Whether you are choosing castors for a wheelchair, a utility cart or a similar item, you need to choose your castors carefully. If executing great turns is important to you, there are several tips you should keep in mind while selecting your castors.
1. Weight Capability
Every caster has a maximum amount of weight it can support. If your casters aren't strong enough to support the weight of your item, they may bow under the weight. That can cause them to become misshapen, which can ultimately make maneuvering harder.
2. Attachment Style
If the caster wheel is not attached to the item correctly, that may also limit its ability to turn. If some casters start to tilt in odd directions, that can pull against you as you are trying to make a turn. Plate casters are ideal if you want a firm attachment, but you should check the screws on a regular basis to ensure everything is tight.
3. Axles With Grease Fitting
While you want the caster firmly attached to the object, you also want the mobile parts of the caster — namely the axles — to move quickly and relatively freely. To ensure your caster wheel is as responsive as possible, you may want to opt for axles with grease fittings. These fittings keep the axle constantly lubricated.
4. Shimmy Speed
Most casters, especially casters for wheelchairs, have a shimmy speed. This is the speed at which the caster wheels start to shimmy. Basically when the wheels start moving too quickly, they start moving wildly from side to side. That can make it harder to turn, but it can also cause you to turn when you don't want to turn.
You should talk with the manufacturer about shimmy speed. In most cases, smaller wheels tend to have a lower shimmy speed, but that can vary. If you need to move quickly, find casters with low shimmy speeds, but if that's not a priority, just respect the manufacturer's maximum speed recommendations when you own the casters so that you can avoid the shimmy.
5. Right Material
Finally, the material of your caster wheels can also affect their ability to turn. Ideally, you want a low enough amount of friction that you can turn easily, but you want enough resistance so that you don't lose control. If you are using the casters on carpet, you may want to opt for sleek metal to make up for the friction in the carpet, but if you're using casters on polished concrete, you may want vinyl casters as sleek metal may be too slippery.