If you spend a good amount of time gardening or landscaping, a dependable and capable wheelbarrow can help lessen your load. While these humble helpers may all look pretty similar to one another, they’re not all designed to accomplish the same tasks.
The best wheelbarrow for hauling relatively lightweight twigs and fallen leaves may not stand up to the strain of concrete mixing in its tub. If you’re in the market for one, read on to learn what to look for when shopping, then consult this list of some of the top-performing wheelbarrows by category.
- BEST OVERALL: Gorilla Carts GOR4PS Poly Garden Dump Cart
- BEST BASIC: Best Choice Products Dual-Wheel Wheelbarrow
- BEST LIGHT DUTY: Garden Star Garden Barrow Dual-Wheel Wheelbarrow
- BEST HEAVY DUTY: Makita XUC01X1 Cordless Power-Assisted Wheelbarrow
- MOST VERSATILE: WORX WG050 Aerocart 8-in-1 2-Wheel Wheelbarrow
- BEST PORTABLE: HEMBOR Collapsible Outdoor Utility Wagon
- BEST FOR GARDENING: Rubbermaid Commercial Products Yard Cart 7.5 cu. feet
- BEST FOR HEAVY LOADS: Gorilla Carts Heavy-Duty Poly Yard Dump Cart
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Wheelbarrow
While it’s easy to assume that all wheelbarrows perform similarly, a number of factors affect their functionality. The best wheelbarrows are easy to maneuver while being sturdily built to maintain the desired load capacities of soil or rocks needed to get jobs done. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important qualities to consider when shopping for the best wheelbarrow.
There are several different styles of wheelbarrows. Each has its benefits, and some types will work better for specific garden tasks than others.
- Traditional: The traditional wheelbarrow design has a single wheel in the front and two steel legs in the rear to balance the tool. This design works well for maneuvering and dumping lightweight loads, but can be prone to tipping over under heavier loads.
- Two-wheel: Wheelbarrows with a two wheel design—one on either side of the front of the tub—offer additional tip resistance. However, these models are more difficult to pivot sharply, like when pushing the wheelbarrow down a winding path or backing up and going in a different direction.
- Motorized: Motorized wheelbarrows use either gas or electric power to reduce the effort required to push them. They typically feature multiple wheels and speed functions.
- Collapsible: Collapsible wheelbarrows feature a fabric trough—rather than a plastic or steel tub—making them lightweight and easy to push. They fold up for compact storage and some can even be hung in a garage or garden shed.
The best wheelbarrow won’t be worth much in a yard if it can’t tote a load, so one of the first considerations may be the tub capacity, measured in cubic feet. Though tubs may have anywhere from 2.5 to 10 cubic feet of space, most gardeners usually need only about 4 to 6 cubic feet to haul compost, soil, or garden supplies.
Larger tubs make it possible to haul bigger loads, but they’re usually heavier and harder to push, so it’s best to get the size that accommodates the expected needs. One notable exception: If planning to mix a bag of concrete, at least a 7-cubic-foot capacity is needed to keep the concrete from sloshing out while preparing it.
Weight and Load Capacity
Plastic wheelbarrows with steel frames can weigh as little as 15 pounds, while empty all-steel models can tip the scales at 65 pounds. An empty weight around 20 to 40 pounds usually offers a maximum weight load ranging from 90 to 150 pounds, which is more than enough for most common yard tasks, such as hauling mulch and soil or moving multiple cans of paint.
Weight capacities also vary widely depending on the type of wheelbarrow chosen. For example, compact folding wheelbarrows may be capable of carrying only 50 pounds of weight while electric wheelbarrows have weight capacities as high as 600 pounds. Also at the heavier end, a contractor-type wheelbarrow or a heavy-duty wheelbarrow is suited to carrying heavy loads up to 300 pounds. Some of the lighter-weight versions can only haul about 60 pounds.
Steel vs. Plastic
The tubs on today’s wheelbarrows are made of either thick molded plastic (polyethylene) or steel, and the structural frame is usually made from steel. Steel tubs are stronger than plastic and can handle hauling heavy loads, such as bricks and rocks, but they cost more than similar-size models with molded plastic tubs. A steel frame is also heavier than plastic, and the added weight can make a fully loaded wheelbarrow harder to push.
