9 Best Hand Trucks | June 2017
- built-in elastic straps secure loads
- not ideal for use on uneven terrain
- wheel locking mechanism is finicky
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- fits in airline overhead compartment
- made of rustproof aluminum
- rather short at only 39 inches
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- 62-inch telescoping handle
- heavy-duty base plate
- cumbersome dolly-to-truck conversion
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- price is quite reasonable
- ball bearing casters
- base platform is a bit small
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
- 400lb load capacity
- sleek black and silver finish
- it's rather heavy
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- crossbar keeps loads from falling
- molded hand grips for comfort
- 10-year limited warranty
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
- easy one-handed operation
- works as a dolly and stair climber
- helpful user manual is included
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
- bright red powder-coated finish
- arrives fully assembled
- engineered in the usa
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- pneumatic wheels and swivel casters
- components are easy to replace
- extremely durable construction
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Choosing The Right Hand Truck
A hand truck is an affordable and versatile tool that benefits a variety of homes, offices, and schools. Such a device can save you time and prevent injuries caused by lifting heavy loads.
Most hand trucks feature a long U-shaped handle, a relatively narrow toe plate, and two to four wheels. The basic hand truck is a necessity for relocating stacks of boxes and it can significantly simplify the process of moving residences, cleaning out/re-stocking offices, or managing a business's busy warehouse and shipping center. Four-wheeled hand trucks can be used as flatbeds and they offer the ability to move heavy loads from place to place, making them useful for facilities with elevators. While this type of hand truck can be harder to manage on a slope when in its four-wheeled configuration, it is otherwise a fine choice for many applications. If you think you might benefit from both the traditional two wheeled lever style arrangement and from a four wheeled flatbed, then this is the type of unit to choose.
If you have physical limitations due to age or infirmity, loading your baggage onto a compact, collapsible hand truck is a great way to reduce the burden of carrying heavy suitcases. There are several folding hand trucks that can fit into the overhead luggage compartment of most aircraft, so you can safely stow the device once aboard your flight.
Hand trucks are also invaluable tools for use in certain professions. For example, they can help the production specialist move speakers, cameras, and other media gear around a stage or set. A researcher can use one to transport equipment to a field location. Even the restaurateur can leverage its benefits for bringing foods and beverages to a catering station set up at a wedding or other event. That said, one must be sure to choose an option with large wheels to withstand the movement on varied types of terrain.
Hand Truck Use And Safety Tips
When considering a hand truck's rated weight capacity and one's own physical abilities, it is important never to overload the device. Even though you might think you're able to control a certain amount of weight given the circumstances (e.g. moving boxes of files down to an archive room), it's important to never exceed a weight limit that you could not otherwise safely manage when traversing an incline. A load that feels manageable on a flat surface might suddenly run away from you as you encounter a slope.
When preparing to use your hand truck, make sure to apply downward pressure to the top of a stack of boxes, boards, tile, or whatever else you have loaded onto the unit. During the moment at which you apply pressure, it's common for the items you want to lift to be pushed away from the hand truck, potentially toppling over. A bit of steady pressure should be all that's needed to encourage them to go with the toe plate rather than fall away from it.
Never pile items higher than the handle of your hand truck. Only an item that can rest against the back of the unit while the hand truck is tilted can be safely managed. The exception involves single boxes or items large enough to rest on the toe plate and still reach higher than the handle, such as with a fridge or piece of furniture. The use of bungee cords or ropes to secure your load is also a good idea whenever possible.
The Hand Truck As A Simple Machine
There are several basic simple machines: the lever, the wheel and axle, the inclined plane, the screw, and the pulley. The hand truck is one common device that regularly makes use of no fewer than three of these more rudimentary tools. While the hand truck may appear simple in design as it goes about its duties, it's still an item that has garnered true appreciation from anyone who's experienced the trials and tribulations of moving homes, rearranging an office, or lugging goods around a warehouse.
First let's discuss the hand truck's use of the lever. Its long handle serves as the generator of force, while its wheels and axle act as the fulcrum. Any heavy objects stacked atop the hand truck's toe plate will be lifted and then balanced with great ease thanks to the unit's innate leverage.
That same set of wheels that serves as fulcrum to the hand truck's lever also acts as a wheel and axle. The pair of wheels used in a hand truck's standard position allow for easy movement of heavy loads, provided the operator keeps the hand truck properly balanced and at the appropriate angle.
When a hand truck encounters an inclined plane in the form of a ramp connected to a truck, or laid out over a stair case, the combined action of the inclined plane, the lever, and the wheel and axle allows a single person to move hundreds of pounds up or down, depending on their needs.