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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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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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Buying guide for Best stair climbing hand truck

A hand truck is a simple machine that functions as a lever, allowing a person to transport heavy loads with little effort. However, as helpful as a hand truck can be for moving large items, it has one problem: stairs.

It isn’t impossible for a hand truck to navigate up and down stairs, it’s just difficult, and it can be a little dangerous. If you have to move large items up and down steps, the best solution is to get a stair climbing hand truck.

The right stair climbing hand truck has a weight capacity that’s suitable for your needs. It should also have adjustable handles to reduce the strain on your back. If space is an issue, consider a model that folds flat for easier storage.

To make sure you understand how a stair climbing hand truck works and what your options are, it’s beneficial to read a comprehensive buyer’s guide before purchasing. It can also help to review a curated list of the top models so you know what to expect and how much a stair climbing hand truck will cost.

Hand Truck Stairs
One of the most common causes of injury in the workplace is manual handling of heavy equipment. A hand truck can help reduce the risk of those injuries.

How to buy the best stair climbing hand truck 

What defines a stair climbing hand truck?

A stair climbing hand truck is nearly the same as a regular hand truck. It’s a sturdy L-shaped tool with a solid frame and ergonomic handles that lets you move large or heavy objects with ease. A stair climbing hand truck stands out from regular hand trucks and is immediately identifiable because of its wheel design: a regular hand truck has two wheels, while a stair climbing hand truck has six wheels.

How does a stair climbing hand truck work?

The three wheels on each side of a stair climbing hand truck form a rotating triangle. When one wheel runs into the riser of a step, the triangle rotates until the next wheel can gain purchase on the tread of a step. This clever design allows the hand truck to roll smoothly up a flight of stairs. The wheels also rotate when the hand truck is descending a stairway to facilitate that process as well.

Benefits of a stair climbing hand truck

The obvious benefit of using a stair climbing hand truck is it makes transporting heavy loads up and down steps easier. It also makes the process safer, and it’s kinder on your back, as it can reduce back strain. One benefit that isn’t immediately obvious is that when you use a stair climbing hand truck on a level surface, there are four wheels on the ground instead of two, which increases stability.

Hand truck vs. dolly

People often use the words hand truck and dolly interchangeably, but they’re two different items that are used for two different situations. When shopping for a hand truck, know the right terminology so you get the right tool. 

Hand truck: A hand truck has a small platform that rests on the ground and a high back. It has a single axle that serves as a fulcrum. To use it, you place the item on the platform and tilt it back toward you. A hand truck is best for taller loads, such as refrigerators or wardrobes. While you can use it to stack and carry several smaller items, it isn’t the best tool for transporting a load with a lower center of gravity, as the load will have a tendency to tip forward and fall off the platform.

Dolly: A dolly is a platform with two axles (four wheels). A dolly is elevated from the ground, which can make loading heavy items difficult. While a dolly is great for low items, such as microwaves and grills, tall items aren’t as easy to transport due to balance challenges. Dollies come in a wider variety of sizes than hand trucks.

FYS1-Hand Truck for Stairs
For Your Safety
For maximum safety, consider wearing work gloves and a back brace whenever you use a hand truck.
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What features do stair climbing hand trucks have? 

Weight capacity

There’s a tendency to think a hand truck can carry anything, but it can’t. Each model has a weight limitation. Before purchasing, make sure the hand truck you’re considering has a weight capacity that’s suitable for your needs.

Motorized 

While it isn’t the norm for home use, some manufacturers make a motorized stair climbing hand truck. The downside to this feature is it costs several times more than a wheeled stair climbing hand truck.

Deep platform

The platform is the small shelf that supports the items you’re transporting. If it’s too shallow, you won’t be able to safely carry items up and down stairs without securing the load with ties or bungee cords.

Bungee cords slots

To make securing a load easier, look for a hand truck with slots that let you fasten bungee cords securely.

Ergonomic handles with adjustable heights

The best stair climbing hand trucks have adjustable ergonomic handles that extend higher than regular hand truck handles. Longer handles can reduce back strain when you’re climbing stairs with a hand truck.

Folds flat

Unless you work on a loading dock, you’ll only occasionally use your stair climbing hand truck. A model that folds flat can be stored in a closet or under a bed for convenience.

Multidirectional wheels

While rare, some hand trucks feature ingeniously designed wheels that allow you to move the hand truck from side to side as well as from front and back. If this interests you, look for a model with this capability.

Corrosion-resistant materials

You may need to use your hand truck in a variety of weather. For this reason — and for storage purposes — you want a model made with corrosion-resistant material, or, at the very least, with a corrosion-resistant coating.

Warranty

The length of the warranty reveals the faith the manufacturer has in its product. Some hand trucks come with a lifetime warranty on certain parts. If this is desirable, do your research and read the warranty before purchasing.

Concentrate on moving the load one step at a time, resting as needed.

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Accessories you may need with a stair climbing hand truck

Bungee cords

It’s crucial to secure the load to the hand truck, especially when ascending or descending stairs. Bungee cords are the best way to do that.

Moving blankets

If you’re moving furniture or some other item that has a delicate finish, to protect it from nicks and scratches, it’s best to use moving blankets.

Moving straps

While moving straps aren’t an accessory you use with a hand truck, they may be helpful if you have a lot of work to do. These tools are highly adaptable, allowing two people to carry anything from a washing machine to a couch.

FYS2-Hand Truck Stair Climber
For Your Safety
To protect your back, don’t twist, reach, or stretch when transporting a load. 
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How much do stair climbing hand trucks cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable stair climbing hand trucks are often the most versatile. These light-duty, folding options cost between $65 and $100.

Mid-range

Hand trucks in the $100 to $180 range tend to feature a more rugged design, suitable for heavier loads. These models also have deeper platforms but might not fold up for storage.

Expensive 

At the top end of the price scale, you could spend $1,000 or more on a motorized stair climbing hand truck. These models aren’t a good value if you’ll only use them occasionally.

Tips

  • Clear the stairs. Before transporting heavy items up or down the stairs, take a minute to clear the stairs of all possible tripping hazards.
  • Protect the stairs. To keep the stairs from getting damaged, consider covering them with moving blankets. However, don’t walk on the moving blankets, as this could create a tripping hazard. Also, don’t neglect protecting the stair railings.
  • Balance the load. Make sure the load is well-balanced so it doesn’t lean to either side.
  • Secure the load. The best way to avoid accidents is to take a moment to secure the load to the hand truck with bungee cords or other suitable tie-down materials.
  • Don’t overload it. Adding too much weight to the hand truck increases the risk of the hand truck failing.
  • Maintain visibility. Even if a load isn’t too heavy, if it blocks your vision, it isn’t safe.
Stair Climber Hand Truck
Try to match the angle of the hand truck to the angle of the stairs — if the hand truck is upright, it will have a greater tendency to fall.

FAQ

Q. Can I descend steps with a stair climbing hand truck?

A. Yes. A stair climbing hand truck can be used for either ascending or descending the stairs. 

Q. Do I push or pull a stair climbing hand truck?

A. This depends on what you’re doing. If you’re going down a flight of steps or transporting a load on level ground, you’ll want to push the hand truck. When you’re climbing stairs, however, you need to be positioned above the load (for safety) so you can pull it up the stairs.

Q. Does a stair climbing hand truck work on flat ground?

A. A stair climbing hand truck is superior for flat ground. This is because there’s greater stability due to four wheels being on the ground when you’re working on a level surface.

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