Large, strong cart with huge load capacity. Can be towed by ATV or lawn tractor.
A few owners report faults in the paint finish. Some assembly required.
Good capacity. Well made. Folds for easy storage.
Fabric cannot be removed and could puncture with rough treatment.
Simple, lightweight, and low in cost. Just fill and go.
Tendency to tip backward. Wheels could be more durable.
An easy-to-maneuver, zero-maintenance, all-purpose cart.
Tub material can crack under heavy load.
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A good yard cart will serve you well, but with such an enormous range available, it's hard to wade through the offerings to find the best one for your needs. Size, load capacity, construction materials, durability, number and type of wheels ... indeed, there’s a lot to consider.
At BestReviews, it’s our mission to help you find the best product for your particular situation. You can trust our recommendations because we don’t accept free manufacturer samples; we strive for complete impartiality with every product we review.
So which is the best yard cart? The options in our product list, above, cover a broad range of of styles. Each represents the top choice in its group. For a detailed explanation of yard cart styles, load capacities, and more, read on.
When you're trying to choose the best yard cart, you'll come across a variety of different materials. Here’s a look at the most popular ones.
HDPE is high-density polyethylene. Resin is a common name for polypropylene composite. Both are relatively lightweight and, given sufficient thickness, can be very tough.
The danger with cheap yard carts is that the material can be too thin, which can lead to cracking. We advocate for yard cards with thicker HDPE and resin tubs. A terrific benefit: they require no maintenance and are easy to clean.
Wooden yard carts look great, but the finish requires maintenance. Without proper care, the paint or varnish will eventually crack, moisture will invade, and rot will start.
You’ll often find a steel frame underpinning a cart of HDPE, resin, steel mesh, or wood. For strength and durability, steel is tough to beat. But you’ll pay a weight penalty, particularly if the cart is large.
The most important aspect of a steel yard cart is its finish.
Some yard carts with mesh sides are lined with polyester sheeting. This material can help prevent dirt and debris from falling out. It’s light, easy to clean, and surprisingly tough. For maximum durability, we recommend you opt for a thickness of 600D or above.
Polyester sheets don’t tear easily, and their overall integrity stays strong. However, sharp tools and rocks could puncture the material.
Pneumatic wheels carry the risk of puncture, but they spread the load better and make it easier to pull your cart over uneven or soft ground.
When attaching a riding mower to another object, consider taking off the mower deck. With the deck left on, you must worry about clearance and other safety issues.
Wheelbarrows are all about the same size, and due to that size, they can be difficult for people with limited strength to maneuver. Yard carts vary in size, from quite small to exceedingly large. Some consumers see this as a significant advantage.
Here’s a look at five yard cart types that might interest you. Each offers its own load capacity and other specific advantages.
If you want something light and maneuverable, consider a small lawn cart with a tub made of resin or HDPE. These carts weigh as little as 10 or 12 pounds and are ideal for toting bits and pieces around the garden. Common capacities range from 15 to 20 gallons. (A gallon of water weighs eight pounds, so you have a theoretical maximum of 120 to 160 pounds. However, 50 to 70 pounds is a more practical limit for these smaller carts.)
Pros: Small lawn carts are lightwieght, low in cost, and easy to clean. They're ideal for consumers with reduced strength or mobility.
Cons: These carts have a smaller capacity, and cheap models may have durability issues. If you're carrying a long tool (like a rake), the cart could tip over. What's more, the hard plastic wheels could dig into soft terrain. In most cases, however, you wouldn’t be carrying enough weight for this to happen.
If you want something a bit more stable and versatile than a wheelbarrow, consider a yard cart about the size of a wheelbarrow. A yard cart of this size offers greater stability than a wheelbarrow because it has two wheels. These models often sport a moulded, one-piece construction (save the axle and wheels) and are made of HDPE or resin. A weight of 10 to 15 pounds makes them easy to maneuver, and a load of 100 pounds should pose no problem. Some manufacturers claim a load of 200 pounds, but these figures are optimistic.
Pros: These carts are lightweight, low in cost, and fairly easy to clean, though the corners can be tricky. The best in this category are quite durable.
Cons: Cheap carts are prone to cracking, and the small, hard plastic wheels may dig into soft terrain.
If you need to move about 150 pounds, consider a folding garden cart, also called a utility wagon. These carts consume very little space when not in use. A jointed steel frame is wrapped in a polyester sheet, yielding an all-up weight (when empty) of 20 to 25 pounds. Note: polyester sheeting is fairly rugged, but sharp tools and rocks could still pierce it.
Pros: These carts are easy to store. The polyester material holds in items that would fall through a mesh cart. Four wheels offer increased stability, and there are lots of colors available. Some of these carts even have cup holders.
Cons: The fabric cannot usually be detached, and the hinges require periodic oiling. The solid rubber tires are better than hard plastic tires, but they could theoretically still dig into soft terrain. Some people may have trouble rolling the cart when it's folded.
If you're looking for a medium-size yard cart, you’ve got plenty of choices. These carts typically stand on four wheels and sport a steel frame, but the top container could be a poly tub, a plastic tray, or a steel mesh frame. These larger carts tend to weigh at least 30 pounds, but you'll be rewarded with a load capacity of 350 pounds or more.
Pros: These carts tend to have a tough, durable frame. The big tub or basket is capable of carrying heavy, mixed loads. Steel mesh sides can usually be removed, leaving a flat bed.
Cons: Assembly may be required, and the cart may be heavy. Painted frames offer less durability than frames of coated steel.
The largest yard carts are, in essence, big versions of the medium-size ones discussed above. They’re available in the same range of materials and offer most of the same pros and cons. The difference lies in size and load capacity.
The bed of a large yard cart is usually several feet wide (at minimum) and three or more feet long. These models weigh upwards of 60 pounds. As a result, you get yard carts capable of carrying 1,000 pounds or more. To cope with heavier loads, handles are usually dual purpose: they can be pulled by a person but can also be attached to an ATV, riding mower, or powered lawn mower.
The most basic difference between a yard cart and a wheelbarrow is that you pull a cart and you push a wheelbarrow. Because of its one wheel, a wheelbarrow can easily tip over, while carts tend to be more stable.
A wheelbarrow might be a better choice for maneuvering tight corners or narrow aisles. For moving around on inclines and carrying heavy loads, however, nothing beats a yard cart.
When attaching your yard cart to the hitch of a mower or ATV, assess the situation carefully. Make sure your connections are strong and the method in which you load the trailer is carefully thought out. Consult both instruction manuals to put safety first, and take extra caution around slopes and turns.
People have been using wood for hundreds of years, and it’s an undeniably attractive material for a yard cart. However, steel and plastic yard carts are stronger and easier to care for.
So what should you expect to pay for a good yard cart? That depends on the style and size you choose.
Wheelbarrows have a lot going for them, but you can't beat the versatility, flexibility, and flat out load-carrying ability of a good yard cart. You also have a much greater variety to choose from: everything from small hand carts to large models designed for ATVs or riding mowers use fall under the yard cart umbrella.
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