When modernist poet William Carlos Williams wrote that “so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow,” it’s likely that he was more interested in romanticized notions of pastoral life than the actual functionality of a wheelbarrow. But if you want to take his words literally, so much does depend on a wheelbarrow. Whether you’re carting rocks, lumber or dirt, a wheelbarrow’s average load tends to be pretty heavy, which is why you want to invest in one that’s dependable and durable.
While whatever wheelbarrow you choose undoubtedly should be sturdy, they don’t all need to be equally sturdy. If you’re using a wheelbarrow around the yard for pruning and to collect dead branches, then you may want something light and easily maneuverable. But if you regularly find yourself pushing around large rocks and heavy lumber, then something seriously heavy-duty will be more in order. And if you’re just using your wheelbarrow for wheelbarrow races with the neighbors or to carry your dogs around, then your considerations might be different. Whatever kind of work (or play) you’re doing, these are the wheelbarrows to buy right now.
1. WORX Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow / Yard Cart / Dolly
The best tools are the ones that can do double duty, or in the case of Worx’s Aerocart, octo-duty. It’s designed as an eight-in-one solution for all of your carrying duties. And while some of these functions are very similar, the Aerocart is undoubtedly versatile. The cart switches between being a wheelbarrow, hand truck, bag holder and plant mover. Its versatility is owed to the adjustable dolly plate and movable support bar. The bin is made from sturdy steel, and the flat-free tires never need inflation.
Pros: Multiple functions, switches from a hand truck to a wheelbarrow and other functions. Steel bin. Comfortable curved handles with grips.
Cons: Bin is shallower and narrower than the standard, so more trips will be needed for heavier loads.
2. Jackson Wheelbarrow, 6-Cubic Foot Capacity
If you’re looking for a traditional wheelbarrow, this option, with its steel tray, large wheel and dual handles fits the bill. Jackson makes tools for professionals, and this six-cubic-foot cart works on the job site or around the yard. Its single wheel makes it easy to maneuver through tight spaces, but the patented leg stabilizers reduce the risk of the wheelbarrow tipping.
Pros: Sturdy steel and wood construction. Tip-resistant design.
Cons: Paint can scratch somewhat easily.
3. Marathon Yard Rover Wheelbarrow
Even the lightest steel wheelbarrows are pretty heavy, which is why you may want to consider a lighter plastic option if you’re carting lighter loads. This cart is a light 25 pounds, but the sturdy polypropylene build gives it a substantial 300-pound capacity. The loop handle makes it easy to switch hand positions for pushing and pulling the cart, and the two oversized wheels make maneuvering easier.
Pros: Large wheels and light size make it easy to move around.
Cons: Not as sturdy as some other options.
4. Sandusky Lee Garden Wagon
A wagon can be a great alternative to a traditional wheelbarrow, thanks to the greater capacity and stability of a wagon. This option from Sandusky has four wheels for easy rolling, and the steel sides feature a mesh pattern, helping to cut down on the overall weight of the wagon. Of course, this means if you’re carrying dirt you’ll need something like a tarp to keep it in place. The sides of the wagon fold down, making loading and unloading easier. This also allows you to carry materials that are wider than the wagon by folding down the sides.
Pros: Versatile and relatively lightweight option with folding sides for easier loading and unloading. 400-pound total capacity.
Cons: Instructions are somewhat lacking. If you’re carrying something fine like dirt, you’ll need a tarp to keep it in place due to the mesh.