Best Foldable Hand Trucks

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
165 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best foldable hand trucks

Last Updated December 2019

A standard hand truck is a basic but invaluable tool used by delivery people all over the world. If you’ve got a van, it’s no trouble to throw it in the back. But they’re not really practical for the homeowner with a sedan or compact car. The solution is a foldable hand truck. This compact, lightweight tool can help with everything from unloading the groceries to restocking the home office or workshop, as well as when you move.

Not surprisingly, foldable hand trucks have become very popular, and the market is crowded with models that can be difficult to tell apart. In fact, sometimes the only difference seems to be the name on the label!

We’ve been investigating what’s available so we can provide some well-researched advice to help you with your decision. Our recommendations offer a variety of price and performance options, and the following buying guide looks at their features in more detail.

Powder coating is good at protecting steel frames, but if it gets scratched or chipped, rust can get in. Aluminum frames never rust.

Key considerations

Ergonomics

This is arguably the most important aspect of a foldable hand truck for the majority of home users.

Folding: For convenience, you’ll want to go from closed to open in as few steps as possible.

Locking: It should be simple to secure the wheels in the open position and lock the handle in place.

Lifting: You want it to be light because you’ll likely be lifting it frequently. However, there will inevitably be a trade-off between the size of your hand truck in the closed position and how big it is when opened. Some are better designed than others, so you’ll need to check all dimensions.

Storing: The more compact it is, the easier it will be to store and transport.

Using: If the handle is too short when fully extended, using the hand truck could give you a backache, and one of the major benefits of using it is to prevent that. As a rough guide, stand with your arms at your sides and your elbows bent at 90°. Your hands will be at a comfortable height for pushing. A couple of inches either way should be fine. Below that and you’ll be inclined to bend, and that’s when problems arise.

EXPERT TIP

It’s a good idea to look for a foldable hand truck with a load rating that comfortably exceeds what you think you’ll need. That way, if you do have to carry extra weight, it’s still safe to do so.


Staff  | BestReviews

Foldable hand truck features

Load

Load rating: You might expect to give up some structural strength for the convenience of easy portability and storage, but that’s not always the case. Even the lightest models we looked at are rated for 150 pounds, and how often will you need to move more than that at once?

If you’re buying a foldable hand truck for a specific job that does require heavy lifting, it’s not difficult to find models that can hold up to 300 pounds. We found a couple that exceed 500 pounds, though that’s probably more than you need unless you’re moving gold bullion!

Load platform: Related to this is the load platform, called the “nose plate.” If it’s too shallow front to back, it may not provide enough support for the things you want to move. This can be overcome to some extent by using straps to secure the load, but if the platform isn’t deep enough, the balance will be poor, and there could be a tendency for it to topple forward. When the hand truck is not in use, the nose plate folds up out of the way, so there’s no real reason for it to be short.

Construction

Steel: A steel frame is tough and relatively low cost. A powder-coated finish helps prevent rust. Most heavy-duty foldable hand trucks have a steel frame. The only drawback to steel is weight.

Aluminum: A hand truck made of aluminum is considerably lighter and doesn’t rust, so an additional finish isn’t required. However, aluminum is noticeably more expensive than steel, and it doesn’t have quite the structural strength.

Both: A common compromise is a hand truck with a steel frame and an aluminum nose plate, though the saving in weight is minimal.

Wheels

Larger wheels make for easier rolling. The most basic are solid plastic, which are often found on cheaper, lightweight models. Better ones have rubber tires. Pneumatic tires are best, but they aren’t usually found on foldable hand trucks.

Some foldable hand trucks have an additional set of small wheels up near the handle. These models can be converted for use as a horizontal platform, giving added versatility and greater load capacity. However, these hand trucks tend to be heavier and not as compact as some others when folded.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Securing your load with straps or cords is a very good idea to increase safety, so it’s nice when they’re included with your hand truck.

