How Does a Handtruck Work?
A hand truck is a class one lever in motion. The wheels act as a fulcrum that helps distribute and mitigate heavy weight on one side. This lever design makes it easier for you to push and move heavy, large objects with ease.
The use of wheels to carry heavy loads has been in existence throughout history. Historical records show us that people used wheeled objects as far back as 4500 BC. Hand trucks, in particular, became popular during the 1700s as they became a main transport tool for the shipping industry. Eventually, they caught on in other industries before becoming a common object.
How To Use a Hand Truck
When using a hand truck, put the objects you want to move on the horizontal load-bearing side and secure them to the upright lever portion with straps or rope. The rope ensures that the item stays safe as you are moving it with the hand truck.
Once the item is secure, tilt the hand truck backward toward your body with a firm hold, using your foot to keep the bottom of the hand truck from moving in an unintended direction. In the case of very large objects, we recommend getting some help to keep the hand truck balance.
Now that the load is balanced over the wheels, you can move the item. Make sure to use steady and slow movements as you’re moving the hand truck. If you do quick hard turns or rapid motions, you could end up damaging the cargo or injuring yourself.
Keep in mind that the weight capacity of a hand truck depends on the manufacturer’s specifications. Some heavy-duty hand trucks can handle 1,000 lbs or more. As a general rule, most hand trucks can hold at least 600 lbs. Overloading a hand truck could result in serious injuries or damage.
A handtruck's design is for pushing only. Pulling will only lead to damage or injury. If you’re going downhill, do not go in front of the handcart to try and catch the weight. Instead, ask for help to hold the hand truck as you transport it down.
Hand Truck Applications
The hand truck is very useful for places where there is a constant movement of items or equipment. Daily deliveries and transportation can be a grind, and using a handtruck can lighten the load. They are also convenient as they take up little space and navigate better than a large dolly or cart. Some of the places where you often see a hand truck used include:
- Logistics facilities
- Office spaces
Specialized Hand Trucks
Some hand trucks have specialized designs to cater to difficult environments. For example, stair climbing hand trucks help carry equipment up and down the stairs. They also work with uneven surfaces. You can often find these handtrucks on docks. They have a manual or electric controller that can lift heavy loads to lessen the weight burden further.
There are also platform hand trucks that have adjustable platforms. You can set the platform higher or lower, making it act like a small forklift. The design allows the user to load equipment precisely without extra effort.