Utility carts, also known as industrial carts or material handling carts, are an often-overlooked but important piece of equipment. Used for movable storage, and for transporting light- to medium-weight loads, utility carts can also prevent injuries and fatigue in employees, since they're specially designed to ease the burden of stacking, storing and moving materials.
Utility Cart Styles
A basic utility cart consists of a shelf with sides, on either two wheels or four wheels, and a handle or handles to push the cart. Utility carts are usually made of heavy-duty plastic or metal. Some cart styles resemble a wheelbarrow, with deep storage space and high sides. Four-wheeled carts often have two or three shelves; these extra shelves are especially handy in kitchen utility carts, since the flat storage space is a huge plus.
Some carts have specific designs that facilitate multiple functions. For example, an industrial computer cart can double as a portable workstation. This type of cart usually features a pull-out keyboard shelf and electrical outlets with surge protection.
Another type of specialized utility cart is a janitorial or cleaning cart. These carts have large spaces on one side for garbage cans and cutouts for easy placement of janitorial supplies like mops and brooms.
If you have ever stayed in a hotel, you've probably already seen a bellman's luggage cart; this type of utility cart is nicely finished with fabric or carpet on the horizontal surfaces and a hanging bar for storing and transporting garment bags.
Utility Cart Buying Guide
When purchasing a utility cart, look for sturdy construction and comfortable handles. Inspect the wheels and swiveling casters; roll the cart around to make sure the wheels turn freely.
There are a number of well-known manufacturers of utility carts; Rubbermaid is one of the largest. Rubbermaid utility carts are known for their high quality and come in a wide variety of styles, including janitorial carts, carts with bins and carts with locking compartments. Other manufacturers of quality utility carts include Jamco, a company known for producing quality metal carts as well as Waterloo and Catskill Craftsmen. Waterloo specializes in producing carts for the healthcare industry, and Catskill Craftsmen's specialty is their signature line of kitchen carts and workstations.