The Ultimate Guide to Trolleys: Speed Up Workflow and Improve General Safety

Trolleys come in all shapes and sizes. And you’ll see one in dozens of places, from supermarkets to airports, warehouses and workshops. They’re great for their intended use – hauling a range of goods from one place to another quickly, easily and safely. 

Where trolleys differ is in their specific purpose. Different trolleys are designed for transporting different goods and in different settings. Heavy-duty industrial trolleys, for instance, will be more at home in warehouses and material handling sites than smaller and general-purpose trolleys as they’re built to higher standards, can carry heavier loads and need to provide a level of safety and consistency throughout prolonged use. 

Before buying, ensure that the trolley is appropriate for the task and the goods that are transported. Also, take into account who will be using the trolley, in terms of overall height and width, build and ease of use to reduce any chance of risks. And lastly, consider where the trolley will spend most of its time.

Trolley Types

Categorizing all trolleys into one neat category is almost impossible. When considering their work environments, there are hospital, cleaning, laundry, construction, mail, office and warehouse trolleys among dozens of others. In terms of designs, you can choose between 2, 3 and multi-tier, cage and platform trolleys.

Materials also differ, and you’ll find aluminum, stainless steel, and plastic trolleys. There are also variants that ease loading, lifting, lowering, unloading, and transferring goods with battery-powered motors. Similar material handling equipment used in transporting goods includes dollies, utility carts, hand and pallet trucks. 

So, if you’re looking for practical trolleys for sale, which ones should top your list? Let’s take a look at common types found in the workplace: 

Platform Trolleys

Platform Trolleys

Platform trolleys are some of the most commonly used trolleys there are. They’re great for hauling heavy and bulky materials safely and quickly within the workplace on durable platforms set atop four (or more) castors or wheels. Handles come in different configurations and shapes and can be positioned on one or both sides to help with moving.

Loading capacities vary and are largely dictated by the use of materials. Heavy-duty platform trolleys for sale are often made of thick gauge stainless steel, but lighter variants in aluminum and plastic are also available.

There are also open, semi-enclosed and caged platform trolleys, electrically-powered trolleys, those with timber platforms and more. Designs and sizes differ as to the type of load and where they’re used. 

2,3 and Multi-Tier Trolleys

Trolleys with two or more tiers or shelves allow for storing and transporting a range of items in as many environments. You’ll see these in restaurants, hotels, libraries, offices schools, distribution centers, mailrooms, warehouses, workshops, and scores of places.

Tiers and shelves come in varying designs, either as flatbeds, with side rails, or durable tables and benches that double as effective work areas. Tier combinations in terms of placement, and additions like cages, baskets, bin trays, container boxes, and racks make storing items of different sizes and shapes easier and help to improve organization and accessibility. 

A variation of multi-tier trolleys is order picking trolleys. These have become a common sight in shops and warehousing facilities, helping in quick transport of a variety of goods, while also boosting productivity and reducing unnecessary footfall in the setting. Some of these come with angled pick shelves and simplify loading and unloading of pick boxes. 

Other Options

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, material handling stores have a huge range of trolleys. Industry and use specific trolleys include tote box picking trolleys, parcel cage trolleys, sandwich trolleys, trolleys with an adjustable height work table, those with included steps, heavy-duty distribution trolleys, and more.

Extremely heavy loads are best handled with electrically powered trolleys. If moving appliances and white goods, look for heavy-duty appliances and stair trolleys to ensure safety and avoid damage. And when loads get literally out of hand, maybe it’s time for pallet trucks and scissor lifts to move heavy items higher. 

Material handling Trolleys

Things to Look for

When choosing a trolley, ensure that it is made of the right materials, has the required ergonomic and safety features for easy handling, and is suited to the load. Size and overall height and weight are also important both for the person handling the trolley and where it will be used. Also, consider additions and attachments in better organizing and storing items. 

Materials 

Smaller and lightweight trolleys like those used in hospitality and retail can be optioned in plastic. Reinforced polymers in thicker sizes ensure a high loading capacity, with some plastic trolleys easily handling up to 250 kilos. They won’t dent nor pick up scratches in daily use and are also good for wet environments like kitchens and laundries. The lower weight allows for easy handling. 

If you need to carry items with more heft, but still want the maneuverability of plastic trolleys, then aluminum may be your best bet. Smaller versions can carry 150 kilos, so are good for more settings. If you need more loading capacity, a heavy-duty aluminum trolley can haul over half a ton. Aluminum Is resistant to rust, isn’t magnetic (ideal for carrying electronics and testing equipment), and is heat resistant. 

When you need absolute strength and durability, go with steel. This should be coated or painted to resist rust. Steel trolleys are required for loading and transporting bulky and heavy items, and these are what you’d find in larger commercial or industrial environments.

Loading capacities start where aluminum finishes and go to several tons in larger platform trolleys optioned with thicker gauge steel. The penalty is weight, but there’s always the option of going with electrically powered steel trolleys, especially in fast-paced settings like large warehouses and distribution centers. 

Various designs mean combinations of different materials are also used. Handles for instance are often plastic, shelves are made of steel, and cages are aluminum or wire mesh. 

Handling, Safety, and Maneuverability

The act of moving trolleys from one place to another requires comfortable handles set at the right height. You’ll find handles set vertically or horizontally (and angled) or part of the trolley frame. Handle surfaces should be grippy, but not overly so. Adjustable handle heights help accommodate a range of users. 

Safety isn’t to be overlooked. You’ll want to avoid unwanted injuries, mishaps, and damage. Trolley heights need to be limited as you’ll want to be able to see over the trolley at all times, without obstructed views. Bases in heavy-duty trolleys benefit from spring or scissor adjustment to assist in loading and unloading heavy objects with minimal strain. 

Castors and wheels should be appropriate for the floor surfaces and balanced between grip and speed. Here there are more options, both in terms of materials and maneuverability. Rubber wheels are good for slippery surfaces like polished floors or concrete, but won’t be good with heavier loads where you’ll want hard polyurethane castors.

Heavy-duty steel trolleys are often paired with steel or cast-iron castors. How castors are set determines how easy it is to move the trolley. Often front castors are of the swivel type, while the rear is fixed. However, you can option these in any combination you like. And for areas with gradients, locking casters with integrated brakes is a must. 

Sizing

With all the different sizes, you’ll want a trolley that suits the purpose and loads. Smaller items can be handled with smaller and lighter trolleys and these will be easier to push around in tighter spaces and for longer distances. Where trolleys get big is with high loading capacities. As with designs and materials, choosing the appropriate size should ease workflow, but not at the expense of safety.