A good wheelbarrow can make light work of a heavy load, but we’ve all had experiences of wobbly or deflated tyres, sore calluses on our hands and achy arms after a day of lugging debris around. So, the question is – how do you find the perfect one for you and your needs? That’s what we’re looking to find in this article.
We’ve done a bit of digging and come up with a guide to set the record straight when it comes to the most pertinent features in a barrow or cart. After this, we’ll share our reviews of the best wheelbarrows in the UK including light plastic options for the elderly and the cheapest heavy-duty carts on the market, all available to buy from Amazon and Argos. Gardening just got a whole lot easier.
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Whether you’re planning on a summertime garden clean or you need a reliable wheelie to trundle to the allotment, in this section, we’ll be looking at all the options available to us. That way, when the time comes to read our recommendations, you should be fully clued up on what to look for.
The first factor you need to consider is whether to opt for a traditional wheelbarrow or the more modern garden cart. Below, we'll take a look at each individually and think about both their pros and cons, as well as what scenarios they’re better suited to.
Wheelbarrows come in two forms – either one-wheeled or two-wheeled – but both are made for the same reason, which is to move light-to-medium debris across short distances. They’re generally longer than they are wide, and are relatively easy to control given that they’re not loaded up too high or too heavy. Plus, they’re often the cheaper option.
The difference between the one- or two-wheeler is that more wheels offer more stability, but there’s a trade-off – they’re less nimble. Regardless, both need to be lifted when moving them, so you’ll require at least some upper arm and back strength. Barrows, in general, are also prone to tipping to the side if you haven’t stacked them correctly.
Garden carts, on the other hand, are a sort of barrow with four wheels. These are a better option if you want to transport heavier loads as they usually have a greater weight capacity (more on this later) and don’t require the user to lift the debris off the ground. Moreover, the extra wheels also increase the stability, so you’re less likely to spill anything.
In terms of downsides, they can be tricky to turn, especially when loaded densely, which can make getting from point A to point B more troublesome than it would have been if you’d moved smaller loads. They’re also quite large and cumbersome, which can be good because they hold more weight, but makes them more difficult to store away in the average garage or shed.
Next, consider the material of the main compartment and frame, which is usually either metal or plastic. While metal is more robust, less likely to break and capable of carrying heavier loads, it will also require more maintenance. This is because it's susceptible to rust, which over time weakens the structure of the wheelbarrow. Not only that, but they can be much heavier too.
Oppositely, you have plastic barrows. These will keep the weight down and are available in more sizes and for a wider price range, but they usually have lower capacities so they’re not suitable for heavier jobs. Plus, they still require looking after because they're prone to cracking, especially in winter when they can become frozen. This means you’ll need to keep them inside over the colder months.
When it comes to tyres, the most common option available is the pneumatic wheel, which have internal tubes filled with air, like a bike. These act as a cushion and make bumpier terrain feel a lot smoother, thus making your transit much easier on you. That said, as with all air-filled tyres, they’re prone to puncturing and will also need pumping up regularly.
Then you have plastic tyres; these are generally found on cheaper products but should be OK if you’re shifting light loads over a relatively flat landscape. Though if that’s not the case, then we’d stick to pneumatic to get the job done.
Another feature that needs considering is the weight limit. As you can imagine, this is pretty straightforward – the higher the limit, the more rubble and refuse you can carry. There is a definite split between the two styles, though, with carts often having higher weight limits from between 90 and 600 kg.
Conversely, wheelbarrows’ limits will be between 50 and 150 kg. While this might pale in comparison if you’ve got a massive landscape-esque garden, this should be more than enough for the average home. It’s also worth remembering that these styles, while lighter, are also nimbler, meaning it can often be easier moving many small loads than one big one.
Last but by no means least, you’ll want to consider the dimensions. Knowing this is handy for two reasons. Firstly, the larger something is, the bigger the capacity (not the higher the weight limit, though) – think 80, 90, 100 L. This means more space, not more weight, making them perfect for carrying big, but light, tree branches and other waste of that nature.
Furthermore, the dimensions are crucial when it comes to the storage of the wheelbarrow or cart. Not housing them properly is the main reason barrows become damaged or broken, so ensuring you have a safe space to store them when they’re not in use is vital.
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Heavy Duty Wheelbarrow
The Excellent Value for Money All-Rounder
Mesh Garden Cart with Lining
A Beast of a Cart With a 600 kg Weight Capacity
Galvanized Builders Barrow
A Flatpack Barrow That's Still Builder Standard
The Strong and Stable Two-Wheel Option
A Great Compromise Between Cart and Wheelbarrow
Polypropylene Multipurpose Wheelbarrow
The Economical, Multi-Use Option
Umi. by Amazon
Garden Utility Cart
A Folding Design Makes Storing Very Convenient
Ergonomic Grips for Happy Hands and Arms
Garden Tipper Cart
A Clever Cart That Unloads the Contents for You
When we heard about this excellent option from Gardeburk, we knew practically instantly that it would be our number one, and we'll tell you why. Firstly, the ratio between the weight of the object and the maximum weight it can carry is ridiculous, giving you a lot of oomph for little heft.
