The Best Wheelbarrows for Backyard Gardeners (2020 Update)
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The Best Wheelbarrows for Backyard Gardeners

Written by Joseph Biggs and updated on October 6, 2017
Choosing the best wheelbarrow

Whether you’re growing tomatoes or tulips in your backyard garden, chances are you’ll have to move dirt, pots, and tools around at some point. A wheelbarrow will not only strengthen your gardening game; it’ll make your life a whole lot easier. Let’s take a look at the best wheelbarrow for backyard gardeners.

How to Choose A Wheelbarrow

Just like with most things in life, the best quality wheelbarrows come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Unless you plan on becoming more than a casual backyard gardener, you don’t need to buy the most expensive, top of the line model on the market.

Here are a couple of things to look at when deciding on the best wheelbarrow for you and your garden:

Material – Plastic or Steel?

This is something important to consider when shopping for your wheelbarrow. Regardless of which you go with, you’ll want to make sure that the material is durable and easy for you to move around.

Plastic is lighter, so that’s a plus if you don’t want to start out with an empty wheelbarrow that's already heavy. They’re usually less expensive and easier on your back and joints since you won’t have such a heavy load. On the other hand, plastic can’t hold as heavy of a load as one made from steel. Thankfully I have my husband around to help me with the heavier piles.

Steel is the workhorse of materials. It’s durable, can hold heavier loads and is the more common of the two. Now before you run out to get a steel wheelbarrow, remember that steel is also prone to rust, so you should make sure you have someplace to store it that will protect it from the elements.

How Many Wheels Do You Need?

We’ve all seen the movies where the farmer is pushing the wheelbarrow only to see it fall over and have everything spill out. Yes, it does happen. This is where the great wheel debate comes in.

One or two wheels?  One wheel does have its pros. It’s easier to maneuver and to tip over to empty the load. At the same time, it takes more strength to keep it under control and prevent it from falling over before you get where you’re supposed to go.

Two wheels solve the balance issue, but it won’t be as easy to maneuver around. Oh, and if you have hills in your yard, the two-wheeled wheelbarrow won’t be your friend.

Next, we ask what kind of wheels or tires you want. The solid rubber, or non-pneumatic, won’t go flat, but they won’t ride as smooth. The pneumatic, which have an inner tube just like a bike, are easier to manage and will give you that smoother ride, but just like your bike, you should keep an eye on the pressure to make sure you don’t get a flat. 

To Wheelbarrow or Not To Wheelbarrow?

That does seem to be the question, doesn’t it? I guess the easiest way for you to answer is to decide whether you are ready to take your gardening to the next level. If you’re ok with spending most of your time transporting dirt little by little, then maybe you can continue sans wheelbarrow.

But, if like me, you don’t have the time to mess with tearing fertilizer bags and small shovelfuls, then it may be time to invest in a gardener’s wheelbarrow. I know, who has time to for most things, let alone researching the best wheelbarrows for gardeners? Keep reading to see my top five picks for the best-rated wheelbarrow, and at the end, I’ll narrow it down to the best wheelbarrow to buy to up your gardening game.

The WORX Aerocart was, hands down, the best quality wheelbarrow I found. It’s versatile and perfect for those of us who don’t need to haul 600 lbs. of rocks or dirt. But it will haul up to 300 lbs. at max, and the ergonomic lift feature makes a 200 lb. load feel like 17 pounds!

Through 10/25/17, get 15% off the WORX Aerocart with this coupon code on Amazon: 15WORX15

It easily converts from a 2-wheeled yard cart to a dolly to a wheelbarrow. Talk about getting more bang for your buck! Its handles are ergonomic, extendable and can be used to carry bags, flower pots or anything else you need to hang there.

The all-steel construction is very durable, and with two flat-free oversized tires, you won’t have to worry about it falling over before you’re ready to dump it out. Out of all five reviewed, it’s by far the best wheelbarrow for the money.

  • Versatile and convertible for three tools in one
  • Easy to assemble
  • Wheels tackle uneven ground well
  • Won’t fall over easily
  • Best for the backyard gardener, not a professional
  • Small-ish capacity, only 3 cubic feet of space
  • Harder to push since the wheels are not inflatable

So for those of us that like a few more options when it comes to our wheelbarrows, the Marathon Dual-Wheel Residential Yard Rover Wheelbarrow and Yard Cart is available in 4 different colors – pick from green and gray, red, green and black, or pink.

The two large, air-filled tires make it easy to balance and maneuver across grass, gravel and even the uneven terrain of a yard that isn’t quite done. Can’t push it? The cushioned shopping cart-like handle makes it easy to pull your wheelbarrow along behind you.

Live in an area that isn’t quite as temperate as others? The rust-proof poly tray is durable and will haul up to 300 lbs to get that garden going. No wonder it’s one of the top rated wheelbarrows I found!

  • Easy for anyone in the family to use
  • Perfect for those small gardening projects
  • Keep an eye on the tires; they can go flat
  • Not the best for heavy duty jobs

Lightweight and not too big, the Smart Garden Cart is ideal for any backyard gardeners just starting out. It comes pre-assembled, so you don’t have to hassle with putting everything together. Its thick plastic makes it durable, so it’ll hold up just fine whether the tub is filled with potting soil or a few little helpers.