Best Hand Truck | Ultimate Guide To The Best Moving Dolly | AutoDeets
“Work” is academically defined as the product of force and movement. The more force you are able to place upon an object, and the farther you are able to move it, the more work is done.
That’s at least what you’ll learn in any general physics course.
What you learn in the real world is that work has a much broader meaning, that really depends more on time and strain than force and movement. “That was so much work!” is a statement a lot of people say when they’ve had to accomplish a task that’s taken a lot of energy, time, and perhaps even money. All the same, work does usually result in a sense of accomplishment.
Work comes in many forms, from work done in the mind, on paper, and in the field. As much as we instinctually know the relative amount of work done in any given situation, there really is no standardized way to evaluate and measure work in the sense that many use it today. We say we have to “go to work,” or “have work to do,” but that means a lot of different things for most people.
Work that’s defined by the movement of the human body to achieve a task is oftentimes harder to accomplish than other types of work. Writing words down on a page isn’t necessarily work, but organizing those pages into a book—that’s labor-intensive. Planning out a garden may take pen, paper, a calculator, and a smart phone, but again, planting that garden is a much different story.
If it’s physical labor you’re working on and you need some assistance, there are tools out there that can make the job easier. In fact, these tools can help you accomplish the tasks ahead of you, and perhaps even more than you thought. Hand trucks are just one of the many moving solutions on the market today, but what makes them unique is that they are mobile, compact, but incredibly capable.
Most hand trucks consist of 2 or 4 wheels placed beneath a flat surface. Oftentimes those flat surfaces are made of various strong materials that are also lightweight. Hand trucks also have a handle made of strong tubing, oftentimes steel or aluminum. The structure of the hand truck is sturdy, and depending on the build and materials involved, a hand truck can hold upwards of 500 pounds at a time. The only question is, can you move more than 500 pounds by yourself?
Before we dig too deep into hand trucks, let’s take a look at some of their characteristics and learn a bit more before we begin shopping. It’s important to research before you buy, and as long as you follow this guide, you’ll be set. You’ll be able to tell all your friends exactly what a hand truck is, what it can do, and why they need to buy one for their lives. We compiled a quick list below of our favorite hand trucks:
History of Hand Trucks
The term “hand truck” might not seem so out of the ordinary once you think about it. Trucks—as in large, sometimes boxy, 4-wheeling vehicles—were used to move goods from one place to another, and the inclusion of “hand” simply meant they could be operated without any mechanical assistance. In fact, hand trucks use the concept of a Class 1 lever, which means that the wheels act as the fulcrum. The weight of whatever you’re moving pivots on the wheels, which in turn allows you to lift the objects from where they are to where you want them to be. The advantage is that the strain put upon your own body is lessened by the weight the hand truck is able to carry.
It has been said that hand trucks have probably been used in ancient times, to move objects before the ages of technological advancements. Perhaps hand trucks were used to build the Pyramids, or many other large, man-made historical structures. Whatever the case may be, in the 1800s, patents were filed for this “invention,” but there is no agreed-upon inventor of the hand truck. No matter who invented the hand truck originally, we can all appreciate their usefulness.
With all this talk of hand trucks, did you think we were talking about dollies? Maybe that’s what you’ve always called them. Are dollies and hand trucks two different tools? Or are they practically the same object? Let’s dig a bit further into history.
First making its way into the English lexicon in the early 1900s, “dolly” has a history very close to the same word used to describe what most young girls play with. Think Barbie or American Girl, dresses and bows, painted faces and porcelain features. The diminutive nature of the word “dolly” serves to highlight the difference between larger 4×4 trucks and the small carts that were first used to transport goods. You might compare this to the difference between a skiff and a barge. Naming the smaller cart “dolly” was a way to reference its small size.
Others have pointed out the similarities between the use of dolly and terms like “lazy susan” or “dumbwaiter.” “Dolly” was often used to refer to a lower-class female, who most likely was a servant. Similarly, Susan was a common name and so was often equated with servitude as well. Just as a lazy susan or dumbwaiter assists in certain tasks, a dolly served or helped one to move objects around with less strain. Thus, the link between a vehicle that helps move objects and the servants of earlier times.
