One thing we’ve noticed over the years, people use “rollers” and “wheels” interchangeably. For example, what we call “no crush wheels” others call “no crush rollers.”

It wasn’t until someone asked, “What’s the difference?” that we decided to create a definition for the two.

Here’s how Urethane Innovators differentiates between rollers and wheels:


The length is greater than the width. Think rolling pin. Rollers can be large or quite small, such as these micro rollers.


The outer diameter is greater than the length or width. Think donut. While a wheel might look like a roller, the key is the outside diameter.

Despite this difference, rollers and wheels do have a few things in common:

  • Depending on the application, rollers and wheels usually have cores or hubs made of steel, aluminum, hard urethane, or even bearings.
  • With the use of set screws or other mechanisms, you can turn idler rollers/wheels into drive rollers/wheels for use on production line shafts.
  • Rollers and wheels are used in a wide variety of applications.

How urethane rollers and wheels are used

Because they’re so versatile, rollers and wheels are used in ways that will surprise you. Here are a few of the favorites that we’ve created over the years.

Two-color roller

Because the rollers turned at high speed down inside the customer’s machine, they couldn’t tell if the rollers were moving, a challenge we solved with this two-color roller.

Manufacturing roller

Boa Franc needed a very large and very soft urethane roller to apply coatings and stains to its flooring products. These rollers are 55” long x 9.30 – 9.75” in diameter and fit inside very large machines.

Pitching machine wheel

This wheel features an aluminum core, a hard urethane inner hub (yellow), and a softer outer hub. It was created to withstand the day-to-day rigors of pitching machines.

Food packaging wheel

Used in an industrial bottling application, these capper wheels are used for screwing tops on bottles.

There you have it – the difference between urethane rollers and wheels. If you have a manufacturing or industrial challenge where you need help creating a custom wheel or roller, give us a call. We can create it.