Wheels for beginners - Offset

Do you lack knowledge about castors? So do i! In this blog serie i try to explain wheels in a easy way. Hope you enjoy!

What is offset?

The short answer is: The distance between the center bolt and the center of the swivel arm. The long answer is... Yes, it is the same answer but with more words.  Simply explained, it is how much the swivel arm tilts diagonally. Offset is just one measure, often between 10mm and 130 mm.  To understand offset even more easily, I have made two illustrations on two different ones, one short and one long. Okay now we know what offset is, but what does it mean and why am I writing about it?





Short offset


  • Shorter turn radius
  • Strong
  • Cheap


  • Wobbles easily
  • Heavy to start


When should you choose a short offset? A short offset is preferable when your wheeled object operates in tight spaces where tight turns are required. It will be a shorter turning radius due to the leverage. As the leverage is shorter, the distance becomes smaller, just like on a lever!

A short offset also makes the bracket stronger. Why? Think of a normal-sized stick. If you put one end of the stick in the ground, the other in the air and press from above , not much happens. However, if you tilt the stick 45 degrees and press in the middle, it takes a lot less power to crack it. The same goes for a bracket. I have made a very exaggerated illustration on a super long bracket to make it easier to understand. Note that this exaggerated illustration is made just to explain, and certainly not used for blueprints!


Överdrivet långt offset.png


Since the weight of the bracket is distributed more favorably, it creates the third advantage, the price! You can build this jumper with less material which cuts price!

What have a short offset disadvantage? With the short leverage, it's harder to start from a stationary position, you need to push harder in the same way you need to pull harder in a short lever. The short jumper also has a greater tendency to wobble. You recognize it from some shopping carts where the wheels flutter.


Okay, but what about a longer offset? The advantage and disadvantage are of course the same, but the opposite! A longer offset makes it easier to start and makes it more stable and softer. But on the other hand, stronger/thicker sheet metal is required to withstand the same weight and it is not suitable in tight spaces.


What offset should you choose on your wheels? Yes, the boring answer is that it depends on your conditions, but personally I am Team long offset, as it goes softer and gives more precision in turns. Uncertain? Get in touch with  one of our great sales representatives, or you know what! Get in touch with me!