Office chairs are not something we think about often, and the casters and wheels even less so. There are two types of casters, and making the right choice will significantly impact your office’s look in the long term. If the type of caster you choose has such significance, how do you choose the right one?

There are two types of casters available; soft and hard tread. The tread is the outer part of the wheel, which is the contact point between the chair and the floor or mat. Therefore, the casters chosen should depend on the floor in your office.

This guide will cover the different types of casters, differences between the two types of casters, and caster chair measurements.

What is a wheel caster?

A wheel caster is a circular device attached to the bottom of a chair, allowing it to roll smoothly. It houses a wheel and consists of rubber, polyurethane, steel, aluminum, or plastic.

Casters are part of desk chairs, hospital beds, and portable tables. They come in different sizes and can hold a weight of up to 100,000 pounds.

The floor you have will determine the type of caster you need. Soft surfaces with carpeted floors require rigid nylon casters, while casters ideal for hard surfaces are polyurethane or soft rubber. The soft material does not scrape the floor or chair mat because it grips the wheel well.

What is the difference between hard tread casters and soft tread casters?

Hard tread casters are commonly used on office chairs and are ideal on soft carpets. They are made of heavy-duty metal or hard nylon, making them easier to push against plush carpets.

Soft tread casters use soft rubber or polyurethane, which does not scratch hard surfaces. They are ideal for hard floors such as tiles, marble, and hardwood.

Most office chairs have standard rigid tread casters, which ruin hardwood floors within a short time because they rub against hard surfaces.

Which is the best caster to use for chair mats?

Most desk chairs sit on desk chair mats rather than directly on the floors. A soft tread wheel is preferable if you are using a plastic or glass chair mat. Hard tread wheels rub against hard surfaces, making screeching noises that can be irritating. Soft tread casters provide better comfort and grip hard surfaces, making the chair glide smoothly on plastic or glass mats.

How to get the right chair wheel caster measurements

To avoid making a wrong purchase, you should be sure of what you need. Office chair casters are available in standard sizes and quantities. You should be aware of these sizes and qualities to avoid buying the wrong caster.

When you choose casters, this is the essential information you should know about office chairs;

  1. Most present-day office chairs fit a 7/16 ̋ diameter grip ring stem. Confirm this as it is not universal.
  2. Sometimes an office chair could have a 3/8 ̋ grip ring stem.
  3. Approximately all modern office chairs have five wheel casters

When making an order, the soft rubber and polyurethane tread casters, also called soft casters for hard surfaces. The soft tread casters will be an added cost, but the increased quality will be worth it in the long run.

Categories of office chair casters

As mentioned above, it is essential to pay attention to the caster wheel in your office chair because different casters have different uses. The best caster for your office chair will depend on;

  1. How often you will use the chair
  2. The type of floor or chair mat in your office
  3. The weight limit of the chair

The most common categories of desk chair casters are;

  • Standard carpet casters

They are hard tread casters, commonly found in most office chairs. They roll easily on carpeted floors. They are rigid plastic.

  • Top plate casters

You will not likely find them on office chairs. You will need them if you frequently use your chair in a rolling manner.

  • Reverse locking casters

They come with a safety measure, which locks the wheels when weight is applied. They are appropriate for home offices where you do not want your children rolling around using your chair. They will not work well in an office where you want to swivel around.

  • Hard surface casters

These soft tread casters are becoming more popular due to increased preference for glass office chair mats. They are ideal for hard floor surfaces like marble, tiles, and hardwood. They do leave the floors undamaged.


It is essential to pair the appropriate casters with a high-quality chair mat to extend your hardwood floors’ durability. You could ruin your floors from rolling around when working over some time. Changing the casters on your office chair is simple; you can easily pull them out or use a flat-headed screwdriver as leverage.

If you need to choose the best caster for your floor or chair mat, our simple guide has all the information you need. At, we stock high-quality office chair casters that are ideal for hard floors. They match excellently with our Office Glass Chair Mats.