So do both of these terms—hand truck and dolly—reference the same object, or are they similar but different things? Now that we’ve got a historical background in place, let’s focus on what dollies and hand trucks can do, in order to see what their differences are.
Hand Trucks vs. Dollies
Many people consider hand trucks and dollies to be the same thing, but technically they vary slightly. When you really get down to it, they can accomplish the same tasks, but a dolly and a hand truck have very specific uses that make them unique from one another. Their forms vary slightly to reflect this difference in purpose.
A dolly is a device that provides a broad surface for placing objects on, and is often elevated by 4 wheels, each placed in the corners of the surface to provide maximum stability and maneuverability. Dollies have 2 axles that direct a pair of the 4 wheels, and the platforms that make up one of the most important parts of the dolly can be made of many different types of materials.
Most are chosen for their durability and strength. The platforms are often thick and sturdy, so that whatever you’re attempting to move is supported, at least from the bottom.
Dollies are great for moving objects you’re able to pick up yourself, but if you’re trying to move something incredibly heavy, they’re not as useful. You’ll still need something—or someone—to help you get the object you want to move onto the dolly itself before you can move it. Chances are, if it’s that big as well, you’ll want to have a solution in mind to firmly secure it against the dolly, so that it doesn’t get away from you and/or cause damage.
Watch an old wild west film sometime and you’re bound to see a dolly being used on the railroad tracks. Most often the dolly is operated by two people, who push a rocker up and down to get the dolly to move. While these types of dollies are not as common today, the principle of moving objects from point A to point B still remains.
Hand trucks differ from dollies in that they are used in the upright position. Unlike dollies, which act like a horizontal moving cart, hand trucks operate on 2 or more wheels to move equipment.
Moving dollies are better for stacking items you want to move, but just make sure that you’re tying down your stacked objects, so they don’t fall off the side. Hand trucks can theoretically hold up to 1,000 pounds, but at that point it’s really up to the operator. It takes a lot of muscle and effort to move 1,000 pounds, even if it is mobile.
Hand trucks are also called a “trolley,” “trundler,” “box cart,” trolley truck,” or a “two-wheeler.” Some locate their origins in the 1700s, when it was necessary to unload items from ships via manual labor. Dock workers found that if they could create a mobile solution to their biggest physical drain, the amount of stress on their body decreased dramatically. Of course, improvements to the hand truck have further increased this advantage.
In fact, folding hand trucks are one of the most popular forms these days. Similar to a normal hand truck, these folding contraptions allow the user to store the hand truck when not in use, and even take the hand truck on the go if necessary. That way the hand truck is out of sight and out of mind when not needed but accessible when required. Most folding hand trucks are lightweight and extremely durable for continued use.
Unsure how to use your hand truck to its full potential? Consider that objects that are 3 times the length of the hand truck’s plate in height are lifted the most efficiently. While you don’t always have to do the math, it’s an interesting way to think about what you’re moving and if you’re doing so efficiently. With this in mind, let’s talk about the good and bad of hand trucks.
Pros and Cons of a Hand Truck
Not sure if a hand truck or moving dolly is the right solution for your situation? Check out the following list of pros and cons to figure out if investing in a hand truck is right for you. If you’re unsure, find the nearest home improvement store and try out the models they’ve got there. Ask salespeople and others around you. Which dolly or hand truck do they prefer and why? Their answers might just help you make a decision.
In the meantime, here are the perks and downsides to hand trucks: Pros:
- Safer way to move large loads
- Strain is on the hand truck, not you
- Portable moving solution
- Variety of applications
- Cheap investment Cons:
- Weight limits
- No side supports
- Cumbersome at times
- No lifting device to move freight onto hand truck
- Still requires muscle at times
Depending on your application and needs, a hand truck could be a cheap, alternative solution to hiring movers or investing in larger machinery. Most hand trucks are relatively inexpensive, so investing in one to try out isn’t a budget breaker. If you’ve decided a hand truck will take care of your needs, keep reading for more information!
The Different Types of Hand Trucks
Hand trucks generally fit into 1 of 3 categories. Your typical hand truck is what some might consider a dolly. It uses 2-4 wheels to cantilever weighted objects that are usually less than 1,000 pounds. Most hand trucks of this type can be pushed or pulled by nearly everyone and can be used in everyday activities. These are what you might call your standard hand truck.
