A Guide to Choosing the Best Wheelbarrow
If you find yourself cursing every time you use your wheelbarrow, perhaps it is time for a new one. Is the wheel on yours bent causing an irritating squeak, are the handles too short, or does it always tip when you are pushing it?
Choosing a wheelbarrow needs to have thought put into it to avoid mistakes that will lead to backaches, headaches, and just plain frustration. In years gone by, people would just purchase what was on offer at their local garden center or hardware store, now online, you can choose one to suit you, not one to suit just anyone.
One, Two or Four Wheels
This is a choice of personal preference. If you are a traditionalist, you may opt for just one. Two wheels adds stability for heavy loads. Four wheels turns your wheelbarrow into a wagon. Instead of pushing, you will be pulling.
Each of these has pro and cons. Much of it depends on what type of work you will be doing with it. Do you carry heavy loads or mostly leaves. Do you have mobility problems? Are you quite tall or short? These are all considerations to be taken into account before making a purchase.
On our farm, I use a wheelbarrow, almost daily. My load varies from using it to carry gardening tools around our 8 acres to moving anything from leaves to sand.
For me, I need something which is stable because our ground is uneven. I also want a barrow that is deep so I don't have to make endless trips back and forth.
The handle or handles have to be long enough so I don't stoop over. Also with this one, I can easily tip my load out forwards because of the two wheels. If you've ever had to tip a heavy load with one wheel, it often spills to the side. For me, this two wheeled barrow is ideal.
Before you decide on a wheelbarrow there are some serious questions you need to ask yourself. What will it be used for? Is this just going to be used for moving garden debris such as leaves and clippings?
If you are planning to use this for mucking out stables, or moving manure, compost, or logs you may need something more substantial.
Will you be using this for construction purposes? Moving cement, gravel or bricks will require something extremely robust. A real workhorse of a wheelbarrow.
Then you need to think about who will be using it. If it just yourself, a child, an older person or even someone tall. These are things to take into consideration before making your purchase. If this is for a child, there are numerous ones on the market. They are sturdy enough for them to help with the work but not suitable for an adult.
If a person has mobility problems, such as an older person, a two wheeled wheelbarrow will probably be easier for them to maneuver. The weight will also need to be a consideration as a wheelbarrow that is too heavy is harder to steer.
If the user is tall, a wheelbarrow with short handles will lead to backache very quickly.
You need to consider the construction of the barrow, Do you prefer metal or a composite material? Is it already assembled or if not how easy will it be to assemble it. How heavy is it? If you need to store it, what is the width. Will it fit through your gate or storage shed door. Does it fold down?
Storage for Wheelbarrow
If you have only a small space for storage, you could consider a foldaway wheelbarrow. This will allow it to be put into smaller spaces in your shed. This also is handy if you have a passageway that is narrow. Although less robust than a conventional wheelbarrow, they allow you easily move lightweight debris.
What type do you prefer?
If you feel you would prefer a wagon for your gardening and general moving, there are many to choose from. The obvious difference is, instead of pushing you are pulling. You may not have thought about wagons since you were a child when most of us had one. The principle is the same but the sturdy construction makes wagons a popular choice for garden clearance.
If you find using a wheelbarrow difficult due to back problems, this could be your answer. The strain will be in the pulling shoulder and across the chest.
© 2012 Mary Wickison