If you travel with a lot of luggage that you have to manage by yourself or have more non-wheeled luggage than wheeled bags, then you’ve probably struggled quite a bit getting from one place to another with all of it. Even airport transfers can be tough. The best solution is to get yourself the best folding luggage cart that can handle a good amount of weight but is easy to manoeuvre and light and small enough to stow when not in use.
Some carts are also called hand trucks because they’re good for use around the house and garden or for moving heavy belongings, etc. The base plate is usually made of heavy duty steel to support these extra heavy loads. These should only be used for travel if you’re going to be driving or taking only ground transport because they are quite heavy on their own and weigh at least around 7-10 lbs. For air travel, you’ll need carts that are specifically made for travel.
How to Choose a Portable Luggage Cart with Wheels
Before you choose a folding luggage trolley cart, it’s a good idea to know what the maximum weight of all your bags is likely to be for any trip. While you can buy the most sturdy and high capacity luggage hand cart to be prepared for really large loads, that’s not very practical for when you’re traveling with light to moderate amounts of luggage. The more capacity a cart can handle, the heavier and larger it likely is, even when it’s folded flat. If you want a cart that you can pack away in your carry on bag when not in use, then it needs to be as compact and light as possible. However, it should be able to at least carry one large check in size bag that is fully packed or two smaller bags. While some steel frame carts are more durable and sturdy, they’re not practical for packing into your luggage, so unless you intend to also use the cart for transporting things at home or moving heavy boxes, a plastic cart or part plastic, part steel is better.
There are a few other important features to look at before you choose a foldable luggage cart. First are the wheels. Some carts come with 4 wheels, which makes it easier to roll when fully loaded and gives you the ability to let go when not moving if you need your hand to be free, however, the front wheels are often quite small and only meant for steering. The rear wheels should be as large as possible to handle curbs, cobblestones, and maybe even low stairs. They should be set wide apart to keep the cart stable, especially while turning. In order to turn more easily, multi-directional wheels are better.
Folding and unfolding of the cart should be quick and easy and should only need one and a flick of the foot to fold components in and reduce the unit to its smallest package or unfold it to become its expanded version.
The base of the cart needs to be wide enough to not only hold large bags but to also prevent leaning or tipping over when being rolled. There should also be enough support at the base so that unstructured bags like duffels don’t sag and scrape the ground, and small bags don’t fall through or get stuck.
Any luggage carrier on wheels should have an adjustable trolley handle like those of wheeled suitcases. The telescopic handle should push down as far as possible in the folded state for easy storage and packing. In the extended state, it is preferable that the handle can stop at a few different heights so that you can find the ideal position for comfortable rolling.
Best Lightweight Folding Luggage Cart
Samsonite Luggage Compact Folding Cart
With a maximum approved capacity of 70 lbs, the Samsonite Luggage Compact Folding Cart is an ABS & stainless steel cart that measures 15.5″ x 10.5″ x 3.5″ when folded up and weighs just 2 lbs and 12 ozs. It is a two-wheeled cart with rugged and oversized rear wheels set 10 inches apart, and it has a flat base measuring 10.5″ by 11″ that folds up or drops down easily. The telescopic pull handle either retracts fully or extends and locks to a mid position or to its highest position, which is about 37 inches. Those who are over 6 feet tall may find that this is not enough.
There is an adjustable strap with hook that stretches to twice its normal size to go over your luggage, boxes, etc. and anchor them so that they stay in place and don’t fall off the platform. However, a very large load will probably need an extra bungee cord and a wide load can make the cart feel unstable.
If you’re flying, you can detach your carry on bag from the cart, fold the cart up and stow it and your luggage separately in an overhead bin or pack the cart in your carry on bag before putting the bag in the bin.
Other than luggage, quite a few customers use it for transporting car seats. It is tall enough to stack two seats vertically but you’ll need a larger bungee to secure them.
This is one of the first functional luggage carts of its kind so we have a detailed and in depth review of the Samsonite Folding Cart from a few years ago.
BlueJan Luggage Cart
With a slightly higher capacity at 77 lbs, the BlueJan Luggage Cart also provides easy transport of light to moderate luggage using a steel telescopic handle and hard plastic base. Its weight by itself is 2.85 lbs and when fully extended the telescopic handle goes upto 38 inches. When retracted, the unit measures 17.5″ x 9.75″ x 3.25″, which includes 3″ diameter rubber wheels with wheel guards. The platform is slightly smaller at 10.5″ long and 10″ wide, so while taller people will find the BlueJan’s handle better, the Samsonite one will fit better in carry on luggage while still providing a slightly larger base.
