I asked my wife to come out and look at the new utility cart OxCart sent me. I showed her how strong it was, and that her compost won’t stick to the bottom when she dumps it. I showed her how easy it was to dump a full load of compost with the hydraulic assisted lift. I then showed her how you can leave the cart hooked up to the tractor and spin it around to dump right in her landscape beds. I mentioned that even though it had a tailgate when you dump it everything came out. I showed her how much clearance there was underneath so she would not be catching it on her landscaping rocks if she got too close. As an afterthought I mentioned that it had self-sealing tires so she would not have to drag out the air compressor every time she wanted to use this cart.
I asked what she thought of the new cart. She had only one word for a response.
Now I am going to have to ask permission to use it for my review…….
UPDATE: Go to the end to see pictures of the OxCart Utility Cart in Action!
I’m kind of a connoisseur of utility carts. I have had enough different carts to know what works for me over the years and what doesn’t. I despise the $100-$200 carts the box stores sell. They are good for hauling dry leaves and that’s about it. Don’t even get me started about the tires on these cheap carts. I’ve seen birthday balloons that are thicker.
The $250-$400 carts are not a whole lot better. Most of them have a u-channel tongue made of the same thickness metal as the side of your toaster. They work fine for a while but as soon as you try to pull a load of firewood out of the timber and go through a drainage rut the tongue deforms. Once that happens it never latches right again. Yes, they have one inch axles and tractor grade tires. Yes, they are rated to thousands of lbs. But don’t actually try loading them to capacity and then pulling the cart around your “normal” utility.
So when Todd Dechant, the inventor of the OxCart, had read I was looking for a good utility cart, he asked me to give his OxCart a try. I told him, “Great, I just ordered a Polar Cart so I’ll be able to compare it to the cart that looks best on paper. I said yes, “send it over,” and it arrived four days later by UPS.
Before I get into the assembly I would like to go through the features of this cart:
OxCart calls this model “professional-grade” and I have to agree. The tubing is heavier duty than the other carts on the market. Everything fits and works well. I would have no problems letting my crews use this cart when I owned the landscape company.
The rated capacity of the cart is 750 lbs and has been independently tested at 150% capacity. (1140 lbs.) This is one cart you can FILL with bags of cement and the cart will haul it to where you want the cement and dump the load without deforming the cart or breaking your back trying to tilt the cart with that much weight in it.
Ladies – you can dump this cart even when it is full of dirt! No I’m not picking on you. The one thing that I don’t like about most carts including my old 80 Deere is when you fill it full of dirt or sand and then go to dump it – it can sometimes take two people to lift the front end up to dump. The OxCart uses a hydraulic dampener (like the tailgate of your car or SUV) to help you tip the load. A 500 lb load of dirt tips with less than 40 lbs of effort!
Another advantage of the hydraulic assist is when you do tip the cart it doesn’t slam the back-end of the cart on the ground. Instead of the dump pivoting on the axle like other carts the fulcrum point of the dump is farther back allowing a more controlled dump. You can actually unlatch the tub and then swivel the cart around without it becoming uncomfortable or slipping out of your hands. If you’ve ever used one of the other swivel carts with a heavy load you know what I mean here.
The poly tub is easily three times thicker than the poly tub on the cart one of the box stores was giving away last year with the purchase of a tractor. There is a multitude of problems with that free cart but one of the most aggravating problems is as soon as you put heavy loose material in it like sand or gravel and then try to pull the load across your lawn – the tub deforms and the material falls out. This tub won’t deform when you are dumping the load either. This tub won’t deform when it’s full of heavy objects like rocks, gravel or dirt. Best of all it won’t crack like the foam poly tubs when hauling firewood in the winter.
The cart’s wheel track is just a little wider than you lawn tractor. Have you noticed when pulling heavy loads around your yard that the combination of your tractor’s weight and the cart is leaving grooves in your lawn? The OxCart’s wheel track is just a little wider than your tractor’s and this allows you to not leave grooves in your lawn pulling heavy loads. The tractors weight is supported in a different track than the cart’s weight. This is a very nice feature when pulling in soft soil like sand or a wet lawn in the spring.
When you dump the cart it swivels and with the hydraulic assist you can put the load right where you want it. I can back a 50 foot semi trailer down two city blocks in Philadelphia and miss cars by 1/2 an inch but when backing a dump cart up to a landscape bed I can never get it quite right. When I’m hauling mulch the trailer always ends up so half the load goes into the bed and the other half onto my lawn. Swivel carts are nice but this one is even better. You can unlatch the bed to swivel and the hydraulic assist helps you control the dump until you get the load exactly where you want it.
One last feature – Run-Flat Tires. I would have paid $200 a tire back when I owned the landscape company to have tires like these on my mowers. Flat tires on this cart are a thing of the past. Not only are the tires made of thick, heavy rubber but they are coated on the inside so any puncture the tire may get is instantly sealed. You don’t lose air. You never have to find the air compressor, wait for it to charge up and then drag it out to the trailer to fill tires before you can use it.
You can’t get this cart at Home Centers
There are only two places to get the OxCart. First, the version I review here is only available at your local lawn tractor/zero-turn dealer store. Go in and tell them you want an OxCart. It they don’t carry it yet, have them go to oxcart.com and get one on the way for you.
Second: Craftsman saw this product a year ago and instantly snatched up the red version for 2015. You can order one and pick it up at your local Sears store.
