Material Handling by Hand: The Best Hand Truck for the Job

If you’ve had to move loads of anything by hand, you’re probably aware that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to doing so. The proper equipment can mean the difference between a smooth, productive job and a frustrating, inefficient, protracted, and even dangerous one.

Knowing that, however, doesn’t necessarily guarantee understanding what the right hand truck for the job is. With that in mind, the following is a quick guide outlining which hand truck works best in certain situations. It’s by no means fully comprehensive, as every job has details, challenges, and features that make it unique. But hopefully, it helps.

Traditional Hand trucks

The hand truck is the workhorse of the materials handling gear suite and is ideal for carrying boxes, bags, books, packages, smaller appliances, etc. Basically, if what you need to move is relatively small and/or stackable, a hand truck is a strong choice for the job. They’re also quite maneuverable and easy to use.

But keep in mind that basic hand trucks do have some limitations. For instance, they can be tricky to maneuver over uneven terrain and challenging to use if one is trying to move large, broad, long, or otherwise awkwardly shaped items. If you’re trying to transport something sizeable, a standard hand truck’s relatively small L-shaped platform might not provide enough room for your cargo.

Hand Lift Truck

The hand lift truck is like a miniature, hand-operated forklift. Its powered platform can lift hundreds of pounds of material in and out of spaces that forklifts can’t access, and they do so without requiring that the user have super-human strength. Some hand lift trucks are powerful enough to lift a car wheel (attached to a car) off the ground, providing access to the undercarriage. If your business or domestic work involves the repeated moving of heavy loads and you don’t want to shell out for a forklift, consider a hand lift truck.

Stair Climbing Cart

Stair climbers are hand trucks that are either powered to climb up and down stairs or are outfitted with the specialized glide bars, wheels, sometimes brakes, and other features or accessories that are engineered to make a hand truck stair-friendly.

If you have work that involves moving anything up and down stairs, a stair climbing cart is well worth it. Using a basic hand truck or other equipment to move loads up and down stairs can not only result in whatever you’re carrying taking a tumble down those stairs, it can prove dangerous for the mover and anyone else on or nearby the stairs. If you’re considering buying a hand truck, look for one that can accommodate a stair climbing conversion kit, which can be purchased inexpensively.

Appliance Hand Truck

The appliance hand truck is the hand truck-plus. Specifically designed for moving big, bulky appliances, the appliance hand truck has a weight/load-bearing capacity that is generally twice as much, at least, as that of the traditional hand truck. They typically come equipped with four wheels with the additional two wheels usually controlled by a lever near or attached to the handle that can rapidly deploy or retract the extra wheels quickly. Appliance hand trucks are also usually fitted with a robust braking system to prevent the truck from rolling out of control under heavy loads.

Whichever hand truck you choose, make sure it’s a high-quality model from a company with a good reputation, such as Magline, who has been in the business of providing material transporting solutions for over 70 years. After all, a hand truck is the last tool you want failing while in use.

About Magline

Magline is the material handling industry’s premier provider of material transporting solutions. The Magline name has become a byword for safe, effective, reliable, and trustworthy loading, unloading, and transport of everything that keeps your business going. Magline has provided products of the highest quality for more than seven decades. They are committed to furnishing equipment that works as hard as you do.

Learn more about Magline’s tradition of safety and excellence at

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