Hand Truck Techniques: Pushing vs. Pulling for Maximum Efficiency

There are many different kinds of industries, but one that consistently uses hand trucks is the food service industry. They’re a practical and inexpensive option for transporting heavy or cumbersome objects. Yet, accidents and injuries can occur if hand trucks are used incorrectly. The question of whether to push or pull the hand truck is a hotly contested one. We’ll break down the topic in great detail so you can make an educated choice after reading this article.

While using a hand truck, is it best to push it rather than pull it?

When deciding whether to push or pull a hand truck, it is important to first weigh the benefits of each option. Standing behind the load, you push the hand truck ahead. Standing in front of the load, you draw the hand truck toward you. A few benefits and drawbacks of each approach are listed below.

The Good Things About Pushing:

You can see more of your surroundings, making it easier to spot and avoid potential dangers.
The tension on your back and neck is diminished since your body is in a more natural, pleasant position.
You have more command over the load’s movement, which is especially helpful in confined or congested areas.

Pushing has certain disadvantages:

Moving a heavy object demands more energy since your leg muscles must work harder.
You may have trouble making fast bends or maneuvering the load around obstacles and corners because of its limited maneuverability.

The Good Things About Pulling:

Pulling a load demands less work from your leg muscles, which can make it easier to maintain a steady pace over time.
More flexibility: bringing the load closer to you allows you to draw it around turns and over obstacles with greater ease.
When weight is drawn toward you, it becomes more stable and less likely to topple over.

Limitations of the Pull Method:

Having your line of sight blocked by the load makes it harder to see where you’re going.
Poor posture—you’re hunched over, which puts extra pressure on your neck and back.
Less maneuverability: You’ll have less say over where and how fast the load goes, which could be an issue in confined locations.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Push or Pull a Hand Truck

There are additional considerations besides the pros and cons of pushing and pulling that should be taken into account when selecting which approach to choose. Some of the most crucial aspects are as follows:

The decision to push or pull depends on the type of load you are hauling. A more stable choice than pushing, pulling may be the way to go if the burden is large and awkward to move about. When the load is light and manageable, however, pushing may be the preferred method of transport.

The setting in which the hand truck will be used is also a consideration. A more controlled method, such as pushing, may be preferable in a confined space. Nonetheless, if the space is open and spacious, pulling could be simplified due to improved vision.

Consider the user’s preferences and physical limitations as well. Choose the approach that comes more easily to you based on whether you prefer to push or pull. Because pulling demands greater upper-body power than pushing does, your physical health and strength should be taken into account for both activities.

How to Push and Pull a Hand Truck the Right Way

Proper practices should be used when pushing or pulling a hand truck to reduce the likelihood of injury and increase productivity. In that light, consider the following advice:

Your body’s position and posture are crucial for avoiding unnecessary stress and harm. Maintain an erect posture and generate force through your thighs instead of your back. As an added safety measure, try to stay as close to the hand truck as possible to lessen the load on your shoulders and arms.

Holding the hand truck correctly is crucial to ensuring your own safety, as is the placement of your hands. For maximum control and stability, hold the handles at a good height with a firm grip at all times.

Avoiding embarrassing slips and falls requires careful attention to your footing and movement. When maneuvering the hand truck, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and that you’re taking short steady strides. When turning, pivot using your feet rather than bending at the waist.

Why is pulling better than pushing a hand truck?

To push or to pull? That is the question when deciding how to move a large load with a hand truck. Both options have their uses, but there are various reasons why pulling the weight is preferred.

You may put your own weight to good use right off the bat when you pull a hand truck. Leaning back and using your body weight to offset the weight of the load is a useful technique when pulling a load. As a result, you’ll be able to shift the burden with less effort and less strain on your body.

Pushing a hand truck, on the other hand, involves putting forth effort in a forward motion, which can be taxing on the back, shoulders, and arms. Fatigue, discomfort, and eventual injury are all possible outcomes of this situation.

Let’s look at a basic example to clarify the distinction between pushing and pulling a hand truck. Assume you have to transport 500 pounds. If you want to push the load, you’ll need to exert a force of 500 pounds in front of you. Pulling the load, on the other hand, allows you to lean back and use your body weight to counteract it. We’ll pretend you can lean back and exert a force of 100 pounds in a rearward direction. Considering that 500 pounds of force are needed to push the load, this suggests that only 400 pounds of force are needed to actually move the burden.

These are simplified calculations, and the real force needed to move a load will depend on a number of parameters, such as the cargo’s weight, the surface you’re carrying it across, and the hand truck’s condition. It’s still easier and less taxing on your body to pull a load than to push it, but that’s not a new observation.

Pulling a hand truck not only reduces strain on your body but also improves your command of the weight. You can see where you’re going and make course corrections while pulling a load. Since it can be tricky to move heavy or bulky objects in confined spaces or around barriers, this is especially crucial while making such moves. Accidents and injuries are more likely to occur when pushing a load because of the decreased visibility.

Use of a Hand Truck: Some Safety Precautions

Finally, whether you push or pull, there are several basic safety rules you should follow when operating a hand truck. Some fundamental pointers are as follows:

It is crucial to learn how to safely operate a hand truck before putting yourself or others in harm’s way by utilizing one. As a result, you can operate the hand truck without fear of injury or mishap.

It’s important not to overload a hand truck, as doing so increases the chances of it spilling over and injuring someone or damaging property. While loading a hand truck, make sure you don’t exceed the maximum weight capacity and spread the load out as much as possible.

While using a hand truck, the weight should be centered and secured to prevent it from toppling over. You should also stay away from using a hand truck on hills or uneven ground.

Using shoes with adequate traction, taking extra care when climbing or descending stairs, and avoiding rapid movements that could cause the burden to shift suddenly are all additional safety precautions to keep in mind.


Overall, the decision of whether to push or pull a hand truck is influenced by a number of elements, such as the nature of the cargo being moved, the working environment, and the operator’s preferences and talents. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches, so pick the one that you find most useful. Injury can be avoided and productivity maximized by always following recommended procedures and safeguards when using a hand truck. Now that you have this knowledge, you can select the approach that will serve your needs the best and operate a hand truck securely and efficiently.

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