Luggage Carts: Large Wheels vs. Small Wheels

Luggage carts can be purchased with large wheels or small wheels, but what should the smart shopper look for?  My vote is for large six-inch wheels.  Small two-inch or three-inch wheels on a luggage cart for a child or small adult may be perfectly adequate and also implies that the load will not be extremely large.  But if you are an average-sized adult, or larger, or intend to carry many pounds of stuff on your cart you really should look for a well-made utility cart that has six-inch wheels with ball bearings and rubber tires, too.  There is no rule that says a child or small adult should not use large wheels with ball bearings either – and now that I think about it, is there any reason that a child or small adult should not have all the advantages of six-inch wheels too? None that I can think of.  So there is my vote: big wheels are better for all sizes of people. And here is why:

The first advantage to big six-inch wheels on a luggage cart is maneuverability.  With the small built-in wheels usually found on a piece of baggage or on a small-wheeled cart, when you attempt to go over a curb you actually have to stop, pick the bag or cart up, position the wheels back on the pavement, face the direction of travel once more and then proceed.  But when you approach a curb with a big-wheeled utility cart you just step up, roll the cart up the wall of the curb and keep on going.  The rolling action takes place by letting the large six-inch wheels roll up next to the curb as you walk and then giving slightly more pull to roll it up the side. It is a very smooth natural action. You barely even have to pause and you do not have to turn around and look.  You can feel it rolling up the curb.  When you are in a rush this is a time saver.  Of course if your load is extremely heavy or tall you really should slow down a little and carefully roll the load up the curb.  Remember: safety first – the back you save may be your own.

The second advantage to big six-inch wheels on a luggage cart is less “clackity clackity.” If your cart or bag has small wheels, especially if they are made of plastic and do not have rubber tires, you get a whole lot of  “clackity clackity” as you walk along, particularly on a tiled floor, brick pavement, or cobble stones.  And the faster you go, the louder it gets. And each repetitive bump on a plastic wheel promotes cracking – meaning that at some point that wheel is going to splinter apart and fall off.

Aside from all that “clackity clackity” being very annoying to yourself and passersby, it will drowned out the voice of a travel companion as you walk along trying to converse about the scenery or making plans.  You cannot hear yourself think!  But, if you have a well-made luggage cart with six-inch wheels, rubber tires and precision ball bearings it will not even whisper as you go along.  Since there is almost no noise at all, it becomes a “non-issue.”

And the smooth noiseless ride of precision ball bearings rarely, if ever, squeak like plastic wheels or hubs can!  Two birds with one stone!  And if, in about five years, your ball bearings do happen to squeak, a little machine oil will remove it for a few more years.  Whereas if you oil a squeaky wheel that does not have ball bearings, that can be an every-day chore because the squeak never really goes away permanently.

The third advantage to big six-inch wheels on a luggage cart is speed.  Small wheels actually put drag on your walking speed, especially if they are plastic, or have plastic or metal hubs without ball bearings. And especially on rough pavement. But large wheels with ball bearings do not slow you down one bit. Precision ball bearings also put less “pull” or “strain” on your arm and shoulder because the action of the ball bearings makes the wheel turn much more smoothly and efficiently. The turn of the wheel is efficiently assisted by the engineering of the ball bearings, thus less strain on you.

Three very good reasons to look for big six-inch wheels with precision ball bearings and rubber tires on the utility cart you purchase: better maneuverability, no annoying repetitive noise, and faster speed with less body strain.   Happy traveling!

Marcia McCance, of bestluggagecarts.com — Luggage carts: if you want to know how to use one, how to choose one, or if you have one with a Norris Brand Limited Lifetime Warranty needing repairs, just go to our website, choose “contact us” and send us an e-mail. Happy Traveling!

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