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The Best Dollies for Moving: An Ultimate Guide

March 21, 2024

A dolly is a platform on wheels, designed specifically for transporting heavy and large items from one location to another with minimal effort. It takes away the challenge of lifting, handling, and maneuvering bulky objects. A dolly facilitates a faster and more efficient move and also significantly reduces the risk of injury associated with heavy lifting.

Dollies come in various shapes and sizes, each tailored to different moving needs. From utility dollies, perfect for boxes and appliances, to furniture dollies designed for couches and dressers, choosing the right type of dolly can make a noticeable difference in your moving experience.

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In this blog, we will highlight things you need to know to ensure you choose the best dolly for your relocation.

What Kind Of Dolly Is Best For Moving?

What Kind Of Dolly Is Best For Moving?

Determining the best dolly for your move will depend on your specific needs. Is this a corporate move? A residential move? What’s being moved? How much? etc. By considering all of these factors you can determine the best dolly for your move.

That being said corporate moves typically involve a variety of items, including heavy office equipment, large numbers of boxes, and sometimes, bulky furniture, and as such we recommend using dollies like heavy-duty hand trucks and convertible models to help with high-weight capacities and versatility. Keep in mind that convertible hand trucks can be transformed into a four-wheel dolly, providing a flat platform for easier transport of multiple boxes or larger items. Unfortunately, these dollies can be more expensive and take up more storage space.

Undoubtedly, you will need residential moving boxes for your relocation. It is best to pair these moving boxes with a four-wheel dolly cart or an appliance dolly. These dollies are designed for moving heavy appliances, and furniture, and can handle a variety of items found in a home.

Four-wheel dollies provide stability for heavy items and furniture, while appliance dollies often come with straps and rubber pads to secure and protect heavy appliances. Their design is perfect for maneuvering in tight spaces and through doorways. However, these dollies may not be as versatile for smaller loads. 

You can either rent or buy a dolly. If you need it for a one-time use, it is best to rent it. It reduces upfront costs and eliminates the need for storage space post-move. But, if you need it for frequent use or have ongoing moving needs, it would be best to opt for the buying option. 

Hand Truck Dolly

Hand Truck Dolly

A hand truck dolly, commonly referred to simply as a hand truck, is meant for moving heavy items with ease. Characterized by its upright design, usually featuring two wheels, a flat base for cargo, and a tall handle for maneuvering. This dolly is engineered to tilt backward, allowing you to move heavy objects with less physical strain.

Hand trucks are ideal for transporting heavy appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers. Their design allows for heavy items to be levered and moved with minimal effort. That said, the weight limit of a hand truck dolly can vary depending on the model and brand. It typically ranges from 200 lbs to 600 lbs

With a hand truck, you can stack and move multiple boxes at once. This makes it perfect for corporate moves or residential relocations. In addition, hand trucks can efficiently navigate through tight corridors and doorways. 

Furniture Dolly – Can You Use A Dolly To Move A Couch?

Furniture Dolly - Can You Use A Dolly To Move A Couch?

Yes, you can use a furniture dolly to move a couch amongst other large and bulky items. A furniture dolly is typically a flat, square, or rectangular platform mounted on four swivel wheels, allowing for multidirectional movement. The platform is often made from sturdy materials like wood or metal to support heavy loads. Its flat surface is ideal for accommodating various furniture shapes and sizes, from couches to cabinets.

Furniture dollies are perfect for transporting heavy items such as couches, wardrobes, and entertainment centers, thanks to their sturdy construction and high weight capacity. Furniture dollies typically have weight limits ranging from 200 lbs to 2,000 lbs, depending on the model and design. With four swivel wheels, furniture dollies can easily maneuver through tight hallways and around corners, making them invaluable for moving furniture in and out of homes or apartments. In addition, the flat platform can support a wide range of furniture dimensions, providing flexibility during the moving process.

However, furniture dollies are not designed for stairs. They can also be challenging to control on uneven terrain or over obstacles. Irrespective of the odds, furniture dollies are worth the investment for those who need to move heavy furniture. 

Appliance Dolly

Appliance Dolly

An appliance dolly, also known as an appliance hand truck, is specifically designed for transporting large, heavy appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers. They usually have a weight limit of around 600 lbs. It is constructed with a tall, sturdy frame made of steel or aluminum. It features a wide and flat base plate at the bottom for sliding under appliances. It’s equipped with two large, rubber or pneumatic tires for smooth transportation over various surfaces. Most importantly, an appliance dolly includes built-in straps or securing mechanisms to safely anchor heavy appliances during movement.

The main difference between a regular dolly (such as a furniture dolly or a simple hand truck) and an appliance dolly is that appliance dollies come with straps or harnesses to securely fasten heavy appliances, preventing them from shifting or falling off during transport. 

