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What Size Wheelbarrow Do You Need?

Congratulations, you've taken the first steps to getting a brand new wheelbarrow! However you don't know which one is the right one for you and the purposes you require it for; The world of wheelbarrows is like falling down a rabbit hole, you think you've reached the bottom of the pile and you somehow keep finding more to look through. It's overwhelming for someone who doesn't know what kind of wheelbarrow they need, and that's where we come in; we have come up with a helpful guide for you describing what the different sizes and kinds of wheelbarrows are for.

First off there is one major thing you have to ask yourself: are you looking for a wheelbarrow or a garden cart? In theory both of these products have been designed to perform the same tasks such as moving heavy materials in bulk from one place to the other. But it's important to know which one you would like as a garden cart has been specialised for work in a garden whereas a wheelbarrow is more for general use e.g. on a building site/house renovation.

So you're probably asking yourself "Okay so what's the difference between the two?". A garden cart has vertical sides and a flat base, they are fitted with four wheels as opposed to a wheelbarrow's one or two, and they are also designed to be pulled (larger garden karts can have a greater load capacity than that of a wheelbarrow however it may take more than one person to pull it when fully loaded). The sides of a garden cart can either be solid metal or mesh, they can be lowered to facilitate loading and unloading. The four wheels located on the bottom of the garden cart are usually large pneumatic wheels, suitable for calm smooth surfaces up to rougher 'off-road' muddy surfaces. They are more difficult to manoeuvre than wheelbarrows due to multiple wheels and they do not fair well against uneven gravelly surfaces.

Wheelbarrows consist of a metal frame welded together for added strength, with a bucket/pan/tray/tub (the name varies by manufacturer) fitted to the frame. The buckets are normally an odd shape with an angled front to make tipping easier and high sides to reduce spillage when dealing with smaller materials such as sand, dirt or water. They are pushed from behind so that makes them instantly more manoeuvrable than garden carts, especially so due to the fact that they have anywhere between one and two wheels. Two wheeled wheelbarrows sacrifice some of their manoeuvrability for stability as it prevents leaning to the sides and makes tipping the barrow easier, however it suffers the same fate as the garden cart as the extra wheel makes it harder to manoeuvre across gravelly and uneven surfaces.

Things to consider when making your choice:

  • What's the average weight of your loads? Is this decision based on moving heavy bricks or lighter but bulkier gardening waste?
  • Are you working in a tight space? Are there any access limitations? always check the dimensions to see if your barrow/cart will fit through the narrowest space.
  • How big of a barrow do you need? Only choose a heavier barrow/cart if you have the strength to move it, if you're working in a larger area you may be tempted to bite off more than you can chew.
  • Do you have any mobility issues? Mobility should play a large part in your final decision, if you have any issues with mobility then it may be worth buying a garden cart opposed to a wheelbarrow as it's easier to pull a cart than balance and push a barrow. Items also have to be raised higher to get them into a wheelbarrow's bucket as opposed to a garden cart.

Wheelbarrows come in a multitude of sizes and styles, as so we'd like to go over the different materials that they can be made from. Nearly all wheelbarrows consist of a metal frame, usually crafted from steel; it's the bucket on top of the frame that we're looking at in this section:

  • Metal: Metal is a strong and dependable material to create a wheelbarrow bucket from. You would usually find steel wheelbarrows on a work site or a construction yard as opposed to a garden setting. However untreated steel is prone to rusting, and that brings us into our next material which is
  • Galvanised Metal: Galvanised metal is steel that has been treated to a molten zinc bath; this forms the galvanising alloy that can protect the metal with minimal to no maintenance for up to 100 years. Galvanised metal is fully protected from rusting and it much stronger than it's untreated steel counterpart. However there is one more material that barrows are manufactured from, and that is
  • Plastic: Plastic wheelbarrows are more lightweight and weatherproof than their metal counterpart, however what they gain in manoeuvrability they lose in strength as they are a much more brittle material. Plastic barrows are normally found in gardens and zoos, areas such as those; this is because organic materials such as animal dung produce toxins that can corrode metal over time.

Finally we have to think about storage and which size barrow is for you. When it comes to a wheelbarrow storage is quite important: if you're thinking of leaving it out in the elements then it would be worth buying a galvanised metal/plastic barrow, untreated metal wheelbarrows will require a cover if you leave them open to the elements as they rust easily. If you're storing it in your shed then it's really important to choose a size that will fit with room to spare. The average size of wheelbarrow that we provide is anywhere from 90 litres to 120 litres, we find that this is a good size for anything that you may need it for, we do offer larger barrows and have recently stocked 200 litre and 300 litre barrows.

Garden carts are more suited to heavy loads as you don't have to balance the centre of gravity while moving the load. Similarly to the wheelbarrows there is no point in buying a larger cart and filling it up to the max if you can't pull it, a smaller cart would make much more sense in this situation. Most carts are made from untreated steel so they have to be stored in a dry place or under a plastic cover as they will eventually corrode, compromising the structural integrity of the cart and ultimately leading to it being left broken. The average size of garden cart that we provide to people is anywhere from 140 litres to 170 litres, this is generally a good size for all purposes.

We hope that this has given you an insight into the world of wheelbarrows and we also hope that this helps you to make your final decision on which product to buy; we apologise for the essay but we feel that you should know all there is to know about them before purchase to avoid any disappointment that could be caused by misinformation. You can view our full range of wheelbarrows here, and our full range of garden carts here. Thank you for reading through to the end and learning about the different types of products we sell on this site, if you have enjoyed reading this and wish to stay up to date on any announcements or current sales then please bookmark this blog and feel free to check back from time to time.