Ten Things to Consider When Buying a Utility Cart or Wagon
When it comes to utility carts, every manufacturer has something new to offer with a sweet story to it. But don’t get carried away by all the sweet talk since some of these products don’t perform as advertised.
What you need is a utility cart that has the right storage components, weight capacity, construction material, and comfort level; without forgetting durability and ease of movement. Still stuck on your search? Feel free to explore our list of the best utility carts under 200$ and maybe you can get what you’re looking for.
1) Benzara 65572 Antique Colonial Metal Mirror bar Cart | 2) Carlisle UC401823 Utility / Service Cart | 3) Carlisle UC3031827 Stainless Steel 18-8 Utility Cart | 4) GSW Solid 1-Inch Tubular Utility Cart | 5) Luxor (SSC-3) Stainless Steel Utility Cart| 6) LUXOR LP34CLE-B Endura 3-Shelf Presentation Cart | 7) Metro Deep Ledge Series Antimicrobial Polymer Utility Cart | 8) New Star 1 pc Heavy Duty Utility Cart | 9) OSP Designs Isabella Wine Cart | 10) Quantum Storage Systems WRC-2436-2CG Utility Cart | 11) Rock N Roller R2RT 8-in-1 Micro Multi-Cart | 12) Harper Trucks 800 lb Appliance Hand Truck | 13) Rubbermaid Commercial 9T6571BG Three-Shelf Service Cart | 14) Rubbermaid Commercial 342488BLA Economy Plastic Cart | 15) Rock N Roller R6RT 8-in-1 Mini Multi-Cart | 16) Eckla Beach Rolly Gear Cart | 17) Rubbermaid Commercial Plastic Cart | 18) Rubbermaid Commercial HD Utility Cart | 19) Rubbermaid FG450089BLA Heavy-Duty Utility Cart | 20) Dock Edge iCart DockSide Pneumatic Tires |
- Stability: Steer clear of tippy wagons. Go ahead and push down on one side of the wagon to test its tippiness. There is a trade off in many wagons and carts between stability and maneuverability. One or two wheels carts seem to offer more maneuverability while empty, but quickly become tippy and less maneuverable when loaded. How frustrating to tip out the load you just finished loading! Four wheeled wagons are much steadier than one or two wheeled carts.
- Maneuverability: The easier the wagon turns, the easier on you. A wagon that turns in place is optimal. Give the wagon a test run to see how much space you need to turn it around. You should also try backing it into a tight spot. Now try to imagine doing the same thing with a full load.
- Dumping: Everything should dump out in one, easy motion. You should be able to dump your load where you want, when you want. Some carts require that you lift them in addition to the load. Ouch! Remember, this is supposed to make it easier. Watch out for carts that don’t tilt far enough to dump everything out. That’s a job half done. Check to see if you have to remove panels before you dump. Problems arise when the panel’s tracks get gunked up or the panels become dented, warped or rusted. Also check the cart or wagon carefully for sharp edges or shin banger pieces that lie in wait for that dumping moment.
- Axle: The axle is the wagon’s Achilles heel. The axle(s) determines both how much weight you can carry and the ground clearance. If you load the cart up with too much weight, the axle may bend. Depending on the cart’s design, this may or may not be repairable. The height of the axle from the ground is also critical. Unfortunately, if you catch a rock or curb with that axle, you could end up with scrap metal. Higher ground clearance pays dividends in ease, too. The less the axle rubs against tall grass or brush, the easier it is to get things moved.Wheels: The bigger the diameter of the wheel, the easier the wagon will roll. Big wheels roll right over small ruts and hills, lessening roll resistance. And bigger wheels roll easier over obstacles like rocks, roots, branches, and the garden hose. Once you’ve chosen large wheels, then choose the right tire for your application. Semi-pnuematic (never flat) tires are great around areas with thorns, nails, and other pokey things that make you reach for the patch kit and air pump. These narrower tires are also good for surfaces that aren’t very soft because they have less roll resistance than balloon tires (look at how thin the wheels are on racing bicycles).
- Materials: Choose materials that will last. UV treated plastic and anodized aluminum are the best choices for a long life free of rust, denting, warping, and break down from barn acids. Steel is strong, but it’s heavy and, even when powder coated, it will get scratched, dented, and eventually rust. Wood is lighter than steel, but it will warp, splinter, and rot – especially if it’s exposed to the elements or barn acids. Read the labels on treated wood to understand what’s leeching into what you’re moving. Plastics are rot resistant but some types of plastics can be brittle or flimsy or break down from sunlight. The plastic should be UV treated and substantial. See if you can bend down the sides or cause the plastic to bow. The tendency for this to happen will increase greatly when loaded. Look to see if the wheels or rims are made from plastic. Plastic wheels may flex or deform if left under load. If carrying liquids is important, be sure the cargo portion is seamless.
- Hand, hitch, or motor: Think about how you will use the cart or wagon to understand what’s best for you. Will you primarily move the cart or wagon by hand? How easy will that be with the types of loads you want to carry? Do you have a riding mower or ATV you want to hitch the wagon or cart to? How easy is it to switch between using it by hand and with a hitch? Even if you want to primarily tow the wagon or cart, being able to move it easily by hand is a huge plus for tight spaces, finite adjustments, or short distances. Are you considering a cart or wagon with an integrated motor? The convenience of a motor may be outweighed by the need to have a covered storage area and the necessity to start up the motor even when moving things just a short distance. Also factor in the engine maintenance and the need for a convenient fuel source. Overall, a cart or wagon that can be easily moved by more than one method is more valuable than one that locks you into just one way.
- Spare parts: Repair, don’t replace. Look at how the cart or wagon is constructed to be sure that if one part breaks or wears out it can be replaced. Check with the manufacturer to be sure spare parts are readily available. And while you’re at it, ask about the warranty.
- Accessories: Being able to customize the wagon to your needs makes it more valuable. Hitch adapters, side boards, tool holders, alternate cargo beds all greatly increase the flexibility and usefulness of the cart or wagon.
- Value: Versatility, durability, and ease of use spell value. What is the ideal tool to help you move what you need – or want – to move? Will it work great for this week’s project as well as for all those on the “to do” list? The more versatile, durable and easy to use your wagon is, the more useful and valuable it becomes. True worth is measured in what the product offers to you.