While regular dollies might have a flat platform or a simple upright frame, appliance dollies are taller and include a specific lever system designed to easily tilt and carry heavy appliances. Appliance dollies also often feature large, pneumatic tires or thick rubber wheels designed to absorb shock and navigate over uneven surfaces more effectively than the smaller wheels found on some regular dollies. 

On the flip side, appliance dollies are usually difficult to maneuver in very tight spaces of narrow corridors. They are also not the best for moving items without a solid base to strap onto. 

Utility Dolly

Utility Dolly

A utility dolly, also known as a utility hand truck, comes in an L-shaped frame with two wheels at the base, a small platform (or toe plate) for the cargo, and a tall vertical handle to push or pull the dolly. This design allows the user to stack items vertically and transport them easily by tilting the dolly back on its wheels. They generally have weight limits ranging from 500 lbs to 800 lbs.

Utility dollies are ideal for moving stacked boxes. Although not as specialized as an appliance dolly, utility dollies can still handle smaller appliances and pieces of furniture, provided they can be safely balanced and strapped down. 

While utility dollies can carry a significant amount of weight, the stability of the load depends on how well items are balanced and secured. Improperly stacked or unsecured items may pose a risk of falling. Also, utility dollies struggle with stairs and uneven surfaces.

Specialty Dollies

Specialty dollies are designed to address specific moving challenges that standard dollies might not adequately handle. These include stair-climbing dollies, convertible dollies, and others tailored for unique scenarios. 

Stair-climbing dollies are engineered with a tri-wheel setup or a similar mechanism to navigate stairs. This type of dolly is essential for multi-story homes or buildings without elevators. They help with moving heavy appliances or furniture in buildings without elevators, relocating heavy items to basements or upper floors of homes, delivering heavy goods to locations with stair access only, etc. The weight capacity of specialty dollies can vary greatly based on the type, however, some specialty dollies can have a capacity of around 1000 lbs.

On the other hand, convertible dollies offer versatility by transforming from a standard two-wheel hand truck to a four-wheel cart or platform dolly, providing two distinct moving solutions in one tool. This adaptability makes them suitable for a wide range of tasks.

They come in handy when both vertical stacking and flat loading are needed during the same move, and when the items being moved vary significantly in size and shape, requiring different dolly configurations. They are also helpful in environments where space is limited, and the ability to switch between dolly types can save space and time.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dolly

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dolly

Before you choose what types of dollies to rent for your move you must take into account important criteria like the weight, size, and overall dimensions of the items you will be moving. Based on that information you are able to choose what materials you would need your dolly to be made of to facilitate a safe and injury-free move. Another commonly missed factor in moves is the issue of the mobility of your home, which can greatly limit how and which dollies can be used. To ensure smooth handling and transportation of your items during your move, you should carefully consider all these factors prior to renting/buying dollies. Not every dolly is suitable for every move.

Weight Capacity of Dollies

Before selecting a dolly, accurately assess the total weight of the items you intend to move. The weight capacity of a dolly indicates the maximum load it can safely handle. This is determined by several factors, including the dolly’s design, materials, and construction. 

For instance, heavy-duty hand trucks, platform dollies, and appliance dollies are engineered with specific materials like steel or reinforced aluminum to support heavier loads, often equipped with pneumatic tires, swivel wheels, or even auxiliary wheels to enhance maneuverability under heavy stress. 

Size and Dimensions of Dollies for Different Uses

When selecting a dolly for moving purposes, two crucial aspects to consider are the size and dimensions of the dolly and the items you intend to move. Matching the dolly’s size with the items’ dimensions ensures efficient and safe transport, while also considering the storage space for the dolly when it’s not in use is essential for practicality.

Many dollies are designed with compact storage in mind. Models that fold flat or have a narrow profile are ideal for those with limited storage space. Convertible hand trucks and some platform dollies offer easy storage solutions without sacrificing functionality.

Look for dollies with features that aid in storage, such as foldable handles or removable platforms. These features not only make the dolly more compact but also more versatile, allowing it to be stored in tight spaces like the trunk of a car, a small closet, or a storage room.

The weight of the dolly itself is a factor in storage. Lightweight models made of materials like aluminum can be easier to carry and store, especially in situations where the dolly needs to be lifted or hung on a wall.

Material and Durability of Dollies

The material from which a dolly is made plays a critical role in its durability, weight capacity, and suitability for different usage environments. The most common materials used in the construction of dollies are steel, aluminum, and plastic. 

Steel is known for its strength and durability. It can withstand the rigors of moving heavy objects like appliances and large furniture. Steel dollies are less likely to bend or deform under heavy loads. However, it can be challenging to maneuver steel as it is significantly heavier than aluminum and plastic. 

