When And How To Use A Dolly Vs. A Hand Truck

Construction & Contractors Blog

When dealing with multiple physical products, having the right material handling equipment is essential. You must ensure efficient racking, transportation of items without damaging them, and of course the safety of yourself and others. However, there are two pieces of equipment that seem to be confused with each other time and time again. They are the hand truck and the dolly. Often used interchangeably, they actually provide distinct advantages depending on the use case. Here is when and how to use them:


Dollies lay low to the ground with a horizontal, wheeled base. It contains four panels of wood that spread weight evenly around the edges, leaving the middle open. Rubberized or carpet covered edges protect your house or business from scratches and dings. Typically, a dolly can support items up to 1,100 lbs and thus heavy items, such as a refrigerator, are best moved with a dolly. 

How to use: 

It's not advised to attempt to move heavier boxes and products alone with a dolly. Usually, another person - called a "spotter" - can help you lean the object away from the dolly to create an opening in which the dolly can fit. Once you center the dolly, you can gradually set the object down again on the dolly and fasten it with straps.

Hand Truck

A hand truck, often incorrectly called a dolly, is actually an upright cart with two wheels and a platform for placing your materials that need to be moved. In addition, straps can be added to tighten your load and prevent slippage or falling. Holding slightly less than the dolly at up to 650 lbs, certain household furniture, medium-heavy boxes, and items like televisions can be transported effectively with dollies.


As a hand truck is usually loaded vertically, it is important to place heaver items on the bottom before adding more to the stack. And avoid the temptation to place misshapen materials onto the hand truck without placing them in a box. While many hand trucks support as much as 650 lbs, it's important to read the label of your truck first to verify its maximum allowance. To load a larger item, slide the hand truck underneath it, rotate it slightly from side to side and push forward lightly until it is completely under the cargo. Tilt the truck back and begin walking to your destination.

When handling materials and racking them, it's always important to proceed with care. The first step in assuring the safety of yourself and the objects is to choose the right equipment. By using hand trucks for lighter items when possible and using dollies to transport the larger, heavier varieties, you can leverage each tool for its intended purpose. Follow the advice above and enjoy an efficient and effective moving process.

Talk to a company like Tri State Surplus Co to learn more about how to use each of these tools effectively.


3 January 2015

All About Building a Home

Welcome to my website. I'm Albert Frost. Besides my dad, one of my biggest role models was my uncle Rick. He was a construction contractor who would let me come on his construction sites and also taught me everything he knew about building homes, including how to install hardwood flooring and add insulation. I always wanted to grow up to build houses like my uncle. I used to help my uncle with a lot of the grunt work needed to make a home a reality. But then I hurt my back playing football. Until I heal completely, I'm going to devote as much of my time as possible to teaching others about various construction topics I'm interested in.