Durable or Flexible? Comparing Urethane and Polyurethane Wheels

In the case of choosing a caster or wheel, almost everyone suffers from the most prominent confusing differences between urethane and polyurethane wheels. Of course, there are many exceptional reasons for this, but one of the most common reasons is that polyurethane is called the polymer version of urethane, due to which both wheels are made of almost the same common materials.

Though many features and materials are similar, there are several differences between polyurethane vs urethane in terms of built quality, durability, and usability. That’s why in this comparison guide, we arranged all the main differences, and features. Also, we suggest to you which one is suitable for your work. So let’s first get acquainted with both wheels differently.

Urethane Wheels

A thermoplastic elastomer noted for its tensile strength and durability is used to make urethane wheels. Industrial settings with frequent use and large loads are where urethane wheels are most frequently employed. Urethane caster wheels are basically a wide range of usable caster application wheels. They are frequently utilized in inline skates, skateboards, and other sporting goods.

urethane wheelsIt has higher resistance features as well as excellent load capacity. The urethane wheel is mainly used in higher sturdy interior surfaces because it has excellent resistance to abrasion. You can see many types of urethane wheels of different designs, including steel, plastic, and rubber, for use in various fields. 

Advantages of Urethane Wheels

  • Heavy loads and frequent use are no match for the urethane wheels’ exceptional durability.
  • Because urethane wheels are so good at absorbing shock, they are perfect for applications where the equipment is prone to vibrations or impacts.
  • The resistance to abrasion of urethane wheels contributes to the extension of their useful life.
  • For applications where traction is crucial, urethane wheels are a great choice because of their exceptional grip.

Disadvantages of Urethane Wheels

  • In comparison to some other wheel types, urethane wheels are more expensive.
  • In comparison to some other types of wheels, urethane wheels are not as chemically resistant.

Polyurethane Wheels

Polyurethane comprises a group of multiple urethanes, so it is another version of urethane and almost the same materials. Also, polyurethane is called a polymer. However, polyurethane has many advantages, which we will discuss below.

urethane vs polyurethane wheelsA kind of polymer noted for its elasticity and adaptability is used to create polyurethane wheels. Medical equipment, industrial equipment, and material handling are just a few examples of diverse applications for polyurethane wheels.

Advantages of Polyurethane Wheels

  • Since they may be tailored to fit a variety of applications, polyurethane wheels are incredibly adaptable.
  • Chemical-resistant polyurethane wheels are the best choice for applications where exposure to strong chemicals is frequent.
  • Excellent abrasion resistance in polyurethane wheels contributes to the increased longevity of these wheels.
  • For applications where traction is crucial, polyurethane wheels are a great choice because of their exceptional grip.

Disadvantages of Polyurethane Wheels

  • In comparison to some other wheel types, polyurethane wheels are not as robust.
  • When compared to some other wheel varieties, polyurethane wheels are more prone to damage.

Comparison of Urethane vs Polyurethane Wheels

In this section, we will discuss some of the most essential features of both wheels, as well as try to highlight the differences between both urethane and polyurethane wheels.


Due to their great traction, polyurethane, and urethane wheels are both suitable for applications where traction is crucial. Thought to offer higher traction than polyurethane wheels, urethane wheels are more common.


Undoubtedly, urethane caster wheels are slightly ahead of polyurethane wheels in terms of durability. Though urethane is used as an alternative term for polyurethane, urethane wheels are the first choice in any industrial applications wheels, trolleys, or other items for higher sturdy work. Urethane wheels are usually designed from TDI-based high-quality urethane, which is chemically bonded with steel or aluminum core.

Polyurethane wheels are built with pigment combined with heated liquid polyurethane, then dried to strengthen it; after that, it is fixed to make wheels of different sizes and designs. It is also much more resistant, sturdy, and great for use as outdoor wheels, such as trolleys, luggage, and skate wheels.

Load Capacity

The different urethane caster wheels are mostly used in large sectors like industrial in different heavy loads containers and trolleys. Because it has a higher load capacity, also the bearing can take a higher load than regular casters.

On the other hand, the polyurethane wheel’s load capacity is also good, but specialists do not recommend it in higher load work. However, most manufacturers are currently designing polyurethane wheels for use in all fields.

Noise Reduction

If you are searching for casters for carpets to work in a very pleasant and noise-free environment, then polyurethane caster wheels are an excellent choice for that place. Because compared to the urethane wheel, this wheel rolls in a very quiet way in any environment. Due to this polyurethane wheels are much ahead in the field of noise-reduction rolling.

Higher Resistant

One of the great advantages of urethane wheels is that it is perfect for use in salt, grease, blood, and other harsh environments. Also highly corrosion, and rust-resistant to last for many years.

On the other hand, though polyurethane wheels are not perfect for harsh chemical environments, they are highly UV resistant, which is why polyurethane wheels are the most suitable choice outdoors. Moreover, both urethane and polyurethane wheels are higher temperature resistant; that’s why both wheels can withstand any kind of adverse conditions.

Chemical Resistance

Polyurethane wheels are more resistant to chemicals than urethane wheels in this regard. They are thus perfect for uses where equipment is subjected to severe chemicals. If exposed to specific substances, urethane wheels could suffer from weakness or damage.

Floor Protection

Polyurethane is much better than urethane in terms of protecting rougher surfaces, concrete, and tiles floors. Because polyurethane is a much softer material, it can roll smoothly without any type of damage to the floor. On the other hand, urethane also protects the floor but not as much as polyurethane.

To help you decide between urethane and polyurethane wheels, we’ve compiled this handy comparison table:

Characteristics Urethane Wheels Polyurethane Wheels
Durability More Durable Less Durable
Traction Better Good
Noise Quieter Noisier
Heat Resistance Better Weaker
Chemical Resistance Weaker Better

How to Choose the Best Wheel for Your Needs

Consider the particular requirements of your equipment when deciding between polyurethane and urethane wheels. Urethane wheels might be the ideal option for equipment that is frequently used and subject to large weights. Polyurethane wheels might be a preferable option if your equipment must deal with corrosive chemicals.

When deciding between urethane and polyurethane wheels, the application is equally crucial to take into account. Polyurethane wheels are better suited for situations where exposure to harsh chemicals is frequent whereas urethane wheels are best for those where noise is a problem.


Is polyurethane stronger than rubber?

Polyurethane is made using higher load capacity bearing and harder materials. Due to this it is torn, cut resistant, and has higher abrasion. In terms of durability and strength, polyurethane is stronger than natural rubber and synthetic rubber.

Are polyurethane wheels better than urethane?

It is difficult to say which is better on both wheels. Because two wheels are manufactured from almost the same materials, they have different advantages and are suitable for different purposes. Such polyurethane wheels are the most useful in floor protection; on the other hand, urethane is a great option for higher resistance and heavyweight work.

Are polyurethane wheels suitable for roller skates?

Usually, polyurethane wheels are much more flexible, durable and give maximum grip on any rough road. Polyurethane caster wheels are also an excellent choice for bad roads, as well as because of the UV resistance, the sun’s UV rays can not damage this wheel; that’s why many skate manufacturers now use polyurethane wheels in roller skates to get outstanding performance compared to urethane.

Recommendations at the conclusion

In general, polyurethane and urethane wheels each have benefits and drawbacks. At the end of the day, the best option will rely on the particular requirements of your equipment and the application. It’s crucial to take durability, traction, noise, heat resistance, and chemical resistance into account while deciding between urethane and polyurethane wheels.