NAPA Auto Parts Sterling, VA
45449 Severn Way
Sterling,  VA  20166-8918
(703) 378-6666
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Dollies & Hand Trucks

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What is the Difference Between a Hand Truck and a Dolly?

Did you know that most people get hand trucks and dollies confused? Many people end up thinking these two useful pieces of equipment are the same or refer to a hand truck as a dolly and vice versa. But while both tools feature wheels (or caster wheels in the case of a dolly) and assist in moving heavy objects, they are actually very different. A hand truck must maneuver under the cargo before it is moved. Once the cargo is set on top of flat metal support, a dolly's wheels move it from place to place.

A hand truck makes lifting and moving heavy or bulky things easy for a single person. Hand trucks feature a metal frame that stands upright and is shaped like the letter L. It has two large wheels on either side of the frame, and the lower part of the L slides beneath boxes or other heavy cargo. You can then carefully tilt the hand truck back so the cargo sits against the frame and is ready for transport. If you've ever rented a truck to move, then you've probably seen a standard two-wheel hand truck. These basic trucks are also great for work around the house when you need to relocate heavy furniture or packages. NAPA specializes in variations on this design that can help move specific kinds of tools, parts and equipment.

A dolly is a basic machine that makes moving heavy objects easier when lateral force is applied. They consist of a platform with either three or four wheels so that whatever is sitting on them can move. Some dollies feature a dual axle design, and there are a wide variety of styles and types of dollies for almost any use you can imagine. It's like a skateboard for your stuff!

The Best Tool for the Job

In an automotive garage or industrial setting, it's often a good idea to use hand trucks and dollies that are designed for a specific purpose. Brake drum dollies are a good example; these dollies are an exception to the hand cart/dolly rule because they both lift and move brake drums, which can weigh more than 100 pounds each. Don't confuse a brake drum dolly with a drum dolly or drum caddy though. These types can feature a metal frame like a hand cart with a round bottom that is perfect for lifting and moving 55-gallon drums of lubricants, oils and other liquids.

Trash can dollies are commonly seen under industrial-size garbage cans so that these disposal containers are easier to move. They are especially useful in settings where a large amount of garbage can accrue quickly, such as an auto shop, movie theater or school. Many auto shops also use parts washer dollies, which are designed to work with parts washer systems to make them easier to move around a shop.

Bring the Rubber to the Road

Your Acura MDX or lifted Ram 2500 can only get where it's going if it has wheels. From Formula 1 Racing to the Indy 500, the wheels on a performance race car are possibly the difference between a win and a loss. If you do not care for, transport and store wheels and tires properly, the stakes are potentially even higher. Wheel dollies are the perfect system for relocating and storing wheels of all sizes for all types of vehicles. Because there is such a variety, these dollies are designed in a wide range of configurations and can withstand a range of weights from 600 pounds to 1200 pounds.

The roller type of car wheel dolly features a rectangular metal frame platform that is mounted on sturdy wheels or casters. While some models offer a fabric or metal support in the middle of the frame, others do not. Hydraulic wheel dollies use a pressurized hydraulic system to raise and lower the heavy wheels.

Dollies and hand trucks are a great tool to keep in the home garage, auto repair shop or even in a basement for projects around the house. NAPA offers a great selection of different dolly and hand truck designs from some of the biggest names in the business: Carlyle, ESCO, NAPA and many more. Sign up for NAPA Rewards today and get one point on every $1 you spend!