If you aren’t sure what a caster is, then you aren’t alone. Odds are, you’ve seen casters before, but you don’t have the word for it. Shopping carts, utility carts and platform trucks all use casters. Most people call them wheels, but this wouldn’t be correct. Here is what you need to know about casters.

When to Choose Rigid Casters

Rigid casters or fixed casters are best for moving in a straight line. These do not swivel and they do not turn corners easily. You will not steer these skates. While they do bear more weight than a swivel caster, you are more limited in your movement. For instance, 5 inch caster wheels are incredibly durable and hold a lot of weight. Without the right casters or transportation equipment, heavy loads can lead to a lot of risks.

When you use a rigid caster, you need to make sure that all of the casters line up. This will ensure that the track is smooth. If you’re transporting heavy materials in a straight line, then there’s no need to have anything more than a rigid caster.

When to Choose Swivel Casters

In a swivel caster, the wheel can rotate 360 degrees while you are hauling a load. With this feature, you can move heavy loads with more ease. Turning tight corners with a heavy load might be difficult under any other circumstance. If you often have to move cargo through small spaces and around sharp corners, then you need a swivel caster.

Now one thing to note about swivel casters is that they are not for constant movement in a straight line. The skates aren’t for long distances in a straight line. You should only use these if you plan to travel short distances. Likewise, while these casters can hold a lot of weight, it does take more labor to maneuver the swivel casters.

When to Choose Combination Casters

When it comes to some tasks, you may need the ability to move back and forth smoothly and still change directions. You can get a combination rigid and swivel caster. These will have one type on the front and another type on the back. This will let you move the cart over long distances and still have the ability to turn when you need to. You probably have seen examples of this at grocery stores with the shopping carts.

If you’re choosing between different casters, then it’s important to choose the right type for the job. In a lot of cases, using combination casters can help for a variety of jobs.