The best car dollies for your garage

Moving one or more stationary cars around your garage can easily turn into a one-person job with the right wheel dollies. They’re the perfect solution for moving both running and non-running cars.

They’re a great tool if you want to manage parking lots and/or large workshops. Depending on the quality of the casters (wheels), you can even use wheel dollies on poorly paved surfaces but doing that involves more effort.

It’s really important to choose the right type of wheel dolly. This depends on factors such as:

  • The weight of your car,
  • The smoothness of your garage surface,
  • How frequently you’re going to need to move your car(s), and
  • Your budget.

Other factors to consider include the materials used, construction quality, lifting mechanism, and the quality of casters/brakes.

In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about purchasing car dollies, and we’ll conclude with a list of our top recommendations.

Things to Know Before Purchasing Car Dollies

Minivan parked on a wheel dolly

The type of wheel dolly you select can make or break your vehicle repositioning experience. For instance, using dollies with thin plastic casters on an uneven surface is going to make it very difficult for you to push your car around.

Another example — if you decide to buy the traditional skate-type dollies, know that they’ll only be usable if you have a low-profile floor jack. Because you’ll need to jack up your car to mount it onto the dollies.

Below we’ll discuss the main factors you need to consider before purchasing car dollies.

Construction

Cars are heavy, which means that your wheel dollies are going to take a lot of abuse. To ensure maximum durability and reliability, you need to make sure that your wheel dolly is constructed from high-quality materials such as stainless steel and aluminum.

Powder-coated steel is very desirable as it makes the build more resistant to rust, ensuring it lasts a long time.

Design

Muscle car on skate-type wheel dollies

Car dollies are available in two main types: the traditional skate type, and the ratcheting type. The latter has two subtypes that involve the use of different lifting mechanisms.

Your choice here will depend on your budget and the frequency with which you’ll use the vehicle dolly.

Skate-type dollies are ideal if you wish to move your car around only every once in a while. Ratchet-type dollies make more sense for heavier vehicles, especially in a workshop setting where multiple cars need to be moved around.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity is arguably the most important factor. Think about the weight of the cars you want to move and be sure to purchase a dolly that is well within that range.

Never attempt to use a dolly beyond its specified weight capacity, as this can lead to failure of the dollies and possibly injury to yourself.

Casters and Brakes

Some casters also come equipped with brakes, which give extra stability, especially if moving cars on uneven surfaces. Of course, brakes also give extra peace of mind when leaving the car sitting on the dollies.

It is not mandatory for casters to have brakes, but it is a great feature that really comes in handy.

Wheel dolly casters with brakes

Set Quantity

A final consideration is the number of dollies in a set. With two dollies, you can mount them on either the front or rear wheels and pivot the car. To have full 360-degree motion, however, you need a set of four.

Obviously, it will be easier to move a car on four rather than two dollies, but you do not have to have a set of four. For example, you might prefer to buy two high-quality, pricier dollies as opposed to a full set that is cheaper but lacks the features you want.

You also want to consider the space you will be working in. Will it be easy to pivot a vehicle around the garage or shop space? Would full rotation make your life much easier and less frustrating to move cars around?

It might be the case that the type of space you work in dictates the number of dollies you need. Be sure to consider this prior to purchasing.

With all that said and now that you know the most important qualities to pay attention to, let’s review our picks for some of the best car dollies and their features from budget to premium options.

Best Automobile Skates: Traditional Car Dollies

These are literally like roller skates for your car. To use them, you need to use wheel jacks and place one dolly under each wheel.

The downside with skate-type dollies is that the casters are small and thin. They have a limited lifespan and can be used on super-smooth surfaces only.

Here are some of the best automobile skates you can buy.

Pentagon Tools 5060

Manufacturer: Pentagon Tools
Part Number: TOOLSB000UAGDTC
Item Weight: 74 lbs
Weight Capacity: 6000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Powder-coated solid steel
Buy On: Amazon

The Pentagon Tools dollies can be purchased in either a two-piece or four-piece set. They are rated to hold up to 6000 lbs (the common capacity for the majority of dollies on our list) and the plates are powder coated.

They feature ball bearings on the caster’s swivel and axle shaft. This translates into less rolling resistance, and less effort as a result. Pentagon Tools claims that the dollies can be rolled with less than half the force required to move standard dollies.

The dolly itself is 12” x 16” x 5”, which is large enough for most applications. It features a concave design to help hold tires in place, along with a hole at the top of the mounting plate so you can hang them on your garage or shop walls when not in use.

Pentagon Tools 5051

Manufacturer: Trademark GLB
Part Number: ‎83-DT5501
Item Weight: 62 lbs
Weight Capacity: 6000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Powder coated alloy steel
Buy On: Amazon

Another good option from Pentagon Tools is their 5051 model. These come in a four-pack and feature the same capacity, dimensions, and powder coated construction as the 5060 model at a slightly lighter weight (62 lbs vs 74 lbs). They also claim to have the same ball bearing system that reduces the amount of force needed to get the dolly rolling.

