How to buy the best wheelbarrow

How to buy the best wheelbarrow

The best wheelbarrows can do a light job of moving heavy items, while the worst will be unstable, difficult to maneuver and give you sore arms.

Use our expert tips to help you decide which type is best suited, what features you should look for and how much you should pay.

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Types of wheelbarrows

Single wheel barrows

This is the traditional type of wheelbarrow. Designed for easy maneuverability, it is ideal for moving light garden debris over short distances.

However, they are not always the most stable and you will need strength in the upper arm to prevent heavy loads from tipping to one side.

Two-wheeled hand carts

This type of wheelbarrow is best suited for lifting heavy loads. The two wheels ensure greater stability but also make it very difficult to turn into tight corners and negotiate small spaces.

Wheelbarrows and four-wheel drive vehicles

A four-wheeled wheelbarrow is technically a garden cart. These are worth considering if you want to be able to tow heavy loads behind you with ease. It is more stable than a wheelbarrow, but may be more difficult to turn.

Typically larger than most wheelbarrows, you’ll also need to make sure you have enough space in your garden, garage or shed for a wheelbarrow.

Do you need a garden shed? See our Shed Buying Guide.

Wheelbarrows: Plastic vs. Steel

Choosing between a plastic or metal wheelbarrow will ultimately depend on what you are using it for and how much weight you can carry.

Steel wheelbarrows


  • It can handle light or heavy loads
  • Harder than other materials


  • It will need maintenance. Prone to rust if left outside.
  • It is heavy – you may find it difficult to lift it.

Plastic hand carts


  • Lightweight
  • More size or price options with plastic


  • Not suitable for heavy loads
  • High risk of cracking – especially in cold weather

You can also buy fabric wheelbarrows that can be folded. These are great if you’re short on storage space, but they can’t handle heavy loads.

If you have large pieces of garden debris that are difficult to move—even with a wheelbarrow—try using one of our products Best chainsaws To reduce materials to manageable loads.

Types of wheelbarrow wheels


These tires can be made with an air-filled inner tube – just like a bicycle – or they can be tubeless. In both types, the air acts as a cushion, making rough terrain smoother. However, these tires are prone to punctures and will also need to be pumped regularly.


These solid rubber tires do not have an air tube inside and cannot go flat. You don’t need to pump it, but without the air inside it the ride will be a little bumpier.

How much should I pay for a good rickshaw?

The cheapest barrows are usually plastic with shallow tubs – you can get one for just £30. But be careful because buying a cheaper product may become a false economy.

If you only do light gardening and have a garage to store your wheelbarrow, a budget plastic model should suffice.

But for avid gardeners or those of you who will be using it on a construction site, paying a little more for a sturdy steel model is worth it. These typically cost between £60-£80 for basic features, but can cost up to £200.

If it’s just leaves that need to be moved from your garden, why not take a look at one of these Best leaf blower vacuums instead of?

Where to buy a wheelbarrow

Both general retailers and dedicated garden shops offer a wide selection of wheelbarrows. To make sure you are purchasing a well-made wheelbarrow that is safe to use, shop only with trusted sellers online or in-store.

Ideally, you’ll be able to see the wheelbarrow in store before purchasing, but if that’s not possible, find out as much information about it as possible before investing.

For more details about shopping online safely and arranging refunds for faulty equipment, see our website Online shopping advice.

Popular stores that have wheelbarrows include:

Best wheelbarrow features to look for

If you want a wheelbarrow for light-duty tasks, like hauling flowers and garden debris, you don’t need a model with a lot of features. But for anything more than that, the following additions can be invaluable:

  • Long handles – It will help make tapping easier.
  • Handling control – Look for rubber or plastic handles to help you grip the wheelbarrow.
  • Tipping bar – The U-shaped bar in front of the steering wheel that acts as a brake when you empty the wheelbarrow.
  • Square tipping rods – Makes it easy to stand the cart against for support when not in use.
  • Wide space between handles – This makes it easier to balance loads and maneuver the cart.
  • capacity – Most wheelbarrows have a capacity of around 80 litres, but some have as little as 50 litres, or up to 160 litres.
  • Weight Limit – As with capacity, wheelbarrow weight limits really vary, ranging from around 60kg to 200kg.
  • Rust resistance – Some steel wheelbarrows are treated with a rust-resistant coating.
  • shelves – Some wheelbarrows have storage shelves along the handles or sides of the sink to provide additional storage space.

Garden accessories ratings and reviews: See our independent reviews and buying advice for everything from BBQs to compost.

Top four tips for choosing the best wheelbarrow

  1. Check the wheelbarrow’s dimensions before purchasing to ensure it will fit through shed doorways, gates, or any narrow openings.
  2. Make sure the handles are long enough so they don’t hit your legs against the back of the tub.
  3. Make sure the wheelbarrow is off the ground when holding its handles with your arms straight.
  4. Make sure that the handles are well attached, as they are often loose and it is easy for the stroller to suddenly fall out of your hands.

Once you have removed all the debris from your garden, clean your deck or patio with one of our products Best pressure washers.

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