At Douglas Equipment, we specialize in material handling equipment and quality casters and wheels. We have thousands of products in stock. With so many choices, it may seem difficult to know which one is right for you, but our experts can quickly help you identify the product that solves your unique need.
In this article, we’ll discuss one category of material handling equipment, the dolly – and specifically, the open deck hardwood dolly. We’ll describe how the open deck dolly differs from similar lift equipment, and then cover the specific features of the many dollies we have in stock.
Trucks, Carts and Dollies – What’s in a Name?
We have many different types of equipment to move a load. Usually, the load determines which one is best.
- Pallet Truck or Pallet Jack – If the load is stacked on a pallet and you can slip the forks of a pallet truck (sometimes called a pallet jack) under the load, then that may be the best piece of equipment for the job.
- Two-Wheeled Hand Truck – You use this load-moving piece of equipment in a vertical position. If the load consists of a number of boxes, for example, you stack the boxes on the truck’s nose plate (the flat metal plate that rests on the floor), tilt the truck back and wheel the load away. These trucks are particularly well suited in situations where you can slip the nose plate under the load, and avoid the step of stacking the boxes.
- Platform Trucks or Carts – This four wheeled hand truck consists of a platform with three or four wheels, and handles attached. You place the load on the platform, and push or pull the handles to move the load.
- Dolly – This piece of equipment is also a hand truck consisting of a platform with four wheels, but with no handle attached. Because it has no handle, you push against the load itself to move the dolly.
Next, let’s look more closely at dollies.
When is a Dolly the Right Choice?
Based on the descriptions above, we see, first of all, that if the load is on a pallet, the pallet truck is probably the best choice. Secondly, if you can slide a hand truck under the load and tilt it, then that’s the best choice. Third, if the load is fragile or unstable, and can’t be pushed, then a platform truck with handles might be better to use than a dolly.
Dollies are ideally suited for loads that are not on pallets; that don’t allow the nose plate of a hand truck under them; and that can tolerate being pushed. Some examples of loads that work well on dollies are bulky boxes, odd-shaped objects like chairs or dressers, or automobile tires.
Open Deck versus Solid Platform – Types of Dollies
At Douglas Equipment, we stock dollies that range in size from 24 by 16 inches, up to as large as 36 by 24 inches. We have two types of dollies in these sizes. Each has its own advantages when used with different types of loads.
- Solid Platform Dolly – The platform on this style of dolly is a solid hardwood deck with no openings. It’s good for loads that need to be supported underneath, such as a stack of small boxes, or bags of ready-mix concrete.
- Open Deck Dolly – The platform on an open deck dolly consists of an open frame of hardwood. The bolts that hold the frame boards together are recessed, and won’t mar the load. An open deck dolly is suited for large or bulky loads, which can support themselves on the open frame.
Which One to Choose?
You may find, when you look at the descriptions above, that either type of dolly will work for your load. Which should you choose? Here are a few points to consider.
When it’s time to return an empty dolly to its storage area, it’s usually easiest to pick up the dolly and carry it. Otherwise, since a dolly doesn’t have a handle, you would have to lean over close to the ground and push it – a very awkward position!
The solid platform dolly will be a few pounds heavier than the equivalent-sized open deck dolly. This makes it harder to carry long distances. It’s also harder to grip the solid platform; you’ll need two hands to pick it up, and two hands to carry it while you’re walking.
You can easily grab and lift the open frame dolly with one hand; you’ll only need one hand while you’re walking; and it’s lighter, so it won’t take as much effort to carry. For storage, the open frame dolly can even hang from a hook on the wall – no special hardware required.
Open Frame Hardwood Dollies – Options and Accessories
If you decide that the open deck hardwood dolly is right for your needs, you’ll have a few options to choose from.
- Flush Open Deck – All four frame boards fit together evenly, in a flush top – no board is higher than any other boards.
- Open Deck Carpet Ends – The two end boards of the frame are raised and covered in carpet to protect the load.
- Open Deck Rubber Ends – The two end boards of the frame are raised and covered in rubber to protect the load.
- Optional Tow Handle and Eye Hook – You can use the optional tow handle and eye hook to connect several dollies together. You might want to do this, for example, to pull several dollies along in a “train” configuration.
And finally, you can choose between two types of wheels: 3-inch hard rubber casters, which support 900 pounds; or 4-inch hard plastic casters, which support 1,200 pounds.
Contact the Experts at Douglas Equipment for More Information
Contact us today to discuss your individual needs and for help selecting the dolly or other piece of material handling equipment that best meets your needs – and your budget!