Best Shopping Carts

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
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How we decided

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

43 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
310 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best shopping carts

Last Updated August 2019

Whether you need a way to carry your produce at the farmers’ market or you regularly walk to the store and have to lug your groceries home, bringing your own shopping cart can ease the burden. Personal shopping carts are smaller than their grocery store counterparts but still offer plenty of space and better maneuverability.

Not only are they handy for transporting groceries, but you can also use them for a wide range of tasks. Use a cart to load up picnic supplies for your next family cookout, or pile on the beach gear for an easy stroll from the parking lot to the sand. Walking to a neighbor or friend’s house to hang out? Bring snacks and supplies for a cozy night in without having to waste gas on a car trip. Do more errands on foot with a portable shopping cart and watch your fitness device’s step count effortlessly increase.

Want to learn more? From the most important features to tips on how to grocery shop for maximum packability, our shopping guide has you covered. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.

Even if you’re shopping with a bag-style cart, don’t forget your reusable bags at home. You’ll want them for products that may potentially puncture or leak (e.g., shampoos or dish soap).

Key Considerations

Wheels

Nothing is more critical than the quality and construction of a cart’s wheels. The wrong wheels can ruin an otherwise pleasant shopping trip. Here’s what to look for:

  • Wheel materials

    • Plastic wheels are fine, but the material should be thick and not flimsy. Plastic is likely to show more wear and tear over time compared to metal or rubber.

    • While metal is long-lasting, it’s likely to be noisy on concrete, especially if the sidewalks are full of cracks and bumps.

    • Rubber wheels roll quietly for the most part and do well on varied terrain and in different types of weather conditions.
       

  • Wheel configuration: How many wheels are ideal for a shopping cart? Your standard grocery store cart typically has four wheels, but personal carts may have either two or four wheels. A greater number of wheels usually translates to easier movement, but sometimes extra wheels can get in the way.

    If you opt for a four-wheel design, choose a model with a brake feature to prevent the unit from moving as you set it aside to grab items at the store. Two-wheel designs function smoothly in most cases, and when it’s time to stop to browse store aisles, a rest bar allows you to prop the cart without having to worry about it rolling away.
     

  • Wheel maneuverability: Though 360º swivel wheels may seem like the best option, they’re not always entirely necessary. The extra maneuverability is useful for those who may find themselves having trouble steering their carts, but for the majority of users, wheels that roll from front to back are suitable for most situations.

Tall users should opt for adjustable handles, but check reviews for observations and comments from other tall shoppers before settling on a cart.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Handles

Two handles aren’t necessarily better than one. You maneuver a two-handled cart much like a stroller. However, if you prefer pulling your cart instead of pushing it, a single-handle design is ideal — and you can also push these types of carts as well.

Check cart height measurements to ensure holding the handles will be comfortable and, if you’re tall, that you won’t be hunching over to reach them. Opt for padded handles, especially for long trips. Adjustable handles are useful if multiple people in your household will be using the cart.

Weight limit

Don’t buy a shopping cart without checking the weight limit. Some models double as dollies and can handle more than 100 pounds of product. A poor-quality shopping cart, however, may claim to have a high weight limit but performance will decrease as you load it up. Read through user reviews to see how your prospective cart holds up at its maximum weight limit according to other reviewers.

Avoid carts with very low weight limits unless all you plan to transport is a set of towels and a few clothing items. A cart should be able to handle at least two heavy bags of groceries.

Don’t forget to assess how much the cart weighs on its own. If it’s too heavy, you may have trouble removing it from storage.

Construction

Opt for a cart with a metal frame over other materials. Stainless steel is the top option, while aluminum is a cheaper, but less durable, alternative.

Choose between an exposed basket made of metal or one with a dolly construction that features a bag attachment. A metal basket is typically the sturdiest of the two options, but products may fall through the holes if you’re not careful. You can purchase a liner for your cart or put groceries in bags, though.

An attached bag is an excellent choice, since it keeps groceries and other items safely tucked away. Check, however, whether the bag has a separate weight limit from the dolly itself. Bags may be unlined or insulated. For those grabbing groceries in the hot summer months, an insulated bag keeps perishable products from spoiling.

Foldability

When not in use, it’s handy to be able to fold down your cart and put it in the cupboard or entryway closet until your next shopping trip. Most shopping carts fold down for easy storage. But be sure to verify that the process of folding down the unit is easy and doesn’t involve too many steps.

Stair-climbing wheels

Special stair-climbing wheels are useful for hauling heavy loads up flights of stairs — a handy feature even if you’re just going up your stoop. Stair-climbing wheels help prevent injuries, falls, and are especially helpful for the elderly or anyone who is physically impaired.

EXPERT TIP

A shopping cart with an insulated bag is the perfect accessory for the farmers’ market. You can browse comfortably without worrying about spoilage.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A cart with a metal basket and inner storage bag is a double-duty option that’s versatile and incredibly sturdy.


Staff  | BestReviews

Shopping cart prices

A well-built shopping cart made with a sturdy metal frame will cost between $40 and $50. For under $40, you’ll find cheap options that are best for handling light loads and feature lower weight limits. Spend more than $50 for a cart with stair-climbing wheels, a jumbo frame, or an incredibly generous weight limit.

Tips

To help you pack up your items safely and securely on your next cart-assisted shopping trip, here are a few tips:

  • Put sturdy items at the bottom of your shopping cart and keep delicate items, like eggs, at the top. Some carts even have extra storage that may be useful for keeping breakable products safe.

  • Remove the bag from a bag-style cart if you need to transport cases of soda or beer. Units that double as dollies are perfect for hauling bulky items.

  • Plan your shopping trip ahead of time to avoid having too much stuff on your hands at the checkout. If you’re an impulsive shopper, wear a backpack on your trip just in case you need to lug a few extra items that don’t fit into your cart.

Other products we considered

The Lifestyle Solutions Jumbo Deluxe Folding Shopping Cart is an incredibly durable and roomy cart for handling significant loads. The rolling cart holds up to 200 pounds and also features an extra basket for storage of smaller items. The TUOMAN Folding Shopping Cart is an attractive aluminum model with convenient stair-climbing wheels. The shopping bag has a weight capacity of more than 150 pounds. The Whitmor Utility Shopping Cart is an inexpensive budget option that’s smaller than other carts but doesn’t skimp on sturdiness. We love the unique design of the GoCart, and it’s available in multiple bright colors. The basket-style cart is ideal for carrying fewer items but is sturdy enough to hold up to 100 pounds of stuff.

Eyeing a bag-style cart but can’t settle on a color or pattern? Most bags are detachable, so check if the manufacturer also sells bags separately, and you can purchase a few to swap them out.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best four-season shopping cart option?

A. Pick a cart with sturdy rubber wheels and a stainless steel metal body or frame. A zippered bag will help keep items safe from rain and snow.

Q. Is it easier to push or pull a shopping cart?

A. It depends — what’s comfortable for you may be awkward for someone else. Experiment with different grips and positions to find what works best for you. If a cart is packed to the brim with a heavy load, however, you may find it easier to pull it than push it.

Q. Should I expect a tough assembly process once I receive my shopping cart?

A. No, the majority of shopping carts take mere minutes before they’re ready for a trip. Foldable units are shipped flat, and all that’s required is to unfold them and attach the wheels. An added step with a bag-style unit involves attaching the bag, which takes a few seconds to get done.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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