Secondly, the whole construction is excellent with durable polypropylene plastic and a powder-coated steel frame, meaning it should stand up to the British weather like a champ. With the quality handles and pneumatic tyres with an all-terrain lug too, you're onto a winner. The best part, though? It's competitively priced!
We've coined this one a beast of a garden cart due to its monstrous weight limit – it can take up to 600 kg! It's capable of this because of the sturdy steel frame that is, quite frankly, a workhorse. Add to that the relative ease of use (depending on load size) and its decent dimensions, and you have a great garden companion.
The design is finished off in classic black and orange VonHaus colourway, so your neighbours will know what's up when they see you making light work of any waste. It's on the heavy side, but owing to how much it can carry, we'll let it off.
The Walsall Wheelbarrow Company have been in the industry for over 60 years, so you should be confident when buying one of their products. One such excellent option is the Galvanized Builders Barrow Wheelbarrow in a Box, which is unique in two ways – its construction and its quality.
As the name suggests, this arrives in a box and is almost like the flatpack furniture version of a wheelbarrow as it is simply constructed with minimal fuss. There are still plenty of topline features throughout despite this, though, such as a decent weight limit and the favourable pneumatic wheels.
Here, we've got a slight change from the traditional wheelbarrow in this stable two-wheel option. This 78 L product is perfect for transporting bits and bobs whether you're doing gardening or DIY jobs around the home. Plus, the covered, soft-grip handles make it much more pleasant to push around.
Furthermore, the design is relatively lightweight while still offering generous dimensions for fitting large objects. Also, like a garden cart, it has a relatively high weight limit; however, this could be down to the extra wheel.
While this might resemble a nana-style shopping trolley you'd find people wheeling around the market, it does have a lot going for it as a garden cart as well. The manufacturer ensured there are some nifty features, such as a spring bounce in the handle, which means it never falls to the ground and is, therefore, much easier to access.
Not only that, but for a cart, it's relatively lightweight too. That said, there is a compromise because the weight limit is much lower than other similar designs, and the wheels are plastic. But if you're looking for a cart rather than a barrow and you don't transport too much, this could be a great compromise.
The Walsall Multipurpose Wheelbarrow does what it says on the tin and is great for a range of different tasks, from mucking out stables to removing large branches. The reason it's so helpful is the large compartment size, although don't mistake that for the weight limit.
Furthermore, the wheelbarrow is relatively low in weight yet robust and comes with a tipping nose that makes offloading much easier. Unfortunately, some users have found that the tyre isn't the best and can drag. Still, for the price, it's hard to complain.
There's a good few reasons why this cart from Umi. made it to our ranking. For instance, it has a neat foldable design that makes storing it away much more convenient. Add to that the decent weight limit and pneumatic tyres, and you're getting yourself a pretty great garden cart.
However, again the weight of the cart is rather heavy, meaning it's better suited to those who are a bit stronger already, even though you don't have to lift the weight. Also, some of the hardware isn't the best quality, so you might be inclined to monitor or upgrade this when possible.
The Arboria garden wheelbarrow has some excellent ergonomic grippy handles that ensure your hands and arms take longer to fatigue throughout the day, meaning you'll be able to get more work completed in less time. Plus, the lip design at the end makes the wheelbarrow easier to stand up when storing.
The design has an 80 kg weight limit, which should be more than enough for simple home use, but might be a little short for big projects or longer distances. On the plus side, it does have pneumatic wheels to help stabilise it.
First up, we have this garden cart from Draper. The design has a unique tipping feature which makes unloading the contents inside that bit easier as you can lift the main compartment and dump it on the ground. The handle is quite long too, which makes transporting it ever more comfortable.
However, there are some negatives. Firstly, it's rather heavy considering the material it's made from is plastic, and all this will begin to add up when you're manoeuvring things all day. Secondly, several users have reported its assembly to be a long and arduous process, so be prepared for that.
From rakes to help you gather the leaves from your lawn to a spade to throw debris into your new wheelbarrow with, we've lined up a couple of related buying guides we think you'll be interested in. Check them out below!
Whether you are looking for your first wheelbarrow or replacing an old one, we hope you have been able to see some options that suit your needs in our ranking. We're sure that once you have picked up your new garden sidekick, whatever chore you're using it for will become that little bit easier!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Gardeburk｜Heavy Duty Wheelbarrow
No. 2: VonHaus｜Mesh Garden Cart with Lining
No. 3: Walsall｜Galvanized Builders Barrow
No. 4: VonHaus｜Two-Wheeled Wheelbarrow
No. 5: Sekey｜Foldable Wagon
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