screwdriver’s head in between the caster and the chair’s base.
Then push the screwdriver at an angle until the casters come off.
And now for placing new casters to the chair’s base. This is pretty simple because you don’t need tools to install the casters.
All you have to do is to pop the casters right into the hole underneath each of your chair’s legs.
There are where pushing the casters in is too difficult. This happens when the stem is slightly too big to fit easily.
The workaround is to use grease and a mallet or hammer.
Put some grease into the hole where you’re going to attach the casters. After that, you can put the casters right back in.
If you still find that the caster is hard to push into the leg, this is when you use a mallet. Hammer the mallet onto the fork’s plate (not on the wheels themselves) until the casters are perfectly pushed inside the chair’s leg.
What if your chair casters use a mounting plate? Here’s what you have to do.
If your chair has had casters with mounting plates before, then you don’t need to mark the areas where you’re going to drill holes. But if they use casters with stems, I suggest you stick with installing caster stems that do not have to drill holes.
Casters that use mounting plates will come with small screws. Use these screws to attach the mounting plate onto your chair’s legs. You can use a small screwdriver to make this easier to do.
You have to make sure that the screws are tightly locking the mounting plate. And that’s it!
Ready to replace your office chair wheels? This guide will help you do that – from picking the right casters to installing them properly.
Don’t forget that the right casters are those that don’t damage your floors, move easily, and fit perfectly into your chair’s leg. If they don’t fit, it’s either they’re too big or you need grease and a mallet to install them.