If you transport items frequently throughout your commercial setting, a stainless steel utility cart makes an excellent investment. For small items, these carts make it possible to transport a number of items all at once in a single trip, saving time. When you're moving heavy items, a heavy-duty cart is strong enough to bear the weight and reduces the chances of workplace injuries that may occur due to carrying bulky objects.
The metal adds to the usefulness of work carts due to its unique properties. The surface of the metal is impervious to penetration by microbes, so a cart crafted from it can be fully sanitized prior to use. The material is also easy to clean and ultra durable to resist denting, even when heavy items are placed on its surface. In addition, the metal resists corrosion and can stand up to many types of chemicals.
The benefits of work carts make them must-haves for many businesses, and manufacturers produce different models to suit the needs of various industries. This Buyers' Guide to Stainless Steel Utility Carts
will introduce you to the different styles available today.
In addition, the guide explains all of the things that you need to keep in mind when shopping for a cart to ensure that you select the perfect piece for your business. We have arranged the guide using questions that we often receive from our customers and are confident that the information contained in it will help make your buying decision easier. What is the importance of the weight limit for a cart?
Every cart has a weight limit that corresponds to the total amount of weight that the piece's frame and shelves can bear without collapsing. The weight limit is cumulative, meaning that you should add together the weights of all of the items that you'll be placing on the cart when determining whether or not a load is within the acceptable limit.
The weight limit of a cart is based upon the premise that the weight of the objects placed on its surface is distributed evenly. This means that when you're loading your cart, you must take care to balance heavy items on both sides of the cart. If you're transporting just one very heavy piece, it will need to be placed in the center of the cart as much as possible. If the weight is not distributed evenly on the cart, it will be difficult to move, and it could even become dented or damaged, depending on how unevenly things have been placed on its surface.What are the primary styles of carts, and how do I know what type is the best for my business?
When shopping for utility carts, you'll find that there are five main styles from which to choose. Then, within some of the larger style groups, there are additional features or sub-styles. What overall style will function the best in your space will depend upon your industry and the purpose of the cart, specifically, what type of items you'll be transporting.
Before shopping for a cart, consult the federal, state and local health and safety codes that govern your industry to see if there are any regulations regarding the type, style or features that are required for carts used in a commercial setting like yours. Doing so will not only save you from paying possible fines if your building is inspected, it will also help to protect your employees and your clients or customers.
The five primary types of carts are:
What features are available in instrument table style carts?
- Rectangle instrument tables look similar to work tables. They have a rectangular top mounted on four legs. At the end of each leg, there is one rolling caster. Rectangular instrument tables are excellent for transporting a large amount of equipment that you need to have within easy reach. The rectangle instrument table is commonly used in medical settings, but may be appropriate for use in other industries as well.
- Square instrument tables have a square top mounted on four legs that are outfitted with heavy-duty casters. The tables are smaller in size than rectangular instrument tables, but are also used for moving tools that will require quick access. Square instrument tables are ideal for medical settings for procedures that require small hand tools.
- Traditional carts have a metal frame that consists of four legs or metal rods. A caster is situated at the bottom of each wheel and shelves are attached to two rods on either end. Traditional carts are the most widely used style and can have many different purposes in a variety of commercial settings.
- Cantilever carts have two legs in their frames, rather than four. The shelves that extend from the legs are open U-shaped frames, into which plastic bins can be placed. The cantilever cart is designed for filling with equipment or dishes that need to be transported to the sink for cleaning; the bins make it easy to transfer soiled items into the sink bowls for washing. The cantilever cart is commonly used for busing or clearing tables in the food service industry.
- I-Carts resemble traditional carts, however, on each end of the cart, a curved metal bar is placed to function like a handle, allowing the cart to be pulled from either end. I-carts have a lower shelf at the bottom of the cart and an upper shelf at the top with a large amount of space between them. The style is often used in the food service industry for stacking trays and other items, but can be used in other industries as well.
In instrument table style carts, there are three common features that you'll find in some models.
What are my choices for shelf arrangements in traditional carts?
- Under shelves are found in some rectangular instrument table carts and provide additional storage.
- Drawers are included in some square instrument table carts and can hold additional tools.
- Guard rails are a thin metal bars positioned one or two inches above the tops of instrument tables. The bar travels around the perimeter of the cart top and prevents items from falling off when the cart is in motion.
Traditional carts will usually have one of four shelf arrangements:
What types of shelves are available in traditional carts?
- Standard two shelf arrangements feature one shelf at the top of the cart and one shelf at the bottom. This style is excellent for carrying very tall items.
- Raised two shelf arrangements have two shelves with the bottom shelf raised up from the frame. This style decreases the height clearance of the second shelf, but allows users to bend less to load and unload the cart.
- Standard three shelf arrangements have shelves at the top, middle and bottom of the frame. These styles are perfect for carrying a large amount of items that are of moderate height.
- Raised three shelf arrangements feature three shelves with the bottom shelf raised above the bottom of the frame and less space between each of the shelves. The style can carry a large amount of items with smaller heights and requires less bending than a standard three shelf arrangement cart.
Stainless steel carts can have one of three types of shelves:
What are my choices for handles in traditional stainless steel carts?
- Flat shelves have completely flat surfaces and make it easy to slide an object right onto their surface from a counter top or work table that is of equal height. This can be useful for moving heavy or delicate items, such as a large cake with multiple tiers.
- Marine edge shelves are slightly raised around the edges with a noticeable, but not deep, depression in the middle. The marine edge prevents any liquids that spill on the shelves from dripping onto the floor.
- Recessed shelves have high sides and much lower middles, so items sit down inside of the shelves rather than on top of their surfaces. Recessed shelves help keep items from falling off when the cart is being moved.
There are three primary types of handles seen in traditional stainless steel utility carts.
- A bar handle is a simple metal bar that extends across one side of the frame. Bar handles work well in carts that will not be transporting very heavy equipment, such as a cart used for transporting food or for coffee concessions.
- Grip handles are shaped like an upside-down flattened "U" and extend from one side of the cart. Their surfaces are covered in rubber, which makes them easier to tightly grip. This handle style is perfect for moving heavy loads and cuts down on the risk of hand injuries.
- Double handles have a rounded "U" shape and are found on either end of the utility cart. With double handles, you can load a cart with very heavy items and then walk around to its other side and pull it rather than having to turn it around. In addition, two people can operate a double handle cart, which can make it easier to move large loads or navigate through crowded spaces.