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Whether you’re shopping for groceries, hauling kid’s soccer gear to games, or moving pots or bags of mulch around the yard, the right utility cart can make tackling these tasks (and many more) a lot easier. Before you start tapping the keyboard to place your order, however, here are a few key considerations to think about. Follow these tips and you’ll find the utility cart that’s just right for your family’s needs.

Large Capacity

Collapsible carts are great for apartment dwellers where storage space is limited. MacSports

To help narrow your choice of utility cart, think about what chores you will use your cart for most. If you’re just looking for a simple cart to haul grocery bags home from the store, a simple, lightweight fold-up model will probably work just fine. Fold-up models are also a good choice if storage where you live is at a premium. (Some models fold nearly flat and can fit in a closet.) Check out the cart’s capacity and weight rating to ensure it will fit your usual grocery-buying needs. Then consider whether you’ll need to pull it up or down stairs.

Easy to Store

This aluminum model collapses for easy storage. winkeep

You definitely want to make sure your cart is ruggedly constructed so it can stand up to years of use. Aluminum models weigh less, which is something to consider if you need to climb stairs. Metal construction offers strength, but they can rust and may require occasional paint touch-ups. If you’re going to use your cart for heavier outdoor chores, however, (hauling firewood or bags of fertilizer), a metal, wagon-type design is probably what you want. Solid rubber tires will never go flat, but inflatable tires roll easier, so carts are easier to pull. Wide tires are best for pulling carts across sand as they won’t sink it—something to consider if you’re cart will see a lot of beachside use.

Also Consider

This 52- x 34-inch unit has an oversized steel mesh bed to handle any job. Gorilla Carts

Maneuverability is key. Larger, wagon-type utility carts don’t have the tight turning radius that smaller, more agile carts designed for maneuvering in narrow grocery aisles have. And they certainly aren’t designed to be pulled up stairs if you live in a walk-up apartment. For stair climbing, look for carts that have larger-diameter rear wheels, which pulling hauling carts up steps much easier.