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Trolley vs Dolly: What’s the Difference?

Trolley vs Dolly: What’s the Difference?

material handling trolley and dolly

When you’re trying to decide what material handling equipment is best for getting a task done, it’s important to know the right titles to discuss your different options. When it comes to material handling, some equipment names are used interchangeably, particularly when items have similar features or are used for similar purposes.

Two of the most common repeat offenders for this misnaming confusion is dolly and trolley. Possibly because they sound the same, people often use the terms trolley and dolly interchangeably, but is there a difference between the two?


What is a material handling dolly?

Essentially, a dolly is a 4-wheeled platform that can be used for transporting a wide variety of different loads. However, because the term ‘dolly’ is a relatively casual term, it is sometimes used to describe a variety of similar items. As such, the word ‘dolly’ is commonly used to describe any item that is a material handling platform with four wheels.

Even though the term ‘dolly is sometimes used to describe all manner of material handling platforms, the defining features that makes something a dolly is the flat platform and wheels, meaning that when someone says ‘dolly’ you can usually assume they’re referring to something in line with the furniture dolly.

If you’d like to browse the wise selection of furniture dollies available from SafetyLiftinGear, why not head on over to our website today?

Browse Furniture Dollies


What is a trolley?

Trolley is a word that can be used to describe a range of different equipment, but essentially is a 4-wheeled platform like the dolly, but usually with a handle to assist in the navigation of your load. The two most common types of trolley include the platform trolley and the flatbed trolley.

If a trolley sounds like the perfect piece of equipment for your next material handling task, why not browse the range of trolleys available from SafetyLiftinGear?

Browse Flat Bed Trolleys     Browse Platform Trolleys


The word trolley can also be used to refer to – particularly in the UK - a hand truck.

A hand truck (also sometimes commonly called as a trolley, stack truck, sack barrow, sack truck, or bag barrow) is an L shaped cart with handles on one end, wheels at its base, and a ledge to set objects on. This ledge usually lies flat against the floor when the trolley is stationary, but the trolley is tilted back so the load rests against the back of the truck when the load is being transported.

To make it slightly more confusing, some people do also refer to hand trucks as dollies, but it’s more common for them to be referred to as either a hand truck, trolley, or sack truck.


What’s the difference between a trolley and dolly?

The main difference between a trolley and a dolly is that a dolly typically doesn’t have handles and is simply a mobile platform with wheels, whereas trolleys have handles. 

SafetyLiftinGear provide an extensive range of material handling equipment – whether you’re looking for pallet trucks or dollies, sack trucks or loading ramps, find the equipment you need today!

Material Handling Equipment


Read More: Electric Pallet Truck Battery Maintenance Tips

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