My quest for the best yard carts began after my father who is 75 sprained his back while trying to haul a sack of fertilizer from the storage shed. As much as I’d like to ask him to refrain from doing things like that at this age, I can’t keep him away from his garden.
So, I decided to gift him a yard cart that’d take the strain off his back if he ever tries to pull that stunt again.
What was surprising for me though, is that yard carts are no longer limited to those clunky wheelbarrows of yore.
Instead, they have been replaced by a slew of compact, durable and ergonomically designed carts that make gardening effortless, especially if you are looking at repetitive hauling of heavy tools, soil or fertilizer.
I was so impressed with some of the models that I bought one for myself even though I have a thumbnail sized urban yard which is a far cry from the monstrous yard at my father’s.
Anyway, here are the best yard carts that I came across while researching these protean wagons. To make my life easier, I spoke to ardent gardeners, registered myself on gardening communities and spend a good amount of time at Sears and Home Depot speaking to salesmen and narrowing down on what would be a good choice for my dad.
#1 – WORX Aerocart Multifunction 2-Wheeled Yard Cart
The first yard cat that I came across was the Aerocart from Worx.
This is a perfect example of sleek design meets practical functionality.
Aerocart is a wheelbarrow styled yard cart that can convert into a bag holder, a cylinder carrier, an extended dolly, a trailer tote, a wheelbarrow, a yard cart and a rock/plant mover.
Worx rightly calls it the 8-in-one work system.
But how does it fare when put to test in a real life scenario?
The Design: The Aerocart is powder coated stainless steel from head to toe. While that adds to the durability, it does make it a tad heavy. The cart weighs about 41 pounds. It has a wheelbarrow styled design with two dolly arms that are 5 inches each in length. It can easily haul up to 300 lbs. However, if you activate the extended dolly feature, the weight capacity is reduced to 80 lbs.
Using the Aerocart: It has a ‘two wheels’ design which make it much better than a conventional wheelbarrow. You can fill it to capacity and yet, it moves easily over bumpy or sandy turf. The caveat is that it has a low volume capacity which is approximately 3 cubic feet. Note that this can be more than sufficient for a small yard. However, if your garden extends beyond a few thousand feet, then you will find this to be a tad small and may have to make repeated passes. Another feature is the standard dolly which at 5-1/4 inches is a tad small for a lot of lawn products. However, in terms of length, the 58 inch length is perfect for moving a lot of long tools and accessories.
Maintenance: The tires are flat-free and do not require maintenance. The rest of the parts are mainly stainless and durably constructed. However, it is still recommended that you store it indoors for risk of it getting rusted.
Verdict: The Aerocart is definitely one of the top choices for the best yard cart in the market currently. However, the limited capacity and the small sized standard dolly made me look at some of the other choices in the market. I must mention that the Aerocart is currently the bestseller on Amazon in the ‘Wheelbarrows’ category.
#2 – Gorilla Carts GOR866D Heavy-Duty Garden Poly Dump Cart
I bought the Gorilla Carts GOR866D from Tricam for my father. This is a heavy duty garden wagon that boasts of a 1200 pound hauling capacity in addition to a steel frame and a bunch of other impressive features that make it one of the best yard carts in the world.
The Design: The Gorilla Carts GOR866D has a wagon styled four-wheel design. The body is made of tough polyethylene which is aptly supported by a steel frame. It is all-black which adds to the sleek appearance of the cart. Maneuverability is greatly improved by a convertible, patented two-in-one handle which can transform into a tow hitch if need be. If you have a large sized lawn and are looking for something reliable to lug firewood or get water, then this is a great feature to have in a yard cart. Weight wise, it is not exactly light at 58.6 pounds. But given the excellent hauling capacity, that is a tradeoff that I’d take any day.
Using the Gorilla Carts GOR866D: Unlike a traditional wheelbarrow, hauling loads is effortless with the gorilla carts GOR866D. It features a 5/8 inch axle which significantly improves movement. Club this with the 13 inch pneumatic tires and you have a cart that moves like a charm even in dust or sand. By the way, you also have the option to choose flat-free tires for your cart instead of the standard ones. One of the best aspects of using the Gorilla Carts GOR866D is the patent pending ‘quick dump’ feature. This allows you to release the contents of the poly dump cart at the press of a lever.
Maintenance: The powder coated steel frame is rust resistant as is the poly cart. The only parts that may need periodic checking is the tires. But you can eliminate that also by choosing flat-free tires instead.
Verdict: I am thoroughly impressed by the Gorilla Carts GOR866D and it is my pick for the best yard cart in the market currently. One of the best aspects is that it is priced under $150 which is incredible.
#3 – Polar Trailer 8376 Utility Cart
I saw the Polar Trailer 8376 at a Sears garden store and the first thing that grabbed my attention was the vintage styled design. This is reminiscent of the old school carts with its oversized tub and large spoked wheels. But it boasts of enough contemporary features including a 10 cubic meter capacity and solid rubber tires which make it surprisingly low on maintenance.
Design: The Polar Trailer 8376 looks simple and old school. It has a durable polyethylene tub that is deep and wide and is perfect for hauling even large sized garden tools. The load capacity is a very reasonable 400 pounds. There is a loop styled handle to allow you to tip over the cart with ease if you wish to shovel directly into it without lifting. There are two 20 inch spoked tires with a robust axle for added balance. The tires are solid rubber and while they will not go flat ever, they are a tad cumbersome to move especially if there are a lot of rocks or stones in the path.
