How to Buy a Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow is a practical gardening tool, used for hauling loads of supplies, dirt, gravel, and other materials around your property. The shape of a wheelbarrow allows it to tip forward while remaining balanced, which makes this piece of equipment ideal for loading and unloading. There are many types of wheelbarrows on the market. Buy a wheelbarrow that is easy to use, properly constructed, and appropriate for the type of gardening you do.


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    Assess your needs. Wheelbarrows come in homeowner and contractor grades. Most recreational gardening can be done with a homeowner's wheelbarrow. Contractor grades are bigger, with more support in the tray to accommodate larger loads.
    • Decide if you want a metal or plastic tray. Metal trays are sturdier, but can be loud during loading and unloading, and often make the equipment heavier to maneuver. Plastic trays are lighter and quieter.
    • Buy a wheelbarrow with the right load capacity for your needs. Consider how much dirt, mulch and other gardening materials will be hauled. Most standard wheelbarrows have a capacity of around 200 lbs. (90.7 kg). The larger tubs have a greater capacity for their loads and can hold more weight.
    • Choose a wheelbarrow with 1 wheel or 2. A model with 1 wheel will have an easier time turning and navigating but may have trouble balancing. A model with 2 wheels will provide more stability, but may be clumsier to turn.
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    Look for a design that is user-friendly and good for your back.
    • Assess the weight distribution of the wheelbarrow. Most models require the user to bear from 15 to 30 percent of the load's weight. Make sure the tray of the wheelbarrow you buy will evenly distribute its contents, so your back and arms do not strain unnecessarily.
    • Test the wheelbarrow by placing heavy objects and bags of dirt or rocks into the tray. This will give you a feel of how the weight feels to you when you lift the handles.
    • Check for sturdy wheels. Test the wheels with some weight inside the wheelbarrow to make sure they do not wobble or cause tipping.
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    Pay attention to ground clearance. If your yard is uneven, buy a wheelbarrow with enough space between the bottom of the tray and the ground.
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    Check pivot distance. If you are working in a small area with little room to move, make sure your wheelbarrow can turn quickly and in cramped spaces.
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    Look for comfortable hand grips. Most handles are wood or metal. Look for rubber coverings on the handles, which will make gripping the handles easier and more comfortable.
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    Shop for wheelbarrows in local hardware stores and national home improvement chains. Try out several different models, and be sure to test them out when they are holding a good amount of weight.
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    Browse selections online. Online retailers including Amazon, Sears, Lowe's, and Ace Hardware have many selections online. If you cannot find what you are looking for in a store, look online for larger selections and a range of prices.
    • Read customer reviews online. Find out what people like and dislike about specific models before you shop.
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    Ask about warranties and return policies. Sales associates or customer service representatives should be able to explain under what conditions you may return your wheelbarrow, and how long repairs can be made to it without any cost to you.
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    Ask about the best way to care for and maintain your wheelbarrow. Metal trays can rust if not treated properly.


  • If you cannot find a wheelbarrow that you like, consider a wagon or a garden cart. While these items do not offer the same ease of tipping to unload what you are hauling, they can help with transporting items from one spot to another.
  • Remember that size matters. Bigger may seem better because it can haul more weight, but it will not work well for you if a larger size is difficult to maneuver.


  • Avoid overloading your wheelbarrow. It will cause you to push harder, and could damage your back, hips or shoulders.

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Categories: Purchasing