Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Do you have work coming up soon that requires you to transport a lot of heavy debris? Or do you already have a wheelbarrow that may have broken down or is causing more problems than it solves? Then you’ve come to the right place!

In our wheelbarrow test 2022 we have compiled detailed background information about wheelbarrows and answered frequently asked questions. Different types of wheelbarrows are also presented in more detail and we provide you with criteria that you should definitely pay attention to when buying a wheelbarrow.




Summary

  • Wheelbarrows are used to transport different types of debris and loads, both in craft and private areas.
  • By shifting the weight, transporting fresh soil or gravel should no longer be a problem. This additionally relieves the user of a wheelbarrow.
  • You should consider the dimensions, volume and price of the wheelbarrow when making your final purchase decision.

The Best Wheelbarrow: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a wheelbarrow

How does a wheelbarrow work?

Wheelbarrows are primarily tools for transporting bulk goods and other loads by one person. They are usually used in manual professions, especially on construction sites.

When working with a wheelbarrow, it makes sense to place the load mainly over the wheel to relieve the user. When working on uneven, boggy terrain, it can be useful to take the weight off the wheel. In this case, the load should be placed closer to the grab rails. Alternatively, you can reduce the air pressure in the tyre to provide more contact area for the tyre.

The wheelbarrow makes the work easier because the weight is shifted. It is better distributed. Since you place most of the weight directly over the wheel and push through the wheel, so to speak, and have a support, this already makes transport easier.

The main load is on the wheel. In addition, there is the leverage effect due to the long handles. The leverage is particularly noticeable because you notice that the closer to the tub, i.e. to the weight, you lift the handles, the heavier the loaded wheelbarrow feels.

What material are wheelbarrows made of?

Wheelbarrows used to be made of wood, but for the last 100 years or so they have been made mainly of metal to be weatherproof. The loading area of the wheelbarrow is called a trough or tray. When working with a wheelbarrow, it makes sense to place the load mainly over the wheel to relieve the user.

The size, composition and arrangement in the frame determine the intended use. Usually the tray is made of sheet metal, which is galvanised during the manufacturing process to be less susceptible to corrosion (rusting). (Photo: AP x 90 / unsplash.com)

Wheelbarrows today feature a frame made from a single piece of thin-walled steel tube. The diameter of the tube is 15 mm for the version for small children, otherwise from 25 mm. Even in heavy-duty versions, the diameter hardly ever rises above 30 mm. The reason for this is that the handles can still be grasped acceptably by the hands.

The tube runs in a tight curve around the front of the wheel and holds the hollow axle of the wheel, which is about 15 cm long, by means of holes or lugs welded on at the bottom with a bolt and lock nut.

Today, the wheel usually has a plastic rim, a tube with a bent car valve and a tyre about 10 cm wide and 30 cm in diameter. Wheels with puncture-proof tyres made of heavy PU foam are offered as spare parts.

The tub is usually made of deep-drawn sheet metal and is stiffened all round at the edge, where the sheet metal retains its thickness, by a round fold on the outside, which also serves as a grip groove. The tub is wider at the front and runs relatively flat at an angle over the wheel to enable good pouring to the front.

With practice and momentum, the wheelbarrow is set up very wide and rests on the tubular bar running in front of the wheel from a lifting angle of 45°.

This also makes it easy to turn the wheelbarrow to the side and to empty it there as well, in order to keep the track, which may only consist of a 20 to 25 centimetre narrow wooden plank, clean. Depending on the price, the sheet is rather thin-walled at 0.8 to 1 millimetre. From one millimetre, it is considered robust and is also designed for bulky goods.

How heavy is a wheelbarrow?

A wheelbarrow that holds 80 litres should weigh about 10 kg. However, the rule of thumb here is that more weight often means that your wheelbarrow will also withstand more and dent less quickly. You can find out more about weight in the section: Wheelbarrow – what is important and at garten-fuchs.org?

How many litres does a wheelbarrow hold?

A standard wheelbarrow has a load capacity of 50 – 100 kg and a volume of 80 – 120 litres.

How wide is a wheelbarrow?

A regular wheelbarrow is approx. 67 cm wide. Wider or narrower depending on the capacity. However, for 75l – 100l, the average model does not exceed this width.

What does a wheelbarrow cost?

An average wheelbarrow that holds 80 litres is available from 20 EUR and is thus almost on a par with a handcart. The more expensive models are usually battery- or electric-powered wheelbarrows and also motor-driven wheelbarrows that cost up to 4,000 euros.

There are also so-called tipping wheelbarrows that can hold up to 400 litres.

These are particularly handy and manoeuvrable and can therefore also be used in confined spaces such as stables, etc. They are particularly well-balanced. They have a particularly well-balanced tipping device that makes emptying easy.

Wheelbarrow – what is important?

When buying a wheelbarrow, you should make sure that it has a sufficient weight of at least 10 kg, otherwise it won’t hold much or will dent easily. The goal here is to find a wheelbarrow that is heavy enough to withstand something and light enough to be an aid in transport.

