- Types of Garden Carts
- Carrying Capacity
- Types of Tires
- Bed Material
- Your Strength
- Best Garden Carts On The Market
Garden carts are an essential part of every gardener’s toolkit. So why don’t you have one yet?
If you’re a fan of efficiency like me, you know that loading up all of your garden tools, supplies, and soil in a garden cart and then hauling them out to the garden makes a lot more sense than lugging them all out one-by-one.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a lazy gardener. I want my tools to do most of the work for me!
In this article, we’ll look what qualities make up the best garden carts. We’ll cover things like:
- Wheel Type
- Carrying Capacity
- Bed Material
Finally, we’ll review some of the best garden carts on the market so you can make an informed buying decision.
If you just want the recommendations, see the list below. Otherwise, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of garden carts!
- Best Overall: Gorilla Carts Heavy-Duty Dump Cart 1,200lb (also available in 600lb option)
- Lower-Capacity Options: WORX Aerocart 2-Wheeled Yard Cart or Polar Trailer Utility Cart
- Plastic Option: Rubbermaid Commercial Lawn Cart
- Smaller Option: Suncast Poly Rolling Lawn Cart
Types of Garden Carts
There are four major types of garden carts: utility wagons, flatbeds, dump carts, and foldable carts. Which one you choose will depend on your unique needs in the garden.
The Utility Wagon
These are typically referred to as utility wagons and have four vertical sides to help contain everything in the cart. Most of the time these sides are removable for easy access and cleaning. You should use utility wagons to haul cuttings, soil, compost, or fertilizer. The fact that the sides are removable allows you to move oddly-shaped loads like bags of soil or large plants.
Dump carts look very similar to utility wagons or even wheelbarrows, but they have the unique capability to dump their load.
Depending on how much a dump cart can hold, you can use them for hauling all sorts of garden soils, wood chips, or fertilizer. If you’re doing a lot of big earth-moving projects, you may want to choose a heavy-duty dump cart instead of a utility wagon.
As the name implies, flatbed garden carts do not have sides. These are used to stack bags of soil or growing media, or to transport bulky or large objects like tree stumps and large trees.
If you have limited space, you might want to consider a foldable garden cart. These typically have sides made of cloth or fabric. The frame is made of metal, but collapses like an accordion.
The sides of foldable carts are usually not removable and their carrying capacity is lower. But what you lose in carrying capacity you gain in portability of the cart itself, so if that’s a tradeoff you’re willing to make, choose a foldable cart.
When choosing a garden cart, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “What am I going to be moving and how far am I going to move it?”
There is a large range in both build quality and cost between carts that are designed to hold under 500 pounds and carts that are designed to hold over 1,000 pounds. The last thing you want to do is overpay for a cart that you will never use to its maximum potential.
Heavier-duty carts will have thicker and larger tires, as well as a more solid frame. These carts will be much heavier than those designed to carry smaller loads, so you don’t want to get one unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you do need a larger capacity cart, make sure it has removable sides for easy access.
If you go with a smaller garden cart, look for a cart bed that is deep and wide. You’ll also want one with sides so that nothing falls out of the cart.
Types of Tires
Carts designed to hold light loads will come with plastic tires. Some plastic tires have tread and some do not. If you’re going to use your cart in your yard on grass or other soft surfaces, you can get away with plastic tires. The plus side of these, aside from their light weight, is that they will not pop or get punctured.
Heavier-duty garden carts will come with pneumatic tires. These tires are made of rubber and filled with air, much like a standard car tire. They are necessary if you are going to haul your garden cart over rocky or bumpy terrain, or if you are hauling heavy loads.
The most durable material for garden cart beds is steel. You can use steel beds for years without damaging them at all. However, they are also heavy, can rust, and can also be discolored or damaged by acidic substances like compost.
The next step down and quality is polyethylene. These are both dent and scratch resistant like steel, but weigh less and fare better in rainy weather.
The lowest quality material is plastic. It’s extremely light, which makes it easy to pull. However, it can be damaged by the sun over time, resulting in cracking. If you take good care of a plastic bed you can prevent this cracking. Keeping a plastic garden cart in the shade when not in use is one of the best ways to preserve it.
It seems silly to say, but one of the most important factors in choosing a garden cart is your own strength and ability. You should choose a heavy duty cart not only because you need it, but because you have the strength to operate it over the long-term.
Make sure you’re not buying a cart and loading it up with so much weight that you cannot even use it yourself!