Aluminum dollies are much lighter than their steel counterparts, making them easier to handle and maneuver. Although aluminum is strong enough for most tasks, it may not match the weight capacity and resistance to bending under extreme loads that steel offers. Also, aluminum dollies are more expensive than plastic ones. 

Plastic dollies are the lightest, offering easy maneuverability. They’re perfect for light to medium-duty tasks, such as moving boxes or light furniture. In addition, plastic is resistant to corrosion, does not rust, and is easy to clean. But, keep in mind that plastic dollies generally have lower weight capacities than metal options.

Wheels and Maneuverability

The wheels of a dolly play a crucial role in its maneuverability and suitability for different types of surfaces. 

Solid wheels are made from materials like hard rubber or polyurethane. They are not air-filled, which makes them puncture-proof and low maintenance. Solid wheels work well on smooth, hard surfaces such as warehouses, offices, or residential floors. However, they may not absorb shocks as well as pneumatic wheels, making them less suitable for uneven surfaces.

Pneumatic tires are air-filled and provide a cushioned ride. They can absorb shocks and vibrations, making them ideal for rough or uneven surfaces. These tires excel on outdoor terrains, such as gravel, grass, and uneven pavement, by providing smoother movement and reducing the risk of damaging the cargo.

Larger wheels roll more easily over obstacles and rough surfaces, making them ideal for outdoor use or in environments with uneven floors. They can also reduce the effort needed to start moving or to maintain the movement of the dolly.

On the other hand, smaller wheels offer better maneuverability in tight spaces. They are suitable for indoor environments with smooth floors, where obstacles and surface irregularities are minimal.

Two-wheel dollies (hand trucks) offer vertical stacking of items, ideal for moving boxes or appliances. They rely on the user’s strength to balance and tilt the load for movement, providing good maneuverability in tight spaces.

Four-wheel dollies provide stability for heavy loads and allow for easy movement in any direction, ideal for heavy furniture or large boxes. Four wheels reduce the effort needed to move the dolly, as they distribute the weight evenly and do not require tilting.

Is it Safe to Use a Dolly: Safety Tips for Using a Dolly

Is it Safe to Use a Dolly: Safety Tips for Using a Dolly

Using a dolly can significantly ease the physical burden of moving heavy or bulky items, making the process more efficient and less strenuous. It is why some people prefer moving companies to pack for them. However, ensuring the safety of both the user and the items being moved through proper lifting techniques is important.  

Before lifting, determine if the item’s weight is within the dolly’s weight capacity. Then, bend at the knees and keep your back straight when lifting items onto the dolly. In addition, you should place the item in the center of the dolly platform to maintain balance and prevent tipping. Furthermore, gently tilt the dolly back to ensure the load is stable before moving. If the load shifts, lower it and adjust as necessary.

To secure your items on a dolly, you have to make use of straps, ropes, or bungee cords. It is also important to distribute the weight evenly on the dolly. Heavier items should be placed at the bottom to lower the center of gravity and improve stability.

When stacking multiple items, place larger, heavier boxes at the bottom and lighter ones on top. Avoid stacking items too high, as this can make the dolly top-heavy and unstable.

Real-Life Use Cases and Recommendations

John, a recent college graduate, faced the challenge of moving from his first 1-bedroom apartment in Miami. Considering the average moving costs and his limited budget, John decided to handle the move himself. He rented a utility dolly for stacking multiple boxes and a furniture dolly for his bulky items. The utility dolly made it possible to maneuver through the tight spaces of his apartment complex with ease, while the furniture dolly was invaluable for moving his heavy couch.

There was a small tech startup in Atlanta that needed to relocate its office to a larger space to accommodate its growing team. Given the mix of heavy equipment, electronics, and furniture to be moved, we advised the company to opt for a mix of heavy-duty hand trucks for their servers and large monitors, and convertible hand trucks for the flexibility of moving both boxes and chairs in one go. The pneumatic tires on the hand trucks eased the transport over uneven sidewalks and through the busy city streets, showcasing the importance of choosing the right dolly for both the items’ safety and ease of movement.

Do You Need To Rent A Dolly?

Renting a dolly can be a smart choice for several reasons as it is cost-effective, saves space, and gives you access to various types of dollies. When considering whether to rent a dolly, balance the cost against the features and functionality you need. It helps to think about the weight capacity, maneuverability, functionality, etc. 

If you’re looking to rent a dolly, contact Stack Moves today. From residential moves to office relocation, we provide not only dollies but also other moving essentials that can make the process easier. 

Remember selecting the right dolly and considering rental options can significantly impact the ease and success of your move. Contact Stack Moves now!

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