Office Chair Wheels: Are They Really Bad?

Office Chair Wheels: Are They Really Bad?

We live in a time when it’s hard to imagine an office chair without wheels. You move around the desk and pick up phone calls and work on files. That’s the most common scenario of an office in our heads.

But, you will be surprised that, whether wheels are good for your desk chair or not is a never-ending debate. So, are office chair wheels really bad?

Having wheels on the chair puts less strain on your back. You get to reach out to objects that are far away without bending forward. That’s a plus point. But in most cases, the sharp edges can cause damage to your precious flooring too.

And, that was just a preview. In this article, we will try to give you an insight into this debate. Plus, we will go through the issues people face with a rolling desk chair. By the time you finish the article, you will be able to decide whether it will be beneficial to you or not.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s jump into it.

Office Chair Wheels: The Pros And Cons

No product is free from defects. That’s why you must know exactly how the wheels affect the chair’s functionality. We will start with the pros.


Better Back Health

The first thing you should look for in a chair is how it will support the back. The modern office works mostly revolve around the desktop. In that sense, we spend around 8-10 hours sitting on this chair daily.

If our back doesn’t get support during this long period, it’s normal to experience crucial back pain again and again.

The report suggests that a rolling chair causes less strain on your back during the shift. That’s because it helps you to maintain a straight position. You don’t have to ruin it continuously to get something on the other end of the desk.

You can just slide through the floor and get it. Eliminating the need to bend forward, also keeps our back healthy and straight.

More Adjustability

Any ergonomic or premium quality office chair will have wheels on it. If you try to find something without a wheel, you have to let go of other wonderful features as well.

For example, rolling ergonomic chairs come with a better seat adjustment facility. You can pull the seat down or high to match the desk position. Plus, it can recline up to 110 degrees easily. Taking a nap without having to move is one of the best addition.

And, let’s not forget about the comfy armrests with curved backrest.

Higher Mobility

Wheels mean mobility. Other than roaming around while sitting on a chair, you can use it to relocate the chair more conveniently. Suppose you need the chair in some other place. Instead of carrying or dragging it, you can push it like a cart.

It saves your energy and reduces noise around the workplace.

Office Chair Wheels: Are They Really Bad?

My #1 Recommendation For Home Office Chair

If you want my only recommendation for an office chair that befits your home office, I’ll recommend the Flexispot OC10. Why? It features:

  • 3D Lumbar Support, 4D Adjustable Armsets, 135° Lounge Tilt
  • Made of Italian-imported chenille and K+R temperature-sensitive fiber
  • Ultimate Breathable Mesh
  • Best-In-Industry Samhongsa Class 4 Gas Lift
  • Silent 360 degree casters
  •  5 years warranty for frames, motors, and other mechanisms
  • 2 year warranty for the electronic switches and controllers

And all this at a cost-effective price! To know more, check out my detailed article on this chair!


More Maintenance

Nobody wants to spend time cleaning up the caster wheels of their desk chair. Regular rolling chairs need frequent lubrication and clean-up sessions. Not just that,

Be ready to replace any broken wheel with a new set. If you also lack such kind of dedication, then saying bye to the wheels forever would be a great idea.

Damaging To The Floor

This is the most severe limitation of having caster wheels on the chair. Most chairs (even some higher-priced ones) come with plastic or nylon wheels. Such materials rub through the floor instead of a smooth glide. It might cause several nicks and cracks on the floor.

You have to be even more careful if the flooring is plywood or luxury tiles. Repairing such flooring through a professional carpenter will cost you hundreds of dollars.


Extra features require more money. That’s the law. If you want to add better mobility to a chair through wheels, the cost will increase accordingly. A premium rolling chair might cost you as much as $500.

And, the price can go higher depending on the caster’s quality. We will learn about the caster wheel materials later on in this article. The bottom point is that if you are on a tight budget, having a rolling chair might not be the best thing.

Office Chair Wheels: Are They Really Bad?

How Can I Make My Office Chair Wheels Roll Better?

Okay, so you have an ergonomic office chair. You are all excited to move around the desk. But that stupid chair is not giving a smooth glide, as you anticipated. So, what to do?

Here’s what you can do to make the chair wheels roll better.

Grease It

Lubricating the casters is a great way to enhance the rolling performance. If the surface is not smooth, there will be a lot of friction and resistance while you move around in the chair. You might hear some annoying sounds as well.

You can take the help of a lubricant to smooth it out for you. There is no special recommendation regarding what type of lubricant you should use. Using top-notch all-purpose grease or even food-grade grease will do the work.

