Different Kinds of Caster Brakes and Their Unique Strengths
If you’re looking to seamlessly add movability to any piece of equipment, furniture or even machines, casters are your best bet. These small but powerful wheels have been the perfect solution for decades. Used all around the world, from industrial factories in China relocating heavy objects on a daily basis, to private people on the upper west side of New York City looking to move furniture around a home, they are endlessly helpful.
Caster wheels allow you to easily move around objects in any horizontal way, providing smooth maneuverability on most types of surfaces out there. Are you wondering what to do when you need to stop and want the cart to stay in place, especially when you’re transporting heavy-duty applications? During these instances, you’ll need the right type of brakes to hold the wheels, but how to you find the ideal fit for you casters?
Below you will find an extensive list of the different kinds of caster brakes available on the market. The list includes their unique strengths and applications so you can find the best break to suit you and your needs!
Popularity: Low – Mid
Foot Friendly: Yes
The Tread Lock Brake operates by creating a friction between the tread of a caster’s wheel and a small metal plate with a layer of rubber attached to it. Consequently, this blocks the casters ability to move in any direction once engaged. In order to use this type of brake, all you need to do is simply press its metal pad using your foot.
The Tread Lock Brake can easily be installed on the field at your disposal. The brake itself is suitable for any type of wheel ranging from 4” to 12” diameters.
Cost: Mid - High
Foot Friendly: Yes
The Directional Lock Brake is slightly different from other caster brakes due to its inability to actually stop the caster itself from moving. It works by, as its name hints, stopping the wheel from moving in any direction by disabling the swivel function. Simply put; it turns a swivel caster into a fixed caster. Therefore, your wagon or cart (or the piece of equipment you’re attaching your casters to) will only be able to move in a straight line.
Popularity Level: High
Cost: LowMaintenance: Low
Foot Friendly: Yes
The Side Cam Brake works its magic by causing the cam, located in the side of the caster, to tighten the axle spacing. Therefore, it generates enough friction required to stop the wheel from turning. This is easily done by simply pressing your foot onto the metal pad.
Although this brake is identically built to a classic Side Lock Brake, this option functions and operates a lot smoother and more efficiently, especially when combined with hard tread wheels made of cast iron or steel. Since the Side Cam Brake is made up of fewer pieces compared to other brakes, it’s a lot lighter in terms of weight and more affordable, making it a great option for anyone looking for a cheaper but still very effective solution.
Another component making this option very lucrative to private customers is its possibility to be installed on the field, as well as being compatible with nearly any brand of 2” diameter wide swivel or rigid casters.
Total Lock Brakes
Cost: Mid – High
Maintenance: LowFoot Friendly: Yes
Being one of the most common and usable brakes out there, there’s no wonder this is one of the most popular brakes on the market. The Total Lock Brake name hints its function, alike most caster brakes on the market, through its name. The reason it has become one of the most used and sought after brakes is due to, firstly, its ease of use. In order to put a brake into your casters swiveling and rolling, simply press your foot onto its black plastic pad.
Another reason why it’s widely used within the caster world is due to the low maintenance it requires. It only consists of two moving pieces, and is typically made of rust- and corrosion-resistant thermoplastics along with a design that securely fastens the brake to the casters by a grip ridge. The third and final argument for it being a customer favorite is because of its ability to simply stop all forms of movement of your caster. Therefore, if you’re looking for a brake to completely stop all forms of swiveling and moving, there’s no need to look any further.
Side Lock Brakes
Foot Friendly: Mid
The Side Lock Brake is one of the most popular and cost-effective caster brakes on the market, and is consider rather foot-friendly as well. It operates in a way that when its pedal is engaged, the space between the wheel and its housing is decreased, thus creating friction by the contact of the two surfaces. This is what stops the wheel from continuing to turn with ease. Side Lock Brakes can sometimes be confused with other brakes hosting a pedal on its side, although this is simply not true since there are a number of brakes utilizing this kind of function.
Single Side Lock Brakes
Foot Friendly: No
The Single Side Lock Brake, unlike its previously mentioned cousin, requires you to turn a screw by hand in order to engage its function. This brakes works by creating a friction against the wheel’s hub once the screw passes through the caster’s rig. The Single Side Lock Brake is traditionally used for medium to high-duty applications.
Double Side Lock Brakes
This brake operates in exactly the same way as the Single Side Lock Brake, except its lock function is located on both sides of the caster, providing easier access. In order to go ahead with this option, you need to have it factory installed.
As there are a number of great caster brakes on the market, finding the perfect fit might be easier said than done. If you’re still not sure what option is the most affordable and compatible to your situation, contact us at CoolYeah today, and one of our experienced staff members will guide your wheels to a match made in caster-heaven.