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PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
If you own a riding lawn mower (and because you’re a hobby farmer, you probably do), then you’re probably familiar with the small pull-behind carts that are frequently sold with such mowers. Having this type of cart expands your riding mower from a mere lawn maintenance machine to a mini-tractor that can transport supplies and materials around the farm. Over the years, I’ve used many different lawn mower carts, as well as larger trailers and wagons, and have gradually compiled a list of the pros and cons offered by small carts for riding lawn mowers.
While this list is not exhaustive, perhaps my thoughts can help point out some strengths and weaknesses of these carts, helping you to determine whether one will serve your needs. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons.
- These carts are small and easy to use. Hooking up some larger trailers can require a lot of strength (and perhaps more than one person), but small carts are light enough that you can easily pull them across the yard by hand if necessary.
- The carts don’t take up much room. Because they’re small, you can squeeze them into a corner of the garage, out of sight and not in the way when not in use.
- They are perfect for transporting small amounts of common supplies—hay bales, water jugs, garden soil, manure, tools and equipment, you name it.
- Some offer the ability to pull a lever and quickly dump the contents out of the back, a plus if you’re transporting dirt, rocks, manure or similar materials.
- Because these carts are small, they’re not as convenient for large projects. I’ve used small lawn mower carts many times for picking up fallen leaves and tree branches, and let me assure you that a typical small cart will reach its capacity quickly, requiring you to make frequent trips to empty it.
- They can be a bit unstable over bumpy ground. A small cart can’t absorb rough terrain the same way that a larger trailers or wagons can, so if you transport a large load (such as a bunch of tree branches), you might want to tie everything down and travel slowly to ensure that the load stays intact and nothing falls off.
- They don’t always come fully assembled. If you’re fond of DIY projects, this isn’t a big deal, but be prepared to spend an hour or two on the assembly process.
If you’ve used lawn mower carts in the past, share your experiences and insights on their advantages and disadvantages.