Casters are one of the most overlooked aspects for most when buying an office chair. But that’s not to mean they are not important.
While the majority of office chairs come with wheels, not many are equipped with a locking function. Furthermore, they consist of the small cheap type that can damage hardwood flooring over time.
The good news is, there are a lot of high quality locking caster wheels you can purchase and replace those on your existing chair with. Lockable casters let you prevent unwanted movements when you’re sitting, which is especially common (and annoying) on hard surfaces.
Best Type of Caster Wheels to Get Based on your Floor Type
The type of locking caster you choose is dependent on the type of flooring in your office or facility area.
- Soft casters have better traction (and are safer) on hard floors such as hardwood, tiled or laminate floors.
- Hard casters boast better “roll-ability” on soft and carpeted flooring.
- Rollerblade casters are made of premium rubber materials not unlike those found on roller blades, and can glide effortlessly on both hard and carpeted surfaces.
How do I know the new Caster Wheels will fit my Office Chair?
Size is one of the main factors you need to think about when buying chair casters, whether with brakes or not. There are two aspects to size to consider:
- Size of the wheels (diameter)
- Size of the stem (diameter)
Size of the Wheels
Most office chair wheels have a standard size of 2- to 2.5-inches in diameter. While there is no harm in getting a like-for-like replacement, don’t be afraid to opt for a bigger caster (such as 3”).
Bigger wheels have less resistance and can overcome obstacles more easily (important on high-pile carpets). They also tend to be more versatile and durable.
Stem Type and Size
The stem is the metal part of the wheel that plugs into the chair leg. Stems come in a variety of styles, namely:
- Grip ring – This stem has a groove on top that is covered with a split steel ring (C-shaped metal clip) which compresses when plugged in the leg socket to provide grip.
- Grip neck – This stem features a wide base with a narrower head. When fitting it in, the head goes through the socket while the wider base allows for a tight grip to hold the stem firmly in place.
- Threaded stem – This is basically a screw that can be threaded into the socket of the chair leg.
Most office chair casters use the grip ring style to attach to your chair.
To ensure the stem of your new locking caster wheels fit your chair, the most important measurement to check is the size of the stem in terms of its diameter.
Most office chairs use standard sized stem fitting that measure 7/16″ in diameter, or 11 mm.
The second most common stem diameter size is 3/8″. This can be found on some Ikea office chairs.
Measuring Stem Diameter Yourself
As mentioned, the caster wheels on most office chairs have a stem diameter of 7/16″. This means that any new caster wheels with this stem diameter should fit your office chair just fine.
If you want to be safe however, you can always measure the stem diameter of the caster wheels on your office chair yourself to double check its size.
The quick and dirty way to do this is just to remove one caster wheel from your chair, and wrap a stripe of paper tightly around the stem. Using a pencil, mark off exactly the point just before the paper begins to overlap. Then measure the length from the tip of the paper to the marker point. This is the length of the circumference of the stem.
Recall that the diameter of a circle is calculated using:
diameter = circumference / PI (3.14)
Doing a little reverse math then, this means if the circumference you calculated is:
- 1 3/8″: It means your caster diameter is the standard 7/16″ size
- 1 3/16″: It means your caster diameter is the less conventional 3/8″
Best Office Chair Caster Wheels with Brakes
Now let’s see our picks for the best caster wheels on the market with brakes, so you can easily lock them to prevent unwanted movements on hardwood and tile flooring.
|Wheel Type||Soft Casters|
The MySit Caster Wheels tops our list for the best lockable wheels for your office chair. They are cheap, easy to install, and feature a manual lock on every wheel, unlike some competing products that get away with only locks on a couple of wheels.
MySit lockable casters are purchased in a set of 5 pieces, each with its own brake system. One Amazon customer admits they don’t even need them all, as locking two wheels can hold the chair nicely in place already. But that’s not to mean the rest are surplus.
These casters are available in a universal size and fits most office chairs provided it has a grip ring of 7/16″ x 7/8″ (diameter x length).
One shortcoming of these casters are that are 2” wheels. Smaller wheels don’t boast as good a gliding capability as you’ll get with anything above 3”.
For their price, however, MySit Office Chair Caster Wheels provide great value for money.
If you are looking for large 3″ sized lockable casters for superior gliding and durability, you need to try the DGQ Office Chair Caster Wheels. These can snug in most standard chairs in the market.
Available in a universal stem size (7/16″ x 7/8″), the DGQ casters can fit “99% of all standard office chairs” sold in the US. The wheels themselves measure 3” and come in a set of 5 with brakes. You can also buy them in singles, although these will cost more ultimately.
