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Mastering the Art of Moving Heavy Equipment: Essential Tools and Techniques

‌Hiring professional movers is not the only way to move heavy furniture. You can do it by yourself if you have the right tools. You need the right device to help move heavy objects.

Acquiring the equipment for moving heavy items is not enough. You also have to know the proper techniques of using them. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting the potential of these tools. Without learning about the proper tools and techniques, you can also end up injuring yourself or damaging your furniture.

Essential Tools for Moving Heavy Equipment

You have most probably come across these tools while moving heavy equipment. Learn more about these essential tools to understand the best way of using them.

five essential tools for moving heavy equipment are displayed


A forklift is basically a lifting truck that you use for moving items. It is mostly used in warehouse or construction sites. A lot of professional movers also use forklift to move heavy furniture or appliance from one place to another.

For example – you have a large 350lbs refrigerator that you need to load into a moving truck. You can use a forklift to lift the refrigerator and move it onto the truck on your own.

Please not that forklift is used for short-distance relocation of heavy equipment. You cannot travel a long distance with a forklift. The safe traveling distance between forklifts is about 20 feet.

Buying a forklift may not be your forte (a standard forklift can cost from $15,000 to $30,000), but you can always rent one.

You can rent a forklift on a daily rate of $100 to $700. The rent would vary depending on your location, type of forklift and how long you need it for.

Skates and Roller Skids

Skates and roller skids are often used for moving heavy furniture in tight spaces. If you don’t have a forklift or enough space to operate one, consider the alternate option of rollers.

Skates and roller skids work as detachable wheels for your heavy furniture and appliance. Since moving a heavy piece of furniture can be a strenuous task, using skates or roller skids can come in handy.

With roller skids or skates under your furniture, you can move heavy items by gliding them across the floor. This way, you won’t have to stress your back and try lifting the items.

You can get different sized skates or roller skids that would cost from $100 to $200.

Lift Buddy and Toe Jacks

Lift Buddy is a tool that gives you the leverage for lifting heavy items. It has a hydraulic lifting device that can be put under any piece of furniture and appliance for lifting it.

You can also use it to lift one or two corners to adjust the position of a heavy item. You can use it in conjunction with skates, roller skids and sliders. Use the Lift Buddy to lift a corner or two of the stuff and insert the slider underneath. Then you can easily glide the furniture with minimum effort.

The one-handed use of the Lift Buddy makes it a convenient device to help move heavy objects. You can use the Lift Buddy with one hand to lift the corner of a heavy item and maneuver it as needed.

You can buy a Lift Buddy or furniture lifter from $30 to $100.

Toe jacks are useful in places where you can’t fit a forklift. The jack’s toe is put under your load and lifted as hydraulic pressure is applied. 

Clearance height is a factor to consider when you are using toe jacks. For low clearance scenarios, you would need toe jacks that have a low-profile design. For high clearance scenarios, you need toe jacks that come with extended lifting height features.

Toe jack prices can vary depending on their capacity. You can get a decent toe jack at around $100.

Lifting Straps and Air Bearings

Lifting straps helps distribute the weight of the heavy furniture across all your limbs, such as – shoulders, back, arms and legs. It helps reduce the strain from certain places and prevents back injuries.

These lifting straps are often made out of nylon and have reinforced stitching. They are quite durable and help you keep heavy furniture appliances in place.

Keep your lifting straps under the item you want to move. Make sure it’s aligned properly, then wear the straps. The straps would be spread across your shoulders and back to evenly distribute the weight. 

Lifting straps are an affordable way of moving heavy items. The price can vary depending on the weight capacity of your lifting straps. The weight capacity can range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds. You can buy these from $20.

Air bearings use compressed air for lifting heavy items. The device uses the compressed air to create pressure that lifts the heavy item off the ground. You can then put it on sliders or skid rollers to glide across the ground.

The compressed air from the bearings helps create a cushioned air between your items and the ground. It helps reduce friction to ease the movement.

You can use air bearings for moving furniture that has an uneven weight distribution. The air bearings provide you with consistent support to adapt the weight distribution so you can move the heavy items safely.

You can buy air bearings from $150 to $500.

Hand Truck Dollies and Moving Truck or Flatbed

Hand ruck dollies are used for moving around heavy items. The basic structure of a hand truck dolly is a platform that has wheels at the bottom and a handle for easy grip.

You can get hand truck dollies of different sizes specified to your needs. The two basic types of hand truck dollies are furniture dollies and appliance dollies.

Furniture dollies have a rather flat platform so you can use it for moving heavy furniture. Appliance dollies have straps or hooks to safely secure the appliances.

Check the weight limit for your hand truck dolly before loading any furniture or equipment. Hand truck dollies are ideal for moving heavy stuff, but not oversized items.

Hand truck prices can range from $50 to $200. Prices can vary depending on the weight capacity and other features.

If you are about to indulge in long-distance move, then using a flatbed or moving truck is recommended. They offer enough space to keep your stuff comfortably. Flatbeds or moving trucks can house your heavy items while keeping them safe.

Make sure you use moving straps or rope to secure your items as you load them in flatbed or moving truck. It helps reduce the movement to prevent your stuff from being damaged.

If you have a difficult route to maneuver, then make sure to consult professional movers. It’s best to seek help than risk damaging your furniture.

Techniques for Moving Heavy Equipment

Proper Planning and Organization

Before you start moving any heavy equipment, take your time to assess everything. Evaluate the size and weight of the equipment first. Make sure the path for moving the equipment is cleared before you start.

Create a plan before you move the equipment. You can draw sketches to ensure the move is smooth. When you have all the steps planned out, you can come with a timeline for the move.

When you are moving a large and heavy piece of equipment from one place to another, make sure you have necessary papers. Some areas might require written permits or permissions before you are allowed to move the equipment.

Disassembling and Preparing Equipment

Moving heavy equipment is a daunting task in itself. It can be even trickier when you have to lag around a large piece of furniture or appliance.

The best thing to do is to disassemble the equipment into the most basic stage possible. Find all the detachable part you can, and remove them.

For example – if you are about to move a bookshelf, remove the shelves. If there are other detachable parts of the bookshelf, remove them as well. Then pack the removed parts separately to make sure you won’t lose them.

Disassembling your equipment makes it more manageable for moving.

Utilizing Proper Lifting Techniques

When you lift any heavy furniture, make sure to use your legs and bend them. Don’t use your lower back to lift the heavy item.

Correct posture is important when you have to move heavy stuff. Keep your hips and knees straight as you lift. Then extend your legs and breathe out as you lift the heavy furniture. Hold the furniture as close to your body as you can.

Take your time while moving heavy objects upstairs or downstairs. If you have someone helping you with the move, make sure you communicate with them properly as you both indulge in the task.

Protective Measures and Safety Precautions

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Protecting yourself and the items is crucial during a move. Follow these protective and safety measures when you move heavy furniture:

  • Make sure the moving route is clear and there are no obstacles.
  • Be extra cautious while moving on the stairs with a heavy furniture.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from scratches.
  • Wrap the furniture and appliance in moving blankets and plastic wraps to prevent damage.
  • Do thorough research before using any equipment for moving heavy objects (i.e., forklift, lift buddy, etc.).

No matter which equipment you use for moving heavy furniture, your priority should be safety. If the task seems complex, don’t hesitate in asking for assistance.

Use any device to help move heavy objects, whether it’s a hand truck dolly or toe jacks. These tools are made for your convenience, to cut down your moving time and to lessen your difficulties. So take full advantage!

Brandon Pollard

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