Let the intended usage act as the guide. If it’s only needed to move lightweight loads, a molded plastic tub may be sufficient. If there are heavy materials to move or mixing concrete is on the to-do list, consider a steel wheelbarrow, as plastic ones are more likely to crack under heavy loads.
Tires can make a difference in how a wheelbarrow performs, especially after it’s loaded or crossing rough terrain. Wheelbarrow tires are either solid, made of rubber or plastic, or inflatable—much like those on a car or bicycle.
Inflatable tires—also known as pneumatic tires—offer a bit of cushion. This cushion can keep the wheelbarrow from bouncing around, but if one goes flat, it will need air (with a bicycle pump) or a repair with a patch kit. If the desire is to have a maintenance-free model, solid rubber tires are a more fitting choice.
Two straight handles, often made from steel or hardwood, are standard on the majority of wheelbarrows, and they’re great for most hauling tasks. But lacking ample arm strength, it can be difficult to push a fully loaded wheelbarrow with basic handles.
As an alternative, consider bent-arm handles ergonomically designed to allow lifting and steering with less strain. There are also single-arm bar handles (think shopping cart) that allow users to pull a two-wheel model as well as push it. Some versions include cushioned grips that cut down on blisters and hand fatigue as well.
Some wheelbarrows may come equipped with additional features that offer increased maneuverability, comfort, and convenience.
- A beverage holder allows for keeping a water bottle handy to help the user stay hydrated while working.
- A cell phone holder provides a place to keep a phone close at hand.
- A tray provides a handy spot to keep gardening tools.
- Fold-down dolly shelves let the wheelbarrow do double-duty for transporting boxes or even appliances.
- Elevated tires are useful for navigating rough or uneven terrain.
- LED lights may be included on motorized wheelbarrows and help illuminate a work area.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve learned more about wheelbarrows, it’s time to start shopping. The following are some of the top picks for the best wheelbarrows for a yard or garden. These recommendations were selected because of their quality construction, capacity, ease of use, and other helpful features.
Whether you’re looking for a plastic or metal model, or an electric version to speed up landscaping tasks, there’s sure to be a good solution here to help with almost any gardening need.
With a lightweight build and high hauling capacity, this wheelbarrow makes an excellent overall pick for most tasks. Weighing in at just 32 pounds, the Gorilla Carts GOR4PS wheelbarrow has a weight capacity of 600 pounds, making it a great choice for hauling heavy loads.
The heaped capacity is 4 cubic feet. The quick-release dump feature makes this model efficient for gardeners who want to easily unload dirt or compost. The plastic tub is elevated from the ground, making it easier to navigate uneven or rough terrain. The four 10-inch pneumatic tires make the cart easy to maneuver. The padded handle ensures comfortable use even when the tub is full.
If the goal is to find a medium-size wheelbarrow that’s easy to push and pull in comfort, look no further than the Best Choice Products Dual-Wheel Wheelbarrow. Its molded-plastic tub securely holds a load, while its two inflatable rubber wheels offer cushioning that minimizes bouncing over uneven or rough terrain.
The powder-coated steel frame is rust-resistant for optimal durability. The single-bar handle has a cushioned grip to reduce hand fatigue, and at 26 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to maneuver, yet heavy enough to offer load stability. Despite its weight, it has a hauling capacity of 330 pounds.
This lightweight wheelbarrow from Garden Star is easy to maneuver at just over 20 pounds. It features a two-wheel design for ideal balance, and it has pneumatic tires, which provide increased navigational ease.
The tub is made from polypropylene plastic, which is rust-resistant and durable. The 8-inch deep tub can hold 4 cubic feet of dirt, sand, or gravel. The loop-style handle is comfortable to use, and it is easy to empty the tub. It also allows hanging the cart on the wall of a garage or garden shed when it’s not in use. It’s simple to assemble, using just six bolts.
