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Dollies & Furniture Skates – What you need to know

What is a skate dolly?

A skate dolly, often referred to as a pallet skate or dolly trolly, is used in manual handling operations to transport items that are large, bulky or difficult to manoeuvre around workspaces. They often have a surface platform that holds the item, which is then attached to four wheels equipped with brakes to allow the handler to move the goods easily. 

Should you push or pull a dolly?

You should never pull a dolly or sack truck when operating heavy goods. Always push your load when moving goods around your warehouse, as manoeuvring goods this way is less intensive on your body. You will be less prone to injury when pushing a dolly or sack truck, and pushing a sack truck will push any loose goods away from your body if an accident occurs. 

What is the difference between a hand truck and a dolly?

Several differences exist between a hand truck and a dolly; some relate to the equipment’s structure, and others include the types of goods typically transported. The structure of a hand truck comprises a vertical, L-shaped design with a handle and two wheels. A hand truck also has a bottom ledge where the transported goods sit. This differs from a dolly on a raised platform with four wheels below.

A dolly is suited towards moving bulkier items that are large and singular. In contrast, hand trucks can move small and heavy goods or smaller items in bulk. 


  • Dollies have 4 wheels; sack trucks have 2.
  • Sack trucks are an L-shaped platform structure; dollies are a singular base.
  • Dollies move bulkier, heavier items, sack trucks.

What can you move with a dolly?

You can move various items with a dolly, including furniture, warehouse goods and appliances. They can be useful for manual handling operations in professional settings or to help move goods into a new home. Anywhere you need to transport items is the perfect place for a dolly to be used. 

Anatomy of a dolly

Effective manual handling is often a case of finding a simple solution to a complicated problem.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) define manual handling as:
“…any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force”.

In all walks of life we are required to move a heavy or awkward items, these can often also be expensive. Therefore the equipment we use must be reliable and practical.
A dolly is a simple, cost-effective piece of equipment. It can be used almost anywhere and is particularly suited to warehouse or office environments.

When you are looking for a dolly, there are a number of things to look out for:


The quality and capability of any dolly comes down to the wheels. A poorly attached wheel or a flimsy wheel bracket will not support a significant load and could cost a lot more than the value of the dolly itself. When buying a dolly, look for high quality wheels. You may want to specify a non-marking wheel or a rubber wheel for a smoother ride.

Dollie Wheels


We recommend a non-slip surface on the platform to keep the load secure. Cheaper dollies often are constructed from plywood, with no covering. These products might be perfectly adequate for occasional, non-essential use, but are susceptible to warping and water damage over time.


In certain circumstances a user may want to hold a load on a slight incline. We recommend buying a dolly with a braked wheel so that there is no danger of movement. Once a heavy load starts to slip down a slope, it will soon gather momentum and can cause a serious Health and Safety problem.

Dollie Brake


The capacity of a dolly is based on Uniform Distributed Load (UDL). It is very rare for a high quality dolly to fail under a heavy load, but it is important to distribute the weight evenly across the dolly. We recommend that you always over-specify the dolly in order to make sure that you make the manual handling task as easy as possible and you have the peace of mind that you are moving bulky items safely and securely.

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