A highlight of the Bluejan cart is that when the platform is opened up for use it clicks into place, so when you remove your luggage from it, it won’t automatically flip back up. The bungee cord provided comes with two hooks instead of one, providing an extra secure hold while anchoring your belongings to the cart. While the wheels are durable and smooth rolling, they can make you feel like the cart might tip when turning, especially if carrying a heavy load. The handle feels a bit flimsy compared to the Samsonite and that may be because of the single cross bar instead of two. However, this is also the reason why the handle retracts and extends very smoothly and does not feel like it will get stuck.
Best Heavy Duty Travel Carts with Wheels
ROYI Folding Hand Truck
If you think you’ll need a much higher capacity cart for your travels, then the ROYI Folding Hand Truck is the best travel luggage cart here. That’s because it is designed to be a hand cart but it light and compact enough to be used for travel. Its own weight is 4 lbs but it can handle an impressive 155 lbs in luggage. The telescopic handle is made of thickened steel, while the base plate is made of thickened plastic.
When folded, this hand truck for luggage measures 17.5″ x 9.25″ x 3.25″, so it can easily fit in your carry on backpack or duffel. The handle can be used in one of two extended positions, the highest being 38 inches. When the base platform is open it is 13.2″ long from the front edge to the rear wheel.
It also comes with its own drawstring backpack for storage or for carrying separately when not in use. While the cart comes with two attached bungee cords with hooks to secure things to the cart, there is also an extra flat bungee that can be used to strap around multiple pieces of large luggage or boxes to hold them together. This is a 4-wheeled luggage cart, so you can wheel it along vertically instead of tipping the handle towards you to roll on just two wheels. The rear wheels are extra rugged with larger treads, so you can wheel this cart almost anywhere. If your load is not too heavy you can even manage to wheel it up shallow stairs.
Sparco Compact Luggage Cart
Another good heavy duty cart is the Sparco Compact Luggage Cart. In the open state it measures 14.8″ X 13.8″ X 35″ and can hold up to 150 lbs. At around 5 lbs, its own weight is a bit higher than the other choices here, but it is almost completely made of metal, while the two rear wheels are made of synthetic rubber and are 3.75″ in diameter. When folded it measures 4″ X 12″ X 20″. To fold, you first collapse the handle, then fold the 2 side pieces inwards and then flip the platform up and towards the handle.
This is quite a stable cart, as its wheels are 12″ apart, giving it a wide base. The largish wheels also work well enough over low stairs, which is a great plus point, although the heavier the load the less this is true. However, at a maximum of 35″ in height, the telescopic handle is a bit short for anyone over 6 feet, and the grip can be a bit obstructed if you carry any tall piece of luggage on it or stack multiple car seats on it. However, this cart will be able to handle this well if you have your own bungee cord to anchor everything in place, as the included bungee is not nearly enough and its plastic hook is not that strong.
This cart can be taken on a plane with you and it will easily fit in an overhead bin, but if you want to pack it in your bag, the bag will have to be longer than 20″, which is the cart’s length in the folded state.
Smallest Folding Luggage Cart
COOCHEER MFT-02 Aluminum Folding Portable Luggage Cart
Coocheer makes other hand truck models for heavy load transporting, but this is their only luggage cart model and is designed to be compact, lightweight and easy to maneuver. The COOCHEER MFT-02 luggage cart is quite similar in design to the Samsonite model but early reviews say that it is sturdier. It is rated to carry 80 lbs and its own weight is 3.5 Lbs. It measures 11 x 16.1 inches in its folded state and the telescopic handle stops at two heights for pulling and pushing at a maximum height of 36 inches. Its base plate measures 11.8 x 10 inches. This device is probably the most compact luggage cart that you can find and it will even fit into most travel backpacks when not in use.
The inline skate wheels are 3.5” in diameter and work well on sidewalks and carpet. The attached bungee cords work well for securing your luggage to the cart as it has an anchoring point on each from corner of the platform. They are easy to replace if they ever break.
While the cart is easy to unfold, folding it back up can be less so and the telescopic handle is a bit sticky. This cart is also not great for very tall people but you can stack a few pieces of luggage or a couple car seats vertically on it.
TravelKart Travel Luggage Cart
For a small steel cart in the open state, the TravelKart Travel Luggage Cart would work well. From floor to the top of the handle the height is 35″, so this is only good for short to medium height people. The rack extends 11.5″ from handle, which is enough for even a 28″ suitcase as long as you secure it using either the two attached stretch cords or your own better bungee cord. It will fold down to 20″ in height, so it may not fit into all carry on bags but does fit into overhead bins or even under your seat.
The entire frame is made of powder coated steel and the two wheels are made of neoprene. These are 3.5″ in diameter. This cart can handle up to 70 lbs in weight and itself weighs 3.8 lbs. Those that like a little sass can get this in hot pink, while the more staid can choose the black option.