Published: Apr 29th, 2024
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A hand truck and a dolly are both types of equipment used for transporting heavy or bulky items. There are different types of hand trucks and dollies. You can choose the one that fits your needs and requirements.

Their cost can vary depending on factors such as brand, quality, and additional features, as discussed below.


When selecting between a hand truck and a dolly, it is crucial to consider how and in what circumstances you will use it.

It can significantly influence your decision about which is right for you.

According to a survey by Material Handling & Logistics, hand trucks account for 55% of all material handling equipment sales, while dollies make up 30%.

A hand truck might be your best bet if you are moving something bulky and heavy. However, a dolly with four wheels could be more suitable for dealing with large, flat objects.

So, when weighing your options for material handling equipment, understanding the differences between a Hand Truck and a Dolly is essential.

Did You Know?

Hand trucks handle lighter loads (up to 600 pounds), while dollies can carry heavier ones (up to 1,500 pounds or more).

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What is Hand Truck and Dolly?

A hand truck is a transportation tool with an L-shaped design, an upright handle, two wheels, and a small footing ledge. This design allows it to stand upright and slide under items without requiring manual lifting.

Hand trucks, originally invented in the 1700s for unloading ships, have become indispensable in various industries. They are ideal for moving small and heavy items without manual lifting.

On the other hand, A dolly comprises four wheels and two axles, serving as a versatile tool for moving hefty objects from one place to another. They come in various designs and sizes to cater to specific requirements.

Unlike hand trucks that can slide beneath items, dollies require lifting objects onto them for transportation. 

Did You Know?
Did You Know?

According to a survey conducted by the Material Handling Institute, over 90% of companies reported an increase in efficiency and a reduction in workplace injuries after implementing hand trucks and dollies for material handling tasks.

Types of Hand Truck and Dolly

Below is a comparison table showcasing various types of hand trucks and dollies and brief descriptions.

Types of Hand Trucks Description Types of Dollies Description
Two-Wheel Hand Truck For lighter loads in tight spaces. Platform Dolly Flat surface for general hauling.
Four-Wheel Hand Truck For heavier loads with stability. Furniture Dolly Moves large furniture securely.
Convertible Hand Truck Switches between hand truck & platform. Appliance Dolly Moves heavy appliances with ease.
Folding Hand Truck Collapsible for easy storage. Utility Dolly Versatile for household tasks.
Stair Climbing Hand Truck Navigate stairs & uneven surfaces. Hand Truck Dolly Combo Combines hand truck & dolly.
Aluminum Hand Truck Lightweight & durable. Drum Dolly Moves drum securely.
Steel Hand Truck Heavy duty for robustness. Pallet Dolly Handles heavy palletized loads.
Heavy-Duty Hand Truck Built to handle frequent, heavy loads. Platform Dolly with Handle Heavy-duty hauling with handle.
Lightweight Hand Truck Easy handling & maneuverability. Convertible Dolly Adaptable for different load sizes.
Multi-Position Hand Truck Adjustable for various load sizes. Folding Dolly Collapsible for storage.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?

Around 80% of warehouses and distribution centers depend on hand trucks and dollies for everyday tasks, showing how essential these tools are across industries.

Hand Truck vs. Dolly - Which One is Better for You

Both hand trucks and dollies serve similar purposes: they assist in moving heavy objects with ease. However, the choice between them depends on the specific scenario and the type of load you need to transport.

Let us discuss which one is better for you with some scenarios.

Scenario 1: You are moving to an office with narrow halls and a small elevator. Your big desk and file cabinet cannot fit through the tight spaces.

You are stuck wondering how to move them. They're too big for these small areas.

If you face this scenario, then use a hand truck. It's small and strong, perfect for tight spots.

You can use the hand truck to easily move your heavy furniture through the narrow halls.

Scenario 2: You are moving to an apartment with narrow and flat surfaces. You have to move items like stacks of boxes, crates, or large appliances.

You are stuck trying to figure out how to move these items. There are too many to move.

If you encounter this scenario, use a dolly. Its flat base is ideal for flat surfaces.

Dollies typically have a flat base and are better for distributing weight evenly. So, you can use a dolly to move items like several boxes or flat items like sheets of plywood across flat surfaces.

Pro Tip

You can request free moving quotes and check for discounts or hidden fees on the moving company's website.

Renting or Buying a Hand Truck or Dolly - Cost Comparison

So, you are in a pickle: should you rent or buy a hand truck or dolly?

Renting seems like an easy fix. There is no big upfront cost; you pay as you go. But these rental fees can pile up over time, and you may find that you have spent more than if you had just bought it.

So, when should you rent or buy a hand truck or dolly?

If you are doing a one-off move and don't see yourself needing the equipment again anytime soon, renting might be the right option. But if you frequently move heavy stuff or tackle various projects, buying could save you money in the long run.

Here's a cost comparison table between hand trucks and dollies:

Type Average Rental Cost Average Buying Cost Description
Hand Truck $10 to $30 (per day) $50 to $200 Cost varies based on features, weight capacity, and brand.
Dolly $15 to $35 (per day) $70 to $230 Cost varies based on type (e.g., platform, furniture, appliance, utility), size, and material. Specialty dollies may be more expensive.

(Note: This table provides a general idea of the cost range for both hand trucks and dollies, but prices may vary depending on factors such as brand, quality, and additional features.)

Hand Truck vs. Dolly – Key Differences

Feature Hand Truck Dolly
Primary Function Used for moving heavy or bulky items Used for transporting items, typically boxes
Design Typically has a vertical frame with handles Generally, has a horizontal platform
Maneuverability Maneuverable in tight spaces Less maneuverable compared to hand trucks
Weight Capacity Can typically handle heavier loads Capacity varies based on design and size
Wheel Configuration Usually has two large wheels Can have multiple wheels, often four
Types Standard, convertible, stair-climbing Platform, furniture, appliance, utility
Versatility Can be used for various types of items May be more specialized in its use
Portability Often foldable for easy storage May or may not be foldable
Application Commonly used in warehouses, delivery Commonly used in moving, delivery
Cost Cost varies based on features and quality Cost varies based on size and features

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A cart typically has four wheels and a platform for carrying goods, while a dolly usually has two wheels and is used to transport heavy items like furniture or appliances.

A hand truck primarily transports heavy or bulky items such as furniture, appliances, or boxes. It helps to ease the lifting and carrying of these items, especially when moving them over short distances or up and down stairs.

Dollies come in various strengths, and depending on the model, their weight limits range from 200 to over 1000 pounds.

A "dolly" is usually a small platform with wheels for moving heavy stuff, like when moving houses. On the other hand, a "trolley" is often a bigger wheeled vehicle with shelves or tiers, like what you see in supermarkets for carrying groceries around.

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