Buy The Red/Craftsman Version Here: 12 cu. ft. Swivel Dump Cart with Hydraulic-Assisted Lift & Run-Flat Tires
Putting The OxCart Together:
I’m going to show you a lot of pictures of the OxCart assembly but in reality it only took me 15 minutes to assemble the OxCart by myself. All the hardware for each step of the assembly was laid out in a blister pack. All the little steps that make so many of the other carts an hour-long project were already done.
If you would like a video instead of my pictures here is one: Oxcart – The Assembly
Over the next few months I will add a few pictures of using the OxCart. The ground is still frozen up here so I can’t load it up and show you how well it actually works.
By the way: I canceled my order for the Polar Cart. I realized that the Polar Cart that I had ordered did not dump cleanly. The way the rear of the Polar is designed when you dump the cart it actually just tips. Hardly anything spills out the back and you have to use a shovel or rake to get the material out.
Buy The Red/Craftsman Version Here: 12 cu. ft. Swivel Dump Cart with Hydraulic-Assisted Lift & Run-Flat Tires. You can order one and pick it up at your local Sears store.
The rest of this article I will show you the highlights of the cart and what I think makes it one of the best carts on the market.
Dennis from Martinsburg here. I see this article is fairly old, and while their website has the cart available for $260 (!), the Sears chat person says there are none in the inventory anywhere. Do you know if Sears is still a vendor for this cart, and if so when they might get them in stock?
Hi Dennis, I’ll ask Craftsman. It will take a couple of days to get an answer back.
Eagle Creek, OR
Now that I have the Sears version, did anything change besides color?
Are your tires mounted grease zerk out for convenience due to run flat version?
Do you recommend any grease on the other pins besides the axles?
The only weakness I see is the bed mount. Over time this could pull through.
Do you think getting larger washers may spread pull forces?
Thanks for all your work and help.
Hi Francis, With the rocks around my landscape beds I decided to put the valve stems inside so they won’t get ripped off. My wife doesn’t always pay attention to where her trailer is behind her.
There are two holes for the dampener. If you are moving really heavy loads you can put the dampener in the other hole to make it easier to dump. I won’t grease any other points. The pins are all plated and I think grease will just collect dirt.
The tub is very tuff. I thought the same at first about putting a larger washer on the bed mount but since this is a review trailer I’m going to leave it as is for this year. I have a lot of rocks and landscape gravel to move and that will let me see if the tub is as tough as I think it is.
I’ve thrown some pretty heavy stuff in this trailer already including a 500 lb lawn mower deck that hung out the back and the tub did not deform at all. I’m impressed so far.
Issaquah, WA How does it compare to my 18 year old Rubbermaid plastic cart that I got at Sears? Still taking heavy abuse and still working fine.
Hi Rick, do you have the low version or the version that has the metal frame under it. It’s hard to beat the material those carts are made of.
I’ve been looking for a good cart to replace my 18 year old 17cf metal cart I got from Costco. I’ve abused the old cart one too many times by hauling large boulders around (hopefully all that heavy hauling is done).
This Ox cart looks well made. I was keeping my eye on a John Deere cart at Lowes that had a conversion system to allow it to be pushed around like a wheelbarrow. While that seems to be a nice feature, I was wondering if it is practical? I like the idea of being able to use the cart without the tractor. Any thoughts on this?
Hi Nick, Getting another yard cart has been a very long process for me. I spent about 6 months thinking a cart like the Deere convertible may be the right one. There are two types – the style like the Deere where the hitch folds under the unit and the style where the hitch slides back.
The reason I didn’t buy the Deere is all of my mulch and stuff is stored at the back of my property and it’s uphill to all my landscape beds. With a convertible cart I would like to pull the cart up to the beds with the lawn tractor, unhook it and then swivel it into the beds with the handle. I quickly realized that the hitch doesn’t swing out of the way so it would always be in the way when I went to dump the load. (You have to lift up the cart on it’s end to flip the hitch under it) Later I realized the cart is only rated for 300 lbs. That would only last here a day or two before someone over loaded it and sprung the frame.
Craftsman has a video showing how strong the Deere cart is here: 12 cu. ft. Swivel Dump Cart with Hydraulic-Assisted Lift & Run-Flat Tires
I tried the other style at a Sam’s club last year. It’s stronger but it only took me about 10 feet to rap my chins on the hitch. The hitch does not slide into the bottom far enough to to get out of the way. It’s also heavier than my wheel barrel to lift and move around.
I was also looking at the other carts that swivel. But I don’t like the channel design of the tongue and the small pin at the swivel. This is the cart I am talking about: 12.5 cu. ft. Poly Swivel Cart and here: AllFitHD Carts & Wheelbarrows 12.5 cu. ft. 1000 lb. Capacity Poly Swivel Dump Cart AF-1000PS
Paul – do you know of any differences between the $450 OXCart (https://www.oxcart.com/product/run-flat-tires) and the $360 Craftsman equivalent (12 cu. ft. Swivel Dump Cart with Hydraulic-Assisted Lift & Run-Flat Tires)?
Hi Darren, Yes, I do.
The OxCart is blue and is sold at lawn equipment dealers. The retail price is $449 with the run-flat tires. You will have to check with your local dealer to get his best price.
The Craftsman is red and is sold online through the link in your comment. (I put my commission link in your comment) It has two mounting holes for the lift assist so for really heavy loads you can make the assist greater. The retail price is $479 with the run-flat tires and is currently on sale for $359.
Otherwise they are the same. Do I need to tell you which one I would buy right now?
I also learned that the Craftsman tires have slightly added tread and a larger shoulder to them. So Craftsman it is. I even found a way to save an additional 8.5%. Thanks again for the info. Love the site and your work.