What Wheelbarrow Size Do you Need? [Wheelbarrow Sizing Guide]

Wheelbarrow Sizing Guide

A second-class level tool, a wheelbarrow, is a machine used to carry things related to gardening.

It is handled using the two handles on one side and has one wheel at the other side for movement, as shown in the image.

However, its versatility makes it useful not just in gardening. It is also used to carry loads of things in construction works.

In gardening, it is used to carry loads of soil from one place to another. It can be used to transport several pots of plants, or just empty pots, fertilizer bags, and many other things that one can think of.

Just like any other thing, it also comes in different sizes. Some small ones can be lifted very easily and can quickly transport small loads from one place to another.

Then, large ones can be used to move quite a load, like a massive load of soil, from one place to another.

Then there are medium-sized ones, ones with more than one wheel, and some made up of metal while others of steel and so on.

A Few Things to Know About Wheelbarrows


Before diving into what sizes are available and which one to go for, here are some things that one should know about the wheelbarrows. From the type of materials they are made up of to what type of wheels they can have.

These things can also be a point to determine the preference while choosing the Wheelbarrow when going to shop for one.

What Is It Made Up Of?

Wheelbarrow’s body, also known as a basin, where the things are stored, can be made up of two ordinary materials:

Plastic: The substance used in almost all things that one can see around, from water bottles to mobile phones. Plastic wheelbarrows are lighter in weight. They can be sturdy enough for their weight.

Plastic Wheelbarrow

The benefit of the plastic material is that they are free from corrosion and rust.

Metal: Basins made up of galvanized metal(steel) are more muscular. They are sturdier in comparison to the plastic ones. Therefore, they also last longer than their plastic counterparts.

An average metal wheelbarrow can last easily for years before showing any issues. Especially if taken care of properly, having a decent anti-corrosive paint job or coating on it, the Wheelbarrow can last if one wants them to, even for a decade.

Metal Wheelbarrow

They do not go soft when exposed to the sun than the plastic wheelbarrows because of the ultraviolet rays.

Wheels in The Wheelbarrow

There are varying options available for the wheels for the different types of body materials for the wheelbarrows.

Pneumatic Wheels: Those with a hardened rubber tire with a tube on the inside are inflatable.

The tube makes the tire sturdy after being full of air. It is like a bicycle tire with a tube. These are prone to the similar issues that a bicycle tire can face- puncture.

However, they are better to use on surfaces that are not smooth or even.

Hard Rubber Wheels are those that have a hard rubber tire on the rim. It is so hard that one can take a chunk out of it using a knife, and it can still pretty much roll. The tire is 100% rubber from the outer region to the inner one.

These do not get into the trouble of getting punctured at all. The only setback here is that these are a little bouncier.

This means that they will bounce a lot on an uneven surface, causing some things to fall off if not handled properly. A bumpy ride is the best way to describe the experience.

Half-pneumatic Wheels: This one is like a half pneumatic and half ‘hard-rubber’ tire. It has a hard rubber tire, which is hollow on the inside but does not have a tube. There is no need to fill it up with air. So, it gives the best experience.

Number of Wheels

Wheels in The Wheelbarrow

There are two types of wheelbarrows based on their number of wheels:

A One-Wheeled Wheelbarrow

A One-Wheeled Wheelbarrow

A Two-Wheeled Wheelbarrow

A Two-Wheeled Wheelbarrow

A two-wheeled one will be more stable when handling, whereas a single-wheeled wheelbarrow can be moved faster- with higher mobility. Single-wheeled can be turned around faster, whereas the double-wheeled will be more secure to carry the things.

Deciding the Size

Here are the things to consider when deciding the size of the basin:

The Basin

The Basin

The size of the Wheelbarrow determines the volume of its basin as well. Higher the volume, the more the load it can carry.

They are available in the market in terms of cubic feet for volumes. The most common ones are two cubic feet and three cubic foot sizes, but there are ones that go up to six cubic feet in volume.

To decide which size to go for, the area of the garden should be known. Otherwise, know how much volume of soil or other materials will be carried in it. Here is an example to better explain it:

Generally, the things related to the garden are in cubic yards for measurement. Remember, the Wheelbarrow was in cubic feet. Using basic mathematics here. One cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet.

Therefore, using a wheelbarrow of three cubic feet will take around nine round trips to move materials measuring close to one cubic yard.

Everything doesn’t need to be measured in yards and such. It can be done in meters as well for measurement. The formula used will be the same as mentioned above.

Sizing the Wheel


It will not matter what size of the wheel is used in the Wheelbarrow. However, one should know about them as well.

Mainly if one uses a pneumatic tire for a wheelbarrow, they must know about the tube size used in it so that they can get the right fit when the old one becomes useless.

The reason to know the size of the axle of the Wheelbarrow and the tire is the same as with the tube.

In most tires, the size is mentioned on it somewhere. However, if it is not visible, the sizing can be done using a simple measuring tape. Measure the following:

  • The width of the tire
  • The diameter of the tire
  • The length of the hub
  • The diameter of the bearings

What Goes Best for What?

Which Wheelbarrow will be the right choice depends on what it is going to be used for?

In the Garden

In most houses, gardening will not require a considerable loading and unloading of things from the Wheelbarrow. The most that one will have to carry are some fertilizers, some plants, some soil, and such.

Therefore, a plastic body wheelbarrow of two cubic feet should be the right choice for gardening. As for wheels, single-wheeled is going to work the best, especially for small areas.

Single-wheeled Wheelbarrow will have better mobility in small areas. The type of tire depends on what kind of surface it will be used on, even or uneven, soft, or hard soil.

On the Construction Sites

It does not have to be specifically ‘on’ the construction sites only, but there is some construction work to be done anywhere.

In these cases, the weight of the load carried and unloaded will be much higher. Things like cement and bricks are much heavier than soil.

To choose the material of the body, know the following:

A Plastic body will be better for carrying cement because the cement will not stick to it. Even if it dries up inside, it can be removed.

A metal body is better for carrying debris. A galvanized wheelbarrow is the better option in the metal body variants or any layer of paint or something that prevents corrosion and scratches.

On Dairy or Horse Farms

In any animal farm, a plastic basin for the Wheelbarrow should be the preferred choice. That is because manure from the animals has high corrosion properties, which can harm the steel basins.

Plastic basins are lighter as well, which makes them easier to carry many times throughout the day. On farms, one eventually must make multiple trips using their Wheelbarrow, so a lighter will save some energy.

Note: a plastic body is prone to breaking, cracks, and such. The small broken particles can spread on the farm and be ingested by animals if not noticed and removed beforehand. However, they can be removed from the farm if they noticed on time.

If this is an issue that one does not want to face, go for a metal basin. Just make sure to keep noticing it for any corrosion over time, and get it coated with an anti-corrosive coating.

To Conclude

Just like any other thing, one needs to do some research before buying a wheelbarrow. One should know about:

  • Types of wheelbarrows available
  • Their sizes
  • Types of basins
  • Number of tires
  • How much it needs to carry.
  • Where it will be used

Once these things are known, one can decide which one they need to go for.

Sandy Jensen
Sandy Jensen is the founder of OrganizeWithSandy and Works with Champalimaud Design where she curates and creates fresh ideas for designing and styling your life.

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