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Wheelbarrow vs 2-wheeled cart  RSS feed

 
Posts: 65
Location: Winters, California
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Which do you find more useful and easy to use on a small homestead? I need to buy something to transport small amounts of compost, used straw bedding, feed, etc. If it makes a difference, I am 5’4” and have decent upper body strength for a woman but not compared to a man.
 
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We have both. I prefer the 2 wheeled cart for most jobs, and if I had to own only 1 it would be the cart.

You won’t mix concrete or mortar in a cart, but for most other jobs I prefer it. A well made cart is designed to carry weight over a well-placed axle. You can easily lift and move this weight with no strain. They are stable for loading also.

A wheelbarrow will tip over if you don’t keep it well-balanced as you move the material, and that gets challenging if you have any uneven ground. To avoid that tip over, there is greater strain on the body.
 
pollinator
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These plywood garden carts with 2 bicycle type wheels are the best from a balancing and terrain standpoint. They are awesome,  but the plywood can rot out.

The front panel slides out to dump the load
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Posts: 669
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Cart is easier, wheel barrow more versatile, especially in getting around tight corners.

Wheel barrows carry the load higher - sometimes that matters. There is a deep larger type of barrow and a smaller, shallower, "flatter" type of barrow. Both are useful. The small one is easier to work with and more appropriate to carry stacks of stuff and work out of.

Load the wheel barrow to balance - ie. don't put all the weight forward of the wheel or you're in for a surprise! Also, don't put all the weight at the handles or you'll be lifting a lot more than you need to. When wheeling, keep your arms STRAIGHT.  Make adjustments with your shoulders, not your elbows and never with your wrists. If buying a wheel barrow, get one with a good wheel and look at the loop brace that's usually found across the front of the wheel - the closer to the wheel and the higher the brace is, the easier the barrow will be to turn and dump.

Regards,
Rufus
 
Posts: 457
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Full discolusure:  I've got a common wheelbarrow and a common garden cart.  I haven't tried one of these, but it seems quite interesting.  Though I have no way to recommend this, but I would say have a look at one in person, if there's a business near you that sells them. I have to admit I'm intrigued by what I've seen about it online.

The pic shows the thing.  The link shows it in action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=75&v=mZCioJFpnqk

worx-yard-carts-wg050-64_1000.jpg
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pollinator
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I've used this cart,  it's pretty damned good.
The one my cousin had,  it was great for moving concrete blocks and moving soil, bags of sand and gravel,  etc.
I would choose it over a wheel barrow, except for the mixing/dumping of concrete.
The furniture moving slide under lip thing works great for moving garbage cans of tools.

It might even be able to move a IBC tote full of leaves,straw or something else that wasn't too dense.

 
wayne fajkus
pollinator
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I saw that worx cart video and was impressed. When i saw it in person it seemed very small. Like for hay as the OP stated. It would have to be bales, not loose.
 
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We have 14 wheelbarrows, we use them all. Sometimes at the same time. We have one cart, we use it occasionally. The barrows are much better, and last much longer, for carrying heavier loads. The carts are for light duty stuff. If you have enough money, get both. If money is limited, the barrow is a better longer lasting investment. Also the tires on the carts are thinner, so if you have thorns or puncturing stuff, you'll have more flats with the cart.  ~~Another option that is nice for "weaker" people is a two wheel wheelbarrow. More expensive, but more stabile.
 
master pollinator
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I have a Gorilla Cart and have really enjoyed it.

I had a similar issue as the reviewer did in the YouTube video below when I moved an extremely heavy load, but I was able to fix it myself though with a minor adjustment.

I got one a few years ago, and most of the people who have used mine bought themselves one.