Convertible hand trucks can be easily changed from one style to another. They can act as an upright hand truck or can be converted to become a large, pallet-like transportation method. Having this versatility is what separates convertible or foldable hand trucks from traditional hand trucks. These models are used by many professionals to move materials and products around quickly and efficiently, and are a great tool to have around the house.
Finally, appliance manufacturers have their own caliber of hand trucks, that cart around their merchandise with the intent of reducing damage incurred during transportation. These hand trucks are much bigger than what is used by many consumers, simply due to the fact that a larger size hand truck is able to support more weight and is better designed for larger, heavier objects.
Now that you know the types of hand trucks, let’s explore typical uses of these handy machines, some obvious and others not. what would you use your hand truck for?
The Many Uses for Hand Trucks
Hand trucks can be used in a variety of situations. The best thing about hand trucks is that unlike dollies, which have either rollers or casters that allow you to move either in a straight line or in any direction, hand trucks can be fitted with special attachments that make climbing stairs easier. Navigating steps with a heavy load is already a challenge, so it’s nice when you can have a device that will allow you to transport objects in an efficient way.
But what are some common uses for hand trucks? There are a few you might already have guessed, but like many transportation devices, hand trucks can be used for a variety of tasks, professions, and applications. Let’s take a look at a few:
- Moving, including personal, business, college,
- Transportation of large bulk shipments after delivery
- Trade shows
- Airport baggage transportation
- Transporting groceries
- Around the house
- DIY projects
- Courier transportation and delivery
- Hauling professional music materials
- Furniture transportation
- Many more!
Invest in a hand truck and come up with your own uses. As long as the hand truck is making your life easier, who cares what you use it for?
Before you purchase and use your hand truck, make sure you’re aware of the safety protocols and procedures necessary to making your experience a great one. Keep reading for more information on how you can be safe and use your hand truck efficiently at the same time.
How to Properly and Safely Use a Hand Truck
While use of a hand truck might seem like a relative no-brainer, there are some safety tips to keep in mind during operation. Being smart about how you use your hand truck will help it to last longer and help you avoid injury, all at the same time. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can be safe while operating your hand truck.
The first thing to consider is using the proper hand truck appropriate for the type of work you’re doing. Keep in mind the weight capacity of your chosen hand truck, and the construction. Hand trucks made of steel are stronger than those made of aluminum, but aluminum is able to flex and performs better than many types of plastic. If you’re moving larger, heavier objects, choose a hand truck that has a wider base to accommodate your cargo.
When stacking the objects you’re attempting to move, keep the most weight near the bottom of the pile, so as to keep a lower center of gravity. This will prevent you from spilling your cargo and/or the cart tipping over, potentially onto you. You’ll also want to make sure you’re able to see where you’re going, so don’t stack objects taller than you are that will block your view.
Before you operate the object-laden hand truck, plan out which path you’re going to take. Remove any objects that are blocking your intended if you can, or consciously think about maneuvering around obstacles if you cannot move them. Always place the hand truck in front of you, pushing rather than pulling. Never walk backwards with a hand truck if you can avoid it.
Carefully consider the materials you’ll be transporting. Are they fit for transportation in this matter? Are there objects that would crumble/break/crack under stress? If so, consciously and deliberately stack objects so that more fragile items are placed near the top. If possible, simply carry these objects rather than risk them falling off the hand truck while it is in motion.
For larger items that may tip or fall to one side, properly fasten said objects to the hand truck with straps or other securing methods. Place straps across large surfaces for better grip and make sure to tighten straps as much as possible to keep objects from escaping. Tie up loose ends of any used straps to make sure you do not trip on them and/or that they are not caught up in the wheels of the hand truck.
Invest in work gloves to keep your hands and fingers safe from any pinching. Gloves will allow you to keep a firm grip on the hand truck while it is in motion, so that you are able to maintain proper speed and sufficient grip. When you’re not using your hand truck, store it smartly by folding the hand truck up if it is so equipped, or placing it in a designated area where it is free from any walking paths or frequently-used common areas.
Now that you know how to be safe with your hand truck, let’s consider a few characteristics you’ll want to keep in mind as you shop.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Hand Truck
Not all hand trucks are created equal. While this may seem obvious, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you consider the hand trucks on the market. Whether you opt to shop online, or prefer selecting a hand truck in person, here are some characteristics and selling points for you to consider.
