Monday, April 6, 2020

Wheelbarrows Vs. Garden Carts: Which do you choose?

February 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Gardening

Wheelbarrows and garden carts are indispensable garden tools that make your work in the garden a lot easier. There are always things to haul, and the more work in the garden you want to do, the most things you will have to haul. Whether it is garden tools, compost, weeds, garden ornaments, or plants, without a wheelbarrow or a garden cart, your gardening chores may be hard to do. But which one suits your needs best?

Wheelbarrows versus Garden Carts

Although wheelbarrows and garden cards do almost the same thing, they do have some differences, and each has its pros and cons.

The best wheelbarrow has sloping sides with 1 or 2 wheels on the front. You walk behind it, lifting it with the handles, making a wheelbarrow easy maneuver and control. They are particularly useful for loose material which you want to dump out, such as soil, compost, gravel, or weeds.

A garden cart has a flat bottom and straight sides. They are designed so you can pull them and have two or four wheels, which are typically large. While they can carry heavier loads and are more stable than a wheelbarrow, they can also be tricky to maneuver in smaller spaces.

Larger carts work well for bulky cargo and heavy loads, like firewood, garden ornaments, and stones. There are also useful smaller carts that are ideal for plants and gardening tools. Thanks to their flat bottoms and drop-down sides, garden carts also double as a sitting area when you take a break.

In the end, the choice between a wheelbarrow and a garden cart comes down to the user. Many gardeners find that they need one of each. If you are just starting out and your garden isn’t too large, a sturdy wheelbarrow may be the place to start. If you have a large garden, try a cart instead.

Once you have gained some experience in the garden and you know better what you want and need, you can make a decision about which you need. The following features and considerations will help you select which one will work best in your garden.

Things to Consider

Strength of the User: Using a large cart isn’t better if you aren’t able to lift or move it around.

Physical Limitation of the User:

  • Walking issues – pulling a cart is better than lifting and pushing a wheelbarrow.
  • Lifting issues – a garden cart has a lower bed, so it is simpler to lift things in and out of it.
  • Bending issues – a wheelbarrow allows you to tilt and dump its contents, which means you don’t have to keep bending to get the contents out.

Size of the garden: If you have a larger garden, a larger capacity means fewer trips back and forth.

Topography: Garden carts are fine on bumpy terrain, but are difficult to use on declines. Also consider the rocks, hills, and how much uneven terrain you have in your yard. Wheelbarrows move easily over rocks, but may become unsteady if you don’t keep a firm hold on the handles.

Construction: Check that the handles are smooth and have a firm and comfortable grip. The tray should be sturdy and stable.


  • Metal – It is durable and tough, but it will rust. It may need repainting yearly for protection.
  • Wood – Can take a few knocks, but it can warp and is not extremely durable.
  • Plastic – It is robust and weatherproof. Make sure it is high density, thick, polypropylene, and UV-resistant.

Capacity: Typically, the capacity of a wheelbarrow or a garden cart is listed as both cubic footage and weight. Bear in mind that you will exceed the capacity now and then, so choose something a bit bigger than what you think you need. Wheelbarrows with a six cubic foot capacity are an excellent start for all-purpose uses.


Pneumatic – These are easy to push, but can deflate. They are easy to replace.

Foam-filled or Solid – These are larger, which makes them easier to use on rough terrain.

Handling: The center of gravity in a cart is much lower than in a wheelbarrow, making carts a more stable option. However, wheelbarrows are pushed from the back, which gives you more maneuverability and control.

Loading Height: Carts are lower to the ground, so they need less lifting than wheelbarrows.

Maneuverability: The single wheel on a wheelbarrow allows you to effortlessly turn it so that you can use it in smaller areas. However, it can become off balance if it is heavily loaded. Wheelbarrows that have two front wheels have much better balance, albeit slightly less maneuverability.

A garden cart has to be pulled, which limits its maneuverability. The multiple wheels give it more stability, though, and the larger wheels allow it to travel over uneven terrain.

Ease of Unloading: Most carts have removable or drop-down sides so you can quickly unload. Wheelbarrow contents can be tilted and dumped.

Choosing between a wheelbarrow and a garden cart comes down to what your capabilities are, what you will be doing in your garden, and how large the area is that you will be gardening. By using the above considerations, you will be able to choose which one is best for you and your needs.

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