The Best Garden Wheelbarrow: Make Light Work of Garden Tasks

If you do a lot of gardening or landscaping, finding the perfect garden wheelbarrow might be a game-changer. Wheelbarrows are extremely convenient and versatile. A good wheelbarrow is one of those things that, once you have one, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Today, we’re going to give you a rundown of the features you should look for when choosing a garden wheelbarrow, then review 5 of the best wheelbarrows on the market.

What to Look for in a Garden Wheelbarrow

Before you start shopping for a wheelbarrow, it helps to take some time to figure out how you’re planning to use it. Are you looking for something to help you move dirt or heavier loads from one area of your property to another? Is your garden flat or are there a lot of rough terrain? Do you have a lot of storage space? You don’t have to have all of the answers but having some idea of what you need will help you figure out what features are important to you.

Here are the main things to consider:

1. Volume

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a wheelbarrow is the volume or load capacity. If you’re planning to transport large loads, you need a wheelbarrow with a large capacity for a few reasons. First, you should never overload a wheelbarrow. Doing so will most likely damage the wheelbarrow tire, and you could even injure yourself when trying to move it. Second, if you have a large volume of something to move, you can always make more than one trip, which means that a smaller wheelbarrow will get the job done… eventually. But why would you want to make any more trips than you have to?


2. Weight

You also have to consider the weight capacity and how much the wheelbarrow itself weighs. Of the two, weight capacity (or load capacity) is the more important factor. You can’t move heavier loads like sand or gravel without a heavy duty wheelbarrow. Because heavy wheelbarrows are less stable, overloading a lightweight wheelbarrow is likely to result in a tip-over – or even break it completely.

The weight of your wheelbarrow itself can be an issue when you do a lot of maneuvering over rough terrain, or simply need to move it frequently. A lightweight wheelbarrow may not make a good utility cart for hauling bricks, but it certainly does a good job quickly moving about the yard to collect weeds and small tools.

3. Material

The main contributing factor to how much a wheelbarrow weighs is the material it is made from. What the wheelbarrow is made out of determines what you can haul in it, to some extent. The main wheelbarrow materials are steel, plastic, and wood. Steel wheelbarrow trays are common, but you’ll also find some that are made of lightweight and durable material, like polyethylene.

A poly tray with a steel frame is a good compromise between load capacity and weight for a common yard cart. If you want something that can carry your garden tools and a few bags of soil or fertilizer, a durable plastic wheelbarrow is a good choice.

A poly wheelbarrow is lighter than a metal wheelbarrow, and they don’t make as much noise when you drop tools or rocks into them. Although plastic options are lighter and more affordable, they’re not as durable. They are affected more by weathering than metal wheelbarrows, and they have a much lower load capacity.

Metal wheelbarrows are exceptionally sturdy and last much longer than plastic wheelbarrows. Most have a weatherproof treatment or coating to the surface to help them stand up against sun and rain, but if you scratch the coating the exposed metal is likely to rust unless you repair it.

Stainless steel is more expensive, but also much more rust-resistant. It’s a good option if you live in a very wet climate and store your wheelbarrow uncovered year-round.

Fully wooden wheelbarrow options are uncommon because they are weaker than steel but heavier than plastic. The last part still frequently made of wood is the wheelbarrow handle. A wooden handle provides a good, durable grip. Most importantly, unlike a steel handle, a wooden handle won’t freeze your fingers in the winter or burn them in the sun.

4. Number of Wheels

When you think of a traditional wheelbarrow, what probably comes to mind is the one-wheeled version. This wheel barrow design is one of the most common, and it features a wheel at the front with two supporting legs in the rear.

Single-wheeled wheelbarrows are very maneuverable, but tip over easily. You have to be strong to control them well.

Dual wheel wheelbarrows are more stable, but they’re a little difficult to maneuver up and down ramps or through tight areas.

Four-wheel options are the sturdiest. That said, they don’t make very precise movements, and it’s tricky to get them up some ramps and into tight spaces.

5. Manual or Battery Powered

Yes, you read that right. Electric wheelbarrows are an option. The upside is that a motorized electric wheelbarrow makes it much easier to move heavy materials over a far distance. The downside? They’re pretty expensive. While you can often use a motorized wheelbarrow manually when the battery runs out, this is still not an investment you should make unless you really need something with this much power and capacity. But if you regularly do large jobs and are looking for a way to make them quicker and easier, an electric wheelbarrow is certainly worth a closer look.

The Best Garden Wheelbarrows

Now that you know a little more about what features to look for, let’s take a look at the six best wheelbarrows to help you decide which one is the right one for you.

This traditional wheelbarrow from Garden Marketplace features a galvanized steel frame and carry tray, ideal for any heavy-duty job. The wheelbarrow tray can hold up to 65 litres and up to 100 kilos, and the pneumatic rubber tire makes it easy to push over any terrain. This wheelbarrow comes flat-packed but is easy to assemble, and all the hardware and tools you need are included. 

We love the simple, lightweight design and bright color of this garden wheelbarrow from Marathon. It features two air-filled tires that make maneuvering over bumps and transitioning from grass to your driveway easy. The simple loop hand is easy to grip, and it’s large enough to carry a few bags of mulch and some simple gardening tools. 

If you’re looking for the perfect way to haul plants, mulch, soil, and tools around the garden, look no further than this four-wheeled wheelbarrow from VonHaus. It holds an impressive 75 liters and up to 250 kilos. This wheelbarrow is ideal for dumping, too, thanks to the easy-release tipping mechanism. The durable plastic tub is lightweight, and the push-pull handle and large pneumatic wheel design make it easy to move throughout your garden. One more thing: it comes with a two-year warranty.

Here’s a good option if you have a big job and a lot of stuff to move. This battery-powered electric wheelbarrow is the best way to get materials from here to there without risking injury, and it gets the job done much faster than a traditional wheelbarrow would. It features a pneumatic wheel with hand-powered disc brakes, and the two 23V batteries get it up to a speed of 4.5 km/hr. A single charge gets you six hours of runtime, and the battery indicator lets you know when you’re running out of juice. Don’t worry, when the battery dies, you can still use this as a manual wheelbarrow. 

If you need something a little more durable, we recommend this galvanized builder’s wheelbarrow from Kaiser + Kraft. The fully-welded design features reinforced plates under the feet and a hot-dip galvanized exceptionally durable finish. It holds up to 120 liters and 300 kilos and has a pneumatic tire with a steel rim for easy movement. This wheelbarrow arrives fully assembled and ready to go right out of the box.

For those of you with a small garden and not a lot of storage space, check out this folding wheelbarrow from Relaxdays. The steel frame and polyester tray are durable, and it can hold up to 56 liters and 30 kilograms. It has an economical shape that’s easy to move around, and the no-sip surface helps keep everything in place. When not in use, you can fold the frame and use the Velcro straps to secure it. And, because it only weighs 5.3 kilos, you can even hang it on a hook, so it’s out of the way, freeing up more space.

Final Thoughts: Garden Wheelbarrows

As you can see, there are many things to think about when choosing a garden wheelbarrow. As mentioned, the most important thing to consider when choosing the right one for you is how you plan to use it. 

For example, if you have a small garden, limited storage space, and want something primarily for gardening, a lightweight folding wheelbarrow might be perfect. On the other hand, if you have a big job planned and need to move heavy bricks or rocks, a steel heavy duty wheelbarrow might be more appropriate. Or, if you have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of material to move, go for the motorized option. It’s sure to make the task ahead much, much easier.

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