When it comes to a quick getaway, few things beat a picnic or a day at the beach. The opportunity to relax in the fresh air, cold drink in hand, can do wonders for the soul. However, juggling an armful of stuff from the trunk of the car all the way to your picnic blanket? Not so much.
A folding wagon can solve this circus act altogether. Many also can double at home for carting gardening tools or other implements around the backyard. The best folding wagons collapse into small, easy-to-transport packages, so you can bring them along for the ride and store them out of the way when you return. Just unpack the wagon from the car, set it up, and load it with everything you need—even your kids—to enjoy a day in the sun.
- BEST OVERALL: Mac Sports WTC-111 Outdoor Utility Wagon
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: S2 Lifestyle Brazee Collapsible Folding Wagon
- BEST MIDRANGE: BEAU JARDIN Folding Wagon Cart
- BEST FOR KIDS: Keenz Stroller Wagon – 7S Pull/Push Wagon Stroller
- BEST ALL-TERRAIN: Mac Sports Heavy Duty Folding All Terrain Wagon
- BEST WITH CANOPY: Radio Flyer 3-In-1 EZ Folding Collapsible Wagon
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Folding Wagon
The thought of solving your sunny day transportation issues with the best folding wagon can excite you, but remember there are a few factors to understand and consider before you punch those credit card numbers in on a random folding wagon. How they steer, how much they can hold, and other considerations are worth thinking about first.
How well a wagon steers has a lot to do with how useful it’ll be for your needs. Many manufacturers focus their attention mostly on improving the maneuverability of their folding wagons.
Traditionally, you pull a wagon behind you, and the wheels closest to the tow handle do the steering. In some cases, the wheels are part of the handle, making the wagon easier to maneuver in tight spots. In other cases, the wheels attach to the wagon’s frame and swivel independently, which improves leverage on heavy loads.
Some modern wagons, particularly those meant for shuffling kids to and fro, also feature push handles. They operate similarly to a traditional stroller and can make moving a pair of little ones and all their toys a simple proposition.
If your wagon can’t carry all the goods, it’s not going to save you a lot of time. You’ll still have to make several trips, and that’s what you’re trying to avoid in the first place. The fabric, axles, and pivot points can be areas of weakness, so it’s worth doing a little research to ensure your wagon has a safe and suitable weight capacity.
Many of the best folding wagons can handle over 100 pounds, which is likely more than you’d be carrying to a picnic. Some even exceed 150 pounds. Even though that might be too much weight to push or pull comfortably, you’ll know that your wagon won’t give up with a 50-pound cooler, some beach toys, a beach tent, beach chairs, and more.
When choosing the best folding wagon for your needs, a primary feature to consider is the size of its wheels. Smaller wheels are great for a smoother surface, but if you’re going to be taking your wagon on any adventures, you’re going to need some rollover clearance.
Larger wheels, both in height and width, will do better on rough terrains. Like with wheelbarrows, large wagon wheels can roll over larger obstructions like rocks, roots, and even curbs. They’ll also lift your wagon off the ground higher than smaller wheels, keeping the bottom of your wagon from hanging up on obstacles. These larger wheels will also distribute the weight better on softer surfaces like sand, snow, and mud, should your wagoning adventures take you there.
The best folding wagons are all about convenience. You’ll want a wagon that folds into a compact package easily, without a 10-step process, but that might not always be a reality.
The more heavy-duty or feature-rich a wagon is, the more complicated it will be to fold up. If your wagon has a canopy for keeping children or perishables out of the sun, you’ll probably have to remove it before you collapse the wagon. Wagons with clip-on seats also require additional steps for folding.
However, once that process comes to an end, almost all folding wagons feature pull tabs in the bottom of the wagon. A simple tug on the pull tab will usually allow you to fold up the wagon, clearing fabric from pinch points along the way. Be sure to review a wagon’s folding process, however, and consider that the convenience provided by the best folding wagons might be worth a little extra time.
Your folding wagon’s depth has a lot to do with how much gear it can haul. After all, a 150-plus-pound weight limit doesn’t do much good if everything keeps falling off or out of your wagon.
For the best gear-hauling capability, look for a wagon that’s at least 9 inches deep. You’ll be able to pile most of your gear inside, and the high walls will keep everything secure. Wagons intended for use as strollers might be even deeper, which means they can provide comfortable support for a sleepy child and all the gear they brought along for the day.
The best folding wagons are also lightweight, enabling most users to lift them into the back of a car, SUV, or truck with ease. Some weigh less than 25 pounds, thanks to lightweight materials used for the frame, fabric interiors, and wheels.
When it comes to the frame, aluminum construction is a great choice. This metal is strong enough to haul around heavy items but light enough not to restrict you from packing it in the back of your car. You might also find steel frames, which are even more durable, though slightly heavier.
When it comes to the fabric interiors, nylon or polyester are most common. These materials are lightweight, extremely durable, and easy to clean. They can even be water (or juice box) resistant, making cleanup straightforward.
