8 Best Hand Trucks | March 2017
- chemical, corrosion and rust resistant
- built-in stair glides for stairs & curbs
- comes mostly assembled
- black powder coated finish
- securely welded joints
- 14" by 7" toe plate
- elastic straps for securing loads
- telescoping handle
- 7" non-marking rubber wheels
- comes in 4 color options
- made of rustproof aluminum
- fits in airline overhead compartments
- wheel guards for heavy load protection
- converts from upright to platform style
- large wheels handle bumps easily
Choosing The Right Hand Truck
A hand truck is an affordable, versatile tool; every home, office, or school should own at least one of these rugged devices. A hand truck can save you time and can prevent injuries caused by lifting heavy loads. And as most hand trucks last for years of use, you need not worry about getting your money's worth from your purchase.
Most hand trucks feature a long U-shaped handle, a wide, relatively narrow toe plate, and two wheels. And for most people and most purposes, that is all you need from your hand truck. The basic hand truck is a must have for relocating stacks of boxes, and can make the process of moving residences, cleaning out or re-stocking offices, or managing a business's busy warehouse or shipping center more efficient.
There are many hand trucks that feature four wheels and which can be used as flatbeds. These options offer the ability to move heavy loads from place to place and are perfect for use in a facility with elevators. This type of hand truck can be harder to manage on a slope when in its four wheeled configuration, but 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.
A hand truck is also a fine tool for less standard uses; one can even be an aid for the traveler. 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 your hand truck once aboard your flight. (They will also easily fit under a bus or in the rack above your train seat as well.)
Hand trucks are also invaluable tools for use in certain professions; they can help the production specialist moving speakers, cameras, or other media gear around a stage or set, the researcher moving gear to a field location, or the caterer bringing foods and beverages to a catering station set up at a wedding or other event. Just make sure to choose an option with larger wheels if you might encounter varied terrain while using your hand truck.
Hand Truck Use And Safety Tips
Make sure you never overload a hand truck; that's true both in terms of its rated weight capacity and your physical abilities. Even though you might think you are able to control a certain amount of weight given the circumstances (moving boxes of files down to an archive, for example), it's important to never exceed a weight limit that you could not also safely manage on 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. And use bungee cords or ropes to secure your load 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. One common device regularly makes use of no fewer than three of those classic devices: the hand truck. It seems like a basic tool and might not attract fanfare as it goes about its duties, but it's an item that anyone moving homes, rearranging an office, or lugging goods around a warehouse would sorely miss were it not available.
First let's discuss the hand truck's use of the lever. A hand truck's 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, of course, a wheel and axle style of simple machine. The pair of wheels used in a hand truck's standard position allow for easy movement of even heavy loads, provided the operator keeps the hand truck properly balanced at the proper angle.
And when it comes to an inclined plane, the hand truck might not have one of these devices built into itself, but when it encounters a 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 will allow a single person to move hundreds of pounds up or down thanks to the fine design of the hand truck.