Using the Polar Trailer 8376: Despite what looks like a flawless concept in theory, there are a few niggles in the design. The axle attachment for example is a little too forward that prevents the cart from tipping towards the front for easily loading the haul into it. Also, when filled, the cart tends to tip towards the rear which increases the pressure on the handle. Another minor niggle is the ball bearings in the wheel which seems to be of poor quality. Leave it out and you will most likely be struggling to get it to move in a few months, as many other customers have indicated. These niggles have easy workarounds though. Just be diligent about storing it indoors and add a steel bar just under the tray to allow it to tip forward when empty.
Maintenance: Like most other yard carts, the Polar Trailer 8376 is designed for low maintenance. Everything from the solid rubber tires to the poly cart screams low maintenance. The only maintenance that it will need is periodic lubrication for the bearings.
Verdict: Despite a few minor flaws, the Polar Trailer 8376 is a roomy, durable and sturdy yard cart that will make it extremely easy to haul large sized loads without making repeated passes.
#4 – Marathon Dual-Wheel Residential Yard Rover
Urban green thumbs who do not need a tank sized yard cart will fall in love with the compact design and the budget pricing of the Marathon Dual-Wheel residential yard rover. That’s a funny name for a very versatile cart that can haul up to 300 pounds and will fit in snugly into a corner of your storage room.
Design: Despite being a conventional wheelbarrow styled cart, the Marathon Rover is sleekly designed. It is extremely lightweight at 29 pounds and features a 36 inch long x 27.5 inch wide polyurethane tray with a 5-cubic foot capacity that is perfect for hauling a variety of gardening tools, soil, fertilizers and accessories. It has two air-filled wheels which unlike flat-free tires move around easily even on bumpy turf. To give you perfect control, the Yard Rover features a loop handle with a cushioned grip.
Using the Marathon Yard Rover: The compact design of the poly tray and the cushioned loop handle provide excellent control while maneuvering the cart even when it is filled to capacity. The two wheel design also enables you to tip the cart to either side to facilitate load filling. Also, this is almost ready to use out of the box. All that you will need is a screwdriver and a wrench to assemble this.
Maintenance: The only things that will demand some attention on your part are the air-filled wheels. It is easy to get deflated especially if you are using this among stony or rocky patches of the yard.
Verdict: At under $66, the Marathon Yard Rover gives you unbeatable value-for-money. If you are not looking to spend much for a yard cart, then this is one of the best options that you have.
#5 – Gorilla Carts GOR200B Poly Garden Dump Cart
My final pick in this list of best yard carts is the Gorilla Carts GOR200B from Tricam. This is the smaller and more compact sibling of the Gorilla Carts GOR866D. It has a 600 pound load capacity but retains most of the features of its brethren that makes it such a useful product for farms of all sizes.
Design: For starters, it retains the all-black design that is signature Tricam. A Gorilla Carts Logo is positioned on the sides for easy visibility. The cart is durable polyurethane while the frame is completely stainless steel. The patented convertible handle makes way for a simpler straight handle which has foam padding for comfortable use. On the bottom, it has four 10-inch pneumatic turf tires that will easily roll over any type of terrain.
Using the Gorilla Carts GOR200B: The Gorilla Carts GOR200B provides you with excellent balance irrespective of whether you are pushing or pulling the handle to haul the load. It has a balanced quick-release patented dumping feature which allows you to unload easily without straining yourself too much or exerting too much pressure on the handle. With rust-free parts and Tricam’s durability, the GOR200B is one of the best yard carts in the market.
Maintenance: If you use this to lug around heavy weight (read more than 300 lbs), you will have to get the tires re-pressurized every now and then because it will leak air. Other than that, I don’t see any maintenance issues for this one, like any other yard cart from Tricam.
Verdict: If you were looking for a budget priced Gorilla Cart, then you’ve just found it. The GOR200B is priced under $100. You cannot get anything better at the price point.
Best yard carts buying guide
For newbie yard cart buyers, the market can be a tricky place to navigate through especially when you have salesmen with biased agendas and glossy sales pitches to guide you. If you like to make an informed and wise decision while shopping, then this buying guide will help you make an decision and pick the right one for yourself.
- The capacity: The first and most important thing to consider is the load capacity of the cart. If you are just looking to haul a bag or two of peat moss, then you don’t need a cart that can haul 1000 pounds. But if you have a large lawn, then a cart with an extended capacity can help you immensely by reducing the number of passes you have to make. This brings us to the next important feature.
- The Size: What is the size of the tray that holds the load? This is measured in cubic feet and ideally, anything below 3 cubic feet is considered to be too less unless you have a thumbnail sized urban yard.
- The design: You can find the best yard carts in both two-wheel as well as four-wheel designs. It is a matter of personal preference really because both of these can be equally easy to maneuver.
- The construction: Most yard carts have a steel frame and a polyurethane tray. Both of these are rust-resistant. But there are other parts also, like the axle and the wheel bearings which can start to rust if you are not diligent about maintenance.
- The Wheels: The wheels will determine the maneuverability of the cart. Usually, the rule of thumb is that if you have uneven terrain, you need large wheels. The wheels can be pneumatic, solid rubber or flat-free.
- Loading/unloading: Some carts have integrated features that make it easier to load and unload. For someone who has physical limitations or cannot bend or stoop continually, these features might be a deciding factor while selecting a yard cart.
That sums it up folks. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have anything to add to this or share with us, feel free to mention it in the comments section.