If you absolutely need a higher capacity garden cart, but cannot operate it well, you should opt for one that connects to a pull behind tractor or quad. If you don’t have a tractor or quad, you’ll have to use a lighter capacity garden cart and make multiple trips.
Trust me, your body will thank you!
Best Garden Carts On The Market
Best Overall: Gorilla Carts Heavy-Duty Dump Cart
The best features of this cart are its 1,200 pound carrying capacity and the fact that it can dump that huge load in under a few seconds. When you dump the load, the bed can be completely vertical, which helps out when trying to get the last bit of soil out of the cart.
It has a pull handle that can also convert into an attachment for a tractor or an ATV. This makes it extremely portable for various use cases in the garden. It has pneumatic, heavy-duty tires to withstand the pressure of a full load.
The two most popular sizes for this cart are:
- 40 x 25” bed with 13” tires, weighing 58.6lb
- 49 x 32” bed with 50” tires, weighing 82 pounds
The most important fact about these two sizes is that they both have the exact same carrying capacity. You should pick the larger cart if you need a larger volume of space to store your items in the bed.
If you don’t need 1,200lbs of carrying capacity, there’s also a 600lb model you can purchase for less money.
The Gorilla Cart is made of a steel frame and the bed is made of high-quality polyethylene. I like this pick for bed material because it is lighter than steel, but also weather-proof and will not corrode if you are exposing it to acidic materials.
On top of all this, the cart comes with a full one-year warranty. For these reasons, it’s my #1 pick for the best garden cart.
Lighter-Duty Option: WORX Aerocart 2-Wheeled Yard Cart
- [200 LBS = 17] The Turbo Lift design provides...
- [8 DIFFERENT CARTS IN 1] It quickly transforms...
- [FLATFREE TIRES] Always get a smooth ride with...
The Aerocart is a unique garden cart that is a twist on the standard wheelbarrow. Instead of having two wheels in the back and one in the front, it has two in the front and a stand in the back. This means that you can push it forward or pull it behind you just as easily as a wheelbarrow, but with more stability.
It only has a 300-pound carrying capacity, so you won’t be able to move large amounts of heavy stuff around your yard. But if you are a hobbyist gardener or homesteader, 300lb should be more than enough for you. Both the bed and the frame are made of stainless steel.
If you are transporting large or oddly shaped items, you can use the two extension arms that fold out for easier transport.
Plastic Option: Rubbermaid Commercial Lawn Cart
- Two fixed wheels provide optimal control and...
- Integrated handle includes a molded-in tool and...
- Dump trailer holds up to 3.25 cubic feet (level...
The lawn cart is a light-duty garden cart that is on the lower end of the quality spectrum. It has a built-in handle and can be dumped easily, but only has a 200-pound carrying capacity. If you have need for a smaller cart to do little jobs around the house, this is probably your best bet.
The bed, tires, and frame are all made out of plastic.
Mid-Range Option: Polar Trailer Utility Cart
- Load capacity: 400 lbs, Load size: 10 cubic feet
- Weighs: 49 lbs, High impact polyethylene tub
- Dimensions: 65" X 29" X 29"
The Polar Trailer is one of the lightest carts we are reviewing. It holds up to 10 cubic feet and has a carrying capacity of 400 pounds. Design-wise, it’s very similar to the Aerocart, but makes use of standard spoke wheels similar to a bicycle. Some users complain about these wheels, saying that they are too complex and go flat too often to justify the purchase.
If you want a garden cart that carries a bit more weight than the AeroCart without sacrificing design, this is your choice.
Small Option: Suncast Poly Rolling Lawn Cart
Our final cart is a two-wheel cart made out of plastic that will hold up to 15.5 gallons. This is the smallest cart we are reviewing and as such it will only be useful if you need to transport very small loads around the garden.
The handle telescopes, so it can be collapsed when you put it away for storage. As mentioned before, the wheels are plastic so they will do well on soft surfaces or smooth concrete, but will have a harder time in rockier or more uneven terrain.
Overall, Gorilla Carts are my number one choice. The 1,200-pound hauling capacity model comes in two different sizes, however there is also a 600-pound model for those who don’t need as much carrying capacity.
Its pneumatic tires allow it to roll smoothly over even the rockiest terrain, and the fully vertical dumping mechanism makes moving large amounts of soil or compost an absolute breeze.
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Last update on 2020-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API