Ever wonder what kind of wheel is the best one for your gate? You are not alone. Gates come in a variety of styles – single swing, double drive, slide, and cantilever – and consequently require different hardware to swing or slide them. For every style of gate, there is a wheel, or two, that suit it best – it’s just a matter of knowing which one is right for yours.
Before we get started, there is one important thing you should note. If the posts you’ve hung your swinging gates on are heavy enough to support the weight of the gates by themselves, then you can avoid using ground wheels all together. If, however, your posts are not sturdy enough, then your gates will require wheels to support them.
Single Swing and Double Drive
Single Swing (a single gate panel in one opening) and Double Drive (two panels in one opening) gates use either Swivel or Outboard wheels. Swivel wheels are, as their name might give away, wheels capable of swiveling or rotating 360 degrees as they roll – very similar to a caster wheel – and attach to the bottom of your gate frame with a u-bolt. Outboard wheels are single wheels bolted into place with a bracket on either side of the carrier and only capable of rolling in one direction. They also attach to the bottom frame of your gate with a u-bolt.
So, which one is better? The short answer: Outboard wheels. Since Outboard wheels are bolted into place and only slide one way, they are sturdier, last longer, and track straighter than Swivel wheels do. Outboard wheels also cost up to $20 less than Swivel wheels. Honestly, the only reason you might choose a Swivel wheel is if you want the swing of your gate to have a little give, which isn’t ideal in the long run.
Slide gates require different sets of wheels for both the ground and track. If your gate rolls on uneven terrain, like dirt or gravel, you have two options: 1. A single rubber wheel set in a carrier that welds to the bottom of the gate frame or 2. A Double Ground Wheel Carrier which has two rubber wheels bolted on either end of a steel axis. Our Double Ground Carriers are 6-inch and 12-inch in length with a choice of 6-inch or 8-inch wheels. If your gate slides on evenly set concrete and you choose to use “V-track,” you will need a “V-track” or “V-groove” wheel.
While all three options will effectively slide your gate, V-track and its corresponding wheel are best because they will consistently track truer than rubber wheels. The only downside, of course, is the track must be set on concrete. If you don’t have concrete for the gate to roll on, then your only option will be rubber wheels.
The perk of using Double Ground Carriers is the brackets are adjustable which lets you adapt the wheels to roll a little straighter over uneven ground or uphill. Inevitably, however, the wheels will get off course, wear out, need to be readjusted and finally replaced sooner than you would v-track wheels.
Slide gates also require “Rear Track” wheels that roll your gate along the horizontally hung track. Rear Track wheels are either pressed steel or malleable and naturally there are pros and cons to each. Pressed steel is cheaper and thus more commonly purchased by residential homeowners. However, if your slide gate is under constant, daily use, pressed steel wheels will wear out much faster than malleable ones. Malleable wheels are significantly better for a couple of reasons: 1. They are a heavier duty material which will last longer, even under constant use, and 2.
They have zirc fittings which you can grease. Being able to grease the wheels adds longevity to their lifespan. In fact, malleable wheels’ only pitfall is they are more expensive. But you get what you pay for, right?
Converted Manual to Automated Slide Gate
For the homeowner looking to convert their existing manual slide gate into an automated one, there is one wheel best suited for the job: the V-Groove/Rubber Wheel Double Ground Carrier. You will obviously need to use “V-track,” but this combo allows your gate to track truer than the other wheel options. To work properly, automated gates need sturdy wheels that will always track true. Therefore, rubber wheels will not work. However, regular V-groove wheels will work just as well too.
Cantilever gates do not require ground wheels but use track wheels called Gate Rollers. These are either malleable or nylon. You will need 2 on top and 2 on bottom of the gate spaced about 8ft to 10ft apart to hold the gate level. Malleable wheels in this case are akin to pressed steel on regular slide gates. They are cheaper than nylon and, since they can be greased, will last awhile, but not as long as nylon. Nylon wheels’ bearings are sealed which hold up better on daily used cantilever gates. These wheels also roll easier on the gate track. The only negative is nylon wheels are 3 times more expensive than malleable.
Do you have more questions? Email us anytime through firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm at 253-531-5452.