We suggest you repeat this after every 5 to 6 months.

Periodic Inspection

You can check the casters frequently for a broken or rigid part. If you are not experiencing a smooth roll with the wheels, it can be due to one of the wheels becoming obsolete.

We encourage you to inspect the wheels periodically. Also, check whether the bearing housing has come lost or not. if the nuts are not tightly secured, they can’t direct a smooth glide.

If you have the essential toolbox, make sure to re-tighten the mounting bolts. As soon as you find a rigid wheel, change it without delay. It would be better if you get some spare caster wheelsets from the local market. It will save you some time during an emergency.

Clean The Casters

Apart from replacing the rigid casters, you must clean them up frequently. You can put the chair upside down safely and then look for anything stuck inside the wheels.

Normally, dried-up food or small junk gets pulled into the wheel’s inner parts. Once the pile is big enough, it will make the wheel rigid. And, a rigid wheel causes resistance during the chair rolling.

The only way to get rid of them is by pulling them out manually. Use a tweezer to pick the debris one by one. It might take quite some time depending on the junk piled up there. However, you can fasten the process by cleaning up every 4 to 5 months.

Sounds like a hassle? Trust me, this small practice will keep the wheels in a good condition to roll smoothly.

Do Chairs With Wheels Damage Hardwood Floors?

To be exact, office chair wheels are not designed for hardwood floors. That’s the bitter truth. Especially if the chair is of low quality, it might come with rigid or sharp edges. It causes the floor to lose its polished beauty.

However, you can slow down the impact by choosing the right type of caster wheels for your hardwood floors.

Go for some softer caster wheel edges if the floor is made of hardwood. Rubber or polyurethane will be a great option. The soft edges don’t put a strain on the wooden floor as you roll the chair. That’s the same type of caster wheels that are attached to a shopping cart.

Because it provides you with better maneuverability over the loaded cart. We think such caster wheels are perfect for a heavy-weighted person. The pressure you put on the chair, won’t leave scratches on the floor due to the protection from softer or rubbery edge.

You will have to be a little tricky to find this kind of caster wheel. Go on an e-commerce website and search for office chairs. Now compare the $100 and the $500 one side by side.

What do you see? The ergonomic features might be a little different but the caster wheels are the same. At both price points, you can only get the double-wheel with a nylon cover. That type of wheel rubs against the floor harshly instead of gliding.

That’s a precaution. Carefully check the wheel type before purchasing a chair online.

How Can You Save The Floor From Caster Wheels?

Now that we are familiar with the effects of caster wheels on our floors, let’s get into some action. In this section, we will discuss some practical steps that you can try to minimize the impacts of wheels.

So, here we go!

Vacuum Regularly

We shouldn’t neglect to vacuum the area underneath the office chairs. Food and other junk accumulate on this part of the floor daily. But, why is that relevant?

Well, those little particles of dust and dry food can increase the impact of chair wheels on the floor. As you roll the chair, it pushes those particles further into the floor causing damage. It is especially true when the floor is already cracked due to previous records of abrasion or excessive rubbing.

The crack will start becoming more apparent as dust keeps pilling up there. The only solution to this issue is regular maintenance.

You need to get rid of any kind of food or dust particles from the ground. Remember that, it can’t eliminate the effects of wheels scratching the wooden surface. it depends on how you use it. However, it surely prevents the problem from becoming more acute or severe.

Use Only When Needed

It might sound obvious. But, the truth is we use those chair wheels more than needed. For example, you need to relocate the chair to another room or area. Most of us might drag the chair with us as the wheels glide through the floor.

We could have avoided the friction by simply carrying the chair ourselves. You see, it’s the small things that matter.

We recommend using the wheels only when you need to reach out to something on the desk. If you work from home and have toddlers around you, make sure they don’t strain the wheels by continuous pulling.

For this, you can lock the area after finishing work or relocate the chairs to another place. Imagine the amount of abrasion you can skip by practicing it daily.

Chair Mat Is A Life Saver

If you don’t own a chair mat, you are missing out a lot. The harshness of caster wheels will reduce by around 60-70% by using a chair mat underneath.

Keep a note that, rubber-backed mats can leave a pattern mark after years of use. As you roll the chair above that mat, the mat backing pattern will push further into the floor. It’s alright if the floor is made of marble or high-quality tiles. But, if you have plywood flooring, that’s a big NO.

We found that, apart from checking the material, backing style should concern you as well. If the anchors are too harsh on the back, it might cause damage to your new mahogany flooring. So, make sure to choose a backing that is gentle and can still have a strong grip on the floor.