These dollies feature a concave design for the tires, and have a handle for easy transport or hanging during storage.

What makes the 5051 different is the inclusion of locking casters. When locked, the casters will stay in place. This is a big advantage if you find yourself moving your car across uneven surfaces, or just want the added security of locking casters when the car is parked.

Performance Tool W54013

Manufacturer: ‎Wilmar Corporation
Part Number: W54013
Item Weight: 1.9 lbs
Weight Capacity: 2000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Cast-iron
Buy On: Amazon

These Performance Tool dollies come in a set of two and have a much lower overall capacity at only 2000 lbs. However, a major pro of these dollies is that they can accommodate up to a 14” wide tire, while most others are limited to 12”.

The overall dimensions of this dolly are 32.5” x 15.5” x 5.5”, making them a lot bigger than most others while having a staggeringly low weight.

Note that if you purchase these dollies, it is a good idea to lubricate the casters prior to use; this is needed to ensure smooth operation due to their lack of ball bearings. This also means that they’re a bit more difficult to move compared to other options on this list.

On the flip side, they are also the cheapest option at less than $100.

Vivohome VH344

Manufacturer: ‎VIVOHOME
Part Number: VH344
Item Weight: 61.9 lbs
Weight Capacity: 6000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Powder-coated steel
Buy On: Amazon

The Vivohome dollies come in a set of 4 with a large 16” x 11.7” plate and 3” diameter wheels. Two wheels on each dolly have brakes, as well, giving you that extra bit of confidence when maneuvering across uneven surfaces, ensuring that your car stays put when and where you leave it.

The plates themselves have a concave design for easy tire placement, and also feature diamond treads to prevent skidding. The dollies also come with handles for ease of transport or to hang up for storage.

Autodolly M998104

Autodolly automobile skates

Manufacturer: Autodolly
Part Number: M998104
Item Weight: Not listed
Weight Capacity: 10000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Steel
Buy On: Amazon

While it features only a standard lifting mechanism at a premium price, this set of four dollies is able to support a massive 10000 lbs! This explains why the plates are 12” x 16” with ¼” thick steel.

These dollies feature a deep V-shape concave to cradle tires along with a steel construction and ball-bearing casters.

These are a great choice if you plan on moving heavier vehicles often, otherwise, you would likely want to choose a cheaper, lower capacity option, especially because the other options with a lower weight limit feature a hydraulic lifting mechanism.

Red Hound Auto RED949783

Manufacturer: Red Hound Auto
Item Weight: 30.5 lbs
Weight Capacity: 6000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Powder-coated solid diamond plated steel
Buy On: Amazon

This midrange and relatively affordable 4 pack by Red Hound Auto comes with brakes on two of the four wheels on each dolly, along with a lubricated double ball bearing system to allow for smooth and easy maneuvering.

The plates measure in at 15.75” x 12”, with 3” diameter wheels, also featuring the concave design to hold tires in place. They are fairly lightweight as well, coming in at a mere 30.5 lbs.

Autodolly M998035

Manufacturer: Autodolly
Item Weight: 77 lbs
Weight capacity: 10000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: None
Construction: Powder-coated Steel
Buy On: Amazon

The Auto Dolly set of four can hold up to 10000 lbs, making it an excellent choice for heavy-duty projects. Given the price and similar features to other dollies in this list, you would likely only want to purchase this if you are in need of high-weight capacity equipment.

They feature 2.5” diameter wheels with ball bearings for easy mobility. The overall dimension is 16.5” x 16.5” x 6”.

They lack a handle or hanging mechanism, however. Of course, that is an accessory feature and by no means a deal-breaker.

Best Ratchet-Type Wheel Dollies

Ratchet-type dollies are the easiest to use. You don’t need floor jacks or jack stands to use these. The design consists of two rollers that sandwich the wheel between them.

Once the dolly is placed on the wheel, all you have to do is pump the foot-operated ratchet and the two rollers will move closer, lifting the wheel up as a result. Quite nifty.

Ratchet-type dollies are a good fit for those who need to move cars often or just don’t like the idea of having to add a step to the lifting process, whereas skate-dolly will be a good fit if you only plan on moving your car every once in a while and don’t mind the extra effort involved.

There’s another caveat to selecting ratchet-type dollies — the lifting mechanism. You can choose between mechanical ratchets and hydraulic ratchets.

Mechanical ratchets are exceptionally easy to maintain but require more effort to pump up. Hydraulic ratchets, on the other hand, require very little effort to operate, but they’re difficult to maintain. One cylinder leak and you’re looking at some serious downtime.

Here are some of the best hydraulic and mechanical ratchet-type dollies you can buy.

Stark USA 25996-1

Manufacturer: Stark USA
Part Number: ‎25996-1
Item Weight: 66 lbs
Weight Capacity: 2500 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: Mechanical Ratchet
Construction: Steel
Buy On: Amazon

The set of two dollies by Stark USA is the first in our list to feature a mechanical ratchet lifting mechanism. It has a foot pedal so the user can activate the lift and get the vehicle’s tires up hands-free!

