Castors or Glides



Both castors and glides are available within our seating range. These are the terms generally used within the furniture industry but they do create some confusion.

The difference between the two is that a castor is essentially a wheel whereas a glide is basically a foot.


There is sometimes a belief that a glide somehow ‘glides along’ and perhaps is somewhere between the two. However, it essentially remains a foot, albeit with rounded sides to facilitate dragging a chair from one position to another.

The main concerns users have, are which castor to select for which application. There are basically three types of castor which have different braking features to them:

1. The first is charge braked (also known as positive charged or brake loaded) which means that the castor is free wheeling until weight is applied whereupon the castor becomes fully locked and therefore acts as a glide.

The application for this type of castor is for supermarket or machinery use where the chair needs to be moved in close to an operation and then locked.



2. The second type of braking feature is termed interval braked (also known as brake unloaded) which means that the castor is partially braked until weight is applied but then retains a minimal brake. This is the standard safety castor used within our seating ranges.

The application for this type of castor is for use on hard floors such as vinyl or coated concrete, where potentially the chair could move away as the operator goes to sit on it thus presenting a safety risk. Use of the interval braked castor will minimise this risk.


3. The third type of ‘braking feature’ is no brake at all which is termed free wheeling. The castor spins very freely thus allowing total ease of movement.

The application for this type of castor is predominantly within an office environment, on carpeted floors.


There are further variations to the above castors.

Firstly, all three castors can be supplied with either tyres or no tyres. The purpose of the tyre is for use on hard or vinyl floors to prevent scratching onto the floor itself.

A further variation is the possibility of static dissipative castors and glides for static control areas.


The above criteria should be considered when specifying the type of castor or glide required. We undertake our best efforts to advise the user on the correct castor or glide. It is not recommended that castors are used for intermediate or high gaslift models. In most cases within our product range the interval braked castors are specified for use on cleanroom, conductive, sterile environment or warehouse floors.

There is often a conflict between the requirements of the operator and the customer or the manufacturer’s safety concerns. In order to facilitate fast movement between different operations or to accommodate social activity, operators sometimes prefer the free wheeling castor but we recommend against this as it represents a serious safety concern.

There is often a perception by the operator that when moving an interval braked castor chair between activities there is something wrong with the castors. However, this is the brake effect slowing the chair even when unloaded.

Oxford Seating does not accept liability where a user specifies free wheeling castors on hard floors or any type of castor for intermediate or high gaslift use.

We recommend the use of glides for both high and intermediate chairs, although we are prepared to supply castors fitted to the chairs at the liability of the customer.

Please seek further advice if in any doubt regarding the correct application.