They are super easy to maneuver with light loads, can be pulled with one hand, and can also be towed.

 
pollinator
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We have a four wheel one like the one pictured above and several wheelbarrows, the wheelbarrows win hands down. the cart takes up to 200kg but 100kg in the cart is almost impossible to pull, even 50kg and it becomes very hard especially on grass, 4 wheels is a lot of drag to overcome,whereas I can move the wheelbarrow much easier even full of earth.  I also find you cannot turn it tightly as it will tip, and you can't go in one way load it and then come out the other way without turning it round, and it HATES rough ground.
The two wheeler might be lighter to pull than the 4 but it's still going to be harder to maneuver than a wheelbarrow, so I think it will depend on how much space you have for turning.
 
pollinator
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Personally I prefer 2-4 wheel carts over wheel barrows.

I just don't like the tipsiness of single wheel barrows.

I do have the Worx Aero cart as well as several garden carts and indeed a wheel barrow too.

The Worx cart is smaller but it is designed to be able to fit through doorways. It is a multi tool, and like any jack of trades it tends to not excel at any one task, but makes up for versatility.

I do want to get something like the Gorilla Cart. I have been looking at a few different types like it and hope to pick one this spring. I have seen there are issues with the Gorilla version.
 
wayne fajkus
pollinator
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I like 2 wheels over 4 wheels. Mainly for pushing it backwards, which is inevitable. 4 wheels makes it very difficult. 4 wheel wagons like to go only forward.
 
pollinator
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With flat and even ground I use my two wheeled wheelbarrow. It can be used with one hand. I can move heavier loads too since no force is needed for balance. I also use it to mix stuff as it won't tip over easily. Its major drawback is that on uneven ground it's almost useless because the wheels follow every dip and bump.

My one wheel wheelbarrow feels comfortable on any terrain as long as I don't load it too much. It's more manoeuvrable in tight spaces and my garden has a lot of those.

In my situation if I had to choose one I'd go with the single wheel model.  I don't have to choose so I have both :)

Oh, and with flat-free tires please!
 
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When I was a teen my dad bought a Garden Way Cart kit (from Rodale if I remember right). I loved it, and I was a teenager. We had 5 acres, fairly smooth ground, and we hauled everything in that cart, all the time—including not-so-small children. That was in Florida and it did eventually start to fall apart at the edges but it was so great while it lasted. I’ve wanted my own ever since, but they’re so expensive. I finally have one now (what? 35 years later?) LOL I built it myself. (Okay, DH helped a little.) I found plans in The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects by Spike Carlsen. Strangely, I couldn’t find free ones online, but the ones in the (Kindle) book were really worth the reasonable price. I didn’t use the specified bicycle wheels; I bought solid ones from somebody on Amazon. I also used screws instead of nails and used a 5/8” sheet of plywood instead of 3/4” (because I had one on hand.) I kind of regret using that, but it worked. I’d post a picture, but it’s dark and cold and snow-drifty outside. :’-( Maybe I’ll get a photo tomorrow and edit it into this comment.) I did paint it with good quality outdoor paint. The Garden Way one was coated with a light coat of stain. Hopefully the thick, dark-brown paint will be more protective.

Aside from mixing concrete, I’m not sure what I’d even want a regular wheelbarrow for. We have a lot of Hills and uneven ground. This is much better than a wheelbarrow. It’s even usable in snow, but a pick-up truck is definitely better for that. LOL. A sled would work, I suppose... The pick-up holds more bales, though. This cart should be able to handle three 45lb square bales relatively easily with one stacked on top. It’s easy to push, pull, turn, and a lot easier to navigate uphill than a wheelbarrow. The front end is sloped out, and the cart will sit on the front end unsupported, so—very easy to unload. One-handed operation, no problem. If you need a wheelbarrow for some of the things wheelbarrows work better for (mixing concrete is the only thing that springs to mind, but it is important) then I’d try to buy one at a yard sale, Craig’s List, etc. You don’t need a high-end wheelbarrow if you build this cart.

You can build this cart with one sheet of 3/4” outdoor plywood, a 1x4 board, a closet rod, two 20” wheels, a threaded rod that fits into the wheels, and the hardware to hold the wheels on (plus screws and wood glue of course). You need a circular saw and a drill/screwdriver and appropriate bits. A pencil... that’s pretty much it as far as I can remember. Paint recommended. It was an easy project, I thought. So worth it!
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Rufus Laggren
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To add one more thought:

The single wheel barrow moves over any kind of ground better than most multi-wheel carts simply because, when moving, it remains upright on its one wheel w/out any muss or fuss regardless of the slope of the ground. A good wheel barrow will have a large fat air filled tube-type tire which handles soft and bumpy ground easily.  But it does require a  somewhat  level spot to stand, as will any of the carts.