Before you even step foot in a hardware store or power up your computer, consider what you’ll use the hand truck for. There are a number of applications for hand trucks, as we discussed above, so there is probably always a task you can accomplish with the hand truck. It’s safe to say that investing in a sturdy, durable hand truck is a decision that will reap more benefits than the initial cost. Sure, you may shell out $50-100 for a hand truck, but it will definitely earn its keep!
In considering what you’ll use the hand truck for, prioritize what characteristics will make using it easier. Think about the surfaces you’ll have to navigate, the space you do or don’t have to store the hand truck, and what size and weight limit you’ll need to focus on to address your needs. It goes without saying that larger hand trucks are able to carry more weight, but if its portability you’re looking for, choose a lighter-weight option that is foldable to fit into the tightest of spaces.
Hand-in-hand with use is budget. What have you set aside in terms of funds for this hand truck, and which option is the best choice for you? If you plan on using the hand truck for a long period of time, consider a middle-of-the-road option that is built a bit better than the cheapest model available. You don’t necessarily have to choose the highest-priced hand truck out there to get the best quality, but spend some extra dollars on your investment if your hand truck needs to stand up to a beating. It’s much better than replacing the item every few years, effectively destroying any budget limitations you had set.
The biggest differences in hand trucks, beyond size and weight capacity, are their tires. True, you can buy some hand trucks that are electric and will raise and lower the platform to your desired height, but the tires are one of the most crucial components when talking about hand trucks.
After all, they are what makes the hand truck mobile.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of tires you can choose from. While it’s not the same as picking out snow tires, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you shop for hand trucks, especially in terms of the wheels they come with.
Hand Truck Tire Types
You might not think about it, but tires are a large part of the effectiveness and utility of a hand truck. The material they’re made out of can either make your job easier, or prevent you from rolling across the terrain you’re traversing. Many people consider tires and wheels to be the same thing on hand trucks, as they often come as a full assembly. Flat-free tires are more popular these days, for reasons we’ll touch on in a bit.
One of the most common wheel types is pneumatic wheels, which are filled with air much like tires on ATVs, lawn mowers, and vehicles. As you’re probably aware, it’s important to keep optimal air pressure in these tires so that they perform properly and last longer. Pneumatic wheels can trek across most terrains your car can, but it is important to avoid sharp objects.
Semi-pneumatic wheels are similar to pneumatic wheels, but are comprised of molded rubber that is hollow on the inside. If you plan on trekking over more unforgiving landscapes, these tires are a great option. They cannot be punctured, due to the thicker rubber, but they are heavier than your typical pneumatic tire. Both the pneumatic and semi-pneumatic tires are not as common on newer hand truck models, because it can be a pain to have to constantly monitor the air in these tires.
For that reason, newer models sometimes come equipped with microcellular wheels. Designed to leave no marks on the surface you’re traveling over, microcellular wheels are made up of a one- piece steel hub that is surrounded by polyurethane foam. Incredibly, these wheels are puncture resistant.
Flat-free wheels are comprised of solid rubber and, true to their name, cannot go flat. They don’t have as much cushioning and dampening power as other tire/wheel combinations do, but they are also a popular accessory on many modern hand trucks.
You can also find balloon cushion wheels, which are also puncture-resistant and non-marking. The biggest benefit of these wheels is that they can be changed out without having to take out your toolbox. Balloon cushion wheels are a quick and easy solution if you bring your hand truck with you everywhere.
There you have it! You’ve learned a lot about hand trucks and their various characteristics thus far, but now it’s time to take a look at what’s on the market today and feature the top 7 hand trucks. We’ll take a closer look at each hand truck, including price, features, and capabilities, and by the end, hopefully you’ll have a better of what’s out there. Without further ado, here are the top 7 hand trucks on the market today.
The 7 Best Hand Trucks on Amazon
First up on our top 7 hand trucks is this 300-pound capacity hand truck from Cosco. With more than 75 years in the business, Cosco has been creating solutions for everyday life and bringing innovation to their customers. Cosco is dedicated to a balance of form and function, because who says you have to settle for one or the other?
