What is a Sack Barrow?

Paul Scott

Sack barrow is a fairly generic term describing a range of light, single operator hand trucks or trolleys used to move cartons, feed and grain sacks, and other light, stackable goods. They are typically made of tubular steel and feature a fixed or hinged load bed and a set of solid rubber wheels. The load bed and wheels are mounted at the bottom of a back frame to support stacked goods. The barrow load platform is usually slipped under the load and then the barrow is tipped towards the operator to a point of balance and pushed away. Sack barrows are generally fairly simple hand trucks but may include additional features and functionality such as anti-tip supports, secondary flat use wheels, or even stair climbing wheel sets.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Hand trucks or sack barrows are indispensable items in any domestic, retail, or industrial environment where large stacks of goods or unwieldy, heavy items need moving on a regular basis. They cover that area of the transport of goods which falls outside of the realm of vehicles or carrying by hand. Using a sack barrow is not only a cost effective, quick, and convenient method of moving goods but one of the safest; it spares the user any potential back injuries from carrying items by hand. Sack barrows also take up very little space and are easy to store themselves.

The average sack barrow is a light weight hand operated truck designed to be used by one person to transport single or stacks or items. Tubular steel members are typically used in their construction to build two open frames, one longer than the other. The long frame forms the vertical back support of the barrow while the other is for the horizontal load bed. These two elements may be combined by bending the back frame at the bottom to form a rough L shape. The sack barrow is then equipped with a set of rubber wheels at the junction of the back frame and load bed. A pair of handles to push and steer the barrow are attached to the top of the back frame.

The barrow is used by either loading items onto the load bed by hand or simply pushing it under the load. The barrow then can tip backward toward the operator, thus lifting the load off the ground until a point of balance is achieved that allows it to be pushed away. Most sack barrow designs are fairly simple but some include extra items such as supports which prevent the barrow from tipping backward onto the operator. Others have extra frames and wheels at the handle end to allow them to be used flat as pull trolleys with the back serving as a load area. Perhaps one of the most inventive additions to these little work horses is a triangular, three wheel arrangement on either side of the load bed that allows the sack barrow to be pulled up flights of stairs with ease.

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