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How to Use Hand Trucks on Stairways

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Whether a hand truck has two or four wheels, aluminum or steel, with 8- or 10-inch wheels, hand trucks can make any load lighter. If a load is too heavy to carry in your arms, use a hand truck to protect yourself and the load. When it comes to manually navigating hefty loads on a stairway, a hand truck is an effective tool to use. This article provides helpful steps you can follow when using a hand truck on stairways.

Inspect your hand truck for damage along the wheels and frame. Look for dents and bends in the frame, and check for tiny fractures or cracks in the blade or nose. Check for wear in the glides, making sure you do not see metal. Search for punctures in the wheels. Damaged equipment can lead to damaged loads or personal injury.

Stack and center the load on your hand truck, making certain not to exceed the maximum weight it can hold. Evenly distribute the load on the blade or nose of the hand truck. Secure the load with straps attached to your hand truck, if equipped.

Angle the hand truck while keeping the load steady, and walk it to the top or base of the stairs you are attempting to ascend or descend. If your hand truck comes equipped with plastic glide strips on the back, position the glides to glide up or down the lip of the stairs. The methods of going up and down differ.

Keep your head up to avoid neck strain. Avoid looking down at your load. Instead, use the hand truck's gliders to slide the load as you are pulling the loaded hand truck up or pushing it down each step, one at a time. Keep your legs apart.

The safest way to ascend stairs using a hand truck is backwards with the load tilted comfortably toward your body. Having a spotter below the loaded hand truck can assure that you climb the stairs safely. If you are working without a spotter, take extra care.

Descending stairs with a hand truck requires facing forward with the loaded hand truck between your legs. Step down carefully one stair at a time to avoid losing your balance or load. You will rely heavily on the straps securing the load, if equipped.


A two-wheeled hand truck is more easily maneuverable on stairs. Apply the above steps when using a hand truck on curbs.


To avoid long-term back injury, never bang the loaded hand truck against the stairs. If your hand truck lacks straps, you must position the load so it will not topple