Wheelbarrow Buying Guide
There are several different types of wheelbarrows available to choose from. We’ve outlined these different types below so you will understand the differences between them.
- Hybrid Wheelbarrows – The first wheelbarrows typically had shallow load tubs and a single wheel. There are still wheelbarrows that have this old fashioned design, but times have changed the variations that have come out and now there are many different styles out there. Now the hybrid wheelbarrows have 2-4 wheels and have much of the traits of the classic wheelbarrow. With these choices available, you’re not bound to choose only one style.
- Wheelbarrows for Use on Hills – When you are going to be using your wheelbarrow on hills, it is important that you choose a model that is designed to handle hills easily. Lubricated ball bearings, lightweight frames and well placed handles are all traits of a good wheelbarrow for hills.
- Electric Wheelbarrows – Electric wheelbarrows cost a lot more than traditionally designed models. There are also costs associated with maintaining an electric wheelbarrow that should be figured into the budget. They are not hugely popular since there have been so many changes to the traditional model, but some people do prefer the electric models. Some of the electric wheelbarrows operating almost like miniature dump trucks and have electric dumping mechanisms.
There are many traits that you want to look for when you start researching the different models and styles of wheelbarrows. The traits below will provide a great foundation so you should try to find a wheelbarrow that has as many of the traits you need for your specific tasks. Knowing ahead of time, what you will be using the wheelbarrow for will help determine what traits are the most important to have.
- Load Tray Material – What the load tray is made of will determine what types of jobs it will be suited for. Load trays can be made from metal, fabric, plastic and wood. The heavier the load tray material, the heavier the load it can carry.
- Tire Distribution – Wheelbarrows come with single, dual and quadruple tire distribution. The single tire wheelbarrows can be a lot harder to manage and easier to tip over, especially with super heavy loads. The 4 wheel hybrids are probably the sturdiest of all since weight is much more balanced. The tire size and treat as well as where the wheels are placed in relation to the load will determine how easily the wheelbarrow can haul heavy loads.
- Handles – The length and shape of the wheelbarrows handles affect the dumping and turning processes that the wheelbarrow is capable of. Look for comfortable handles that are either adjustable or that have ergonomic qualities that make using the wheelbarrow less tiresome on the user’s hands and shoulders.
- Weight – Every wheelbarrow on the market has a weight load limit that it can handle. The lighter, more durable materials are more expensive than the heavy, cheap wheelbarrows but sometimes their weight load is not as good as their heavier counterparts. Take into consideration where you will be working with your wheelbarrow. If you don’t have hills to content with, getting a heavier unit that can handle large loads should not be a problem.
- Grips – Grips on the handles can help aid in using the wheelbarrow and make it much easier to work with. Textured material like ribbed rubber on the handles can make them easier to hold onto even on hot days when your hands might get sweaty. It is also more comfortable than gripping hard plastic or metal. They are typically not removable but are part of the handle itself.
- Ball Bearings – Ball bearings are responsible for the total weight load capacity the wheelbarrow has as well as the speed of the wheel rotation. Always make sure the ball bearings sturdy and strong so your wheelbarrow does not lose any performance. Industrial grade bearings might be more expensive but they are better at distributing the weight evenly.
Many different variations of wheelbarrows exist, with differences in wheels, handles, load trays, legs and more. Below we have listed out some of the common features that you will find on different wheelbarrows.
Wheels – There are different types of wheels that a wheelbarrow may have. Some have large, pneumatic wheels that can handle a variety of terrain, others might have heavy tread. If you have rough terrain that you will be traveling over, consider looking for wheelbarrows that have wheels and tires that can handle that type of terrain. By matching the wheels and tires with the types of jobs you have to do, you will find that the jobs are much easier to do since you won’t be fighting just to push the wheelbarrow around.
Cargo Load – The deepness of the load tray will determine how much the wheelbarrow can carry. The deeper the load tray the more you will be able to carry. Shallow wheelbarrows limit the hauling capacity and may be more of a frustration at times since they can’t carry much at a time.
Handles/Grips – The handles and grips provide control over the wheelbarrow and make it much easier to haul and dump. Look for good quality grips and ergonomic handles that aide in the tasks you have to perform.
Pegged Rests – Most wheelbarrows, unless they have 4 wheels, have pegged rests that you can rest the wheelbarrow on while you are filling it. These pegs, usually made of steel, stabilize the load and keep it from toppling over.
Racks – Some wheelbarrows have racks that allow the user to carry additional equipment that may be needed such as bags, rakes and more.
Rust Resistant – Rust resistance is a good feature to have since you will be using your wheelbarrow outside. This will keep the cargo area of the equipment from rusting out and becoming unusable.
Load Tray Material – The material that your load tray is made of will make a difference in the weight, longevity and hauling capability of your wheelbarrow. The load trays that are made out of fabric are not designed for heavy loads. Metal, poly, and wood are all able to handle heavy loads better but there will be some weight variations which can impact how hard it is to maneuver them.
Warranties– As with any large purchase, ensuring that the wheelbarrow you choose has a good warranty is very important. Some warranties are better than others, so be sure to check into what is offered before you purchase. A good warranty shows that the company stands behind the workmanship of their equipment. Most companies will have at least a one year limited warranty against defects but again, be sure to check around so you know.
A wheelbarrow is very useful for those smaller hauling and clearing jobs that you may have around the worksite, home or garden. You want to be certain that the wheelbarrow you purchase is suited to the different types of projects you want to do. Whether it’s hauling gardening supplies around or clearing brush or moving dirt or mulch, a good quality wheelbarrow will make all of those jobs much nicer and easier too.
The top rated wheelbarrows that we’ve reviewed here and the information contained in this buyer’s guide are designed to help you understand the features and traits that good quality wheelbarrows can have. When you have the right information, sorting through all of the different styles and choices is not hard at all. You’ll be armed with the tools to make an informed decision and have confidence that your decision is the perfect one for your needs.