This hand truck from Cosco weighs in at just under 15 pounds and only costs about $50. Folded, it can fit in most car trunks or stowage areas, and converts quickly between positions, no pins or tools necessary. The many positions include a 2-wheel upright hand truck and a 4-wheel cart.
Store the hand truck flat when you aren’t using it, and simply lock it into position when needed.
When folded, this hand truck measures 16 inches wide, 33 inches long, and 4 inches deep. It is comprised of a durable steel frame and is available in 3 colors. Customers will also receive a 5- year warranty with their hand truck, along with flat-free tires. These tires are one of the best to have on your hand truck, especially if you’re going to be trekking over rough landscapes that vary in types of terrain.
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Great for unloading your car or moving boxes and furniture, this hand truck from Cosco is a smart buy for anyone who lives alone. Use it to work around the house, in the garden, in the garage, and almost anywhere you can think of. The portable design gives this hand truck mobility, and at less than $50, it’s a great bargain.
Not satisfied? Let’s keep going! We’ve got 6 more hand trucks to cover.
Be smart about how you move, and invest in a hand truck to protect your body from undue strain.
At a similar price point but with less weight capacity is this hand truck from Magna Cart. At 150 pounds, it can still hold quite a lot, but if it’s larger, heavier objects you’re moving, this hand truck might not be the best purchase. All the same, if you’re only using it around the house to move items, it’s a highly capable product.
Compatible with Magna Cart’s MT3 Collapsible Storage Totes, this hand truck comes in black or red. You’ll be able to carry around items that might not fit directly onto the hand truck with the Storage Totes, and since they’re designed for this platform, they’re sure to fit nice and snug against the back of the hand truck and across the platform.
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This hand truck has a 15-inch wide aluminum base and 5-inch ball-bearing rubber wheels. The wheels do not require air, so they are ideal for terrains that aren’t the most forgiving. You won’t have to worry about flats or punctures with these wheels.
Weighing in at 7 pounds, this hand truck is a great option for someone living alone or wanting a lightweight solution to moving various objects about their home. When folded, this hand truck measures 39 by 28 centimeters, and open it is 41 by 40 by 104 centimeters. The telescoping handle extends to 39 inches tall and has a narrow profile. In excess of 3 feet, this handle is great for operators of all heights.
Magna Cart prides themselves on using only steel, aluminum, and propylene in construction of their hand trucks. This particular hand truck is made of aluminum and can fit almost anywhere, from trains, planes, and buses to cars and closets. It can be used on any floor type and is great for DIYers. Best of all, this hand truck comes in frustration-free packaging from Amazon, so you won’t have to break out the scissors and hedge clippers.
If you travel a lot to tradeshows, check out this hand truck from Magna Cart. If you’re not convinced, stay tuned. We’ve got quite a few more hand trucks to cover, including another hand truck from Magna Cart.
This hand truck from Milwaukee will cost you around $65 and is capable of holding up to 600 pounds. That’s quite a respectable amount for this hand truck. The truck itself weighs 23.3 pounds, so while it is heavier than the few hand trucks we’ve discussed so far, it is able to carry more weight. That’s just the trade-off in the case of hand trucks, unfortunately.
All the same, this hand truck has 8-inch wheels made of solid rubber. There is no assembly required when customers receive this hand truck, so you can literally pull it out of the box and put it to work! Constructed from a tubular steel frame, this hand truck stands 46.5 inches tall and the toe plate measures 8 by 14 inches. The overall dimensions of the hand truck are 47 by 18 by 19 inches.
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Milwaukee’s hand trucks are manufactured by Gleason Industrial in Goshen, Indiana and Lincoln, Illinois. Gleason Industrial is dedicated to using only the highest quality raw materials and depends on a strong and passionate workforce to produce their items. Quality, durability, and value are just a few of Gleason Industrial’s—and by extension, Milwaukee’s—business values. For more than 60 years, Gleason has been bringing their customers the best.
Keep reading for more information on affordable and capable hand trucks on the market today.
With a load capacity of 350 pounds and a 26- to 39-inch telescoping frame, this hand truck from Rock-N-Roller is a great buy. Coming in at $90, it’s a bit more expensive than the hand trucks we’ve already mentioned, but there are some great features that might convince you to spend nearly $100 on this product. Let’s take a closer look.
