Plastic vs. Steel Wheelbarrows: Which is Better To Use?

Plastic and Steel Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow is a necessary tool any gardener needs to have. It is a way to transport materials like soil, grass clippings, and mulch. 

Regardless of how solid you think your wheelbarrow is, it is likely to get damaged or broken. To ensure a long-lasting tool, you may decide to replace your wheelbarrow every few years. 

So which type of wheelbarrow should you get – plastic vs. steel? That is the question the blog will answer.

Why do you need a Wheelbarrow?

A wheelbarrow is a convenient tool to have on hand when moving heavy items. For example, they are often used for yard work or building construction.

They can also help move something heavy that’s far away from one place to another. 

It will save your back and muscles by taking the weight off them rather than concentrating it all in your arms.

There are two types of wheelbarrow regarding where it is made: steel and plastic.

Both of these wheelbarrows are great equipment to use for light to heavy-duty work in any place where it is in demand to use.

It’s overwhelming to choose the right wheelbarrows that are ideal for you. 

Fortunately, this blog will differentiate the two types of wheelbarrows mentioned lately and specify the pros and cons of each so that you can choose which one is better for you.

Steel Wheelbarrows vs. Plastic Wheelbarrows

We will differentiate the two types of wheelbarrows in a table form to quickly understand the differences. Hence, we will also discuss the things written in the table below for more information.

Wheelbarrow Types Pros Cons
Steel Wheelbarrows
  • Extremely Durable.
  • Great to carry paint cans, gravel, and bricks.
  • Made from steel.
  • It can be used on construction sites.
  • Ideal for heavy-duty works.
  • Extremely sturdy.
  • It is not delicate.
  • Too much heavy when pile up with heavy things.
  • It is susceptible to rust.
  • More difficult to carry when it is heavy.
Plastic Wheelbarrows
  • It comes in different sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easier to lift even when full of supplies.
  • It is not susceptible to corrosion. It can save you money while not thinking about rusting.
  • It could buckle when it’s too much weight.
  • It becomes brittle when it’s exposed to the sun or cold.
  • It can’t haul heavy things such as rocks or logs. The plastic could break or crack.

To summarize the table above for in-depth information, if you are dealing with a heavy-duty task in your garden or in any place you were in, a steel wheelbarrow is ideal equipment for you to use.

Steel wheelbarrows are incredibly durable and can carry heavy loads without worrying about breaking. If you are working on a construction site, steel wheelbarrows are great to take paint cans, gravels, rocks, bricks, etc.

It is made of steel, so it will never break easily regardless of how many supplies you’ll load on the cargo because it is incredibly sturdy.

In addition to their advantages, steel wheelbarrows are not very delicate, and they can be used for a longer time of heavy use. Thus, you’ll see any real problem in the future. 

It is also why construction workers love using this great tool because it can be used in so many different ways.

In contrast to being advantageous, steel wheelbarrows have some disadvantages for the users. Things get heavy when you put a lot of load in steel wheelbarrows. 

Since steel wheelbarrows are made from steel, they will be much heavier when you load them with heavy things. As a result, maneuvering it could be more difficult, but it depends on the person using it.

On the other hand, a plastic wheelbarrow is a standard tool always used in a garden. 

Depending on what you are looking for, many sizes, shapes, and colors are available. There is even the possibility to get ones that suit your specific needs.

The plastic wheelbarrow is lightweight and effortless to maneuver. 

If you’re looking to buy wheelbarrows for gardening only, you should consider buying plastic wheelbarrows. 

It is because they are much lighter than steel wheelbarrows, making them easier to lift. 

They are also cheaper, so they can save on energy if you need to carry loads of gardening tools, etc.

Plastic wheelbarrows have a longer lifespan than steel wheelbarrows so that you can save more money in your pocket.

However, since it is made of plastic essential for the user, it could buckle when it’s too much weight and can’t carry any heavy solid supply like in a steel wheelbarrow.

Factors To Consider When Buying Wheelbarrows

It is easy to purchase a wheelbarrow quickly. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when buying wheelbarrows.

This time, we will discuss some factors you should consider when buying a wheelbarrow, whether made from steel or plastic.

It can help you choose the ideal wheelbarrows for your particular needs.

The Weight

Wheelbarrows come in different shapes and sizes, but there are a couple of varying wheelbarrow features you’ll want to be aware of.

A wheelbarrow’s weight is significant when choosing one. When empty, wheelbarrows are light, they become cumbersome when filled with dirt, weeds, or wood chips.

We recommend looking for some wheelbarrows that are easy to carry or maneuver every time you load them with things.

A plastic wheelbarrow is good for you in the garden. But if you need some tool that can carry heavy supplies, a steel wheelbarrow is ideal for you. Unfortunately, it is heavy compared to the plastic one.

Remember the general rule, the heavier and more sturdy the wheelbarrow, the heavier it can carry.

The Cargo Volume

Most people looking to buy a wheelbarrow only look at the weight it can carry. However, this does not matter if you need to take a lot of weight but have a small wheelbarrow.

Your wheelbarrow’s cargo volume determines how much material you can carry.

When you buy a wheelbarrow, think about what you’ll be using it for. It will affect the size that you need to buy.

The Tires (Numbers and Types)

For instance, wheelbarrows with a single tire are more challenging to use, especially with heavy loads, but can also turn corners more easily than four-wheeled models.

But, most people buy a two-wheeled wheelbarrow because they need one that’s easy to move around. Some opt for a hybrid version because they want a portable one.

When talking about wheel types, a good wheelbarrow will often come with air-filled pneumatic tires, similar to car tires. 

These can roll smoothly over most types of terrain and, therefore, are the best type of tire to use for this kind of object.

Be sure to check the tires of any cheap lawnmower you are looking to buy. Some models will have plastic or treadless tires, which will break down faster and cause a significant spill in your garden.

The Handle

Your wheelbarrow handles will affect both the maneuverability and the dumping capability of your wheelbarrow. 

Most wheelbarrows have long handles attached to the front to make it easier for you to push them when loading or dumping. 

Other types will have a single handle that can be pulled or attached to a tractor or an ATV.

Look for a wheelbarrow that is for you is comfortable to handle.

The Grips

When carrying heavy loads, it can be helpful to use a rubber-coated surface to hold onto instead of holding on to bare wood.

The best handles usually come in either a rubber or plasticized grip to make it easier to grip them in your hand.

The Warranty

Indeed, as long as we buy anything we need, we always ask if there’s a warranty on it. Look for some brands that offer better warranties than others, and you’ll be good to go.

Which is better to buy?

It’s important to know which type of wheelbarrow is best for your needs. Keep these things in mind as you are making your selections because you’ll want to make sure your wheelbarrow is the one that will last you the longest.

When selecting a wheelbarrow, it will depend now on the user. But, if I were to ask which is better to buy, it is clear that the steel wheelbarrow is better than the plastic version. 

Steel will last longer, be more durable, and take more load because it is not as delicate as the plastic version. 

However, if you are concerned about the environment, the plastic option would be your best choice because it is lighter, easier to carry, and cheaper.