Power-assisted motorized wheelbarrows lighten a load by doing some of the hard work. This model from Makita has a unique three-wheel design and features two speeds, with a maximum speed of 2.5 miles per hour when operating on a 12-degree incline. It can also move in reverse, making it easier to maneuver the wheelbarrow in and out of tight spots as needed. It has a weight capacity of 275 pounds, making it a great pick for heavier loads.
LED lights on the frame illuminate the workspace so work can continue even after the sun sets. It uses a rechargeable 18-volt battery that provides approximately 60 minutes of runtime. Batteries are sold separately.
The WORX Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow features two carefully positioned wheels that shift while moving the tool’s center of gravity depending on the task at hand. What sets this model apart is its versatile design. Along with acting as a wheelbarrow, it also functions as a dolly, bag holder, or trailer tote.
It comes with a variety of add-ons and accessories including a potted plant holder, extension arms, and a mesh net for transporting rocks. A bag holder snaps onto the frame and holds lawn and leaf bags for raking and other landscaping tasks. This wheelbarrow weighs 49 pounds, making it heavier than comparable plastic models, but it has a 300-pound load capacity.
A collapsible model comes in handy if a wheelbarrow is only needed a couple of times each year, or if a home is short on storage space. This one from HEMBOR is a multipurpose utility wagon that works just as well for carrying beach supplies as it does for weeding the garden. With an iron and steel frame and a tub made from Oxford cloth, it’s durable and waterproof.
When collapsed, it is just 30 inches tall by 20 inches wide by 8 inches deep, making for compact storage. Seven cupholders work well for storing water bottles or portable coffee mugs for early morning gardening sessions. Choose from six colors including neutrals and brights.
While all of the wheelbarrows on this list are designed for gardeners in one way or another, this one stands out as being the ideal pick due to its heavy-duty construction and high tub capacity of 7.5 cubic feet, which makes it easier to transport large quantities of soil, mulch, compost, or rocks.
The Rubbermaid yard cart weighs less than 50 pounds, but it’s capable of carrying a load as heavy as 300 pounds. It’s made using high-density polyethylene and has a seamless design to ensure the tub’s contents stay put. The large wheels make this wheelbarrow easy to maneuver and help with dumping.
The best heavy-duty wheelbarrow is sturdy with a high weight capacity, and this model by Gorilla Carts has one of the highest on the market. For those looking to haul heavy rocks, stones, or other landscaping supplies, the 1,200-pound capacity should be sufficient.
The empty cart weighs 54 pounds and is made using a steel frame and low-maintenance plastic bed. With the quick-release dump feature, users can easily empty the bed. The 13-inch pneumatic tires make it easy to navigate a wide variety of different terrains. The convertible 2-in-1 handle allows users to either pull or tow the bed.
FAQs About Wheelbarrows
Though you now know more about wheelbarrows, you might have new or lingering questions about how to select one or how to safely use them. The following are answers to some of the most common questions about how to select and maintain a wheelbarrow.
Q. How heavy is an empty wheelbarrow?
Wheelbarrow weights vary widely depending on the type, ranging from 10 to 350 pounds.
Q. What size wheelbarrow do I need?
When shopping for a wheelbarrow, consider its tub capacity. A capacity of 4 to 6 cubic feet is usually sufficient for most home gardeners.
Q. Which is better, a plastic or metal wheelbarrow?
Plastic and metal wheelbarrows both have their advantages. Metal models are typically more durable and can carry heavier loads, but they’re usually heavier. Plastic models are lightweight, making them easier to maneuver.
Q. What is the best two-wheeled wheelbarrow?
The WORX Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow is one of the best options on the market for those seeking a two-wheeled wheelbarrow.
Q. What is the best wheelbarrow for gardening?
Both hobbyists and professional gardeners may want to consider the Rubbermaid Commercial Heavy Duty Big Wheel Cart, which is one of the best gardening wheelbarrows on the market.
Convenient and easy to use, the best wheelbarrows cut down on the time needed to haul soil, compost, sticks, and rocks while gardening or landscaping. When choosing a wheelbarrow, consider the budget, the planned tasks, and the capacity needed before making a purchase.
Don’t forget to take note of the tub and weight limits, the style of tires, the materials used, and any additional features. After reading this guide, you should feel equipped with the necessary information to choose the best wheelbarrow for your yard.