I’m building a couple of specialty carts right now, and needed good quality smooth-rolling casters to go with them. There were a lot of decisions to make in those projects, but the caster choice was easy.
I went with Levina 75mm casters from Lee Valley.
They’re pricey, but I have used these casters before – and the larger 100mm size – with great results.
The 75mm casters have a ~3″ wheel size, and can support up to 165 lbs each. The 100mm casters, with a ~4″ wheel size, can hold up to 220 lbs each.
The casters have a grippy rubber tread around a polypropylene hub, and an easy-toggle brake that locks the wheels in both rotational and swivel directions.
I have used these casters for rough-ground projects before, but feel they work better on smoother and interior surfaces, or at least that’s what I prefer them for. I tend to feel bad using them in environments they’ll be chewed up in, due to the premium price.
The casters are quiet, strong, smooth-rolling, and easy to lock and unlock.
Are there less expensive casters? Absolutely, and I seek those out for certain projects too, as well as even stronger and more premium options when needed.
With the 75mm caster, you can choose from 3 installation options – M10-threaded stem, and two sizes of flat steel plates – small 1-5/8″ square and large 2-1/2″ square. The 100mm caster installs with 2-5/8″
x 3″ flat plates in steel or stainless steel.
The 75mm casters came with made-in-France labels (Lee Valley says they’re made in France and USA), and the 100mm casters are said to be made in Germany.
I haven’t found these Tente Levina casters anywhere else but Lee Valley.
Prices start at ~$10.50 each when you buy 4 of the 75mm casters, and $21.20 each when you buy 4 of the 100mm casters.
Stuart – it looks like you missed a number: “The 75mm casters have a ~3″ wheel size, and can support up to 165 lbs each. The 100mm casters, with a ~4″ wheel size, can hold up to lbs each.” <- how many?
Thanks! *fixed* 220 lbs.
I fixed a typo and apparently the number disappeared.
Tente (Cologne) – the manufacturer – calls them “castors” – but that may be because of some translation issue from German to English.
Some of our fabrication clients would specify their Aviana series:
You also see some of what look like their “castors” on high-cost carts that roll around in hospital settings
Caster is the American English version of castor
Ah – good to learn something new every day.
Couldn’t agree more
I should have said that maybe I have an aversion to the word “castor” – because I associate it with the castor oil which conjures up some of the least pleasant experiences of my youth. To be fair to my mother – the choice of efficacious GI remedies available at the drug store in the 1940’s – were probably limited – and a dose of castor oil was considered “good for what ails you.”
I despise flimsy casters. There’s few things more annoying to me than having to move something which is supposed to roll freely only to have to fight the casters. It’s annoying enough when it’s something lightweight like a shopping cart, it only gets worse if we’re talking about a loaded tool box, machinery, bulk material carts, etc.
For things I build I like the heavier duty lines from McMaster-Carr. I.e. Spartan, Gladiator, Viking, Samson, etc. Hamilton Caster makes excellent ones too: Vanguard, Extended Service, Workhorse, etc. These look like they’re more suited for relatively light duty interior use so I wouldn’t have much call for them but I absolutely agree that quality casters are worth the spend.
I would also consider these Levina casters as light duty in an industrial sense.
There’s also RWM. My last order was for “medium duty” 5″ casters with a 750 lb load capacity.
I just built a few nice projects with inexpensive rollerblade-style casters. I upgraded my office chairs to them and it’s been one of my best purchases ever. The chair rolls more smoothly and quietly. The soft wheels don’t damage our hardwood floors if the chair rolls off the mat and they do look cool.
Afterwards, I built some kids furniture with cheap 2″ rollerblade-style casters, similar to the harbor freight variety and the kids love playing on them. The soft rubber also protects cords that get run over and hurt a lot less if one gets near a toe.
Are those similar to ones they use on medical carts in the hospitals?
Linet – a big international maker of hospital beds etc. – offers testimonials (on the Tente webpage) about their use of Tente casters.
The ones pictured by Linet – look like Tente integral twins.
One can always look for “lot” sale on ebay, you will be surprise how cheap those fancy casters can go, especially ones removed from used equipment.
Yes. But the med carts have red wheel lock.
Stewart, much appreciated for adding the country of origin/manufacture specification.
I recently built a rolling workshop table and used the large version of these: https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/hardware/casters-and-wheels/70037-twin-wheel-caster?item=00K2236
Very pleased with them especially the dual-wheels since they stabilize the table on uneven ground.
apologies for misspelling your name Stuart
No worries, but I appreciate it!
I’ll keep in mind those twin casters, thanks!
Casters are an annoying thing to buy. Really good ones will last forever, but like what about five years? Will the ten dollar harbor freight work as well as the $30 that tractor supply or lowes sells that have the exact same specs? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention what the internals are made of? Why don’t they have all the dimensions always? Is the total height of that 5″ caster 6″ or 6.25″? What are the dimensions of the plate?
In my opinion that is how you tell good casters from bad. Crappy casters (i.e. most of them) don’t tell you anything about what they’re made of. Nice casters give you drawings with every dimension, a choice of different wheel materials for different applications/surfaces, different types of bearings, and so on.
McMaster-Carr is great for shopping for casters, they do a great job providing the mounting height, bolt pattern, drawings (2D and 3D), even for the cheapos.
I rarely need good casters, meh or just OK work fine for my needs nearly always because my stuff doesn’t get moved often or abused.
I always feel weird about ordering from places like McMaster because I never need much and it feels like I’m wasting their time, like going to fastenal and it takes them 15 minutes for $2 in parts.
McMaster doesn’t seem to care whether an order is $20, 200, or $2000, they’re fast and efficient regardless.
Although, the more you spend, the more likely you are to get a catalog someday. I’m still not there yet.
Cheaper casters are often decent, but other times less than ideal and sometimes cause headaches.
In my case, cheaper casters would have required a lot more time and cost to install.
I found threaded skate wheel casters for ~$12/each, plus shipping.
The lowest I could find for my budget pick of wire shelving casters is $30 for a 4-pack.
Maybe the Levina aren’t perfect for as many things as I’ve used them for, but they’re a known quality to me.
If or when I change my project around, I’ll reuse these casters somewhere else as I’ve done with others I’ve bought in the past.
I recently needed casters for wire shelving, and had dumped the casters that came with at least some of my shelves (which was probably good – looks like any casters included with affordable wire shelves typically have really low weight limits).
Since I needed some casters ASAP, I paid $30 at HD for a set of 4 150lb/wheel casters, and later, $20 at Walmart.com for a different set of 4 150lb/wheel casters.
Based on the probable difference in quality, I’d say your casters were fairly priced.
BTW, just looked up what we buy for casters for our machines:
E.R. Wagner (not sure where we bought them) or McMaster-Carr.
I have 100% of my shop equipment, including shelving units, power tools, cabinets, etc. on total locking casters. The total lock style not only stops the wheel from spinning, but it also locks the steering direction. Works great and I can reorganize the shop easily when needed. Also helps with periodic cleaning behind things because you can just roll the cabinet or tool away from the wall. Once you try these, you won’t mess around with anything else. I got my last batch from Caster City, but there are a few other vendors.
I like these. They look like they fit in with a Festool shop. Thanks for showing this brand…never knew of them till this.
I’m a fan of the Powertec double locking casters. They’re $30 or so for a set of 4, reasonably well made and have held up well to having my Powermatic #100 planer (410lb according to specs) on top of them.
I haven’t found anything as good/inexpensive anywhere.