The Pros and Cons of Phenolic Caster Wheels

Phenolic caster wheels are a great option for applications that require cost-effective parts, but cost isn’t the only factor to consider when buying wheels. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of choosing phenolic rather than polyurethane or aluminum wheels.


One of the main concerns when buying wheels for shelving, carts, or other supplies is how much weight various caster wheels can handle. Fortunately, these phenol-based wheels have a high strength-to-weight ratio. The hard body of the wheel is made of a mixture of macerated denim and phenolic resin. The result is a product that’s just about as hard as a bowling ball and fairly lightweight as well.

Phenols are generally chemical compounds that include one or more hydroxyl elements and a direct bond with a hydrocarbon group. These compounds are used in the manufacture of many paints, plastics, and other products. The convenient access to these materials affects the affordable cost of the wheels and also supports their shape and strength.

Heavy-duty Strength

The phenolic wheel is also a great choice when you’re looking for something to support stationary loads. Some products aren’t built to stand up to heavy loads for extended periods of time. You don’t have to worry about the wheels becoming crushed or misshapen. They are built to handle a lot of weight for extended periods of time.

Black Scuff Marks

Naturally, there are some drawbacks to consider. If you plan to move your loads around on the wheels, be aware that the black wheels sometimes leave marks on floor surfaces. However, manufacturers have given this issue some consideration, and there are some phenolic caster wheels that won’t leave marks behind.

Damage to Floors

In addition to black scuffs, the tough wheel and its shell could cause marks and dimples in floors. This can be prevented by only using these wheels on clean, concrete surfaces. As debris and garbage stick to the wheels, the resulting noises can be unpleasant. It’s worth mentioning that steel or aluminum wheels are still generally more distracting and louder.


Most of the time, the phenolic caster products are resistant to water, oil, grease, and other liquids. A tough outer shell keeps most contaminants out. Although these are some of the most durable wheels around, it is possible to damage them; harsh applications or extreme temperatures may leave weaknesses in the protective shell.

As you prepare for the purchase of wheels for your application, remember there’s more to consider than price. Phenolic caster wheels offer many benefits that offset the drawbacks.