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Are Nylon Garage Door Rollers Better Than Steel?

The convenience of opening and closing your garage door via remote control or timer control has made automatic garage doors a standard feature for modern homes. The security of not having to get out of the car to open a garage door is apparent. Car theft and incidents of high jacking when cars are parked so that the driver can open the garage door have become a thing of the past.

Nylon door rollers have replaced the steel door rollers used in early models of roll-up doors. Nylon rollers are superior in providing longer and quieter operation of roll-up doors. Steel door rollers are prone to rust and cause excessive noise when the metal surfaces grind against each other.

Of all the potential places to shave money from your building budget, compromising on the quality of the rollers of your garage door is not one. The present state of the art technology is to fit nylon wheeled rollers. Let’s look at why you should invest in good-quality nylon door rollers over steel or plastic rollers.

Why Nylon Garage Door Rollers Are Better Than Steel Rollers

Nylon is a robust and lightweight thermoplastic polymer first used to make toothbrush bristles in the 1930s and women’s stockings during the 1940s. The material became popular with engineers to design into products where strength and lightweight nylon are required.

Parachutes, ropes, tire carcass fabric, and plastic components made from nylon quickly gained popularity, and the supply of the material made it affordable.

DID YOU KNOW? The automation of the garage door also grew in popularity as ownership of private cars grew after World War Two. The theft of vehicles left parked outside during the night necessitated the need for owners to park their vehicles inside a secure garage at night.

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The manually opened garage door designs used spring-loaded devices or counterweights to help open and close the weighty garage doors.

Simple, lightweight automatic garage doors were designed and initially made use of metal wheels rollers running in a metal track and pulling the door up with the help of an electric drive motor and a pull and push mechanism. These early models were very popular but exhibited some problems after being in service for some time.

The metal wheeled rollers were prone to rust, and the noise caused by the metal rollers on the metal guide was alarming. The application of lubrication made the problem worse. Oiled rollers would attract and trap dust create a grinding paste that would accelerate the wear and tear between the rollers and the track.

If the rollers got stuck in the track, the door could not be fully opened or closed, becoming a new security risk. The automatic roller door industry responded by eliminating the root cause of the problem, namely weight and friction.

Nylon rollers were lightweight and had a lower rolling resistance with the metal guide and they could not rust.

Industry experts also learned that the application of oil-based lubricants must be avoided at all costs. Specialized lubricants have since been developed not to attract dust and dirt but to eliminate the noise between the nylon roller and the metal guides. These lithium base lubricants are widely available and recommended by roller door manufacturers.

TIP: If you’re looking for a way to reduce the noise that your garage door makes, here’s an article I wrote on whether insulating it will help with the noise problems.

What Are Garage Rollers Made Of?

Garage rollers are made of steel or stainless steel stem with a wheel on one end to help guide the roll-up garage door up and down the tracks. The wheel can be made of steel, plastic, or nylon and be fitted onto a sealed or open-sided ball bearing.

1. A sealed ball bearing with more balls in the bearing will result in the smoothest operation and will not allow dust and dirt inside the bearing mechanism.

2. A steel or stainless steel wheel is very durable but produces the most noise during operation. The metal on metal sound cannot be dampened utilizing lubrication as this most often attracts dust resulting in a grinding paste forming in the metal guides. The paste will result in additional wear and noise.

3. Plastic wheels are cheap and function well, but they become brittle over time and are prone to cracking and breaking prematurely.

4. Nylon is the most robust and most durable material to make the roller wheels of. The nylon wheels are quiet as they have a low coefficient of friction to the steel guides.

If properly installed and maintained, nylon wheel rollers will last between twelve and twenty years. The replacement cost is around $3 per roller and will not be a costly replacement after twelve years of service.

How Long Will Nylon Garage Rollers Last?

Nylon roller wheels mounted on a sealed ball bearing and a steel roller stem are the most durable and cost-effective type of garage roller to use. When correctly aligned at installation and maintained during operational use, the nylon-type garage rollers can last twelve and twenty years.

The roller and slide mechanisms are subjected to durability cycle testing to prove their design and manufacture quality.

FUN FACT: A minimum of 10,000 test cycles is set for steel wheel garage door rollers. Nylon wheeled rollers typically last more than 100,000 test cycles on the same durability test.

The difference in cost between the steel-wheeled roller and nylon wheeled rollers is so low that the justification in buying the more expensive nylon-type rollers will be offset by a longer operational life and quiet operation. The steel-wheeled rollers can develop the most irritating metal on metal scraping noises during use.

When To Replace My Garage Door Rollers?

Even high-quality garage door rollers have a limited lifetime. A quality steel wheel roller will cost around $10 and is rated to last 10,000 cycles of opening and closing. Assuming that the doors will be opened and closed twice per day, the 10,000 cycles will result in around 13 years of service.

The friction between the metal guides and the roller wheels travel will cause the nylon and the steel guide to wear.

As the nylon is much softer than the steel, the nylon wheels will wear the most and may even wear unevenly as the rolling ability of the ball bearing reduces over time.

