Casters 101: A Quick Tutorial: Brake Types

Chapter 4 of the Apollo Caster learning guide. Keep in mind, you can always call for assistance.
Tutorial Chapters:

Lesson 4: Caster Brakes
Several styles of brakes are available. Read on to see what might be best for your situation. This dicussion is relevant to single-wheel casters.
thumb-screw-brake
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Thumb Screw Brakes
  • Used with small (2" or 3") dual-wheel or log (wide wheel) casters.
  • Economical and best used with brakes are not frequently engaged or disengaged.
  • cam-brake
    Cam or Friction Brakes
  • Engaging the brake moves a cam and tightens the caster rig against the wheel creating friction.
  • Generally less effective than a top lock brake but has its place with very hard wheels such as steel or cast iron where tread brakes have a harder surface to engage and immobilize.
  • Fewer parts making it more economically priced.
  • Top-Lock-Brake
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    Top Lock (tread lock) Brake
  • Engaging the pedal, moves a cam and lever, which makes direct contact with the top tread of the wheel.
  • Very common and effective, particularly with softer wheels such as rubber, TPR, polyurethane, and phenolic.
  • pedal-style-brakes
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    Pedal Style Wheel Brake
  • Pedal style brake may lock the wheel only, the direction only and often both. When it locks both, it is referred to as 'Total Lock' which is discussed below.
  • Not available on all casters: most common on mid-size (3x1 through 6x1-1/4) casters.
  • Rarely available on rigid casters.
  • face-contact-brakes
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    Face Contact Brake
  • Generally used for larger (2" wide or larger) casters.
  • Design provides for firmer contact with wheel face.
  • Two-pedal brake allows for easier disengagement.
  • total-lock-brake
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    Total Locking Brake
  • Single action mechanism locks both the wheel and the swivel for complete immobilization.
  • Not available on all casters: most common on mid-size (3x1 through 6x2) casters.
  • Swivel radius increases due to the brake pedal.
  • position-lock
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    Position Lock Brake
  • Spring loaded key can be engaged to lock the swivel caster into any 90-degree position.
  • Very useful for manuevering a heavy application into a tight spot with one person.
  • Economical and one of the most under-rated caster options available.
  • Generally available on larger (2" wide or larger) casters.
  • direction-lock-brake
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    Direction Lock Brake
  • Similar to the Position Lock brake shown above, this locks the swivel, effectively converting the swivel caster into a rigid caster.
  • Very useful for manuevering a heavy application into a tight spot with one person.
  • Locks the swivel at any position.
  • Available with medium duty (1-1/4" wide) casters.
  • compression-brake
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    Compression and Decompression brakes
  • Compression brakes: Brakes engage when weight is place on caster.
  • Decompression brakes: Brakes are normally engaged and released when weight is placed on casters.
  • Available on twin-wheel casters.


  • That's the end of the Apollo Caster tutorial. Please call with more questions or click here to start browsing products.

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