Carting Your Inventory: Which Mode of Transfer is Right for You?

In retail and warehouse settings, businesses are frequently called upon to move inventory around, whether they’re shipping, receiving, stocking, or reorganizing stored items.  If you’re dealing with palettes of inventory, you’ll need heavy-duty equipment like a forklift to move items around, but if you’re carting loose items, you might want something smaller and more manageable.

 There are several different types of inventory transport to consider, but the main three options are handcarts, platform trucks, and service carts. What are the pros and cons of these options and which is right for your business? Here are a few things to consider before choosing the proper cart.


Sometimes called hand trucks or dollies, these wheeled carts generally offer lightweight, durable construction and ease of use. All you have to do is stack items, tip the cart back on its wheels, and roll it to your destination, whether inventory is being loaded on a truck or taken to the retail floor for stocking.

There are two main types of handcarts: welded or modular frame. The rigid, welded frame tends to offer greater strength and stability for carting heavier loads, while the lighter weight modular frame is easier to maneuver and has interchangeable frame options for your convenience.

Platform Trucks

Some dollies have the option to lay the truck down flat (rather than holding it upright) thanks to the addition of two smaller wheels near the handle.  However, if you’re having trouble stacking inventory onto a narrow, open-frame handcart, a better option may be to use a platform truck with a solid base instead.  This cart features a larger deck area (both wider and possibly longer) than a handcart and it rests horizontally on four wheels or casters with a handle, or sometimes one on each end, to maneuver the rig.

These carts come in various options for sizing, materials, and features, depending on your preference. You could choose robust steel to accommodate heavy items, or lightweight aluminum for easier maneuverability, but you’ll also want to measure larger items of inventory first to make sure your chosen platform truck accommodates your wares.

Service Carts

If you’re transporting smaller items, and especially items that could slide off a handcart or platform truck, a service cart could deliver the utility you seek. These four-wheeled (or caster) carts generally feature 2-3 open platforms with a tall lip to keep items contained, making them perfect for everything from food service, to housekeeping, to automotive repair, just for example. Lightweight, plastic carts are ideal for ease of movement, but if you are carting heavier items (like engine parts), you might want a heavy-duty, industrial model.

The type of cart you choose to move your inventory or supplies will depend on the size, weight, and volume of items moved. If you plan to use the cart for any type of food products, be sure it is compliant with food safety and handling regulations. Many businesses will find that having a variety of carts ensures that the right tool for any job is always on hand.

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