Dirt will find its way into the bearing, causing it to wear and be less effective at reducing the rolling resistance between the nylon wheel and the steel guide.

The signs that the nylon door rollers should be replaced will be easy to detect. The movement of the roller door will become erratic and generate noise.

TIP: It is well worth having the garage rollers replaced, and the entire system serviced after every ten years of service. Once the system starts showing visible and audible signs of deterioration, damage to the drive motor may have been caused already. Preventative maintenance is always more cost-effective than repairs and replacements.

The bolts holding the metal guides in place may also become loose over time due to the vibration and force. A professional garage door service will include checking that the alignment and fitment of the metal guides are good and that the inside of the guide is clean of dirt and grease.

The limiting switches or resistance sensors also need to be checked that they are still functional. Older models were fitted with limiting controls to determine the door closed and door open positions. Resistance sensors replaced these switches for safety reasons.

Garage doors could severely injure a child or animal trapped by the door when closing. Resistance sensors were introduced to prevent the door from closing to its fully closed position if it encountered some resistance.

The door descent will stop and reverse if it meets any resistance during closing or opening to protect it from damage and to prevent it from causing harm.

When the nylon rollers become so worn that they trigger the resistance sensors, it is well past the time for replacement and service of the garage door.

Steel-type rollers will also exhibit a high-pitched noise as the wheels become worn and rough and scrape instead of roll in the door guides.

What Are The 5 Top Rated Garage Rollers Available?

To establish what the most highly rated garage door rollers are, I consulted on the website. The steel-type rollers are not even in contention, and at insignificant cost difference and lifetime guarantees, the nylon garage door rollers are a clear choice.

1. DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life MAX 2-inch Sealed 6200ZZ Bearing Nylon Garage Door Roller is sold for $23.89 for a pack of 10 rollers on 4-inch long stems.The nylon wheels are 75% quieter than conventional steel wheels and are rated to open and close a 190 lb. garage door 200 000 times (270 years). Protective caps prevent dust and dirt from getting into the bearing casing. A lifetime guarantee backs the product.

2. Xie 10 Pack Black 2-inch Nylon Garage Door Roller 4-inch Stem is sold for $24.99 for a pack of 10 and comes in black, blue, or white nylon wheels. They are rated as 80% quieter than conventional steel wheels, and the maintenance-free bearings are pre-lubricated and sealed to prevent the ingress of dust and dirt.

The product is backed by a three-year product warranty, during which time you are not required to send the product back to get a replacement or refund.

3. DURA-LIFT Titan Premium 2-inch with sealed 6200ZZ Nylon Garage Door Roller with 4-inch corrosion-resistant stem is sold for $26.99 for a pack of 10. The nylon wheels are 75% quieter than conventional steel wheels and are rated to open and close a 110 lb. garage door 250 000 times (340 years).

Protective caps prevent dust and dirt from getting into the bearing casing. The 4-inch long stems have been coated with black oxide to make them corrosion-resistant. A lifetime guarantee backs the product.

4. HardwareXsupply 2-inch Nylon Sealed Garage Door Rollers with 6200ZZ High-Performance Ball Bearing with a 4-inch stem is sold for $22.99 for a pack of 10. A transparent cap seals and protects the bearing from dust and dirt ingress. The rollers have been tested to surpass 100,000 opening and closing cycles on a 160 lb. door.

5. Surpass 2-inch Ultra-Quiet Nylon Garage Door Rollers with 6200-2RS Double Seals Bearing and 4-inch stem sold for $21.99 for a pack of 10. The wheels are made of enhanced nylon and have been tested to surpass 100,000 test cycles. A three-year free replacement guarantee provides you with peace of mind that you will be sent free replacement parts or a full refund without the need to return the failed parts.

The five top-rated nylon garage rollers vary from $2.20 to $2.70 per unit and are backed by outstanding product warranties. All five of these products earned top ratings from thousands of satisfied customers. There is little doubt that any of these five brands of nylon garage rollers will give you excellent service and peace of mind.


Since the invention of nylon in the 1930s, it has become integral in the engineering design of modern products where the strength and light weight coupled with the ability to shape it into anything from fabrics and elasticated clothing to hard-wearing functional components.

The introduction of nylon in garage door rollers became commonplace as the metal wheeled door rollers on the initial models became noisy and were prone to rust when used in coastal locations. Engineers were also looking for ways to make the garage door assembly lighter and more robust.

Nylon was the obvious choice of material to make the garage door roller wheels. The current designs incorporate a sealed bearing on which the nylon wheel is mounted and a stainless steel stem or shaft on which the bearing and wheel are mounted. Nylon-type garage rollers achieve ten times the durability test of 10,000 openings and closings of conventional steel wheel rollers.

The cost of using high-quality materials like nylon and stainless steel is overcome by the benefits of high volume production, making the cost differential between the steel type rollers and the nylon type rollers insignificant. With a significant improvement in durability and operational life, the nylon-type garage door roller has become ubiquitous.