It should weigh at least 10 kg for a capacity of 80l. For 120l, a weight of 14 kg is recommended. For wheelbarrows in between, you should look for an approximate average.

You should also make sure that the sheet metal is not too thin-walled. From 0.8 – 1.0 mm it is considered thin-walled, from 1.0 mm it is robust enough to hold even bulky goods and to transport them well. The sheet metal should be galvanised in addition to being painted to prevent rusting.

  • Weight of at least 10 kg
  • The sheet metal should be 0.8 – 1.0 mm thick
  • Sheet metal should be galvanised to prevent rusting

Are there also electric wheelbarrows?

Yes, there are also battery, electric and motor-driven wheelbarrows, which are increasingly used to transport very heavy loads.

Where can I buy a spare wheel for my wheelbarrow?

You can find replacement wheels for your wheelbarrow at the online mail order company Amazon and at all DIY stores.

Are there foldable wheelbarrows?

Yes, there are also foldable wheelbarrows. The frame is often made of steel and the tub is made of sturdy polyester.

They are usually used for private use in the garden or similar and often only have a smaller capacity and are not as resilient. However, they are certainly suitable and recommended for private use. Foldable wheelbarrows can be found on Amazon for around 30 euros.

Decision: What types of wheelbarrows are there and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Wheelbarrows were already used in ancient Greece and China and have since been used practically all over the world as a tool on construction sites and for gardening. In German, this implement has numerous regionally different names. In Austria, for example, the wheelbarrow is also called Scheibtruhe, and in Switzerland Garette or Karette.

However, it is not only the names that are varied: wheelbarrows also come in different designs. In terms of material, the choice is narrower, as most models are made of either metal or plastic. (Photo: esh Badu / unsplash.com)

In terms of wheels, too, there are usually only two choices, the tyre with an inner tube on a metal or plastic rim and the wheel made of solid rubber or PU foam filling.

Material Metal wheelbarrow Plastic wheelbarrow Pneumatic wheel Solid rubber/PU foam wheel
Advantages Load-bearing and robust, therefore very durable Lower own weight More stable driving comfort Puncture-proof
Disadvantages Heavier than plastic wheelbarrows Can be damaged quickly by overloading Risk of a flat tyre Less stable on uneven terrain

The typical wheelbarrow available in DIY shops or online shops usually offers a load capacity of 50 to 100 kilograms. The trough usually measures 640 by 840 millimetres and its capacity is usually 80 to 120 litres.

The most common forms of wheelbarrows are briefly described below and their advantages and disadvantages are compared.

  • Classic wheelbarrow
  • Two-wheeled wheelbarrow
  • Wheelbarrow with drive
  • Folding wheelbarrow

What does the classic wheelbarrow offer me and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This is by far the most common and popular variant of the wheelbarrow. It is used in both the commercial and private sectors and is ideal for quickly transporting building materials, soil, wood or gardening utensils from A to B.

Advantages
  • Manoeuvrability
  • Needs only narrow ramps to overcome a height difference
Disadvantages
  • Risk of tipping over
  • Needs a lot of space in workshop, garage or shed

What can the two-wheeled cart be used for and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Basically, a two-wheeled wheelbarrow can be used for the same activities as the single-wheeled one. However, due to the second wheel, the barrow, which is also called a Japanese or tipping Japanese, also offers some advantages for work on the construction site or in the garden.

Some manufacturers also offer models with a tipping trough. To be able to empty the trolley, it does not have to be tilted completely. The trough can simply be detached from the frame with the contents.

Advantages
  • No risk of tipping sideways
  • Weight is better distributed
  • Easier to push for the inexperienced
Disadvantages
  • Less manoeuvrable than single-wheeled carts
  • Wider ramp required
  • Takes up more space than single-wheeled carts

What does a powered wheelbarrow offer me and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A major relief when working with an electric or motorised wheelbarrow is that it is much easier and faster to push due to its assisting drive.

Of course, this fact is also reflected in the purchase price, which is higher than that of conventional models. Wheelbarrows with power take-off are usually offered in the form of the so-called Japanese.

Advantages
  • Heavy contents can be transported more easily
  • More gentle on the user’s musculoskeletal system
  • Particularly suitable for physically weaker persons
Disadvantages
  • Higher dead weight due to battery and motor
  • Costs due to maintenance and charging or refuelling
  • Motor can be damaged by tipping or collisions
  • Takes up a lot of space in workshop, garage or shed

What can I use a folding wheelbarrow for and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A folding wheelbarrow is ideal if it is to be used regularly in different places. Thanks to its good transportability, it can be taken from home to the allotment garden, the summerhouse, the allotment garden or the cemetery without much effort.

The folding wheelbarrow usually offers less capacity and is mainly intended for transporting lighter materials such as leaves or animal feed. The trough is usually made of tear-resistant fabric, the wheelbarrow frame of an aluminium frame on which a small solid rubber wheel is mounted.

Advantages
  • Space-saving in workshop, garage or shed
  • Low own weight
Disadvantages
  • Less stable and resilient
  • Damage likely with frequent transport

Photo credit: Efraimstochter / pixabay.com

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