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5 Reasons to Avoid a Cheap Wheelbarrow (and the Best Mid-Range Alternatives)

When you’re working on a project around your house, a cheap wheelbarrow isn’t going to cut it. A crummy wheelbarrow can slow you down and make your project take longer than necessary. However, sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got. If you’re tired of battling your wheelbarrow and need reasons to convince your spouse it’s time for a new one, this article is for you!

We’re sharing five reasons to avoid a cheap wheelbarrow and providing options you should consider. Let’s get started!

What Is a Wheelbarrow?

A wheelbarrow is a small cart with long handles, a single wheel at the front, and a couple of legs at the back for support. You’ll commonly see them used during construction and landscaping projects. They ease the burden and increase efficiency for individuals needing to move materials from one location to another. 

Are Metal or Plastic Wheelbarrows Better?

If you have the option, a metal wheelbarrow is better. Plastic wheelbarrows will become brittle from exposure to the sun and tend to be less stable when holding heavier loads. If you overload a plastic wheelbarrow, it could crack or fail completely. A broken wheelbarrow is a useless wheelbarrow.

While metal wheelbarrows are prone to dents, these typically don’t affect their performance. A metal wheelbarrow can develop rust, especially if it has scratches in the paint and water is left sitting in the basin. However, a metal wheelbarrow typically isn’t much more expensive and is worth the added cost.

Is a Dual-Wheel Wheelbarrow Better Than a Single Wheel?

When it comes to dual-wheel and single-wheel wheelbarrows, which is better depends on how you’ll be using it. Dual-wheel wheelbarrows provide tremendous support and make it easier for the individual to carry and push loads. However, they’re wider and harder to maneuver in tight spaces and around corners.

A single-wheel wheelbarrow can be a bit more unstable, though this usually isn’t a problem if you maintain a manageable load. You can be slightly zippier while maneuvering, especially around tight corners. You don’t have to take turns nearly as wide compared to turning with a dual-wheel wheelbarrow.

A dual-wheel barrow is an excellent option if you’re looking for a solid wheelbarrow to help carry loads. Many gardeners and those working on farms will choose this option. However, a single-wheel version can be ideal for working at construction sites where you want to move quicker and through trickier terrain.

Pro Tip: You may not need a wheelbarrow if you live in an RV, but you will love owning These Weird RV Tools Actually Work Wonders.

Dad pushing two kids in wheelbarrow
Spend more money up front and invest in a high quality wheelbarrow. It will save you money in the long run.

5 Reasons to Avoid a Cheap Wheelbarrow 

If your wheelbarrow isn’t cutting it, you’ve likely got your own list of reasons to avoid buying a cheap wheelbarrow. Here is a handful from us so you can make an intelligent choice the next time you buy a wheelbarrow. Let’s jump in.

Prone to Flat Tires

Do you expect a cheap wheelbarrow to come with premium tires? Good, because it’s definitely not going to. Manufacturers aren’t going to waste their time or money putting a solid tire on a cheap wheelbarrow. They’ll likely put the cheapest tire they can find on it. It’ll look fine in the store when you buy it but quickly lose its luster. Don’t be surprised if your wheelbarrow has a flat tire after using it for a time or two.

Easily Break Under Loads

If you’re loading down a cheap wheelbarrow, there’s a good chance something will break. A wheelbarrow’s job is to hold items and their weight while you move them. A cheap wheelbarrow will likely be good at neither of these tasks. If you have to replace it prematurely, you might as well spend the extra few bucks from the start and get a strong and capable wheelbarrow. 

Have Weak Axels

You can’t expect that a cheap wheelbarrow will have an impressive ability to carry large amounts of weight. In fact, some wheelbarrows struggle to carry the advertised maximum capacity. You might even find that an axle bends or breaks while carrying the load. If this happens in the middle of your project, you’ll be in for an incredibly frustrating and painful remainder of your project. 

Develop Cracks From Weathering

Cheap wheelbarrows don’t handle being left out in the elements very well. The intense heat and extreme cold can cause the materials to develop cracks. Whether it’s in the components of the wheels or the plastic tray, once it starts to develop cracks, you’ll realize you’ve wasted your money. Once cracks appear, it’s only a matter of time before you toss the whole thing in a dumpster.

Only Good for Mulch

Cheap wheelbarrows can’t handle incredibly heavy loads without stressing them out or pushing them past their limits. Unless you’re only planning to move small amounts of mulch, you’ll need a beefier wheelbarrow. Sure, a cheap wheelbarrow will get some bigger jobs done, but it will likely throw in the towel and give up on you when you need it most.

Pro Tip: Don’t get stuck without the tools you need. Make sure to have these 5 Essential Tools for RV Living.

Older couple pushing each other in wheelbarrow
A metal wheelbarrow will always be more sturdy than a plastic wheelbarrow.

The Best Mid-Range Wheelbarrow Alternatives

If you’re looking for a few mid-range wheelbarrow alternatives to replace your cheap wheelbarrow, here are a few solid options to consider. Let’s dig in!

Kobalt 6-Cubic Feet Steel Wheelbarrow With Flat-Free Tire

This Kobalt wheelbarrow is only $130. It’s built for professionals but perfect for residential purposes. The heavy gauge tray is extremely durable and tough enough for just about anything you throw at it. 

In addition, it comes with a flat-free tire, meaning you won’t have to stop in the middle of a project due to a flat tire. The steel handles make it easy to carry heavy loads. It weighs 55 pounds. You’ll be able to trust it with your projects for years to come.

CRAFTSMAN  6-Cubic Feet Steel Tray Wheelbarrow

You can’t go wrong when choosing any tool or piece of equipment with the CRAFTSMAN name on it. The company is renowned for crafting some of the industry’s finest and longest-lasting products. 

This wheelbarrow has a steel frame, steel tray, and sturdy steel handle. It’s hard to believe this wheelbarrow only weighs about 45 pounds since just about every piece on it is solid steel!

Despite its solid construction, premium materials, and the CRAFTSMAN name, the $110 price tag won’t break the bank. You should be able to trust this wheelbarrow with many future projects.

JACKSON  6-Cubic Feet Wheelbarrow With Flat-Free Tire

If there’s a Lexus brand for wheelbarrows, it’s JACKSON. These wheelbarrows are some of the most popular ones used by professionals. The steel tray is one of the toughest in the industry and can take abuse from even the most demanding projects. The patented leg stabilizers help you get a solid footing when placing the wheelbarrow down.

The foam-filled tires and solid construction combine to weigh about 55 pounds. This wheelbarrow is worth every penny of the $150 price tag. You can start checking off the items on your to-do list as soon as you pick this one up.

Don’t Trust a Cheap Wheelbarrow

If you’re planning to use a wheelbarrow regularly, don’t buy a cheap one. You can’t trust it. You want to have confidence that your wheelbarrow isn’t going to let you down when you go to use it. 

The price difference between a very cheap and mid-range wheelbarrow isn’t worth the frustration and stress. Spend a few extra bucks and finish your jobs quicker and with less stress by getting a quality wheelbarrow.

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