Pneumatic tires are a popular wheel option in industrial casters application. Pneumatic tires are wheels with a metal hub and a rubber tire. Instead of being solid, the tire is filled with air or foam to the desired pressure level to achieve the appropriate load and deflection characteristics.

There are many benefits to using this type of wheel and a few drawbacks. This article will discuss the pros and cons of using pneumatic tires in your caster application.


Pneumatic tires have many benefits in industrial caster applications. The main benefit is the ability to absorb shock loads from impacts and cushion the load.

  • Excellent shock absorption – Pneumatic wheels are ideal for applications with uneven or bumpy terrain or where the cart contents must not be subjected to sudden shock loads.
  • Utilized for on-pavement/off-road applications – These wheels lend themselves well to applications that require both off-road and on-pavement operation, as they can absorb the unevenness of off-road terrain.
  • Improves working conditions by reducing noise – Pneumatic casters tires are also quiet because of the soft rubber tread and shock-absorbing ability. They can also reduce loud noises that damage hearing while improving working conditions.
  • Won’t damage the flooring – The nature of the softer wheel also protects floors from scratches and other damage.


  • Harder to Move – There are factors to consider before determining if a pneumatic wheel is right for your application, such as the amount of push force required to get them moving. Due to the large footprint and deflection of the air-filled tire, the initial push force is higher. This large footprint makes the wheels harder to swivel, and the caster often requires a longer swivel lead.
  • Air pressure must be monitored – Another drawback to pneumatic wheels is the increased maintenance of having to monitor air pressure. These types of wheels are easy to puncture, which results in flats.  Filling the wheels with polyurethane foam reduces the puncturing and turns it into a semi-pneumatic wheel. They won’t go flat because they don’t require air, but this reduces some of the wheel’s cushioning effects.

Pneumatic vs. Cushion Tread

Adding cushion tread wheels into the mix can be a cost-effective choice under the right circumstances, especially in indoor applications.

Pneumatic casters are still popular for loads needing to move outdoors or over imperfections in flooring.  However, cushion tread wheels offer shock mitigation comparable to pneumatic wheels; they don’t go flat and comply with all dimensional and performance requirements of Specification MIL-W-21985.

In short, pneumatic tires can provide great benefits such as shock absorption and the ability to go off-road. The drawbacks are that they are a little harder to get moving, and their extended leads also present an increased chance of flutter. However, considering these factors when deciding on a pneumatic wheel or a cushion tread wheel greatly increases your chances of success.