When my neighbor moved, he gave me his old wheelbarrow. It was in a terrible condition, outside probably most of its life. The wood handles were on their way out via rotting and snapped on first heavy load. Nevertheless, solid replacement wheelbarrow handles brought it back to life and it is still in use.
Wooden Wheelbarrow Handle Kit
I prefer go wood handles because all my metal handle kits actually rust through rather quick. Paint rust and chips, just nasty. Good wooden handles don’t rust and will last a long time if the wheelbarrow is not left in the rain all year round. The wood handles are usually a much larger diameter, they are more controllable and a lot more comfortable as well.
AMES Company wooden wheelbarrow handlesIf you want your wooden handles last for decades, treat them with linseed oil, thinned down a bit with paint thinner. Even if the wheelbarrow sat out in the sun, rain and snow, it will last almost forever. Some wood handles kits have a coating on them, and I’d sand them a bit enough for the linseed oil to penetrate. The linseed oil almost does not weather away and your abused handles will be in great shape.
True Temper Wheelbarrow Replacement Handles
True Temper wheelbarrows come with a metal bucket and wooden handles, that are thinner than I want. They are quite lightweight but will serve you for years with moderate use.
Replacement handles are far better quality, made of hardwood and are more sturdy than the original ones. The finish is very thin and will begin peeling within a few months of sitting outside. Better to sand them out and oil to make them last.
Steel Wheelbarrow Handles
Steel handles are good for those who are rough on a wheelbarrow and the wooden ones did not cut it.
If you want to extend working life of the metal, paint the handles and wedges with a rattle to help them survive after some time in the weather. Of course, some of the paint will flake off, but the handles will be in good shape.
Another con of the metal handles is rubber. With time it tend to get gooey and if you remove it, hot or cold handles are not pleasant also. In this respect, wood is always better.
As I mentioned above, all you need is to buy or make sturdy wooden handles. If you take a few coats of linseed oil before install and once a year do an occasional ‘tuneup’ – it is usually all that is necessary for them to last 50 years 🙂 Oh, and wear good gloves. It protects your hands from lots of bad stuff and makes handles less irritating.