It’s worth mentioning that the product description says “hydraulic”, but in fact, this wheel dolly has a mechanical ratchet.

This dolly is a totally different shape than the others discussed so far, and measures in at 27” x 24” x 9”. The shape is designed the way it is so that the sides of the dolly can grab onto the tire, enabling it to be lifted via the foot pedal.

The casters have a ball bearing system, enabling easy movement around the garage or shop, as well.

Each dolly has a weight capacity of 1250 lbs. When combined, a set of two can safely lift 2500 lbs, and a set of 4 can lift 5000 lbs.

Note that if you’re using two dollies and if you want an accurate estimate of how much weight will be exerted on them when moving your car, we recommend weighing your car at each wheel. There might be more weight on your front wheels if your car is front-engined.

Stark USA KIT363

Manufacturer: Stark USA
Part Number: KIT363
Item Weight: 50 lbs
Weight Capacity: 6000 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: Hydraulic
Construction: Steel
Buy On: Amazon

These are certainly pricier dollies compared to the others on this list. They have a hydraulic lifting mechanism with foot pedal activation and larger 4” diameter casters. Like the other hydraulic options, this one is also U-shaped, measuring at 21” x 21” x 6”.

Unlike the midrange option by Stark USA, this does come in a set of four, so you’re getting a full set for the price, with a 6000 lbs capacity and ability to fit up to 12” tires. So if you’re looking for the best hydraulic wheel dolly, this is the one to get.

GoJak G6313

Manufacturer: Zendex Tool Corp
Part Number: G6313R | G6313L
Item Weight: 21.77 lbs
Weight Capacity: 1575 lbs per dolly
Lifting Mechanism: Mechanical Ratchet
Construction: Steel
Buy On: Amazon (Right) | Amazon (Left)

The GoJak dolly is unique in that you have to purchase dollies for the right and left sides separately.

They can also accommodate tires up to 13”, which is an inch more than most other dollies; this is important to consider if you have vehicles with wider tires than what is typical. Overall dimensions are 26.25” x 24.75” x 8.88”.

If you want a pair of well-made, no-nonsense car dollies that just work without breaking a sweat, these are the ones to get.

Sunex 7708

Manufacturer: Sunex
Part Number: 7708
Item Weight: 35 lbs
Weight Capacity:1500 lbs
Lifting Mechanism: Mechanical Ratchet
Construction: Steel
Buy On: Amazon

The Sunex car dolly is sold individually, so you want to purchase at least two to be able to make use of them.

This dolly is adjustable, meaning it can be opened up to 28” in width to accommodate up to 12.8” tires — a little wider than most dollies. The overall dimensions for the dolly are 42.1” x 27.9 “x 8.7”.

There is a foot pedal to operate the lifting mechanism and it also comes with locking casters, making it a sturdy and easy to use dolly overall.

Sunex claims that their 7708 dolly is ASME-PASE 2014 certified, which is a voluntary safety standard, indicating that Sunex puts extra care in ensuring the quality of their dollies.

We all know how important it is that the equipment we use to lift our cars is reliable and held to high-quality control standards.

Our Top Recommendations

With so many compelling options to choose from, we decided to zero in on 3 top recommendations. Here they are.

Budget Choice: Vivohome

They feature powder-coated steel plates to resist rust and therefore increase the longevity of the plates. Additionally, they even have anti-skid tread to help keep the tire stable when on the dolly. You also get two brakes on the casters of each dolly.

The Vivohome dollies have the most attributes in the budget category and plenty of positive reviews from satisfied customers, which is why they are our top choice.

Midrange Choice: Red Hound Auto Tire Skates

While they lack a hydraulic lift and have to be operated manually, unlike two of the other options in the midrange tier, we feel they offer the overall best value in this category.

As opposed to the hydraulic options that only offer two dollies per set, the Red Hound kit will get you four powder-coated steel dollies. Each dolly comes with two brakes and a double ball bearing system to help the casters move easily.

They also have a weight capacity of 6000 lbs, which is more than enough for most car-related projects.

Premium Choice: Sunex 1500 lbs

While you do have the inconvenience of having to order each dolly separately, a benefit is the ability to choose between two-piece or four-piece sets. You can spend the extra money and have a full set or go for just half, depending on your wants and/or needs.

The Sunex dollies feature an adjustable width up to 28” — something not seen on the other dollies in this list. If adjustability is important to you, these definitely deserve consideration.

A big plus for the Sunex dollies is their safety certification that comes from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. This is a voluntary certification and not something the company was mandated to do, showing they have high standards for the quality and safety of their equipment.

The Sunex dollies offer something for both enthusiasts with a bigger and smaller budget (you get to choose how many you want, not limiting you to a set price on a half or a full set of dollies), hydraulic lifting, adjustability, and a 6000 lbs weight capacity, which is the reason we chose them as our top choice.

And that concludes our list of the best car dollies. What do you think about the skate-type dollies? Do they stack up a fair competition against the ratchet type?

Let us know in the comments below!

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