The frame of this hand truck is made from 16-gauge steel tubing, powder-coated for durability and of course, style. The entire frame weighs 22 pounds. The wheels have low rolling resistance, as they are polyurethane foam and will not go flat. Each wheel is mounted on a 1-inch soft-tread swivel caster equipped with a brake.
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The Rock-N-Roller’s 8-in-1 modes include storage transport, short furniture dolly, short platform cart, short hi-stacker, long hi-stacker, long platform cart, long furniture dolly, and wheel hand truck. Quite a lot of uses in just one simply machine!
This hand truck has actually been featured in engineering textbooks for its design and efficiency. Check out why so many engineers love it, and see for yourself why this hand truck from Rock-N-Roller might just become your new mobile best friend.
Nearing the middle of our list is the Magna Cart 4-wheel folding hand truck, which is in the same price range as the previous Magna Cart hand truck we discussed, but with twice the weight capacity capabilities. Able to hold up to 300 pounds, this hand truck from Magna Cart is a great buy if you’re looking for a bit more potential, but don’t want to spend the big bucks.
Shipped in frustration-free packaging from Amazon, this hand truck only weighs 15.5 pounds. While it’s certainly not the lightest gadget on the market, it still is relatively small and lightweight for the weigh it can support.
When folded, this hand truck is only 3.5 inches thick. Equipped with a 26 by 16 platform, the hand truck’s aluminum, telescoping handle extends up to 3 feet. The entire assembly come with a 1-year parts and labor warranty.
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The front wheels of this hand truck rotate 360 degrees and all wheels do not require air. Made of non-marring rubber, the 4 wheels are 4 inches in diameter, so you can be sure all that weight is resting securely upon firm padding. The hand truck’s deck is made of propylene, and all major stress points are comprised of ultra-durable nylon for extra protection and insurance.
We’ve only got 2 more hand trucks to cover! Have you picked your favorite?
Coming in as the most expensive on our list, at $103, this hand truck is also our second-most capable in terms of weight capacity. Weighing about 26.2 pounds, this hand truck from Harper Trucks is black with a yellow handle.
Harper Trucks has been providing customers with high-quality products since 1940, and manufactures all their products here, in the United States of America. Though they began as a small metal fabrication shop, their success has led them to become one of the largest hand truck manufacturers in the world. In fact, Harper hand trucks make up 1 in every 3 hand trucks sold in the United States!
This hand truck from Harper has a nylon plastic frame that is resistant to rust and corrosion. The 3-position telescoping handle is great for maneuvering in tight spaces, and the hand truck itself only requires installation of a few parts. The plastic frame comes pre-assembled from the factory, and the wheels, casters, axles, and base plate can be assembled in no time at all.
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Speaking of those wheels, they are 10-inch heavy-duty all-terrain tires mounted on 5-inch heavy- duty swivel casters. The I-beam nylon truss is designed to be as strong as steel or aluminum but is much lighter. This hand truck also has built-in stair glides to navigate up and down staircases.
And now, for our last hand truck on the top 7 hand trucks list.
The second of our 2 Milwaukee hand trucks, this particular hand truck is the brute of them all, capable of hauling up to 800 pounds. That’s nearly the average weight of a horse! While we don’t recommend pushing a horse around on any hand truck, it is good to know that whatever you may come up with, this hand truck can handle it. That is, if you’re able to even push 800 pounds.
Nevertheless, Milwaukee’s D-handle hand truck is a steal at nearly $60. Manufactured from 1- inch tubular steel, the toe plate on this hand truck is 8 inches by 14 inches. The hand truck only weighs 25 pounds, which is pretty lightweight for such a heavy-duty hauling beast. The dimensions of this hand truck are 51 by 20 by 23 inches. This hand truck comes with 10-inch pneumatic tires and comes in charcoal gray.
That’s our list! Those are the top 7 hand trucks on the market today, laid out for you plain. You don’t have to choose one of the 7 we suggested, but we do encourage you to see what else is out there. Check out your local hardware store to try a few hand trucks out and see what you prefer.