Cover The Whole Floor

What could be better than spreading protection over the whole floor? You can use a woven rug for this. But you must make sure to clean it frequently. Because rugs tend to gather dust.

 If you don’t like such deep cleaning every day, nylon carpets are also a considerable option. Many people enjoy the softness of nylon carpets that comes with extensive durability.

You can even go for polyester, wool, or acrylic. All of them have their advantages and limitations. Go for polyester or soft nylon carpet if the concern is budget and easy maintenance. However, if you can go past these two hurdles, choosing a wool carpet will provide the gentlest care to your floor.

Office Chair Wheels: Are They Really Bad?

Duct Tape As A Temporary Solution

This solution is meant to use during emergencies only. Suppose your wheels are trampling over the floor ruthlessly. You have noticed some scratch marks here and there. But, you haven’t still made up your mind on which technique you will apply to prevent this in the future.

However, while you are figuring out the main cure, we wouldn’t want to add more scratches to the list to be treated later.

For that short period, you can use this duct tape method. Just tape the caster wheels carefully. Now, as you roll the chair, the wheels won’t get direct interaction with the floor. This is a short-term way of letting your plywood floor breathe.

You must keep in check whether the duct tapes are properly attached or not almost every day. If you find anything sticking out, just reapply a new one.

Maintain The Casters

As we have mentioned multiple times before, maintenance is the key. A regular check-up will tell you whether the casters are in good shape or not. Sometimes, the caster gets broken and we never notice. Such wheels become inefficient.

However, they don’t stay still. Since other wheels are working just fine, you can still manage to move the chair around. But, that broken caster causes the wheel to be dragged rather than rolled. Such wheels can be merciless to the floor.

Continuous dragging might cause scratch marks and even cracks that cost quite some bucks to repair.

If you find any broken wheels during the inspection, replace them with a new ones as soon as you can. Rubber, neoprene, urethane, etc are the most desirable surface material of the casters. Make sure you pick something similar.

Get A Chair Without Wheels

We are firm believers of prevention is better than cure. If maintaining the caster wheels is a painful task for you, why not eliminate them completely? Yes, you heard it right.

You can get a decent office chair with various flexibility options without a caster wheelset. It is especially useful when the flooring is made of luxury woolds like maple, oak, or mahogany.

It can also save you some extra bucks.

Why Are My Office Chair Wheels Not Rolling?

Clogged-up dirt inside the wheel cracks is the biggest reason behind the problem. Such clog-ups can happen when you never inspect the caster wheels for debris. You never know how much dirt a wheel can fit until you check yourself.

Don’t be surprised to discover dried food fibers, dust, hair, and even pet fur. These elements jam the wheel crack and make the wheel rigid. There is no way to move it.

Let’s take a look at one easy fix for this issue.

Dismantle And Clean Up

To resolve it, we will have to dismantle the caster wheels one by one. There are multiple methods to do this.

For example, you could use a piece of metal and a flat head screwdriver. However, we think that method is too dangerous if you are an amateur and have no prior experience in handling tools.

In this method, we will use a plier to efficiently dismantle the whole caster wheelset. Make sure you get a bigger size.

  • Insert the plier’s mouth inside the wheel crack. Check whether the plier’s both teeth are touching the wheels or not.
  • Now, force open the plier. Try to give as much pressure as you can.
  • It might take more than one attempt to fully bring it out. Once the wheel crack is wide enough, you can just use your hand to tear them apart from each other.
  • Now, you will notice a spring inside. Hold that and pull the other end of the wheel.
  • Use the plier again to loosen the spring this time. sometimes the spring can get stuck due to dirt build-up. In that case, try to push that in more using the plier. Soon you will hear a click. And that’s it.
  • You have disassembled everything. It’s time to clean up the dirt using a clean cloth. Try lubricating the parts a little.
  • Once you are done, use the same procedure and join them together.

This little clean-up session will resume the rolling power of the caster wheels.

Wrapping Up

We highly ever think so much while purchasing an office chair. And, cleaning or maintaining the wheels is out of the question.

But, you only understand the importance of it, when the precious floor starts showing the signs of nicks and scratches. So, why not be cautious aforehand and delay this issue for as long as we can?

You can get a wheelset and might feel like you don’t need them later. In that case, just remove those from the chair base. And, if you feel like a static chair is not working for you, there are always options to add some wheels.

As for the final opinion regarding whether the chair wheels are good or bad, we leave it to you.

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