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If you need to move something that is too heavy to lift but not big enough to require a forklift or other hydraulic equipment, the perfect solution might just be an old school hand truck.
A hand truck is an upright wheeled cart with a small platform on the bottom that you can slip under a stack of boxes, furniture, or other relatively stable, heavy object to move it manually from one place to another.
Types of Hand Trucks
When it comes to hand trucks, the basic models are pretty … well, basic!
Typically they are made with a heavy duty steel frame that usually is tubular. The platform is welded onto the frame for additional strength. And it has two wheels made of either solid rubber or inflatable tires.
Some hand trucks come with straps that can be used to secure the load. And there are some models that come with a second set of retractable wheels that can be used to move materials in a horizontal as well as vertical position.
How to Load a Hand Truck
The key to loading materials onto a hand truck is tipping the stack or load just enough so that you can slip the metal platform underneath it. Then, all you need to do is tilt the load slightly toward you so that the center of gravity is over the wheels.
When the load is balanced over the wheels it’s easy to move even heavy loads by simply pushing the hand truck forward or backward while keeping it balanced.
If you aren’t able to tip the stack or load safely, you also can load the hand truck manually, stacking the boxes so that they are flush against the vertical rails of the hand truck.
Keep Loads Bottom Heavy
Another key to keeping loads balanced and easily transportable is to load the heaviest boxes on the bottom and the lighter boxes on top. This lowers the center of gravity of the stack, making it easier to balance while the hand truck is in motion and making the load more stable overall.
Hand trucks are great for moving standard sized boxes and other materials. But they aren’t good for moving odd-shaped loads. So if you have objects that you want to transport with a hand truck, it’s a good idea to pack them into boxes first.
Check the Load Rated Capacity
While most hand trucks are quite durable, some can carry heavier loads than others. Before loading too much weight onto a hand truck, check the load rated capacity which should be located on a plate welded somewhere onto the piece of equipment.
If you can’t find the load rated capacity on the hand truck itself, check the owner’s manual or go online and look on the manufacturer’s website, where often can download a PDF version of owner’s manual. The load rated capacity for your model hand truck should be located there.
One final tip: Don’t be tempted to overload your hand truck. More trips with smaller loads is the safer way to go!