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Hand trucks are a great small investment if you’re looking to get anything from garage and housework to business runs done. After you’ve purchased your hand truck, take a look at the following for tips on how to take care of your hand truck and make it last, as well as replacing your old, worn-out, and flat hand truck tires. Hand trucks are a low-maintenance, handy solution that is easily portable and tight-space friendly. Keep reading for more great tips!
Hand Truck Maintenance
While a hand truck can be a relatively inexpensive investment, there are ways you can keep your hand truck in tip-top shape and ready for the long-haul. Like any sort of tool or gadget, you want the hand truck to be there when you need it most, not break at the worst moment.
The first step in taking care of any tool is respecting the money you spent on it and the value it holds. Just because you were able to pick up a portable hand truck for a few bucks doesn’t mean you should throw it around like a baseball. Take care in transporting it and while it’s in use.
Don’t bash the wheels into sharp corners or allow it to bang into any surrounding objects. Not only are you saving the hand truck, but you won’t be doing extra damage either.
Most hand trucks we discussed on this list do not require any sort of electric input to function, but if your hand truck does, take care to keep moisture and liquids away from any electrical components. Inspect all electrical connections before and after use, and replace shorted out or broken electrical components.
Finally, replace any flat or broken wheel assemblies to keep your hand truck in proper operation. Flat or broken wheels can severely impede the utility of a hand truck, so replacement is key. If you’re unsure how to properly replace your hand truck’s wheel, consult the user’s manual or look up your particular model online. Here’s a simple guide on how to get off most hand truck wheels and replace them if they are flat.
Replacing a Broken or Damaged Hand Truck Wheel
Changing your flat tire for a new assembly can be a simple and straightforward process. We’ll go through a step-by-step process to remove and replace your hand truck wheel, but if you’re ever unsure of the proper tire size, material, or type to replace your current wheels with, consult a sales associate at your nearest home improvement store, or contact the manufacturer of your particular hand truck.
Before you begin replacing your wheels, make sure you have the proper equipment. Along with your hand truck and new wheels, you’ll need a table or stable surface, pliers, a hammer, work gloves, safety glasses, and replacement lock washers or axle caps if necessary. Some WD-40 might also be in order, as well as a prybar. Some wheels are secured with cotter pins, so having a few of those on-hand might be a good idea as well, in case the old ones need to be replaced.
One intrepid DIYer has produced a video on how to replace your hand truck wheels yourself. First, she begins by removing her old pneumatic tires to replace them with universal flat-free tires. Not only are these tires an upgrade, but they also bring new life to her spiderweb-covered hand truck.
To remove her old wheels, this Toolbox Diva prepares by spraying the wheel bearings with WD-40. This will effectively loosen any rust or corrosion that might be locking the bearing in place. Next, she uses a prybar and hammer to remove the axle cap from the bearing. As you might imagine from the name, the axle cap secures the bearing to the wheel spindle and allows the wheel to spin freely without spinning off the truck entirely.
Once the axle cap is removed, the bearing and wheel assembly should slip free from the spindle, with a bit of encouragement, of course. Remove the old assembly and then place the new bearing and wheel assembly on, with the proper direction facing outward. Double check to make sure the wheel is oriented correctly, and press firmly down onto the spindle, allowing the wheel to come to a natural rest.
Next, place the axle cap back onto the spindle and hammer into place. You might also need to use a screwdriver to coax the cap down onto the bearing. Most replacement wheels should come with a new axle cap, but if the replacement cap doesn’t fit and the old axle cap is in decent shape, reuse it for now. You can always find replacement caps online, sometimes at no cost to you if you order from the same manufacturer whose kit you purchased.
Once the axle cap is seated, gently tug on the wheel to make sure it is securely attached. If the axle cap moves at all, use a hammer and screwdriver to force it back into place. There are wheel assemblies out there that differ from this type of assembly, but the general idea is the same.
Make sure you note how the assembly came off, in specific order, and save all old parts before discarding them. Proper replacement of hand truck wheels ensures future safe use.
Your Definitive Guide on Hand Trucks
We hope this guide has helped you learn more about hand trucks, from their characteristics and origins to proper use and maintenance. Whether or not you buy one of the 7 recommended hand trucks, hopefully this guide has pointed you in the direction of a hand truck you’ll find handy around the house and in your everyday life.
Be smart about how you move, and invest in a hand truck to protect your body from undue strain.