The 9 Best Wheelbarrows for All of Your Home and Gardening Needs
A wheelbarrow can help save your back—and your time. Designed to push (or pull) heavy materials around your property, this lawn and garden workhorse can help prevent the strain on shoulders and backs that comes with manually carrying heavy supplies, such as mulch, grass clippings, compost, tools, and more. A wheelbarrow can also allow you to travel faster, reducing the overall time needed for certain tasks, and potentially eliminate the need for a second set of hands. So which wheelbarrow is best for you?
While all wheelbarrows have a similar design, we looked at the following characteristics when choosing the best wheelbarrows for our list: tray material, wheel type, weight, volume capacity, storage features, and more. "Ease of use is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a wheelbarrow," said Beverly Shaw, a Colorado-based Master Gardener. "It needs to feel comfortable to you. Just like Goldilocks, you need to find one that's just right."
Before buying, always consider your physical abilities, property needs, and storage options when choosing a wheelbarrow. For example, metal wheelbarrows are a solid option for durability, but you can't store them outside since they're susceptible to rust. Thankfully, there are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to finding the best wheelbarrow for you, including four-wheel options and collapsible versions for easy storage. And if you have the means, don't go cheap on a wheelbarrow. "The $40 wheelbarrow at the hardware store isn't going to hold up very well," Shaw said. "It's worth spending money on a quality wheelbarrow."
Our top choice, the Worx Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow, can be used in and outside the garden. Its eight functions allow it to convert into different types of dollies, with enough strength to carry large garden stones and even a refrigerator. It's also made of metal, can hold up to 300 pounds, and has rubber wheels for easy maneuvering across a variety of terrain.
Read on to learn more about the best wheelbarrows that will make your landscaping activities a lot easier.
- Best Overall: Worx Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow
- Best Four-Wheel: Gorilla Carts Poly Garden Dump Cart
- Best Small: Best Choice Products Dual-Wheel Wheelbarrow
- Best for Rough Terrain: Gorilla Carts Evolution Poly Yard Cart
- Best Collapsible: Seina Compact Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon
- Best Electric: SuperHandy Electric Wheelbarrow Utility Cart
- Best Affordable: Suncast 15 Gal. Portable Resin Taupe Lawn Cart
- Best Large: Rubbermaid Big Wheel Agriculture Cart
- Best for Storage: Simplay3 Easy Haul Wheelbarrow
What We Recommend
Best Overall: Worx Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow
Best Four-Wheel: Gorilla Carts Poly Garden Dump Cart
Best Small: Best Choice Products Dual-Wheel Wheelbarrow
Best for Rough Terrain: Gorilla Carts Evolution Poly Yard Cart
Best Collapsible: Seina Compact Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon
Best Electric: SuperHandy Electric Wheelbarrow Utility Cart
Best Large: Rubbermaid Big Wheel Agriculture Cart
Best for Storage: Simplay3 Easy Haul Wheelbarrow
The Bottom Line
What to Know About Wheelbarrows Before Shopping
Your success with your wheelbarrow depends on how well your wheels function. Consider the topography of your outdoor space before you buy. If your property is relatively small and flat, you may be able to get your work done with a wheelbarrow that has smaller wheels (think: wheels less than 10 inches in diameter). If you have uneven or hilly terrain, look for large wheels with increased traction (anything more than 13 inches in diameter).
Wheelbarrow wheels tend to be made from plastic or an air-filled tire, which is often rubber. Beverly Shaw prefers air-filled tires. In her experience, plastic simply doesn't perform as well. "Plastic has no shock absorption, but it's also soft enough that it gets scratched and gouged," Shaw said. Plastic would work better if you are guiding your wheelbarrow along smooth surfaces and have relatively light loads.
Air-filled wheels offer a smoother experience, making them the best choice for uneven ground and heavier loads. "They have no drawbacks except that you occasionally have to inflate them a bit," Shaw said. An air compressor or tire inflator can help you maintain the tire pressure of the wheels. At some point, you may have to replace or repair punctured tires. Shaw said that your local automotive shop or hardware store can usually help with that.
Flat-free tires, also called solid tires, are rubber tires that are filled with foam. They don't require air, and you won't run the risk of them puncturing, making them a good choice if you're working on rocky ground or in an area that may have nails and other sharp debris. However, flat-free tires tend to be more expensive and may get weighed down, creating resistance when transporting very heavy loads.
