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Metal or Plastic Trolley?

By Maxime Perrin

First metal trolleys appeared in 1946 in the US while plastic trolleys came in the 2000, much later. Today when we go shopping, half of the stores has metal carts and the other half has plastic carts, the trend has changed and we try to explain why.


Unlike people usually think, plastic carts are as resistant as metal carts. Plastic will not be deformed despite shocks.


As the User Experience (UX) comes first now, customer’s convenience is essential. It feels much lighter when you push or pull a plastic trolley because it has a lighter weight. However we have to note that wheels system will take an important part of the light sensation, regardless the material of the trolley. Generally, we find two types of shopping carts, those with two swivel wheels at the front and two fixed wheels at the rear and those with four swivel wheels.

Four swivel wheels make the cart easier to drive, however some users will prefer using the one with two fixed wheels at the rear.


A real advantage of the plastic trolley is that when it hits the store shelving, casher, wall or other equipment, it does not leave marks.

There is no need to place protective bars.


In case of big climatic variation, metal trolleys made of good quality will not rust unlike first price metal carts may end with oxidation in a short time. The plastic trolley material makes them rust-free.


Why we see more metal carts stolen? Simply because selling metal as raw material is more profitable than plastic.


Currently, the trend is to use recycled material. Plastic trolley takes the opportunity. More and more companies are using a post-industrial raw material plastic for their production. Now, there is also the possibility to have a post-consumer raw material plastic with enough resistant capacity to produce a trolley.


Do not forget the design of your store. If you have a “vintage” style, it will be more suitable to have metal trolleys. However, plastic trolleys have the flexibility to be customized easily, changing the colours, placing logo.


Before we see a new material, these two kinds of trolleys will still be in the market. The association of the two, hybrid trolley, is also the solution for those who cannot make the decision!

Maxime Perrin

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