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The Best Folding Hand Trucks of 2023 – Picks from Bob Vila – Bob Vila

By Glenda Taylor and Tiffany Lewis | Updated Oct 14, 2021 5:56 PM
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Capable of moving items that weigh several hundred pounds, hand trucks are indispensable for home and professional use. The best folding hand trucks are made from durable materials and fold neatly so they don’t take up a lot of room in a garage or storage shed when not in use.
The most suitable model depends on the typical weight of the loads you carry, frequency of use, and how far you have to transport the load. The following folding hand trucks are at the top of their class, all valuable assets for home or business applications.
Photo: amazon.com
When shopping for a folding hand truck, the first thing you’ll want to do is make a list of all the items you plan on moving. If you’ll only ever use it for personal items that weigh no more than 110 pounds or so, you don’t need anything heavy duty. But if you plan on moving heavy objects of about 500 pounds, then you’re looking at something completely different. Consider if it is for work or home, how often you plan on using it, and where and how you’ll use it—climbing stairs, inside only, outside only, or both.
What size hand truck you should buy depends on what you need to lift and move. If buying one for personal use to carry your suitcases on a trip or to move lighter objects around the house randomly throughout the year, you won’t need something with a 23-inch by 17-inch footplate that can carry heavy loads up to 750 pounds. A compact hand truck with a 15-inch by 11-inch platform that holds light loads up to 150 pounds will do.
Keep in mind that certain brands offer plate extensions if you end up needing to move something big and awkward. Other times you may just need to purchase a second-hand truck if you think you’ll need something bigger long-term to move larger items.
Folding hand trucks generally come in aluminum, steel, or a combination of the two.
Think about the types of things you plan on moving and how much they weigh—this will give you the weight capacity you need to look for in a folding hand truck. Are you moving into a new home, and will you need to lift heavier items like large appliances? Some folding hand trucks convert from two wheels to four wheels, allowing you to carry heavier items. Do you own a small business, and will you need to receive boxes every week that you can’t quite move without a folding hand truck?
Folding hand trucks come with a capacity as low as 100 pounds and as high as 1,000 pounds. Depending on your needs, you should have no trouble finding one that can do the job.
You will have more control over a folding hand truck by pushing it versus pulling it. And because your body weight assists with the exertion, pushing takes less effort. Also, you risk the chance of the cart running into your shins, calves, or ankles when pulling.
Pushing a folding hand truck over curbs and other obstacles is almost impossible. In these cases, consider portable curb ramps to eliminate having to lift and pull. If you need to pull the folding hand truck over a curb or other object, take note of your posture and follow proper lifting procedures.
Taller folding hand trucks help to avoid back pain. Bending down to push, even for a short amount of time, can make your back sore. Taller folding hand trucks can also provide leverage for lifting objects off the ground.
Once you have a folding hand truck that’s tall enough and a handle that’s the right height, you’ll want to consider the type of handle you need for the job.
When working in colder environments, vinyl grip covers on the handle protect against frigid temps.
Folding hand trucks come with different types of wheels. Some have air, some are made of plastic, and others have solid rubber wheels. If you only use the folding hand truck a few times a year, the type of wheels may not be an issue, but if you plan on using the hand truck daily, weekly, or even monthly, plan accordingly for your needs. Keep in mind that the larger the wheels, the easier it is to push the hand truck around.
Some folding hand trucks will come with two wheels on the handle to allow both horizontal and vertical positioning of the cart—this is called a convertible hand truck.
Here are some additional features you can look for when purchasing a folding hand truck:
Selected based on the shopping considerations detailed above, the following list contains some of the best folding hand truck options on the market in a range of categories.
Use this hand truck at home or the office, or for shopping, business, or travel. This rustproof aluminum hand truck from FULLWATT can hold up to 264 pounds. It comes with a telescoping handle that stretches up to 42 inches long for comfortable load handling. The handle also has a soft rubber foam grip for added comfort.
The hand truck measures 32 inches high, 19 inches wide, and 2.6 inches deep for easy storage when folded. It can be unfolded and used as needed wherever you go, and the rubber wheels will run smoothly over the pavement. For extra load security, the folding hand truck comes with a bungee cord to fasten objects to the truck. The unfolded dimensions are 42 inches high, 19 inches wide, and 20 inches deep.
