If your office chair no longer rolls smoothly or tends to wobble, the solution may be to replace the caster wheels. No need to get rid of your favorite office chair.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Replacing office chair wheels and casters can be an easy DIY fix
  • Most office chairs use replaceable swivel casters
  • Choose the type of caster to match the flooring of your office or workspace
  • Removing and replacing chair casters requires only a few hand tools

If you’re going from a carpeted office to somewhere with a different type of flooring, or vice-versa, you can usually re-use your office furniture and desk chair. For best performance, you may want to replace your caster wheels or learn how to clean your office chair. The good news is that office chair casters are often available online and are sold singly or in packs of four or six.

Choose the Right Chair Caster Style for Your Floor

Choosing the right type of caster can make your chair roll more smoothly on carpeted floors or hardwood. You’ll want to choose the right kind of casters for the floor types in your work area. Carpet casters are typically soft wheel casters made of Urethane or polyethylene, and the wheels are usually designed with lower rolling resistance. Carpet Casters come standard on most office chairs.

Hard surface caster wheels are made of materials that are safe for hardwood floors and vinyl floors. Compared to the standard office caster wheels, they typically have a little more rolling resistance. You might also want to put something under your office chair on hardwood floors to help preserve your chair and floors.

Some office chairs use stemless casters. These may be plate mounted to support more weight or mounted directly to the chair leg. Most have a metal or plastic “fender” or hood over the wheel. Never exceed the weight capacity of your office chair wheels. Do not stand on a swiveling office chair

Make sure your replacement casters are the right size. You’ll need to match the caster size and grip ring stem, if so equipped, and try to match the size of your current casters. Unlike gas lifts in your office chair, casters are not universal for all chairs. It is also important that you replace the wheels with caution as improper handling of your chair will also lead you to replace the office chair cushions.

Single Wheel Casters vs Dual Wheel Casters

Most office chairs come with plastic dual-wheel style casters. This type of caster for office chairs affords medium rolling resistance, works well on carpeted and vinyl floors and other common office floor surfaces. These office chair caster wheels are usually replaceable, and many are compatible with universal caster wheels for an easy DIY maintenance solution, such as removing hair.

Some executive chairs come with heavy-duty single-wheel casters. These are also commonly found on file cabinets and other furniture. They generally can support more weight and have higher rolling resistance. Since these chairs are often more stable, they will also help you to stop sliding out of your office chair.

Office Chair Wheel Replacement Process

Tools Needed:

Pliers

Soft hammer or rubber mallet (a regular hammer and a rag may work)

Flathead screwdriver

Phillips-head screwdriver

Pry-bar

Materials

Casters

Make sure to select the right kind of casters before starting on the project. It might be helpful to start by removing one wheel from your office chair and inspecting it.

Mounting hardware

(Optional) WD-40 or another lubricant

Duct Tape (for cleaning mounting surfaces.)

Insider Tip

Never exceed the weight capacity of your office chair wheels. Do not stand on a swiveling office chair.

Remove the old caster from the chair leg

To remove caster wheels from your office chair, you may need a flat-head screwdriver and a pry bar, depending on what kind of casters and mounting hardware your desk chair uses.

Step 1: Lay the chair on its side so you can securely access the wheels and wheel housings. Inspect the chair base and wheels for damage.

Step 2: Verify caster type and size. Check the caster stem. Give a gentle tug on the caster wheel, loosen the grip ring stem, if present, or unscrew the caster wheel from its threaded stem.

Step 3: Remove remaining chair wheels from the office chair base.

For grip stem casters, just pull until the wheel comes free. Apply lubricant if the caster is stuck in the stem. For additional leverage, you might want to use a pry bar or the widest flat-head screwdriver you have. For threaded casters, unscrew the caster wheel from the stem. For swivel plate casters, unscrew the caster from the swivel plate. This typically involves 2 screws or bolts per wheel.

Install your new wheels

Step 1: Installation of replacement caster wheels is generally the reverse of removal. The exact process differs depending on caster wheel types. For stem casters, first, press a caster into the stem and manually push in as far as possible. You may want to use a rubber mallet or hammer and soft rag to tap the caster wheel securely. WD-40 may help.

You can also try compressing the grip ring with pliers.

For threaded casters, thread the new caster wheel into the stem.

Step 2: For press-in casters: Using a rubber mallet or soft hammer, tap the wheel stem into the socket until the wheel arch is as far towards the chair base as it will go.

For plate-mount casters, you’ll need to secure the caster wheel with the necessary fasteners. Make sure to line up the wheel with the appropriate bolt holes on the chair mounting plate. Then, insert each bolt but don’t tighten them fully until you’ve installed all of them. Remember to put the caster bushings in place when reinstalling the bolts.

Step 3: (Plate-mounted casters only) Finish tightening the bolts and ensure the plates are flush with the chair legs. Make sure all caster wheels are properly tightened before using the chair.

Insider Tip

Make sure all caster wheels are properly tightened before using the chair.

F.A.Q.

What are office chair casters?

Casters are the swiveling wheels that allow office chairs to roll and turn. These may be mounted to the chair base via caster stems or plate-mounted. They can employ dual wheels or single wheels.


How do you maintain caster wheels?

For proper maintenance of chair caster wheels, regularly inspect the casters for dirt and debris. You can use duct tape or electrical tape to remove dust from the wheels. Metal caster wheels and bushings can benefit from periodic lubrication with WD-40 or similar.


How do you measure and replace office chair casters?

When you go to measure your office chair casters, make sure to note the size of the caster stem and whether it’s a grip stem or threaded stem. You’ll want to be sure to purchase the correct sized wheels and fasteners as well.


How do you remove hair from office chair wheels?

An easy way to remove hair and lint from office chair wheels is to use duct tape or electrical tape.


STAT: Most office chairs that use dual-wheel style casters have a load limit of about 250 pounds of weight. (source)

Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *