If you're one of the millions of Americans who own a pickup truck, statistics declare you have been asked at some point to help someone move something. You know, your sister-in-law's piano, or the outdoor pizza oven your ex-roommate wants to sneak into his new backyard.
And while furniture lifters are less common than pickup trucks among the general population, they're a simple and effective tool to move that piano without straining your back.
What are furniture lifters and how do they work?
Furniture lifters, as the name implies, are tools used to lift heavy furniture or equipment that need more than a simple dolly or hand truck, but may not be suited to a pallet jack. They are used to not only lift the piece but also to roll it along to its new location.
It's a simple operating system that makes an outsize impact.
Picture moving an old fridge out of your kitchen. Like a dolly, you slide the toe plate under either side of what you're trying to move.
But unlike a single dolly, you don’t rock it backwards and have it teeter precariously as your back makes rude comments. 😊 Rather, you use two at a time - that's why they're sold in pairs - one on either side of what you're trying to move.
Then, once the toe plates are underneath it, you use the screw-jack or hydraulic jack to crank it up to 10 to 15 inches off the ground, depending on the model. And with wheels that can rotate 360° (depending on the model, you don't have to turn it every time you change direction: you can roll it along facing one side, then move to a different side to move it a new direction.
Now by adding hydraulics to a dolly-type system, you're giving yourself an even greater mechanical advantage, which means you can move heavy furniture without straining your back.
How much can furniture movers lift?
A pair of manual furniture movers can easily handle just north of a thousand pounds. Check the specs, of course, to make sure that the one you're using is suited to your application. But a thousand pounds is ample for nearly every domestic purpose: that piano we mentioned likely clocks in at 800 pounds or less, unless it's a grand piano.
Then, of course, these hydraulic lifts have an outstanding weight capacity. Typically able to lift up to 4000 pounds, they're amply suited to lifting fridges, pianos, furniture, and yes, pizza ovens. Heavy-duty hydraulic furniture movers have 180° wheels and lift your load up to 10" off the ground, which make them one of the easiest and most economical ways to move large items.
What other applications are there for furniture movers?
Of course, they're not only used in houses and for moving companies. Any factory that needs to move individual pieces of machinery, or appliances, can benefit from them. They are suited to moving filing cabinets in offices, and large items on factory floors. You'll find them moving vending machines, safes, large containers and crates, and many other sizable pieces of equipment.
Because of their simplicity, the persons using them need minimal training before being able to use them effectively. Of course, the items moving need to be strapped and secured properly. But if you're cranking them up and you let go of the handle, they're not going to drop the load suddenly - they're designed to give you a controlled lift. They are an effective tool for reducing back strain and avoiding injury.
And they don't take up a lot of room. It's not like you end up wondering where to store a full-sized crane. Instead, they have a narrow profile and are easy to store until needed.
How to place heavy items precisely where they need to be
One last point when thinking about furniture movers, whether hydraulic or manual crank, is using them to position your items in precisely the right place. It's not a question of setting your item down and pushing it into place. Rather, you move your large piece of machinery to its exact location in the factory. Then, either with the hand crank or the hydraulics, you allow it to descend into its exact position.
And that's it! Take a look at both manual furniture movers here, and hydraulic ones here. Something to do, at least, while your buddy gets that pizza oven heating.