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Need something with a bit more weight capacity that won’t break the bank? This reasonably priced hand truck from Harper Trucks might do the trick. With a weight capacity of 300 pounds, it allows for decent-size lifts at home and the office. The rustproof and corrosion-free steel construction offers long-lasting durability, and the UV-resistant powder-coat paint won’t fade.
The 8-inch rubber wheels will never go flat and will provide smooth sailing over even surfaces. The hand truck measures 40 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 18 inches deep.
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This high-capacity hand truck from Harper Trucks has a weight capacity of up to 800 pounds. It comes equipped with a belt tightener that fastens the object securely into the hand truck. The tubular frame has non-marking vinyl that faces the appliance to protect a user’s investment.
The 14-gauge steel hand truck has high-quality, glass-filled nylon continuous belt stair crawlers that help a user haul a load up the stairs. It also has a ¾-inch axle for additional strength. This hand truck measures 60 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 11 inches deep.
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This Cosco hand truck is a dependably strong and lightweight model, weighing in at just 15 pounds. Featuring a steel and rigid polyethylene frame, this hand truck can haul loads up to 300 pounds. The convenient design folds flat for storage or transport in the trunk of a car or moving van.
With the simple pull of a handle, the Cosco converts from an upright hand truck to a cart, and the handle extends for enhanced maneuverability. The unit comes with two 5-inch molded polyethylene front wheels and two 2¼-inch back caster wheels for use in cart mode.
The Cosco hand truck measures 13.75 inches wide, and the platform measures 49.25 inches long when in cart mode. The top of the handle reaches 28 inches high, so this model can haul moving boxes, heavy luggage, and even gardening supplies.
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When moving bulky materials on a regular basis, such as stacks of lumber, sheets of drywall, or bags of cement, this stainless steel hand truck fits the bill for indoor and outdoor use. It offers a large platform surface of 35.83 by 24.02 inches for hauling loads up to 660 pounds.
The platform hand truck weighs in at just 26.4 pounds for easy lifting and features a padded hand bar, textured nonslip platform, and four caster wheels that swivel. When not in use, the handle folds flat against the hand truck surface for easy carrying through doorways and storage.
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Folding hand trucks can undoubtedly help with tasks like hauling water bottles, moving into a new home, or carting supplies around an office. Our top choice is the Harper Trucks Convertible Truck and Dolly, which enables users to lift the weight of heavy items on a dolly or cart without getting hurt. For users who need a heavy-duty appliance dolly, we recommend the Harper Trucks Appliance Truck.
Most hand truck users are not moving excessively heavy items; however, our list of recommendations for folding hand trucks includes a number of models that have a high load capacity. This allows buyers to have a hand truck that helps them safely move unexpected heavy items, too. For buyers who move appliances or heavy items frequently, we’ve included a quality appliance hand truck that comes with a strap and strap tightener. This style has a smaller footplate, so it won’t be as effective for moving multiple heavy items like boxes, but there are plenty of other options.
Our favorite picks include several options that are convertible so users can switch between a dolly and a cart. This flexibility increases the number and size of items that can safely be moved with less effort. We also chose a number of materials as some are heavier or lighter than others, which may be an appealing feature for some users. Finally, we made sure to include several options with telescoping handles to make the hand truck more comfortable and easier to maneuver.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a new folding hand truck. If you still have questions about folding hand trucks, the following section may help. Check out these answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about folding hand trucks.
No. A hand truck generally has two—and sometimes four—wheels, always has a  handle, and is commonly used for carrying small items. A dolly is a flat platform with four wheels and no handle and is used for moving large pieces of furniture.
Place the item or items you want to move on the nose plate or platform. If needed, you can secure the load to the hand truck’s frame with a bungee cord. You then tilt the hand truck back, and the weight goes over the wheels. Try to push and not pull a hand truck.
Use a hand truck when you need to move something that’s too heavy to lift on your own.
You should match the hand truck to the types of jobs you intend to use it for. You don’t need something with a high weight capacity if you’re only moving smaller items around the home. And maybe the wheels won’t matter as much either. But if you need to use a hand truck daily or even weekly, you might want to consider something with a durable frame; then select the correct wheels for the terrain you’ll be using it on and get the size that matches the items you’ll be moving.
Hand trucks have various weight capacities. You can find a hand truck that can hold as little as 100 pounds and others that carry as much as 1,000 pounds. Most hand truck weight capacities fall somewhere in the middle.
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