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Choosing a Food Utility Cart Guide

When it comes to utility carts, every manufacturer has something new to offer with a sweet story to it. But don’t get carried away by all the sweet talk since some of these products don’t perform as advertised.

What you need is a utility cart that has the right storage components, weight capacity, construction material, and comfort level; without forgetting durability and ease of movement. Still stuck on your search? Feel free to explore our list of the best utility carts and maybe you can get what you’re looking for.

1) Winsome Wood Utility Cart | 2) Mind Reader ‘ Charm’ 3 Tier Wood Metal Utility/ Bar Cart | 3) Seville Classics Utility Cart | 4) Luxor Multipurpose Three Shelves Utility Cart | 5) Finnhomy 3Drawer Rolling Cart | 6) Folding Shopping Cart | 7) Finnhomy 6Drawer Rolling Cart Organizer | 8) Vollrath (97121) 30-7/8″ Utility Cart | 9) Gorilla Carts Steel Utility Cart | 10) Gorilla Carts Heavy-Duty Steel Utility Cart | 11) Mac Sports Collapsible Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon | 12) Erie Tools Steel Flatbed Garden Cart | 13) Luxor 32″ x 18″ Tub Storage Cart | 14) Finnhomy Garden Service Cart | 15) Tyke Supply Stair Climber Aluminum Hand Truck | 16) Luxor 3 Shelf Utility Cart | 17) Luxor 32″ x 18″ Tub Storage Cart | 18) U.S. General 16″ x 30″ Service Cart | 19) Whitmor Deluxe Utility Cart | 20) Finnhomy 3 Tier Heavy Duty Utility Cart | 21) LCL Beauty White All Purpose Roller Trolley | 22) Altra Marshall Rolling Utility Cart | 23) YIMU 3 Tier Mesh Wire Rolling File Cart | 24) Honey-Can-Do CRT-04050 Rolling Media Cart | 25) Mac Sports Folding Green Wagon | 26) Polar Trailer 8233 HD 1500 Heavy Duty Utility | 27) Sandusky FSC3012 Folding Shopping Cart |

If you are running a restaurant, hotel, or school cafeteria, you know the importance of having the right utility cart for the job. Whether you are transporting full bus tubs back to the kitchen or delivering meals for room service, a transport cart with the right weight capacity, caster type, and handle design can make your job infinitely easier.

This guide is designed to help you narrow down the search for the best food service cart for your application by outlining factors like plastic versus metal construction, wheel types, ergonomic handle designs, and actual weight capacity.


Choosing plastic versus metal really comes down to the amount and type of use the cart will be getting, along with personal preference. Sometimes a metal cart is necessary, but in other instances a plastic cart will do the same job just as well or better.

  • Plastic: Carts made with plastic are often lighter and won’t show wear and tear as easily as metal carts. Many of our plastic utility carts are chip, dent, and stain resistant where metal would show scratches and dents. Plastic bussing and transport carts provide an aesthetic appeal for bussing tables in the front of the house, but they can be used for transporting meals and catering supplies, too.
  • Metal: Many metal carts provide long-lasting durability to aid you in transporting just about any load that you need to move; however, they can be more predisposed to show dents and scratches than plastic carts. Most are made from stainless steel for excellent rust resistance to keep your cart sanitary and safe for use. Our metal utility carts come in a variety of styles so that you can find the perfect cart for your application, from light-duty to heavy-duty usage. When choosing a metal food service cart, keep in mind that the gauge of the steel plays an important part in the cart’s durability. The lower the gauge, the stronger and more durable the steel will be!

Light-Duty vs. Heavy-Duty

Durability takes into account several different elements to determine how the cart will hold up under certain uses over time. Some of the factors that play a part in how durable a cart will be and how much weight it can handle include:

  • The gauge (or thickness) of the material used
  • Type of fastening used
  • Frame design
  • Size, configuration, and makeup of the casters

This table takes these factors into consideration and uses general recommendations and weight capacities to give you an idea of which type of service cart would be best for your application.

If you are looking to transport more than 1800 lb., we suggest browsing our platform truck category for an item that will suit your needs. We offer a wide range of trucks and dollies, some of which are built to handle loads of up to 2700 lb.


  • Molded-in: For durability and continuity of design, molded-in handles are used in many types of carts, though primarily in plastic bussing and transport carts. Most molded-in handles are horizontal, but some may be designed with a vertical element as well.
  • Vertical: This style of handles is usually found on metal bussing and utility carts with greater weight capacities. The vertical design has ergonomic value in that it allows people of different heights to push the same cart safely and with correct posture. If your employees will be using a cart for several hours a day, vertical handles can help prevent injuries caused by pushing heavy loads.

Shelf Configurations

  • Enclosed: Some carts have enclosed or partially enclosed bases with shelves inside. The benefits of this configuration include spill prevention and hiding unsightly bus boxes or cleaning supplies from view. Most often, only plastic utility carts have enclosed bases, though some manufacturers make cabinet-style metal bussing carts.
  • Open: Many metal and plastic bussing carts have open bases. This makes loading and unloading the cart easier and allows for easy viewing of the contents for inventory or inspection reasons.
  • Shelf Lip: Many carts have a lip on all four sides of the shelf or on three sides to prevent items from sliding off. A shelf with a lip on all four sides may also contain spills if you are transporting liquids like soups, beverages, or cleaning supplies.
  • Weight Capacities: Though a cart has a general, overall weight capacity, it is important to note that weight should be evenly distributed among the shelves. A single shelf should only hold a portion of the overall weight capacity. To find that number and help prevent injuries or damage to the cart, divide the overall weight capacity of the cart by the number of shelves. We’ve provided an easy-to-use weight capacity calculator at the bottom of this guide to give you an idea of the weight capacity that would work best for a cart in your application. Put in the average weight of items you will need to transport and check the boxes to tell us about the environment where the cart will be used. Once you click “Calculate”, the estimated total weight capacity will appear in the last box.
  • Number of Shelves: We offer utility carts with 2, 3, and 4 shelves to give you the best selection. More shelves may give a cart added weight capacity, but they also limit the clearance between shelves, while carts with only two shelves will have the greatest shelf clearance. When deciding how many shelves you need, consider the actual size of the items you need to transport, not just the weight, to make sure they will fit the shelf clearance.

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