These lockable casters boast a smooth roll with zero noise. This is thanks to the precision ball bearings on the wheels, coupled with the polyurethane material on the tires which reduces vibration. As one Amazon buyer puts it, these casters are top quality and definitely “the smoothest rolling [they’ve] used to date”.
With the high quality rollerblade wheels, the DGQ casters also work on all types of flooring, from hardwood to carpet with ease.
On the downside, two customers have faulted the wheel brake for coming off after some use, so long term quality might be an issue with the DGQ casters. The good news is, the manufacturer offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you are unhappy with your purchase.
Overall, these lockable casters are a great option for people looking for rollerblade style 3″ caster wheels that are also lockable.
The Stealtho caster wheels became an overnight sensation when they garnered a staggering 920% crowd-funding interest on Kickstarter. These are the most heavy duty locking caster wheels you will find on the market, though unfortunately currently only cater to office chairs with the non standard 3/8″ stem size. *
These caster wheels can support up to 660 pounds. This is made possible by the heavy-duty steel construction of the wheel body, which is then reinforced with an embedded support skirt, a nifty little feature you will find on few caster designs.
The wheels feature Abec-9 bearings, the highest grade bearings used in premium skateboards. Indeed, the wheels themselves, made of elastic polyurethane, look like inline skate wheels. This means you’ll be getting casters that glide with minimal ease without the risk of scratching your hardwood floors. One Amazon customer found their roll-ability and unobtrusive noise level so impressive he felt compelled to buy another set for the wife’s chair.
What’s more, the polyurethane is mixed with an aluminum compound with photo-luminescent properties that make them glow in the dark. A good way to locate your office chair even before turning on the lights at night.
Sadly, as mentioned, the Stealtho Locking Caster wheels are currently only available in the 3/8″ (10mm) diameter stem size, which fit many Ikea office chairs. There is a standard 7/16″ version for standard office chairs as well, though only the non-locking version is available:
- 7/16″ non locking caster wheels (available)
- 7/16″ locking caster wheels (not available at time of checking).
In summary, if your office chair uses the 3/8″ non standard sized caster wheel stems, you simply can’t go wrong with the Stealtho locking caster wheels.
Dr.Luck Caster Wheels are another great buy for people looking for large 3″ lockable caster wheels.
The biggest advantage of having large wheels in an office chair is they tend to glide better on most surfaces than their smaller counterparts. Dr. Luck 3″ Office Chair Caster Wheels are marketed as safe for use on all floors. A soft polyurethane wheel covering makes them safe even on sensitive hardwoods, and the fact they are heavy-duty means they are a great option on carpets.
These office chair casters with locks can fit 99% of all standard office chairs sold in the US. All you need is a chair whose wheel stem diameter is 7/16” and 7/8” in length.
The polyurethane tires coupled with precision ball bearings will give your chair a smooth roll without any squeaky noises, as one proud owner points out: They are “smooth, silent and work well”.
Other benefits you’ll enjoy with these rollerblade-style casters is a brake on each wheel and an easy installation process that does not require any tools whatsoever. Also, unlike other offerings on this list, Dr. Luck 3″ Office Chair Caster Wheels come with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
We couldn’t establish any cons to report on this product as yet. These casters were first released as recently as May 2019, but the lifetime warranty is a testament to their quality and durable build. The internal parts and support bracket are made from high-grade steel.
With an attractive price tag to boot, there is a lot to suggest these are set to be bestsellers within no time. They are undoubtedly some of the best lockable casters out there.
Looking for robust rollerblade style caster wheels on a budget? The AGPTEK wheels are your best option then.
AGPTEK Office Chair Locking Casters are designed for use on all floor types without the risk of damage or scratches, as two separate customers who use their office chairs for sim racing on hardwood floors reveal. But it’s good to clarify that these casters can also be used on carpets, with another buyer noting that they do glide well even on shag rugs.
AGPTEK lockable casters are purchased in a set of 5 heavy-duty pieces. The wheels themselves measure 2.5 inches and allow for smooth and quiet rolling aided by the precision ball bearings in the axel and swivel. Just like the casters from MySit, each wheel has its own brake system for maximum control.
On the downside, the AGPTEK wheels are only rated for a maximum weight of 287 lbs (130 kg). One owner notes that the wheels tend to lock in place momentarily when changing direction, requiring “an extra tug” on your part.
By and large, though, AGPtEK Office Chair Casters are great if you’re on a budget to retrofit many office chairs with improved rollerblade style casters that are also lockable.