By Mark Wolfe | Published Oct 1, 2021 10:38 AM
When you have a job to do around the yard or garden, chances are you’ll need a wheelbarrow or some kind of garden cart to haul tools, supplies, or debris. As a lifelong gardener and green industry pro with more than 20 years of nursery and landscape experience, I’ve used my fair share of them. So when I was recently asked to try out the Gorilla Carts GOR4PS Garden Dump Cart, I thought, why not? I might be able to provide some insight for prospective buyers.
Gorilla Carts has been a leader in the garden cart industry for the past two decades. The Minnesota-based company prides itself on quality and innovative design. I put their product to the test in my own backyard, hauling mulch, garden soil, and concrete blocks. To gauge how the cart would perform for a broad range of users, I set up a course with varying terrain and 90-degree turns. It included grass, sand, and gravel surfaces, along with branch-covered ground and slopes. Spoiler alert: It performed well.
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The Gorilla Carts GOR4PS Garden Dump Cart is a garden wagon built for general use around the yard. It features four 10-inch pneumatic rubber tires, a 4-cubic-foot rustproof poly dump bed, a steel frame, and a bent-shaft, wide loop handle with a nice thick grip. The listed weight capacity is 600 pounds, which is equivalent to about 12 bags of pea gravel, 17 cinder blocks, or as much mulch as you can pile on it.
The 4-cubic-foot poly dump bed latches securely to the bed frame with a quick-release spring clip that works with one hand. The pivot point for the dump mechanism is slightly rear of the bed’s midpoint. The steel frame has a ground clearance of about 9 inches, and the outer wheel width is about 20 inches for stability over uneven or obstructed ground. The wagon-style design allows for zero-turn radius maneuverability.
I assembled the GOR4PS by myself in about 30 minutes with only two wrenches. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, with both text and images. The tires came pre-inflated to the correct tire pressure. Anyone who has basic hand tools and experience with “some assembly required” toys, furniture, or appliances will have no trouble assembling this Gorilla Cart.
The most awkward part of the assembly process was inserting the square-headed bolts that fit through the bottom of the bed. Holding them in position from the inside of the bed while threading the nylon nut on the underside of the bed could be a challenge for some. On the other hand, I think the spring pins used to attach the wheels are much faster and easier to use than the old-style washer/cotter pin combination that is still popular for wheelbarrows.
I am more than 6 feet tall, and sometimes that hinders my comfort with wagons and garden carts. If the handle is too short or too straight, I find that I am pulling upward rather than forward, lifting the front of the cart off the ground. Not so with this Gorilla cart option. The handle length, the height of the attachment point, and the bent handle shaft made pulling the wagon feel smooth and comfortable. Also, the grip is substantial enough to displace weight across the hand rather than cutting in as a skinny handle would.
Loading was easy, too. The bed is not as high as a standard wheelbarrow, so I didn’t have to lift the shovel quite as high while loading mulch. And the deck is still high enough that stacking cinder blocks was not an excessive burden. As for pulling the loaded cart, the wide stance and air-filled tires made for smooth, stable operation over all obstacles. It lost some stability on sharp turns, as would be expected, but never threatened to tip over. As an added benefit, when you want to take a break, the height of the bed rails is perfect for sitting; just add a board across the top.
Right out of the box, the cart parts give the impression of quality. The medium-gauge steel frame and poly bed are more than adequate for normal use and occasional abuse around the garden and landscape. The tires and wheels are at least as substantial as those found on wheelbarrows and other garden carts, plus they would be super easy to replace within seconds if necessary.
In action, the cart held up well to heavy loads of loose bulk mulch and stacked blocks. The sides flexed a little bit when I raised the loaded bed to dump it, but it did not leave the impression that a failure was imminent. The metal frame is painted, the hardware is stainless steel, and the rest is plastic, so I expect rust to be a minimal issue with this cart.
I do not know how the bed will hold up over time with extended UV exposure, which can be an issue with plastics where I live in the Southeast. But, if it is stored under cover while not in use, I expect any problems would be many years away.
The GOR4PS is priced similarly to a 6-cubic-foot traditional wheelbarrow, which seems about right from a material standpoint. This cart is made with a sturdy steel frame and four 10-inch tires, whereas the wheelbarrow rides on a single 13-inch tire mounted to two wood handles with metal bracing. The two also perform similar functions, but each excels in different areas; more on that in the next section.
This Gorilla Cart is made with strong and durable weather-resistant materials. It is built to perform daily functions throughout the yard and garden, with enough capacity to haul most of the things you would need to haul without stepping up to something larger and motorized. In my opinion, the price is fair for what you get.
Yard carts come in three basic configurations: the traditional wheelbarrow, the two-wheel garden cart, or the wagon. Which one best suits your needs depends on the type of hauling you’ll be doing and the terrain.
The wheelbarrow can do almost anything the others can do, but it relies on the operator lifting the weight and then places all the weight on a single wheel. This arrangement makes it easy to navigate narrow passages at the expense of more energy and a somewhat oddly sloped bin.
However, two-wheel garden carts generally have a balanced-weight design, with wide wheels set near the middle of the load. They are designed for hauling and dumping large quantities of bulk material on a stable platform. Their sloped ends and deep sides can cause some inconvenience when hauling blocks, flats of seedlings, or other items that have a square shape.
Wagons, including the GOR4PS, provide a stable platform for loading and unloading and distribute the weight of the load among four wheels. They roll lightly over difficult terrain and eliminate the operator’s need to balance the load while walking. Their flat bottom and straight sides are ideal for hauling irregularly shaped items or bulk material. But they require a wider path than wheelbarrows and typically hold less bulk volume than two-wheel carts.
If you need a really good general-purpose yard hauler at a fair price, the Gorilla Carts GOR4PS Garden Dump Cart could be a great choice.
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