Plastic Vs Steel Wheelbarrows – Which One to Choose? 

Plastic Vs. Steel Wheelbarrows - Which One to Choose? 

Are you too deep into gardening? Are you turning your backyard into something elegant? Then you must already be aware of what a wheelbarrow is! A wheelbarrow is a cart that carries the load, and you can push it around.

You might have seen steel wheelbarrows in construction. They are used to carry cement in building constructions. If you do not know that they can be useful in gardening, you miss out on a lot of information!

Wheelbarrows help you carry around those saplings you want to plant in your backyard. You can also take the mud you want under your plant.

It is common knowledge that you need a different kind of dirt to grow a garden, and with the help of a wheelbarrow, it just becomes more effortless 

But there are two types of wheelbarrows, and you must be confused about which one to choose and which one is reliable. You can get a steel wheelbarrow or a plastic one. But which one is better?

Steel Wheelbarrow

As discussed earlier, you are familiar with steel wheelbarrows because you have seen them in constructions. That is because steel wheelbarrows are more robust and can carry heavy loads. They are durable as they perform heavy duties.

If you have a large yard and tons of muds that needs to be covered around, steel wheelbarrows are what you need. You can also carry around lots of tree saplings that are heavier than regular. If you move logs, rocks, and heavy materials, you can find it easy with the steel ones.

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The purpose of a steel wheelbarrow can vary by your yard. If you are planting a mini forest in your backyard using different techniques, you need these instead of the plastic ones

As you do not store these wheelbarrows inside a roof, it is predictable that the environment plays a crucial effect in damaging them.

It is alright if you have a garden shed, but you need to consider things that might affect your wheelbarrows if you do not.

Environmental Effects

If you live in a region where the rain is heavy and unstoppable, you already face many issues. You take care that your plants do not die in the over flooding. By some solution of making the water flow away, you must have saved your garden.

Similarly, if your wheelbarrow is out in the open and it rains frequently, there are some effects too—steel wheelbarrows rust in the rain and cold weather. If it is too hot, the steel becomes too hot to handle.

It will help if you have a shed. But if your backyard is small or you do not like to have a shed to waste the space, you need to place the wheelbarrow in a place where the rain or sun cannot reach it too frequently.

Sun only heats the wheelbarrow, but rain can damage it for a long time. When the steel wheelbarrow begins rusting, there is no stopping.

And at some time in the long run, you might have irregular wheels and holes in the base. Rusty steel tends to have holes in them by getting weaker.


As discussed earlier, we can only judge the purposefulness of a wheelbarrow by the size of your garden’s goal. If you are looking to make your garden a mini forest by planting many tree saplings together, you need a steel wheelbarrow.

It will help if you carry lots of mud and saplings frequently. It would help if you occasionally cared for the saplings, and it is a massive job requiring durable and strong essentials.

The reason why you see a steel one in construction is that it brings cement. The workers keep cement bags and bricks on the steel ones to push them around the lot. As they work with heavyweights every moment, they do not feel difficulty in maneuvering the steel one.

But if we use it for a backyard, we can find it challenging to move it around initially. We might get used to the movement gradually, but it is what it is!

Plastic Wheelbarrow

As you might have inferred already, plastic wheelbarrows are not as strong and durable as steel ones. There is something in the very name of ‘plastic’ that gives us a cheap feel. But you need not carry that attitude when it comes to plastic wheelbarrows.

That is because the purpose of wheelbarrows is to have weights. It is not that light and cheap model that you imagine, but a standard plastic that is strong enough to carry heavyweights.

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You cannot use plastic ones in heavy-duty building constructions, but you can use them on your lawn without worries. The best thing about using plastic wheelbarrows in your garden is that you can move them quickly.

Plastic wheelbarrows are light-weighted, and thus you can move them without an effort. At the same time, steel wheelbarrows are heavy even without any weight in them.

You cannot expect plastic ones to carry ten saplings, but you do that by dividing the work effortlessly.

Environmental Effects

When it comes to environmental effects on a plastic wheelbarrow, it is somewhat better than steel wheelbarrows. Are you shocked by the fact that the effects are less in the plastic ones?

Well, plastic does not rust! Of course, after a long time, the paint fades, and the rains may also affect the colors, but that is its extent. In a garden that is muddy and grainy, color is something that we should not be bothering. In that case, the steel ones lose their color even quicker because of the rust and mud.

The wind, however, might affect your plastic wheelbarrow. If you belong to a region where the winds are harsh, you cannot expect the light-weighted wheelbarrow not to move. Of course, it is not like they roll around the city, but they might run into walls or gates.

While this happens, you should check for cracks or breaks. Steel gets rusty and thin after a long time, but plastic breaks! It is heartbreaking to see your darling wheelbarrow to break! Not only will you feel the pain of losing your comrade, but also the problem of buying another one.


As discussed above, you do not see plastic wheelbarrows rolling around in the construction sites. That indicated that they are not used for heavy loads. If a mini forest is what you seek, it must sadden you that you cannot rely on plastic wheelbarrows.

You can use these plastic ones without a problem if you want to maintain an average garden with minimum maintenance. You cannot carry tons of plants, but you can indeed take enough mud your garden needs.

Doesn’t that solve the purpose of an average backyard? But the thing that you need to keep in mind while using plastic wheelbarrows is that they crack! When you carry sharp objects such as tools or glass pieces, you can accidentally cause damage.

To avoid damage, you need to be careful about what you are putting in the wheelbarrow or where you are putting the wheelbarrow. Rust-resistant wheelbarrow only comes with a cracking weakness.

The Winner

Steel Vs Plastic Wheelbarrow

Well, it is hard to choose the winner because the purpose differs. Both wheelbarrows are useful, but their goal is different. One is for heavy-duty, and the other is for a household backyard.

If you are a hardcore gardener trying to achieve something with your backyard, then go for the steel wheelbarrow. It lasts longer than the plastic one, and the weight must not be a burden for you.

If you choose to do something unique with your backyard, you already need lots of weights to carry. But if you are just someone who wants a garden a bit more than average and you have adequate space but minimal grass.

You do not even have the purpose of purchasing a heavy-duty steel wheelbarrow. A plastic wheelbarrow is easy to maneuver. It helps you bring tools, bags of soil, empty pots, weeds, and other light materials.

It is the reduction of stress that makes people purchase a plastic wheelbarrow. The potential winner for an average backyard is a plastic wheelbarrow. But if your backyard is something out of the ordinary and takes a heavy-duty, consider steel ones!

Wrapping Up

Plastic is rust-resistant, and steel is easily affected by the weather. But again, steel gets rusty but does not crack or break easily.

For an average lawn, what more do you need than a plastic wheelbarrow? You can also get small plastic wheelbarrows for your kids.

These are not toying, but their miniature size gives away like toys. You can have your kids help you with gardening while you can teach them how.

Choosing the steel ones only because of durability is not a wise option, because if you store them properly, even plastic ones live longer.

Ryan Martinez
Ryan Martinez is an expert in analytical journalism and graduated with a degree in Economics. His career spans over a decade, focusing on market trends and consumer behavior analysis. With an MBA, he has been a key contributor to various platforms, specializing in thorough research and comparative studies. His background includes working as a financial analyst and a business consultant. His articles are appreciated for their clarity and depth. He is also a chess enthusiast and a mentor for young entrepreneurs.

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