How to Put Wheels on a Chair

Are the plastic wheels on your office chair scratching up your hardwood floor? Or perhaps the office chair caster wheels are falling apart? Almost all rolling chairs are made with wheels that can be easily removed and replaced. Below we put together a guide on how to put wheels on a chair.

How to Put Wheels on a Chair

To put wheels on a chair, follow these steps:

  1. Remove one of the original wheels
  2. Find the caster size and type
  3. Locate and purchase replacement caster wheels
  4. Remove the remaining wheels
  5. Install the new wheels

Keep reading for an in-depth look at each step.

How to Put Wheels on a Chair: The Steps

office chair ready for repair
Source: Shutterstock


Step 1: Remove One of the Original Wheels

Removing the original wheels from the office chair is simple and easy. In the majority of cases, you don’t even need tools to accomplish this step. You will only be removing one wheel in this step to help you find the type and size of the caster wheel.

Around 95 percent of office chairs wheels will have a “grip ring stem.” This stem is shaped like a metal cylinder with a split ring that looks like a “C” at the top. This grip ring can expand and compress, which helps lock the stem into the socket of the base. So, to remove this caster type, you’ll have to give it a firm pull.

Follow these steps to remove the wheel:

Lay Chair on the Floor

Lay your office chair on its side so you can access the caster wheels.

Pull Out Wheel

While firmly gripping one of the wheels, pull away from the chair base. This action should release the caster wheel from its socket. If you’re having difficulty gripping the wheel, try using an old towel or glove. If it doesn’t budge, you might have another type of caster.

If the Wheel is Stuck, Pry it Out Using a Screwdriver

If you’re sure that you have a grip ring caster type, but it’s stuck, you can use a wide flathead screwdriver to try to pry the wheel out of its socket. If you’re still having trouble, apply some lubrication (i.e., WD-40) to the caster stem and let it sit for a few hours before trying again.

Step 2: Find the Caster Size and Type

 how to put wheels on a chair
Source: Shutterstock

After removing one caster wheel from your office chair, you can find the caster size and type.

Find Stem Type

There are four types of caster stems that you could have:

  1. Grip ring stem
  2. Grip neck stem
  3. Threaded neck stem
  4. Stemless (open socket caster)

Identifying the type of caster stem you have is important. Know that the grip ring stem is the most common type of caster stem used on office chairs.

Measure the Size of the Stem

Measure the length and diameter of the caster stem. More than likely, they’ll measure out to be 7/8” in length by 7/16” diameter. You can measure the length and diameter using a tape measure or calipers.

Step 3: Locate and Purchase Replacement Caster Wheels

Just because your office chair came with wheels doesn’t mean that there aren’t better options out on the market. Most of the problems you might have with the caster wheels that come with your office chair can easily be solved by purchasing higher-quality caster wheels.

There are several main features that you want to search for when choosing new office chair wheels:

  • An extended warranty backs the product
  • The product is made from durable materials
  • Quiet swivel and rolling movement
  • Ball bearings for swivel movements and wheel for smooth rolling
  • Steel frame to accommodate high weight capacities, 500+ lb
  • Safe for all types of flooring (i.e., laminate, tile, hardwood)

What if your office has carpet? This is a great question! Office chair wheels aren’t designed to perform well on carpet, so there isn’t a perfect caster for this type of flooring. Your best bet is to find a caster that is heavy-duty and has a large wheel diameter. For example, a 4” diameter caster wheel will move easier than a 2” caster wheel diameter.

Finally, you can also consider a plastic floor mat to enhance mobility. This is the only reason we recommend using a floor mat; chair mats are harmful and unnecessary with all other flooring.

Step 4: Remove the Remaining Wheels

After receiving your replacement caster wheels, you can remove all of the old wheels from your office chair using the method described in step one.

Step 5: Install the New Wheels

Install the replacement caster wheels by pushing the caster stem completely into the chair’s base socket. This is the process for the grip ring stem type. Other types of caster wheels will have different methods of removal and installation.

You may have issues installing the new chair wheel even though it’s the right size and type for your desk chair. This can be caused by the grip ring located at the top of the stem. This ring is designed to be compressed and holds the caster wheel in place after it’s been inserted into the chair’s base. So, if the stem goes into the socket hole, but it stops at the grip ring, do the following:

  • Apply a light layer of lubricant (i.e., WD-40) directly to the grip ring
  • Compress the grip ring using some pliers

Want to ditch the chair and take full advantage of a standing desk instead? Then you should also consider an anti-fatigue mat for comfort.

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