Foldable hand truck prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level foldable hand trucks are available for between $25 and $35. If you’ve got modest, occasional needs, one of these is the ideal tool to keep in a cupboard or a corner of the garage and throw in the trunk when needed.

Mid-range: If you’re looking for a foldable hand truck for regular use, we suggest spending somewhere between $40 and $70. There’s a lot of choice in this bracket, and you’ll find numerous robust models, some with load ratings in excess of 250 pounds.

Expensive: While the mid-range foldable hand trucks will suit the majority of owners, professionals may want something that can stand up to the rigors of heavy-duty, everyday load lugging. There are some superbly engineered tools available, but it’s not difficult to pay $300 to $400 for the very best.

Tips

Using a foldable hand truck can save you a lot of effort, but you still need to be cautious to avoid straining your back. A little thought can prevent a lot of problems.

  • Lock the hand truck securely. Always make sure the components are properly extended and fixed in position. You don’t want them to fold back up and trap hands or fingers or cause a load to fall off.
  • Bend your knees when loading and unloading. Keep your back as straight as possible.
  • Use straps or bungees to secure the load to the hand truck. Trying to grab a box that’s about to topple is a frequent cause of muscle strain.
  • Never exceed the load capacity of your foldable hand truck. It’s better to make two safe and easy trips than one difficult one.
  • Maintain visibility. Even if the load is light, don’t pile it so high that you can’t easily see where you’re going
  • Protect yourself. Gloves will be useful if there are sharp edges or corners and for additional grip. Wear protective footwear. Consider wearing a back brace to protect your lower back. It’s the area most prone to injury and the type of damage that takes longest to recover from.
  • Use the right equipment. If you’re regularly climbing stairs with a load, you ought to look for a specific stair-climbing hand truck. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a folding model with this feature.
EXPERT TIP

A plastic handle is fine on a lightweight foldable hand truck, but it can twist under load. In general, we prefer the handle to be metal.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

One of the drawbacks with a foldable hand truck can be limited load capacity. Though the average of 150 pounds is plenty for many purposes, sometimes you need more. So we looked for models that satisfy demands beyond this rating and found the following. The Mount-It Folding Hand Truck is made from heavy-duty aluminum and can carry up to 264 pounds. It benefits from nice big wheels with solid rubber tires. We particularly like that it includes bungees to secure your load. The Wesco Maxi Mover Folding Truck combines steel and aluminum to raise the bar to a maximum of 275 pounds. Again, the wheels are rubber, and elastic straps are included. Magliner is an industry leader with a reputation for exceptional quality and durability. Its Magline Straight Back Folding Hand Truck isn’t as compact as some when folded, but it can support a massive 500 pounds. Unfortunately, this premium product also carries a heavy price tag.

When shopping, check the overall dimensions as well as the load rating. Sometimes foldable hand trucks are very compact. Is the nose plate big enough to support what you want to move?

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a hand truck and a dolly?
A.
If you talk to a moving or trucking professional, they’ll likely tell you that a dolly has four wheels and a horizontal platform for loading goods onto. A dolly can take large pieces of furniture, and there are even models made specifically to carry pianos. A hand truck is a two-wheeled carrier for lighter goods. That said, most people — and many manufacturers — use both terms to mean the same thing. Indeed, there are a number of models that can be used in either orientation.

Q. How do I maintain my foldable hand truck?
A.
There isn’t a lot to do, but regular checks will extend its working life and help avoid accidents. Nuts and bolts can work loose, so inspect the hand truck from time to time and make sure they’re nice and tight. Lightly lubricate hinged joints and wheel bearings. A silicone-based oil like WD-40 will do the job. Check around the frame and handle for signs of damage. A cracked plastic handle could give under load, dropping your load or causing injury. If the tires are pneumatic, check the air pressure.

Q. Is it better to push or pull a hand truck?
A.
Experts tell us that the human body can push up to four times more than it can pull, so pushing gives you greater control — and you can see where you’re going! The only time pulling is recommended is when mounting a curb. It’s smoother and less likely to dislodge your load.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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