Rufus
 
Juniper Zen
Posts: 65
Location: Winters, California
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The 4 wheeled carts and plywood 2 wheelers wouldn't work for my situation because I need to navigate tight turns, but it's good to have the info for others. I think I'll get a cart like this:
 
pollinator
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The rubbermaid carts are fairly ubiquitous around stables in these parts. Lots of volume, really nice when dealing with light bulky stuff. My parents have one and greatly prefer it to the wheelbarrow. (a cart, not a stable, thank FSM!)

As Rufus describes the single wheel barrows shine on rougher terrain.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/rubbermaid-5642-big-wheel-farm-cart-7-1-2-cu-ft
 
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It seems to heavily depend on the terrain and how good the different lanes are and what you need to transport? If you can afford, take both. One can never have enough of them.



This looks nice.

I like these two wheeled Japanese barrows, though they are not cheap if quality built. The biggest problem with all those wheelbarrows, as long as its plain, they do a good job but a soon as it gets steeply, especially with mud and so on it can get a pita if you have >50 kg loaded...;-(
 
Posts: 145
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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I want to make myself a new wheelbarrow sometime this year. I saw this article which has some really cool pictures of eastern designs that could be quite useful:

Low-Tech Magazine Wheelbarrows

I was thinking of some sort of design using the same principle of a large central wheel that holds the weight and is very maneuverable to go down a path in the woods and perhaps up a gradual slope. My idea is to use some sort of steel bar or tubing to make a frame with 2 or 3 hoops on each side to hold buckets. This way I could individually load the buckets, load them in to the wheelbarrow, and move stuff around my property. It would be nice to make something out of aluminum with some steel buckets for light weight and good strength, but using what I have on hand and making a functioning prototype with plastic bucket might be my first goal.

I don't want to be cutting wide paths or running gas vehicles all over my property, so something relatively streamlined for moving sand, clay, bricks, tools or whatever else I come up with would be nice. I could omit the buckets and strap lumber or other longer items to the hoops close to the center of gravity. I could always come up with a two-wheeled cart solution with a single large cargo area for moving large items that won't fit in a bucket. I'm not sure what wheel I would use, perhaps a homemade wooden one or even salvage one from a dirt bike. Just spitballing some ideas I've had so it might inspire more creativity.

Another thing I saw that would be really great for someone moving lots of materials back and forth from the same locations is some sort of small rail system (think like a coal mine cart). I might eventually do something similar up one of the longer sides of my property. There is a really interesting YouTube channel that has some ideas in this space. Here is one video showing work on setting up a monorail:

 
Joel Bercardin
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There's some discussion about the Chinese trad wheelbarrow concept here, including a video demo-ing a modern manufactured derivative...
https://permies.com/t/55649/Trad-Chinese-single-wheel-barrow

Yes, it's a good fundamental for some functions.  Have to admit I myself have not built one yet.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Francis Mallet wrote:In my situation if I had to choose one I'd go with the single wheel model.  I don't have to choose so I have both :)

Oh, and with flat-free tires please!


Since you mentioned "flat-free tires" I thought I'd say that I like them a lot.  I've put them on our wheelbarrow and on a cart of the type you pull with a quad or garden tractor.  It can be a real pain to fix flats or even just have to fill-up tires that have lost pressure.

I'm in Canada, and can't say anything about sources in the U.S.  One Canadian source specializing in all sorts & sizes of flat-free tires is Levac Flat Free Tires Ltd, Sarsfield, Ontario.  Princess Auto (a chain that has locations in many Canadian cities) seems to carry only one or two of the most common wheelbarrow sizes, but it's worth exploring what they're offering and comparing prices.
 
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