Updated: October 12, 2016
Hand Truck Reviews:
Whether you are moving furniture, appliances, or outdoor equipment, having a hand truck around can not only save you time but it will keep your back in good shape too. Moving companies have been using hand trucks, dollies, and platform carts for decades so they can load and unload their trucks fast. Hand trucks also will eliminate lower back injuries that are common from lifting too much weight. Just ask anyone who has ever helped a buddy move across town without using a dollie or hand truck for the heavier items and they will tell you how sore their bodies were the next day. When I recently did a move up from California to Oregon, I not only rented a moving truck, but I bought a hand truck
and a dollie so I could minimize the lifting I would have to do. It was perhaps the easiest moving experience I have ever had. We moved dozens of heavy boxes, a refrigerator, washer/dryer, television sets, and large bedroom furniture in no time at all. The next day we were out celebrating our new home and not laid up in bed with aches and pains. What a relief. Just what type of hand truck or dollie is best? Keep reading below for our buying guide and reviews.
- This guide will help you find the right hand truck, dollie, pallet jacks, or platform cart whether using it for your home or at work. There are 2 basic categories of hand trucks - heavy duty and standard. Standard hand trucks are great for homeowners and small business owners who need to move objects that are 600 pounds or less. The heavy duty hand trucks are capable of carrying items over 600 lbs. When it comes to materials, hand trucks are typically made from steel, aluminum, magnesium, or heavy duty pipe frames. If you want the most durable and strongest material, go with steel. Steel hand trucks are heavy, but they are reinforced with double welded joints for the highest durability and strength where it counts. Aluminum made hand trucks are not as strong as their steel counterparts, but they are cheaper in price and lighter so maneuverability is better. The one drawback to aluminum hand trucks is that their load capacity is not that great. Magnesium is even lighter than aluminum, but it's stronger. Hand trucks come in all shapes and sizes - folding hand trucks, 2 in 1 convertible hand trucks, drum hand trucks, appliance hand trucks, speciality hand trucks, and heavy duty hand trucks with third and fourth wheel options. The convertible hand trucks are the most versatile with the ability to carry loads in an upright or vertical position using just 2 wheels or folding out the hand truck into a 4 wheel platform that rides horizontal to the ground. Having optional 'kick out' wheels allows you to quickly maneuver the hand truck into the most useful position for your move. Dollies are another form of moving equipment that makes heavy items seem like nothing. Dollies are usually square/rectangular in shape with 4 wheels on the bottom so once an item is place on the dollie, movement is as simple as pushing it along and letting the wheels do all the work. If you plan on moving items up and down stairs, then dollies will not work. For stair climing, a hand truck is the best choice since you can balance the weight as you move up the stairs. If you will be moving large items across flat surfaces, then getting a platform cart or pallet jack is a good idea. They can hold much more weight than standard hand trucks or dollies and the electric pallet jacks allow you to move items up and down with ease. Pallet jacks and platform carts are probably best suited for warehouse and business use rather than in a home. Dollies cost about $30 to $40, platform carts are $65 to $100, quality hand trucks are $100 to $170, and pallet jacks are $350 to $900. Some of the top brands are Wesco, Milwaukee, Magliner, Little Giant, Tuff Stuff, Harper, Clipper, and B&P. We found 2 excellent websites for product selection at Handtrucksrus.com
and Handtrucks.com. Handtrucks.com has customer reviews which were very informative in helping us to find the "best of" in several categories below. Traditional retail stores like Home Depot, Sears, and Lowes carry hand trucks, dollies, platform carts, and pallet jacks as well. You can browse the top selling hand trucks and dollies online here
Best Hand Truck:
Based on reviews, the Wesco Spartan SR Hand Truck
($180) is the best hand truck on the market. The aluminum frame makes for a lightweight and sturdy hand truck that will do most chores around the house or in your workplace. The Spartan SR has a 500 lb weight capacity with 2 wheels and 1000 pounds in the 4 wheel cart position. This convertible hand truck is both versatile and easy to maneuver. The 10 inch pneumatic or solid rubber wheels provide smooth going. Most customers agreed the Wesco hand truck has excellent carrying capacity, is easy to use, and the loop handle makes for effortless pulling. Several owners use the hand truck in the 4 wheel cart position to pull gardening equipment and plants around their yard. Check out all the top rated Wesco hand trucks here
Value Hand Truck:
Most homeowners and those that periodically move need a reliable hand truck that is versatile and not too expensive. The Milwaukee Convertible Hand Truck - 40179
($125) is the perfect piece of equipment for moving smaller objects. The load rating on the Milwaukee hand truck is 300 lb vertical and 400 lbs horizontal. It has a flow back handle style, a platform size of 12" x 36", a large toe plate, and wheel guards. Ideal for carrying boxes, furniture, gardening supplies, appliances and more. You can find all the models available from Milwaukee online.