Wheels come in a variety of materials, including ABS plastic, polyurethane, rubber, and hard nylon. They’re all long-lasting materials that are suitable for wagon use.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know a bit more about what goes into choosing the best folding wagon for your needs, you’re ready to check out the market. The list below of the best folding wagons can help you shop and compare. Keep the important considerations above in mind as you check out these products.
Finding a folding wagon that can do it all is a tall order. But check out the Mac Sport WTC-111 Outdoor Utility Wagon to find one filled with features and function. This folding wagon sets up and breaks down in seconds, and its large capacity can handle most hauling tasks easily. It measures 32 inches long, 20 inches wide, and just under 17½ inches high.
The WTC-111’s steel frame and nylon fabric provide a 150-pound weight capacity while weighing just under 22¼ pounds. It features rubber wheels that attach directly to the wagon’s frame as well as a telescoping handle for easy maneuvering. A tug on the pull tab in the center of the wagon collapses it quickly, and it folds up to just 8 inches thick.
Hauling gear shouldn’t hurt the wallet, and the S2 Lifestyle Brazee Collapsible Folding Wagon has many of the same features of much more expensive wagons at a fraction of the price. This wagon features a steel frame and canvas body, adding up to just 22 pounds. It measures 39½ inches long, just under 20 inches wide, and has a depth of 11 inches, providing plenty of capacity.
The Brazee has a 150-pound weight capacity, thanks to its durable canvas body, steel frame, and hard rubber tires. The front wheels swivel 360 degrees for easy steering and maneuvering. With the center-mounted pull tab and handle, folding the Brazee up is a cinch. It collapses down to less than 7½ inches thick.
For those looking for high-end features and durability but within a budget, the BEAU JARDIN’s Folding Wagon Cart is a nice meet-in-the-middle wagon. Though its design is simple, it features robust parts to improve durability, use, and longevity.
This wagon has a few standout features. The wide rubber wheels help distribute the weight over softer surfaces like sand and dirt, making it easier to pull along for any adventure. It also has a telescoping handle as well as a collapsible push handle on the other end. The wagon measures 33½ inches long, 20 inches wide, and just over 10½ inches deep. It sets up easily and can carry up to 176 pounds of gear without issue, all while weighing under 30 pounds.
Kids love to bring lots of stuff with them wherever they go, and the Keenz Stroller Wagon can haul kids and their belongings with ease. It even comes with five-point seatbelts and a canopy for keeping them protected on hot, sunny days. The stroller has been safety tested.
The Keenz features a strong aluminum frame and durable polyester fabric, allowing it to transport up to 45 pounds of kid and 110 pounds of kids and gear. The wagon measures 35½ inches long, 19½ inches wide, and over 11 inches deep. It has dual multipositional push handles on both ends of the wagon for a choice of steering from either, and pivoting front wheels improve maneuverability. There’s even a storage flap with pockets for phones, bottles, snacks, and other necessities.
For a wagon that can roll fully loaded across a sandy beach, shoppers should check out the Mac Sports Heavy Duty Folding All Terrain Wagon. This wagon features wide, 10-inch tall wheels to help distribute the weight over softer surfaces while also allowing it to clear tall obstructions like parking lot curbs and rocks. With the wheels attached to the handle, this wagon is ultraeasy to maneuver in tight places.
The aluminum frame and durable polyester fabric allow this wagon to carry up to 150 pounds while weighing only about 23 pounds itself. It also features a telescoping handle and a center-mounted pull tab for easy fold-up and storage, packing down to under 10 inches thick.
Long days in the sun can take a toll on precious cargo, especially kids. Keep those harmful rays off your children’s backs with the Radio Flyer’s 3-in-1 EZ Folding Outdoor Collapsible Wagon. It features four telescoping stanchions and a detachable canopy for keeping the sun (or rain) at bay. It also converts into a bench, allowing kids to come and go as they please while still providing a place to rest.
This wagon can haul up to 150 pounds of gear, including two children. It measures 39 inches long and 18½ inches wide, with deep side walls for comfort and easy gear hauling. It has an on-board storage pocket for the canopy as well as two built-in cup holders.
FAQs About Folding Wagons
Even if you have one of the best folding wagons in mind, you might still have some questions. Below is a collection of some of the most commonly asked questions about folding wagons, so be sure to check to see if there’s an answer to your questions below.
Q. How do you open a folding wagon?
Most folding wagons come with instructions from the manufacturer. If the wagon you’re considering has a video about opening and collapsing the wagon, watch that to get an idea. Opening might require moving and locking wheels, handles, or other parts in place.
Q. How do you fold up a wagon?
For most wagons, just reverse the opening procedure. Typically, wagons have a pull tab in the bottom of the wagon. A gentle tug will unlock the frame, allowing you to easily collapse it down to a tight package.
Q. Is a folding wagon good for the beach?
Traditional wagons fail terribly at the beach, but the lightweight nature of a folding wagon paired with oversize tires will allow you to haul a cooler, towels, sunscreen, and other gear to your beach blanket with ease.