A wheelbarrow is a necessary tool for gardening and construction work. They come with massive buckets that you load with soil, dirt, sand, and a wide range of different materials for easier transport. So, if you had a cubic yard (3 × 3 × 3 feet) of a material, how many wheelbarrows would it take to move it from one place to another?
The typical wheelbarrow will hold between 2 and 6 cubic feet of material when fully loaded. That means that in order to move a cubic yard 27 cubic feet of something, you would need between 5 and 14 wheelbarrows to do it in a single trip.
In today’s guide, I’ll go into greater depth about the transport capacities of a wheelbarrow and the types of wheelbarrows you can get your hands on today.
Wheelbarrow Transport Capacity
Earlier, I said that wheelbarrows can transport between 2 and 6 cubic feet of material per trip. So, why the wide variance?
The reason is simple—it depends on what sort of wheelbarrow you use. Most garden wheelbarrows are designed to carry 2 cubic feet of any given material, while heavy-duty wheelbarrows made for construction sites will transport 6 cubic feet. What you’ll notice between them, apart from their vastly different bucket sizes, is that they vary significantly in terms of construction. I’ll carry on with this point in a later section.
Anyway, due to the variance in transport capacities between wheelbarrows, you should see there is no straightforward figure that describes how many wheelbarrows it would take to move a cubic yard of something. But following this figure range, you would need only 5 6-cubic-foot wheelbarrows or as many as 14 2-cubic-foot wheelbarrows to move 27 cubic feet, or a cubic yard, or material from one place to another.
However, if you manage to get your hands on a massive 8-cubic-foot wheelbarrow—which aren’t very common, especially among DIY gardeners—then you’d need just 4 of them to transport a cubic yard of material in a single trip.
How Much Weight Can a Wheelbarrow Support?
This is another important question that will actually affect how many wheelbarrows it would take to move a cubic yard of something.
The Allsop WheelEasy, which is a 3-cubic-foot vinyl wheelbarrow, can handle up to 150 pounds of solid material at a time. A 5-cubic-foot wheelbarrow, such as the Pure Garden 50-LG1079, has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.
Meanwhile, the 6-cubic-foot A.M. Leonard Poly Wheelbarrow can handle up to 500 pounds of weight. With these figures, we can roughly estimate that a wheelbarrow is designed to transport about 69 pounds of something per cubic-foot capacity after 2 cubic feet.
Next, we have to know how much common gardening and construction materials weigh per cubic foot. You can find those figures in the following table, as well as how many trips it would take to transport a cubic yard of those materials using different wheelbarrow sizes.
|Material||Pounds per Cubic Foot||2-cu.-ft. Wheelbarrow (150 lbs.)||3-cu.-ft. Wheelbarrow (219 lbs.)||4-cu.-ft. Wheelbarrow (300 lbs.)||5-cu.-ft. Wheelbarrow (357 lbs.)||6-cu.-ft. Wheelbarrow (500 lbs.)||8-cu.ft. Wheelbarrow (554 lbs.)|
|Sand||101.8||19 trips||13 trips||10 trips||8 trips||6 trips||5 trips|
|Soil||110||20 trips||14 trips||10 trips||9 trips||6 trips||6 trips|
|Gravel||120||22 trips||15 trips||11 trips||10 trips||7 trips||6 trips|
|Concrete||150||27 trips||19 trips||14 trips||12 trips||9 trips||8 trips|
|Mulch||37||14 trips||9 trips||7 trips||6 trips||5 trips||4 trips|
|Coarse Fertilizer||70||14 trips||9 trips||7 trips||6 trips||5 trips||4 trips|
|Bricks||120||22 trips||15 trips||11 trips||10 trips||7 trips||6 trips|
|Dry Wood Chips||23.7||14 trips||9 trips||7 trips||6 trips||5 trips||4 trips|
Please note that the table above takes into account the total maximum transport volume of each wheelbarrow size. So, the number of trips it would take to transport materials like mulch, fertilizer, and dry wood chips, which are all pretty light per cubic foot, is affected by their volume, not weight per cubic foot.
Types of Wheelbarrows
There are many different ways you can classify a wheelbarrow—namely, by handle material, bucket material, and features.
The handles are the extended portions on the sides of a wheelbarrow that you grip to wheel it from place to place. The most common handle materials are metal, wood, and plastic.
The bucket is the main portion of the wheelbarrow and is typically made of steel, wood, plastic, and canvas.
There are far too many features to mention in this guide, but the most common differentiating features between wheelbarrows are built-in planters, ground flush, foldable, peg rests, wheel count, and tire size.