Choosing The Best Wheelbarrow – Buying Guide 2023

Wheelbarrows are an essential piece of equipment, especially when undergoing any sort of renovation work. I’ve written this article to to arm you with the knowledge needed to pick the best Wheelbarrow for your job this year.

As springtime comes around it’s finally getting warm enough to venture out of the house for more than a few painful minutes.

Gardening is usually first on the agenda, I don’t know about you but during winter my garden becomes like a scene from Narnia, overgrown loved and embarrassingly unkempt.

This is where I whack out the lawnmower and all my outdoor garden gear and get to work.

In this article, I’ll go over how to pick the best wheelbarrow for you. Had I taken these tips last year and bought a wheelbarrow I’d have saved myself hours of lugging around debris and had my garden sorted out much quicker.

What job are you doing with your wheelbarrow?

Wheelbarrow-for-construction

First things first, you need to know what jobs you’ll be doing, can’t buy the best wheelbarrow for the job if you don’t know what job it’ll be doing. For example, you wouldn’t want a flimsy plastic wheelbarrow for removing heavy debris. Unless of course you were prepared to make more frequent trips.

Sure you’ll manage but steel wheelbarrows can carry more weight! Here is a list of jobs that you may be taking on with a wheelbarrow.

1. Using Wheelbarrows for DIY jobs

A wheelbarrow near some tiles

During DIY you make a mess, we all do, and clean up is always the worst.

Wheelbarrows allow you to efficiently get rid of any offcuts or unused materials quickly and painlessly.

You may also use a plastic wheelbarrow to mix cement which ends up saving loads of time.

Not only do you save time using a wheelbarrow taking debris away, you can also use it to bring materials to your workshop.

2. Using Wheelbarrows for Garden Work

An orange vaunt wheelbarrow filled with logs

When gardening a wheelbarrow has many uses such as transporting grass, branches, stumps leaves, soil, and many more garden associated materials. Wheelbarrows are great when you need to refresh your bark supply as well, giving the tool an incredible number of tasks that it is helpful for.

A plastic wheelbarrow will do all of the above and do it well. However, there may be a better tool for the job. When using a wheelbarrow for garden work we’d recommend a garden cart rather than a traditional wheelbarrow. Garden carts feature 4 wheels and can carry a decent weight. Some garden carts are foldable and easy to store away others are sturdier making them great for moving broken branches etc around.

3. Using Wheelbarrows for Construction Work

Wheelbarrows are on of the most useful bits of kit on site. They allow you to efficiently move and remove materials from one place to another without wasting energy.

Wheelbarrows are used in numerous construction jobs such as:

  • Moving Sand, Dirt and rubble away from building site
  • Transporting building materials to and from different parts of the site
  • Mixing and transporting cement
Wheelbarrow on stie Copy

4. Using Wheelbarrows for Cement Mixing

Often overlooked, when using cement being mobile improves the efficiency of which you can work.

Mixing batches of cement in a wheelbarrow can save the cost on a cement mixer, so if you’re doing a small job or DIY project this could be a perfect alternative.

Understanding your needs from your ideal wheelbarrow makes it much easier to create a tick list of features that you need to get the job done!

Once you know what you’ll be doing with your wheelbarrow you can start to get into the nitty-gritty of what it is you need.

a wheelbarrow filled with cement

What Separates a good wheelbarrow from the best wheelbarrow

The best wheelbarrow is one that will do everything you need it to do, carry the weight you need, not strain your muscles and do this whilst being smooth to carry around this means that everyone’s “best wheelbarrow” will be different. Here are some things to consider when shopping around that should help you find your best.  

What are you carrying?

The material you’re carrying in your wheelbarrow will greatly impact the type of wheels and the body of your wheelbarrow. If you’re working with bricks and masonry, you’ll want heavy duty wheels and a steel wheelbarrow capable of carrying a lot of weight.

If you’re making trips back and forth full of grass / gardening debris into a skip you may want a light and mobile wheelbarrow that causes less stress on the joints over long trips.

That being said, if you’re likely to leave your wheelbarrow outside to weather the elements then a steel wheelbarrow may gather rust so you’ll want a galvanized wheelbarrow. The available combinations are vast, so rather than list them all, here’s a guide to the wheelbarrow feature.

Galvanised Wheelbarrows

a steel wheelbarrow

Galvanised wheelbarrows aim to fix steel’s rust issues; the steel is dipped in a layer of zinc to protect the steel. Galvanised wheelbarrows are usually a bit heavier than their steel counterparts but if comparing to the jump in weight from plastic to steel the weight difference is unnoticeable. This makes galvanized steel a more attractive choice than steel in most situations.

