When completing yard work, a wheelbarrow is an essential piece of equipment. It helps you to carry heavy or cumbersome loads without the risk of dropping items or overloading your body. Whether you’re cutting back the hedge, clearing leaves, or completing a small construction project, a wheelbarrow is the perfect assistant.
With so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to know how to find the best wheelbarrow. Fortunately, we’ve put together a useful buyer’s guide, as well as our top ten choices for 2018. Keep reading to learn more!
It may seem like a simple choice, but there are actually myriad options when selecting the perfect wheelbarrow. We’ll help you to navigate the process of making an informed decision, based on the following variables:
What will you be using the wheelbarrow for? If you have simple tasks involving relatively lightweight items to carry, you can go for a small and straightforward wheelbarrow. Conversely, if you require one for commercial purposes, or a complex home task, something more heavy-duty is appropriate. It’s also important to consider the terrain you will be working in. The more challenging the terrain, the wider range of appropriate features you will need.
Load tray material
Most wheelbarrow trays or buckets are constructed from either metal or plastic. Folding wheelbarrows will have a fabric construction, and older products may be predominantly wood. Metal is sturdy enough to carry larger loads, but it is also inherently heavier. Plastic, conversely, is easy to move and navigate, but its maximum load is reduced. The key is to strike a balance between the amount of strength you need from your wheelbarrow and the amount of weight you can lift. Don’t overcommit and make the wheelbarrow unusable. If you are considering a metal tray or tub, check whether the material is rust-resistant, whether organically or as a result of sealant treatment.
Here is a list of The Best Wheelbarrows
This measurement tells you how much space there is in your wheelbarrow. It’s important to think about, because insufficient cargo volume will necessitate more trips back and forth to the work site! Again, strike a balance between having sufficient volume allowance and being able to actually use the wheelbarrow. Too much potential cargo volume, and you will be tempted to overfill, which can make it challenging to actually move the wheelbarrow. Too little, and you won’t be getting the most out of your apparatus. The majority of wheelbarrows have a cargo volume of 10 cubic feet, but you can buy smaller wheelbarrows for infrequent, light use, as well as larger alternatives for commercial and heavy-duty purposes.
As important as it is to ensure you have the right cargo volume, the same is also true of selecting the correct weight limit. It’s no good having plenty of space in your wheelbarrow if you can’t actually use it due to weight restriction. Metal is the sturdier material which usually comes with a more generous weight limit. Of course, at full capacity this can make it challenging to move. A plastic wheelbarrow tub is lighter and easier to work with, but the weight limit will be significantly reduced. If you are moving foliage and garden waste, this is not usually a problem, but for home construction tasks, a plastic tub may not be robust enough to carry the materials you need to the site.
Wheels and tyres
Wheelbarrows are generally available with one to four tyres. One-wheeled barrows are the traditional type, which are easiest to navigate around sharp turns, whilst two or more tyres help to increase stability, particularly in challenging terrain. A four-tyre wheelbarrow can also be used as a garden cart, which is easy to drag behind the user. Pneumatic tyres are now the standard; they are similar to those found on cars and roll smoothly across most surfaces. Budget wheelbarrows may use plastic tyres, which are certainly cheaper, but are prone to degrade or break quickly. Ball bearings within tyres will dictate the load they can carry, as well as how smooth and fast a wheelbarrow can be operated; high-quality ball bearings are best.
A good set of handles will make the difference between a wheelbarrow that is safe and comfortable to use and one that is always a burden! It’s worthwhile, therefore, to invest in the best handles and grips you can afford. The majority of wheelbarrows have two long wooden handles that make navigation and dumping easy, whilst some have just one handle that can be attached to machinery. Grips should be made of robust material that offers excellent traction; rubber is the best material for this purpose, but plastic can also be very useful.
When the wheelbarrow is not in motion, it is placed down on the rests, which are generally at the back of the wheelbarrow, nearest the handles. Rests are not usually fitted to four-wheel barrows or carts, but are attached to equipment that balances on one or two wheels. It’s important to ensure that the build quality of the rests is sufficient to handle its intended purposes; look for heavy-duty metal rests that are reinforced against buckling or warping. The weight limit of the wheelbarrow will tell you about the quality of the rests, as products should be rigorously tested to ensure they can carry the amount claimed by the manufacturer.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s explore the top ten wheelbarrows of 2018!
