Swivel Casters: Tips and Techniques for Locking

Swivel casters are a great tool to have on hand for making it easier to move furniture around. However, if you don’t lock them in place, they can be hazardous. A swivel caster that is left unlocked can cause injuries from being caught by the wheel and falling over.

In this blog post we will go through how to lock your swivel casters and how to choose the right locking mechanism for your needs!

Swivel Casters

Steps on Locking Swivel Caster

Step 1. A swivel caster with a lock can be locked by loosening the nut at the end of the wheel and putting in place one of two types of locking mechanisms: threaded or bolt. The threaded type screws onto the nut, while bolts go through an existing hole on the other side of your furniture’s back legs. A screw is then threaded into the bolt.

Step 2. If you have a swivel caster on your furniture that has an existing hole in its back legs, use bolts to lock it. For casters without holes but with threads inside them, use screws and locking washers to secure it.

Step 3. With either type of screw or bolt, be sure they are long enough to securely hold all the pieces together. Threaded screws, for example, should stick out past the nut on your caster’s wheel at least one full turn length (the amount of threads in a screw), or about an inch and three eighths.

Step 4. To lock using bolts: lay them down across the existing hole with their head on the same side as your furniture’s back legs. Run a nut over one bolt and thread it onto the shaft of your caster wheel, lining up with any existing hole in its head and tightening until snug. Repeat this process for the second bolt.

Step 5. To lock using screws: apply locking washers to both ends, then screw them into the caster’s axle.

Step 6. It is important to use the correct screw or bolt for your project when locking casters, as different diameters will fit better and be less likely to wobble in place.

How to Unlock a Swivel Caster

To unlock a swivel caster, you need only unscrew the bolts or screws and remove them.

Steps to Unlocking a Swivel Caster:

Step 1. Slide underneath your furniture piece with one hand on each side of the leg that is farthest from you. Push up into that corner while holding onto its back legs for stability until it is high enough to remove the bolts or screws.

Step 2. After removing, loosen and retighten as needed until caster rolls smoothly again.

Tips for Locking Swivel Casters:

  • Lock casters into place by screwing in two bolts on each side of the leg farthest from you using a wrench with an adjustable head.
  • Consider how big the caster is, as different diameters will fit better and be less likely to wobble in place.

Uses of Swivel Caster

Swivel casters are perfect for furniture that needs to rotate or be repositioned often and need a lot of space.

They can also make it easier to transport heavy items like appliances across slick floors.

A swiveling caster is inserted into the leg on one side of the piece of furniture, then two bolts are screwed into the other end of the caster. The bolts should be tightened just enough to hold it in place, but not so tight that they distort or crack the furniture leg.

How do Swivel Locks Work?

The swivel lock is a small, metal ring that encircles the lower part of the caster. It has to be rotated to line up with the matching groove in the floor or it will not work properly and you will have difficulty rotating your furniture.

The swiveling mechanism can also come in different sizes from as small as a quarter inch to as large as three inches.

The swivel lock will typically have two or more tabs which are designed so that when the ring is rotated they snap into place causing friction and preventing the caster from turning in either direction.

The larger tabs on some locks can be difficult to rotate, but once you get the hang of how to operate them, this is a minor inconvenience.

Tabs that are too small can be just as troublesome because they will not hold under any weight or pressure and it becomes difficult to remove the furniture when you need to replace its position in the room.

Swivel Locks Need Maintenance:

Step 1. Swivel locks need occasional maintenance to be sure that they are running smoothly and not locking at the wrong time.

Step 2. If you have been using your furniture in a carpeted room, then it is likely that there will be more dirt inside of the tab mechanism than if you were using them on hardwood floors or tile for example.

Step 3. The best way to clean your locks is by using an old toothbrush and water or a mild detergent.


This group of furniture has more work involved in how it needs to be cleaned because the casters are on the bottom, but this does not mean that they should not get any attention.

Adding a little bit of oil to the moving parts can help keep them running smoothly.

The swivel locks need occasional maintenance to be sure that they are running smoothly and not locking at the wrong time.

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