Steel Wheelbarrows

Steel wheelbarrows are usually a lot stronger than their competition, albeit heavier. This makes them great for carrying heavy loads. This can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage as the heavier weight of the wheelbarrow will be an annoyance when carrying lighter loads. Also, as steel is prone to rust it is best to not leave outdoors, if you do purchase a steel wheelbarrow ensure you have somewhere to keep it out of the elements.

metal wheelbarrow

Plastic Wheelbarrows

an orange wheelbarrow

Plastic is light inexpensive and flexible. This makes it great for lightweight wheelbarrows, the issue being its durability. Plastic Wheelbarrows make up most of the consumer market with most user not needing to carry heavy loads all day. However, if you are in the need of something heavy duty plastic will not cut it for you.

What about Wheelbarrow Wheels?

Choosing the right wheel can take some time, here are 3 options with a brief explanation.

an infographic explaining the difference between vaunts 3 wheels 
heavy xl duty , standard heavy duty
and puncture proof wheels

Standard Wheels

A standard looking black wheelbarrow wheel

The bog-standard wheels, they usually come with the wheelbarrows. In general, these wheels will have a slightly higher carry capacity than puncture proof wheels, they’re also slightly wider so more manoeuvrable.

  • Strong but lightweight plastic centre
  • Simple tread pattern is suitable for wet or dry conditions
  • Quick & easy to fit
  • High profile tire is ideal for maneuverability & rough site conditions
  • For use with Vaunt Challenger Wheelbarrows

Heavy Duty Wheels

Holding up to 400Kg these wheels are not only big but also wide, this makes them easier to maneuverer and less likely to tip over.

  • Strong but lightweight plastic centre
  • Wide, complex tread aids grip in all weather conditions
  • Quick & easy to fit
  • Super high profile tire is ideal for maneuverability & rough site conditions
  • For use with Vaunt Challenger Wheelbarrows
Heavy duty XL wheelbarrow wheel

Puncture Proof Wheels

A standard looking wheelbarrow wheel with a perticular tread pattern

There are a variety of puncture proof tires on the market, all working to various weights etc, with so many methods of puncture proofing I’ve decided to look at the Puncture proof wheel from Vaunt. Vaunt uses foam wheels to prevent punctures up to a load capacity of 150KG.

  • Puncture Proof
  • Eradicates down time & costly repairs
  • Quick & easy to fit
  • Durable material for very long-life, ideal for site work
  • For use with Vaunt Challenger Wheelbarrows


Wheelbarrow Handles are customisable depending on the brand you choose

Standard Handles

Standard handles do come in different variations, more specifically the material of the handles is usually different brand to brand, that and the thickness of grip needed to carry weight. Rubber handles are decent and provide great grip but are prone to cracking over time and once the crack you’ll lose more and more rubber over time. Plastic handles provide less grip than their rubber counterparts but tend to be a bit more durable.

ITip Rotating Handles

rotating wheelbarrow handle

ITIP rotating handles are the perfect partner for your wheelbarrow, sack truck, cement mixer and much more. ITIP handles rotate on an axis whilst keeping the wheelbarrow at the same height. This allows you to always keep a comfortable hand grip whilst carrying your load. The rotating handles from ITIP increase your safety at work as well as decrease RSI and jarring issues on the job. They’re easy to fit to numerous wheelbarrows and once you try them, you’ll wish you never went without them.

What about Wheelbarrow Arms?

Wheelbarrow arm length

Wheelbarrow arm length and height both have a key role to play in determining how effectively the load of weight is distributed, too short and the wheelbarrow is easier to tip over, making the load harder to balance especially on one wheel, it does however make it less burdening to carry.

What do you look for when buying a wheelbarrow? We’d love to know what you think. Feel free to comment below and let us know! With the windiest months ahead of us and the cold weather coming to an end, a wheelbarrow is a great investment for all that pending garden work that’s been put off. You can find all our wheelbarrows here.

Makita’s Electric 36v Wheelbarrows

YouTube player

At some point in 2023 Makita’s 36v Wheelbarrows should be available to purchase. The DCU603, DCU604 and DCU605 have 4 18v LXT battery slots operating at 36v meaning they’ll use 2 batteries at a time with 2 backup.

If you’re already invested in Makita’s battery technology then this could be a great choice of wheelbarrow. These wheelbarrows are heavy duty sporting a metal chassis and 3 different loading platforms to choose from:

  • Flat Bucket – This wheelbarrow has a deep bucket allowing you to carry a load of up to 295L, it also has a tap which can be used to drain water without lifting!
  • Pipe Frame Carrier – great for carrying sacks of materials to and from the job, the pipes extend outwards giving more surface area to stack bags, pallets anything you can fit on it!
  • Dump Bucket – This version has a 200L bucket which is smaller than the flat bucket, however the added benefit here is that you can easily and quickly dump your load by lifting the bucket, making this an efficient wheelbarrow for quickly removing dirt and rubble.

If you’d like to read more about Makita’s gardening range, check out this article on Makita garden power tools


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