- Garden Star Easy Barrow
- Gorilla Carts Garden Dump Cart
- WORX Aerocart 2-Wheeled Yard Wheelbarrow with Flat Free Tires
- Marathon Dual-Wheel Residential Yard Rover Wheelbarrow
- Rubbermaid Plastic Yard Cart
- Jackson Steel Tray Contractor Wheelbarrow with Front Braces
- Smart Garden Cart
- Suncast Poly Rolling Lawn Cart
- True Temper Total Control Steel Wheelbarrow
- Radio Flyer Kid’s Wheelbarrow
Garden Star Easy Barrow
As the name suggests, this wheelbarrow is built for ease of use. The 4 cubic feet tub is made from powder-coated steel, making it strong and durable, and the single 13” pneumatic tube tyre allows for easy navigation around the tightest corners!
It’s very straightforward to assemble, in five easy steps with just 6 bolts. The frame and rests are manufactured from rust-proof zinc, and the plastic handles provide sufficient grip without bulk. Rubber handle grips would have been preferred, but this wheelbarrow packs a punch at a very competitive price point.
- Durable powder-coated steel tub
- Single pneumatic tyre for easy navigation
- Rust-proof zinc frame and handles
- Easy to assemble
- Competitive price point
- Plastic handles are inferior to rubber
Summary: A great, low-cost wheelbarrow with plenty of useful features. Rubber grips would have made it just about perfect, but it’s still a worthy competitor.
Gorilla Carts Garden Dump Cart
With four tyres and a useful unloading mechanism, this cart offers more than a standard wheelbarrow. The tub is made from strong and lightweight plastic, which is set upon a durable steel frame. Four pneumatic tyres make navigation smooth across all terrains, while the padded single handle is comfortable and allows safe operation.
This cart can manage a total weight of 600lbs, which makes it perfect for heavy-duty tasks. The real star of the show is the cart’s patented quick-release dump technology, allowing quick and straightforward loading and unloading.
- Patented quick-release dump technology
- Four pneumatic tyres are sturdy across even challenging terrains
- Padded single handle for comfortable operation
- High weight capacity
- The plastic tub is more prone to damage than one made from metal
Summary: A rugged garden cart with impressive unloading technology and high weight capacity. A metal tub may have been a more robust option, but it’s still a great choice for complex garden and construction tasks.
WORX Aerocart 2-Wheeled Yard Wheelbarrow with Flat Free Tires
This wheelbarrow is strong and stable, with a solid metal construction. It has a maximum capacity of 300lbs, and the oversized flat-free tyres never require inflating, which makes it perfect for handling heavy loads over difficult terrain.
The beauty of this wheelbarrow is its versatility; it converts quickly and easily into an extended dolly, flower pot mover, trailer move, bag holder, or cylinder carrier. It can manage an array of garden or home tasks, making it a great choice for people searching for a multi-function carrying assistant.
- Solid metal construction
- Flat-free tyres require no inflation
- 3 cubic feet tub capacity is a little on the small side
Summary: A rugged specimen that can handle a wide range of garden and home tasks. A fantastic all-rounder!
Marathon Dual-Wheel Residential Yard Rover Wheelbarrow
If you have small garden tasks that do not require a large and bulky wheelbarrow, this may be the perfect choice. Weighing just 29 lbs, with large pneumatic tyres and a wide padded handle, it’s certainly easy to move around.
The plastic tub has a volume of 5 cubic feet, and can handle a maximum load of 300 lbs. It’s also incredibly easy to put together, with just a wrench and flathead screwdriver. The handle can also be used to hang the wheelbarrow when not in use, making it easy to store.
- Light and easy to navigate
- Wide handle for straightforward use
- Maximum load capacity of 300lbs is impressive for the size
- Plastic tub is less resilient than one made of metal
Summary: An excellent wheelbarrow for users undertaking light tasks. It’s sufficiently rugged with wide pneumatic tyres, and although the tub is plastic, it doesn’t deter from the overall effectiveness of this barrow.
Rubbermaid Plastic Yard Cart
Made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), this cart is relatively lightweight at just 47 lbs, but can easily manage a load of up to 300 lbs. It features 5-spoke 20” wheels, which help to make the wheelbarrow sturdy both in movement and whilst being loaded or unloaded. The handles have been specially-designed for ergonomic use.
The steel axel is durable enough to handle frequent use, and large HDPE rests ensure stability. Its seamless design allows for easy and thorough cleaning.