Heavy-Duty Hand Truck:
You may have bulky or oversized loads that are too wide or heavy for a standard hand truck so we recommend the top selling Tuff Handler Hand Truck
($160). The heavy duty hand truck from Tuff Stuff has 1" steel tubing framework that is reinforced with flat braces. There are 4 cleats so you can quickly tie-down awkward items. The p-handle let's you operate and maneuver the hand truck with one hand. The nose folds down an extra 2 feet for more secure moving of larger items. The frame is 26 inches wide and the wheels allow you to move efficiently in dirt, on grass, and along rougher surfaces. For better control and balance, a nylon strap is included so you can tie-down your load. Owners like the fact it comes pre-assembled. Other user comments and praise are that the Tuff Stuff hand truck is sturdy, solid, and the wide wheel base make it very stable. ALSO RECOMMENDED
- Some of the best owner feedback comes from those that own the Safco hand trucks
- they offer convertible, collapsible, and large capacity platform trucks and hand trucks.
Pallet jacks, also known as pallet trucks, are crucial in warehouses where lifting of heavy objects is mandatory. Wesco and Great Plains make the best pallet jacks and they are available as fixed fork, adjustable width forks, and pallet lifts. Pallet jacks are capable of lifting over 5000 lbs. The Wesco CPI 5500 lb Capacity Pallet Jack
is a popular model and is priced below $400. There are 6 fork dimensions to choose from with a lowered height of 2.9 inches and a raised height of 7 1/4". It has a hand pump lift and comes with a 2 year warranty. Certainly built for a warehouse environment, this Wesco pallet jack will give you an honest days work. We suggest viewing the best selling pallet jacks/pallet truck online here
Platform carts have been used in warehouses for years, but many homeowners and DIY are finding they are beneficial to have around the home as well. Platform carts are also referred to as utility carts, stocking carts, cabinet carts, lumber carts, wagon carts, and office carts. They are made from steel, aluminum, wood, metal, plastic, magnesium, and polyethylene. The top brands are Little Giant, PVI, Wesco, Rubbermaid, and Magliner. The Magliner Smooth Platform Cart
($450-$720) is a workhouse no matter what size you get. The smooth platform is made of lightweight aluminum and you can steer the cart with a single handle. The platform cart can hold anywhere from 960 to 3600 pounds depending on which casters you get on it. Magliner is a reputable name in hand trucks and carts.
Dollies are not as stable as hand trucks, but they are easy to fit underneath large pieces of furniture. I recently was amazed that an almost 900 pound hot tub was moved on top of a dollie into my brothers back yard. I would have thought the dollie would collapse, but the hot tub was moved successfully. Dollies are made from wood, steel, and aluminum. Wood dollies are designed as open frame and solid frame. Open framed models usually have carpet padding, rubber padding, or no padding at all. Aluminum and steel dollies can move heavier items no problem and those with swivel casters let you maneuver in tight quarters. The top manufacturers of dollies are Wesco, Great Plains, Dutro, Magliner, Rubbermaid, and Milwaukee. One of the most popular wood dollies is made by Great Plains and costs about $40. The Great Plains Wood Dollie
has rubber pads so that any item placed on the dollie will be safe and secure. The 4" swivel casters let you steer and guide the dollie around corners and obstacles with ease. It can handle up to 900 lbs and owners like the fact it's so portable to carry around. Customer reviews were positive saying it's the perfect helper in moving sound/stage equipment or heavy bedroom furniture. Another person mentions they moved a portable A/C unit all by themselves with the Grea Plains dollie. At $40, you can't beat the price for the convenience you get. It's available on Handtrucks.com along with dozens of other products. See the most popular moving dollies online here