Can office chairs roll on carpet?

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: August 14, 2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Can office chairs roll on carpet?

Can office chairs roll on carpet? It’s a common question and one that is worth taking the time to answer since there are so many different types of carpets, all with their own unique qualities.

This article explains just how hard or soft you should make your chair, so it rolls smoothly over whatever kind of flooring you have in your home or office. It also goes into detail about some carpet conditions that affect rolling distance and speed.

Another factor to consider when selecting a rolling chair is the knee room and its importance as a feature for people who will spend most of their day seated in the chair for long periods of time.

Traction On Carpet: How Hard To Roll?

Oddly enough, when shopping around for an office chair that can roll on carpet, you are likely to find conflicting advice about how hard the chair should be. You will hear salespeople tell prospective customers that they must buy a “carpet mode” chair, while other people recommend buying as hard of a rolling office chair as possible.

Why is there such divergent advice? The answer boils down to two different schools of thought over what causes friction when rolling an office chair on a carpet.

  • One school believes that wheels roll more freely if they are balanced on both sides and allow the caster wheels to spin anywhere along their circumference. This gives the wheels free movement in any direction regardless of whether it is linearly up-and-down or side-to-side across the surface. Such chairs would feature double-bearing wheels.
  • The second school of thought holds that the wheels need to be balanced in such a way that they allow for free movement along one axis while hindering movement on the other axis. This guarantees that the wheel will move forward and backward as expected, but can only roll across the surface if there is enough force applied by pushing down on it. Such chairs would feature single bearing wheels or any other configuration that forces the caster wheels to work with friction when pushed sideways against carpeting.
Can office chairs roll on carpet? In most cases, yes.
Chair wheels roll more freely when balanced on both sides.

Identifying Your Needs

The decision about which type of chair you should buy really depends upon how often you expect to use your rolling office chair on carpeting and what types of floor coverings you have at home or in your office.

If you plan on using your chair mostly on carpets, then the friction created by a single bearing wheel will not be as much of an issue.

However, if you have a home or office that has many different types of flooring throughout it (such as Marmoleum, hardwood floors, and carpeting) then your best bet would be to go with a rolling chair featuring double-bearing wheels or any other wheel configuration that allows for friction when pushed against the surface of soft floor coverings.

One way to gauge how often you expect to use your chair on a carpet is by considering what surfaces are present outside the room where you sit most frequently.

If there are hardwood floors in your hallway along with some fluffy area rugs, then you probably will spend a lot of your time rolling on the carpet. On the other hand, if there is nothing but wood in front of your desk, you probably will spend most of your time rolling on hard floors – thus negating the need for a carpet-mode chair.

What Kind Of Carpeting Do You Have?

The next thing to consider when trying to decide how soft or hard you should make your office chair is what kind of carpeting you have.

While all carpets are different, some types tend to be more slippery than others and require less pressure applied by the wheels before they start moving across it smoothly.

For instance, Berber-style carpets consist of multiple layers with several fibers woven together. Even though these carpets have fiberglass strands woven into them, they are still considered soft because they do not have a high pile and do not otherwise have any hard texture to them (such as rubber or latex). These carpets also tend to be very slippery.

In contrast, Berber carpeting is not very slip-resistant while the shag style of carpet has been known to cause accidents for several decades. The fibers in this type of carpet are long and lay tightly against each other without heavily textured backing. This causes the moving wheels of an office chair to first slow down when rolled across it before building up speed again. While these carpets may feel more comfortable underfoot than Berber carpets, they also offer less traction for rolling chairs.

As you can see, the type of carpet you have has a lot to do with how easily you can maneuver your rolling chair across it. If your home office features wall-to-wall Berber carpets and plush shag carpeting in between, you probably will want to purchase a double-bearing wheel or other configuration that allows for less friction when pushed sideways through them.

The kind of carpeting could determine if you can roll an office chair on it.

It’s Your Chair. Make It Your Own

While each style of carpeting offers its own individual grip, they both provide more traction than hard floor coverings such as tile and marble.

This means that while pushing around on either type of surface may be easier without using any wheels at all (such as if you were using a caster chair), they would not offer much help when going sideways through soft floors.

For hard surface flooring, the choices are pretty simple since wheels with single bearings offer more grip on them than those with no bearings at all. Of course, you also may choose to purchase chairs without wheels (such as a caster office chair) if you prefer not to have any type of wheel sprouting from underneath it.

However, even though caster chairs do not have wheels, they still leave behind tracks and dust much like their rolling counterparts.


As you can see, choosing the right kind of office chair that rolls well carpet comes down to what type of flooring you have.  For soft surfaces like carpeting, a rolling chair with double-bearing wheels or other wheel configuration offers more than enough resistance against movement while still rolling smoothly across it.  With hard floors, however, caster chairs are the best option since they do not require any friction at all to move on them. Finally, for areas where both types of floor coverings meet (such as in a hallway), an executive swivel chair works best because it allows users to lock its wheels in place when operating along the hallway’s hardwood surface before freeing them up again when faced with the cushioned comfort of the living room rug.

Other Related Questions

Is it bad to use office chair on carpet?

A frequently asked question is, “Is it bad to use office chairss on carpet?” According to Lyra at Furniture Web, you would not want to try it.

“The bottom of any office chair is not meant for use on carpet, or against any kind of fabric that could have loose threads,” she says. “The thread can get caught up in the wheels and cause damage.”

Also, if your carpet is a deep pile, then you might find some difficulty gliding across it with a rolling office chair equipped with ball-bearing wheels. As stated before, roller bearing wheels produce less friction than wheel bearings when pushed sideways through deep carpets making them suitable for hard flooring only.

Can you use a rolling chair on vinyl plank flooring?

Yes, you can use a rolling chair on vinyl plank flooring.

You should consider the type of your office chair’s wheels. If they have ball bearings then you will be able to move around on this kind of floor easily and smoothly.

However, if they are roller bearing wheels then it may be a little bit difficult to move across these outfloorings because of their deep pile texture, so make sure that the bottom of your office chairs is clean and free from dirt before moving over them.

Finally, remember that even though you can use a rolling chair on vinyl plank flooring, it does not mean that you have to do so. You can get other types of office chairs specially designed for such surfaces like caster chairs or casters that are used with the casters in or off.

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