When working in an outdoor environment, there will come a time when heavy loads of garden waste need to be transported from site to site. Buckets, baskets and trugs are fine for hauling small quantities of detritus, but top of the tipping tree sits the wheelbarrow.
Steeds with one to four wheels are available with a choice of capacities to suit all requirements, but where to cast your money?
When choosing a barrow, consider what will be its main task. For garden work, you’ll most probably be using it to lug around green organic waste, so you’ll want something with a large capacity pan. Something in the region of 75l-120l should see you right.
For heavier work, such as shifting building materials and stone, a barrow of strong construction is more of a concern. Look for barrows with front wheel supports and steel chassis for extra rigidity.
Both users will benefit from pneumatic tyres that reduce vibration when wheeling over uneven surfaces, but gardeners working around and among thorny plants may wish to gravitate towards wheels that promise protection from punctures.
And, finally, a note on capacities: manufacturers tend to list the load capacities in kilograms when it’s a heavy-duty wheelbarrow. For the average gardener, litre capacity is more relevant as the their barrow will tend to be used for transporting large amounts of lighter materials, such as weeds, grass clippings and so on.
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Haemmerlin polypropylene ‘pick up’ wheelbarrow: £96, Garden Chic
This racy, large-capacity barrow cuts a dash through the cabbage patch with its vibrantly coloured, jumbo-sized (110l) polypropylene pan. We were especially fond of the top tool notch that prevents rakes and whatnot from sliding around when the barrow is going full pelt around the garden. The handy tipper bar made it easy to hoist the pan and fling the barrow’s contents onto a willing compost heap or dung pile. Available in bright yellow or green with a choice of either puncture free or pneumatic tyres.
Sherpa large garden trolley cart: £119, Machine Mart
Two wheels good, four wheels even better? These handy hand carts are a common sight at flower shows and country fairs to transport garden goods and tantrumming children from showground to carpark. Maximum load capacity for this monster is 300kg – that’s nearly 10 standard bags of compost. The steering axle make it extremely manoeuvrable and you can drop down or remove the sides completely to convert it into a (small) flatbed truck, should you so wish. Each of the wheels are puncture-proof, too.
Chillington Camden classic black wheelbarrow 85L: £15, B&Q
One of the ultimate tests of any piece of equipment is how long it will last in the hands of a builder, and this sturdy steel workhorse is a construction site favourite. It’s a no-frills barrow with pneumatic wheels and no tipping mechanisms to crow about, but offers up a balanced ride thanks to its elongated pan (85l) and long handles. Its narrow profile makes it a good choice for negotiating narrow allotment pathways. Available in stealthy black or galvanized zinc.
JFC TWB-250 jumbo tipping wheelbarrow: £295, Small Holder Equipment
Principally designed for the stable yard where the transportation of manure from horse house to poop pile is a daily task, this gigantic 255l barrow is large enough to cope with a Grand National’s worth of incontinent equines. It’s a bit of a beast to push around – especially when fully laden – but the solid galvanised metal chassis and chunky, pneumatic wheels help to ease the load. The tipping mechanism operated smooth and simply. Comes in pink, purple or blue – and there’s an even bigger 400l barrow available if needed.
Baksaver barrow: £130, Green Fingers
This elegant 80l barrow, with a powder-coated steel frame and galvanised pan, is a fine choice for those who wish to take the strain out of lumbersome gardening tasks. It has pneumatic tyres and is built with a small rear wheel which makes tight rotational manoeuvres a breeze – you can perform a 360 pirouette if there is cause for a spot of barrow ballet. It’s also super-easy to engage the tipping mechanism: just shove your boot on the catch, ease down on the handles and up pops the pan. Perfect.
Bullbarrow bullcart: £55, Bullbarrow
This barrow cuts an unusual figure, but its long singular handlebar makes for a surprisingly stable, easy push. The low-slung 85l pan makes it easy to load and unload, and should you accidentally tip up during a fast, mistimed cornering manoeuvre, the contents of your barrow won’t have to fall very far. It has two pneumatic wheels and solid galvanised frame. Seven colours are available, including racing green and hot rod red.
Maingate clipper wheelbarrow: £64.99, Sam Turner & Sons
With its monster-truck wheel and mountain bike grips, this barrow is a decent choice for those wishing to race garden waste across rough, uneven ground. In full flight, the ball-bearing-powered, pneumatic wheel ran smooth and true – the square tipper bar held the barrow secure when the barrow was stored against the shed, post-workout. The polypropylene pan on this barrow offers up a capacious 90l of storage.
Walsall Easiload barrow in a box: £46.99, Screwfix
The Walsall Wheelbarrow company (not to be mistaken for a gang from Peaky Blinders) has been supplying the nation with wheelie wonders for more than 60 years. This Easiload wheelbarrow comes in a box (a large, barrow-shaped box) for easy shipping and storage. A spot of assembly is required to attach the frame and wheel to the pan but, once fully assembled and set to task, it feels strong and light, with plenty of space for waste in its 85l/125kg pan. Pneumatic wheels and puncture-proof wheels are both available. We’d advise to plump for the latter if you plan to push your barrow over thorny ground.
The Verdict: Wheelbarrows
The Baksaver was a neat mover with some nice innovation, but our money goes on the Haemmerlin – a classic, durable barrow, perfect for the allotment or garden. It’s a lovely little runner, easy to push and highly manoeuvrable. It’ll have you and your garden waste sweet cornering around the sweet corn and racing past the runner beans.
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