Truck Stop: Buying the Right Hand Trucks For Your Warehouse

A warehouse or commercial business without hand trucks is like a beehive without bees. Hand trucks are indispensable pieces of equipment, keeping your operation moving swiftly and efficiently, whilst making labor-intensive tasks so much easier.

In most cases, they turn a job requiring a team lift into a job just one employee can do on their own, and in way less time, as well. They’re also safer when lifting/moving heavy boxes and equipment, which is important for the health and safety of your employees, whilst also protecting the items you’re moving from potential drops and damage. Best of all they’re inexpensive, with well-built models giving you many years of reliable service.

But not all hand trucks are made the same. There are different varieties; some are the “jack of all trades,” providing versatility and reducing the number of hand trucks you need at hand, while others are specialists that are essential for certain moves. So where do you start, and what kind of hand truck(s) do you need for your particular operation? Let’s get truckin’ and explore.

First Thing’s First: Hand Trucks are NOT Dollies

Let’s bust that common misconception. The terms hand truck and dolly are used interchangeably across different industries, but while they’re both excellent at moving supplies and equipment, they operate quite differently.


A dolly has four wheels and a platform, and still requires a person (or people) to lift the items onto it using either physical force or another piece of equipment.


A hand truck stands vertically instead of flat. It usually has two wheels, although some models have more (a four wheel hand truck is a popular option), and operates by tilting the weight to a point where it’s balanced and easy to move.


Warehouse Hand Truck Considerations


Before choosing the type(s) of industrial hand truck you’ll need, take a look around your warehouse and make note of the following:

1. What are you moving? Is it heavy? Is it bulky, or an awkward shape? Is it delicate or does it require special attention when being moved? All of these can affect the kind of hand truck you’ll need.

2. Where are you moving it? Is your warehouse very large with a lot of open space, or are you on a smaller site with less room? What’s the terrain like (for example, are there stairs to consider) and are you moving items into smaller areas with narrow openings?

3. What’s your budget? Like most things in business, money is always a factor. But remember, buy cheap and you buy twice. So when shopping for hand trucks, spending a little more can give you many extra years of use.


Hand Truck Operation and Application: The How and the Where.


First up, how does a hand truck actually work?


Essentially a hand truck is a class 1 lever (there are three main classes), with the wheels acting as a fulcrum to distribute and mitigate the heavy load on one side. This lever action makes it easy to lift large, weighty objects around your facility.


Operation of a hand truck is straightforward, which is another reason it’s such a popular piece of equipment. Just put the object on the load-bearing platform, or slide it under the item you’re moving, then secure with straps. Once secured, tilting the hand truck towards your body until you reach a balance is all that’s needed. Now you can move up to 1,000 lbs or more on your own, giving one employee the lifting capacity of a 3-4 person team.


When it comes to application, the versatility of hand trucks make them popular choices for warehouses However, they’re also widely used at:


Hand trucks are also widely used at:



Appliance Hand Trucks


When you’re in the business of moving appliances like refrigerators, freezers, washers, driers, dishwashers, vending machines and more, an appliance hand truck is a must-have for your operation. They’re worth their weight in gold, making very tough moves a whole lot easier on your warehouse, delivery, and installation teams.


Here, once again, you have options.


Professional appliance hand trucks are high-quality and heavy duty, featuring strong wheels, high weight capacities, and multiple heights and widths. If stairs are in your future (newsflash - they are) you’ll also need either a heavy duty stair climbing hand truck or a powered stair climber hand truck. And for vending machine moves, we’ve also got your back.


Cylinder Hand Trucks

If you are tasked with providing secure transportation of liquid or gas cylinders, a cylinder hand truck is an essential piece of equipment. With a tubular steel frame construction for long-lasting durability, cylinder hand trucks feature safety holding chains, sturdy wheels, and tilt-back options.


Barrel Trucks, Drum Trucks and Cradles

Got drums and barrels to move? Then a barrel hand truck is definitely in order. Here, you can choose from models that handle 15 gallons, all the way up to drum handlers that can move 800 lbs with ease. Other drum trucks and cradles available include 4-wheel models, low-profile drum cradles, and heavy duty powered drum trucks.


Convertible Hand Trucks

We’ve saved the best ‘til last. Also known as 2-in1 convertible hand trucks, these workhorses are masters of versatility. Specially designed to convert from a two-wheeled vertical/tilting hand truck, to a four-wheeled platform truck in just seconds, they make it easy to load and transport loads of many weights, shapes and sizes.


Within this category you have many options to choose from. Aluminum convertible hand truck models (including 2-in1 and 3-in1) are lighter weight for easier transportation. For greater strength and durability steel is your best bet, with 2-in-1, 3 in-1, and even 4-in-1 options available.


It’s worth noting, price differences are negligible between the models, so look at exactly what you need and if the extra versatility of the 4-in1 will really come in handy over a 2-in-1. You also have specialist convertibles available such as convertible ice hauling hand trucks, multi-function convertible hand trucks, and battery powered options.


If space is an issue, opt for a foldable hand truck. Reliable and convenient, with sturdy platforms and durable wheels, a heavy-duty folding hand truck can handle weights up to 550 lbs whilst still being able to be tucked away into tight spaces when not in use.


Regardless of the kind of hand truck(s) you opt for, you may also need to purchase pallet jack(s) for even greater lifting power. While hand trucks usually top out at around 1,200 lbs load capacity, pallet jacks can handle up to 6,000 lbs. That’s the equivalent of a Ford F-250, and all it takes is one operator. If that’s something you require, our pallet jack buying guide will help you choose the right models.


To sum up, your options really are wide open when it comes to warehouse hand trucks, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for please get in touch with our Global Industrial experts. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to answer your questions and steer you in the right direction.


The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.