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Poly vs. Steel Wheelbarrow - The Differences

Poly vs. Steel Wheelbarrow – The Differences

If you have done your research, you will notice there are two common types – poly vs steel wheelbarrows, which style is perfect for you?

A wheelbarrow helps you ferry things back and forth with ease.  This large tub is equipped with a wheel and handles that save you multiple trips and an aching back.

Choosing a suitable wheelbarrow with modest weight capability for everyday tasks or commercial work requires knowledge.  Some people even opt for an electric wheelbarrow that does all the heavy lifting for you.

Which One is the Best? – Poly vs Steel Wheelbarrow

If you have taken time to research, you have noticed there are many different types of wheelbarrows.  But have you settled on a style that best suits you?  Which type is better –Poly or Steel?

Steel wheelbarrows are better for moving industrial equipment like heavy-duty materials, and building supplies.  While poly wheelbarrows are loved for being durable and do not rust even when exposed to the elements.

If you are having trouble choosing one out of these two types, read on to find out which one suits you best.

Which One is the Best – Poly vs. Steel Wheelbarrow

Check out How to Store a Wheelbarrow – Simple Guide

Differences Between Poly vs Steel Wheelbarrows

Poly WheelbarrowsSteel Wheelbarrows
 Easy to maneuver where you are goingDoes not fold or buckle underweight
 Made of lightweight materialsMade of sturdier materials
Cannot carry too much weightEasy to haul heavier materials
Becomes brittle over timeDoes not brittle from changing weather elements

All about Poly Wheelbarrow

Poly wheelbarrows come from poly material more specifically polyethylene.  Polyethylene is popular in the world used to make many containers and tools. They are mostly used in the garden for carrying lighter materials like gardening tools or soil.  Although the steel wheelbarrow is older and more traditional than poly, it presented a lighter model of the original one.  The poly wheelbarrow is easier to lift and push around even when loaded making them more favorable.

Poly wheelbarrows are commonly used at home for hauling gardening items and seedlings.  Although light and less expensive, poly wheelbarrows are more susceptible to wear and tear.  Poly wheelbarrows are affordable and you can buy one for a very reasonable price.  This size can be used for smaller jobs like ferrying grass clippings, leaves, and small branches.  A pricier model is a small investment for heavier tasks.

The popular sizes include the 5, 6, and 8 cubic feet.  The wider space, the more stuff you can fit in it.


Pros of Poly Wheelbarrows

  • They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors
  • You can choose from a variety with the best specifications and price
  • It is lightweight, easier to lift than a steel wheelbarrow even when full
  • They are not susceptible to rust like steel
  • Can be easily repaired when damaged

Cons of Poly Wheelbarrows

  • It can buckle under too much weight
  • You need to be careful what materials you put in – sharp objects can easily damage it
  • They brittle and crack from cold and sun exposure

All about Steel Wheelbarrows

Steel wheelbarrows are more traditional than the modern poly wheelbarrow. They can handle heavy-duty stuff like cement and logs.  It is more common to see steel wheelbarrows around homes than poly ones.

This wheelbarrow is extremely durable and can hold much weight compared to the poly one without folding or buckling.  Since it’s made of steel, it is heavier and more so when you fill it with goods to carry. It is great if you need to haul building materials like gravel, paint cans, and bricks.  The steel reinforcement makes the wheelbarrow impenetrable.  It will not buckle under heavyweight but it can be too heavy for your back to push if you are not careful.

WORX Aerocart 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow

Pros of Steel Wheelbarrows

  • They are best for construction sites or heavy work
  • Ideal for hauling heavy materials
  • Do not need much care since they are not delicate
  • They can be used and abused for many years without wear and tear
  • Extremely versatile and dynamic

Cons of Steel Wheelbarrows

  • They’re heavy to push around
  • They are susceptible to rust which weakens the basin of the wheelbarrow
  • Maneuvering with a full wheelbarrow is difficult and tricky


Now that you know the pros and cons of each model, we hope it helps you decide what wheelbarrow suits your needs.  Overall, both tools are beneficial and can help you in a multitude of projects.

Steel is the common choice because they are traditional and manages more tasks than poly ones.  But who are we to choose for you what you want?  It depends on what you plan on doing with your wheelbarrow and what would be comfortable for you.


Which is better poly or steel wheelbarrow?

I am looking to get a wheelbarrow and I have narrowed it down to either a poly or steel wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrows seem to vary in price between $200 - $400. I have heard that poly wheelbarrows are much more durable than steel. However, steel wheelbarrows are better for heavy loads and the poly wheelbarrows are better for light loads. A few things to keep in mind as you make your decision: Poly wheelbarrows are more expensive and harder to repair than steel. If you can buy a new steel wheelbarrow, do it.

How do I choose a wheelbarrow?

Selecting a wheelbarrow is an important decision because you want to make sure that it meets your needs. The most important thing to think about when choosing a wheelbarrow is what you plan on using it for. The wheelbarrow should be sturdy enough to hold whatever you need to move, easy to load and unload, and safe enough to protect you and your family from injury. What features should I look for in a wheelbarrow?

What kind of plastic are wheelbarrows made of?

The most common material used for wheelbarrows is polypropylene. The plastic is not brittle like glass or wood, and it's much lighter than both of those. It's also flexible and will mold to the shape of the load.