You Should Add Better Wheels to Your Office Chair

You Should Add Better Wheels to Your Office Chair

The average person spends about 10 hours a day sitting. Yes, all that sitting is very, very bad for you in terms of your health—but it can also be bad for the floor in your home office if you’re rolling around in a standard desk chair. Anyone who has spent any time in a rolling chair knows that they can slowly do real damage to your floors, either by scratching up hardwoods or denting carpet and pulling up fibers, which then get jammed into the chair wheel, reducing its mobility.

You can throw down a plastic mat to protect your floors and make your chair move more easily, but then you have the fun of rolling off the mat and becoming marooned until you stand up to adjust your position. Instead of living with this kind of irritation, there’s a low-cost, low-effort solution: Buy better office chair wheels. They don’t cost much and they’re relatively easy to swap out.

Hard vs. soft

Your first consideration is the type of flooring your chair will be rolling over:

  • For soft surfaces, like carpeting or rugs, go for wheels that are made from hard materials like plastic. These basic chair wheels from Shepherd, for example, will cut through carpet effectively.
  • For harder surfaces (hardwood or tiled floors, for example), you want a softer wheel made from something like rubber, polyurethane, or neoprene. Softer wheels won’t mark or scratch your floors and will move much more smoothly on hard surfaces than plastic wheels. These are also a good choice if you’re going to use a chair mat.

Single vs. double

Next, you have a choice between a single- or double-wheel style for your office chair:

  • Single-wheel casters won’t collect dirt, hair, and fibers the way double-wheel casters can. Single-wheel or rollerblade-style casters like these from Slipstick are a lot easier to keep clean in general, and offer smooth movement. However, single-wheel casters can be more difficult to turn and maneuver, so if you are constantly rolling around your workspace they may prove frustrating.
  • Dual-wheel casters may collect a lot of dirt, but they offer better weight capacity and stability, as well as improved turning for both hardwood floors and carpet.

Another option is a globe-style caster. These can work well on hard surfaces and low-pile carpet, and offer a high-level of mobility and smooth movement while protecting surfaces from marks or scuffs. If you want to glide around your office like a ballerina, globe-style casters are your best choice.

Wheel diameter

Finally, consider the size of your wheels:

  • Larger diameter wheels (3-inch diameter or larger) are ideal for thicker carpet. The larger wheels, whether in double-wheel or rollerblade-style models, offer better clearance over carpet pile, reducing friction and improving movement.
  • Smaller diameter wheels (less than 3 inches) are better-suited for hard, smooth surfaces like hardwood and tile.

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