One of the most important things to consider before buying a wheelbarrow is making sure you are physically able to control your wheelbarrow. Even if you are transporting a modest amount of mulch around your backyard, the weight of your wheelbarrow can make the job a lot harder. Some wheelbarrows can weigh up to 50 pounds, and while you have wheels to help you move material across distances, lifting up a 50-pound wheelbarrow to dump 10 pounds of soil out of your wheelbarrow may be hard work, depending on your physical fitness. Check the weight of your wheelbarrow before you buy. Usually, plastic wheelbarrows weigh less than steel wheelbarrows. However, if you usually haul heavy materials such as logs, soil, and rock, you might want to go with a durable metal wheelbarrow. Getting an electric wheelbarrow can also help you transport large amounts of weight with little to no impact on your body.
Hauling a wheelbarrow around your outdoor space can be tough work. To cut down on fatigue and strain, make sure the wheelbarrow is comfortable for you to use. The height of the handles should allow you to stand up straight without hunching over. Another way to make your wheelbarrow experience more comfortable is to get handles that are ergonomically shaped with padding.
The wheelbarrow's design can have an impact, too. A wheelbarrow that shifts its axis directly under the load can make pushing and guiding more comfortable and reduce the perceived heaviness of the material you're hauling. Dumping is another physically taxing part of the wheelbarrow experience. To cut down on pain or strain while unloading, opt for a wheelbarrow that has a handle attached to its bed. Instead of having to lift the entire wheelbarrow up, you can bend down and lift the handle on the bed to dump the material.
On the debate of push- vs. pull-style wheelbarrows, that comes down to personal preference. Assess whether you are more comfortable pushing or pulling a wheelbarrow. Keep in mind that if you opt for a pull-style wheelbarrow, you must be comfortable pulling with both hands and walking backwards. Pulling a heavy wheelbarrow with one hand could cause a back injury.
Weight and Volume Capacity
Most wheelbarrows can handle weights up to 300 pounds, although some can hold up to 600 pounds. Volume capacity tends to be between 4 and 7 cubic feet. Unless you are taking on a big outdoor renovation or have a very large backyard that you don't want to make multiple trips across, most leisure gardeners don't regularly haul 600 pounds of material and would be fine with a smaller wheelbarrow. To figure out what size of wheelbarrow bed you need, consider the amount and weight of the materials you regularly transport, which is usually listed on the packaging. Then, consider how much weight you want to move at once and how many trips you're willing to make.
Your Questions, Answered
What can I do to keep my wheelbarrow in good shape?
Aside from following the instructions in the manufacturer's manual, the biggest threat to wheelbarrows is prolonged exposure to outside elements. Metal and fabric are less likely to hold up if stored outside when not in use, so it's best to keep them indoors. Plastic, however, can withstand all kinds of weather. If you plan on purchasing a metal or fabric wheelbarrow, make sure you have enough room to store it in your garage or garden shed. If you're tight on floor space, opt for vertical storage using wheelbarrow-specific wall-mounted hardware
How can I prevent a back injury while using a wheelbarrow?
Using a wheelbarrow is taxing on your body. It will be extra taxing for people who suffer from back pain or discomfort. Whether it's a push or pull wheelbarrow, the best way to prevent back strain or injury is to be very realistic about what you can physically handle and then operate the wheelbarrow in proper form. If you are pushing, bend your knees; make sure your shoulders, ears, and hips are aligned; tighten your core; and then proceed slowly with small steps. If you are pulling, keep your knees bent, face the cart, and walk backwards, pulling with two hands and straight arms. Pulling with one hand with your back to the wheelbarrow can cause strain since your body is twisted. If you need to pull from behind, make sure you are using both hands to do so.
Which is better—a plastic or metal wheelbarrow?
The better wheelbarrow is all dependent on the needs of the gardener. Plastic wheelbarrows can be stored outside and survive all kinds of weather without damage, while metal wheelbarrows can rust due to precipitation if left outdoors. Plastic models are usually lighter than metal wheelbarrows, making them a better option for people with limited mobility or those hauling heavy materials. Metal wheelbarrows tend to be sturdier and can withstand rough debris. "For gardening purposes, they both work well," Shaw said.
Who We Are
We chose these products by looking at the most wheelbarrows on the market and narrowing down our picks based on key specifications, including weight capacity, material durability, wheel stability, as well as customer reviews and ratings. Rachel Center, lifelong aficionado of all things home and a product reviews home writer at Dotdash Meredith, spent weeks researching all the components that make a great wheelbarrow. We also consulted with Beverly Shaw, a Colorado-based Master Gardener, who also has experience being a garden writer, perennial grower and designer, a city forester, green space administrator, and more.