- 20” wheels and large HDPE rests make the barrow stable whilst in movement and during loading and unloading
- Ergonomic handles
- Durable steel axel
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Although it does allow the wheelbarrow to be comparatively light, HDPE is not as strong and durable as metal
Summary: A rugged and nimble wheelbarrow that is also lightweight enough to be used by a wide range of people.
Jackson Steel Tray Contractor Wheelbarrow with Front Braces
A contractor wheelbarrow in the traditional style, with metal and wood construction. The tray is made from durable heavy-gauge seamless steel, with powder coating to prevent corrosion and rust. The frame is also made from steel, with a H brace for added stability. A single 16” tube tyre makes navigation easy, even in tight spaces.
The handles are made from varnished wood, although there are no rubber or plastic grips included.
- Solid steel tub and frame
- H brace for stability
- A single pneumatic tyre allows nimble operation
- No rubber or plastic grips on the handles
Summary: A sturdy and durable wheelbarrow in the traditional contractor style. Solid steel construction means this is one of the most durable on offer, although the lack of handle grips is a disappointment.
Smart Garden Cart
Fully-assembled and raring to go, this simple wheelbarrow is perfect for a wide range of light tasks. It is constructed entirely from plastic, and such, it’s extremely light and easy to navigate. The tub can manage 4½ cubic feet of level contents, or 5½ cubic feet heaped, with a maximum capacity of 300 lbs.
Perfect for use around the home as well as outside, the plastic wheels are surprisingly durable, and a wide ergonomic handle makes pushing and pulling straightforward.
- Arrives fully-assembled
- Perfect for light tasks around the home and outside
- Easy to clean
- Ergonomic handle
- Plastic construction is not as durable as metal
Summary: A surprisingly sturdy plastic wheelbarrow that can be used around the home and outdoors. The wide handle makes it easy to use, and its maximum capacity is relatively high. Metal would be sturdier, however.
Suncast Poly Rolling Lawn Cart
A super lightweight and easy-to-use lawn cart that is perfect for the lightest tasks that require just a little extra help. Weighing just 11 lbs, this cart is made from a mix of durable resin for the tub, a telescopic metal handle, and two 7” plastic wheels with a metal axel.s
It can easily manage light garden tasks, such as dirt removal, movement of plants, and transport of tools, and is extremely useful for older gardeners.
- Extremely lightweight
- Suitable for older gardeners
- Telescopic metal handle allows the user to find the perfect fit
- Not suitable for heavier loads
Summary: A small and sturdy cart for light tasks. Perfect for older gardeners who need a little extra help with moving tools, plants, and dirt.
True Temper Total Control Steel Wheelbarrow
This useful wheelbarrow takes on the traditional contractor style with some welcome updates. It has a solid metal construction, with a 6-cubic foot tub, handles and frame, all made from durable steel.
The single wheel has a pneumatic tyre, which allows for easy navigation, while the plastic grips make the wheelbarrow far more comfortable to use than those supplied with traditional bare wood handles. At 44 lbs, it’s a surprisingly light unit, and can manage a weight of 300lbs.
- Solid steel construction
- Single pneumatic tyre for easy navigation
- Plastic handle grips
- Although the plastic handle grips are an improvement on bare wood, rubber grips would be more secure
Summary: A traditional contractor-style wheelbarrow with useful improvements. Rubber grips would have been a worth addition, but it’s still a solid option.
Radio Flyer Kid's Wheelbarrow
Our final selection is a little left field, but it’s the perfect choice if you have a little helper who is always keen to join you in the garden! This wheelbarrow is scaled down for children, and comes in an attractive bright red hue.
It’s not just about looks, however. The construction is surprisingly solid, with a seamless steel tray (to keep little fingers safe), steel frame and rests, and real wood handles. The single molded wheel makes the wheelbarrow easy to roll and move around tight corners, which is particularly useful to new gardeners unfamiliar with using their own barrow.
- Scaled-down wheelbarrow for young gardeners and little helpers
- Solid steel construction
- Bright red colour
- Single wheel for easy turning
- Rubber handle grips would have been welcome
Summary: The perfect wheelbarrow for kids who love to help out! Encourage their interest in yard work with this scaled-down cart. Rubber handle grips are a stark omission, but this a great choice otherwise.
Now that you know what to look for, we hope you find the perfect wheelbarrow for your needs! Choose something from our list, or use it as a guide to find a worthy alternative. Good luck!