best in class

The 8 Very Best Kitchen Carts

“It’s the Ikea cart that’s doing the most in small-space kitchens across New York City.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

There’s really no such thing as the “perfect” kitchen — there’s always too little countertop space, not enough cabinets, or a combination of the two. This is where having a host of storage solutions comes in handy, like an over-the-sink dish rack or stackable containers for a prepper-like pantry. Though, no solution is probably as functional as a cart — not only can it hold everything you don’t have room for, it can double as an island to cook off of. Plus, you can roll it to wherever you like while you’re shuffling around making dinner. To find the best of the best, we consulted experts — including professional organizers, recipe developers, and a prop stylist — for the kitchen carts they rely on.

Best overall | Best for small spaces | Best (less-expensive) for small spaces | Best looking | Best with a stainless-steel top | Best with spice rack | Best with cabinet storage | Best (less-expensive) with cabinet storage

What we’re looking for

Material: Since these are kitchen carts we’re talking about — destined to be covered in tomato sauce and pancake mix — they should be relatively cleanable. Interior designer Liz Lipkin sums it up best: “Take inspiration from kitchen surfaces. Stainless steel, powder-coated steel, butcher-block, and quartz are all easy to care for.” Durable stainless steel can handle high temperatures, explains Elsa Elbert, founder of Composed Living. “You can’t beat steel when it comes to strength,” seconds Lisa Zaslow, owner of Gotham Organizers. “That’s why so many professional kitchens and gourmet shops use steel shelving.” Or you could go with heavy-duty woods such as maple or oak, says David Mason, owner of cabinet hardware business the Knobs Company. And plastic is always an option — this is what tiered trolleys are usually made from. You’ll also want to think about the aesthetics of it all. “Matching your cart color to your cabinets will create a more cohesive look,” Lipkin suggests.

Design: Speaking of aesthetics, we considered the interplay between form and function with every cart. Several of our experts mentioned getting a cart that features cabinets or shelves to free up precious drawer space. Deciding between the two comes down to “whether you want to go for a more minimalist open-shelf concept or if you want closed doors to avoid visual clutter,” Elbert says. Wheels are another factor to think about — Zaslow recommends looking for those that can lock so your cart only rolls when you need it to (especially for uneven floorboards). Really, the right design is about, as prop stylist Cait Gury puts it, “what your existing space is lacking. Do you find yourself getting frustrated with a lack of meal prep space? Are you desperate for a little more storage?”

Size: The dimensions of a cart will determine whether it’ll actually fit into your kitchen. If you have a particular spot in mind, Elbert recommends marking those measurements with painter’s tape on the floor beforehand. Or you could follow one of Lipkin’s tips: Many countertops are around 36 inches tall, and you should find a cart that matches that height so it “looks more at home in your kitchen, better than a short one would.”

Best overall kitchen cart

Steel, polyester powder-coated | Three tiers, movable middle shelf, four adjustable castor wheels | 13.75” x 17.75” x 30.75”

The Raskog takes the “best overall” blue ribbon as the most-mentioned cart by far. Its utilitarian Scandinavian frame has ​​endeared it to our experts, all of whom praise its versatility. “It’s the Ikea cart that’s doing the most in small-space kitchens across New York City,” explains Brittany Nims, associate director of e-commerce partnerships and business development at Vox Media. The “junk drawer on wheels,” as she describes it, has served her as a dumping ground for kitchen linens and cleaning supplies. Similarly, when Gury lived in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, the Raskog gave her much-needed (and cheap) storage space. Jammed with spice jars and rolling pins, she would “roll it up to the stove then tuck it away in a corner, post-cooking.” Mason recommends keeping it in a central location for easy access, organizing the shelves according to category, like serving supplies. Or use it as a martini-making station, as Vanessa Dina, author of The Art of the Bar Cart, does. In our guide to the best bar carts, this won the title of “best bargain” with Dina applauding its durability.

Best kitchen cart for small spaces

Chrome-plated steel, wood | Adjustable shelves, chrome hooks, smooth-rolling wheels | 15” x 36.7” x 21”

With a “kitchen that’s better described as a 22-square-foot closet,” Hannah Starke, a former member of the Strategist’s social team, uses this Amazon Basics storage cart. Originally she intended to use the butcher-block top as an extra counter for food prep, placing her microwave on top of her fridge — until her mother nixed that idea as a potential safety hazard. Her microwave now sits on the top shelf with a blender, toaster, cast-iron skillet, colander, and portable dishwasher (phew) packed into the bottom racks. These racks can also be lowered or raised depending on how much storage you need.

Best (less-expensive) kitchen cart for small spaces

Steel | Four tiers, mesh-like shelf design, caster wheels | 17.3” x 6.7” x 38.3”

Billed as a laundry cart, this metal mDesign cart is a favorite of Nicole Abramovici, owner of Genius Organizing. It has one additional tier compared to our best overall pick. “The more the better, especially when maximizing vertical space,” Abramovici says. You could even stock it with small appliances that aren’t used often but you don’t want to lose track of. It’s especially useful for those little items that you sometimes don’t know where to put, like bottles of supplements, she suggests.

Best-looking kitchen cart

Steel, synthetic rubber | Three shelves, handles, swivel caster wheels | 19.29” x 14.9” x 32.09”

Yamazaki has made appearances all over our archives — unsurprisingly, we heard about the brand for this story too. This cart’s elegance is what initially attracted Jessie Sheehan, recipe developer and author of Snackable Bakes, to it. Not only does it feature clean lines, it comes with practical additions like hooks (for pot holders, tongs, or a fish spatula, she says) and handles that are equally as streamlined. Sheehan also likes how the modest cart disappears once filled, organized with smaller items up front and anything taller in the back. The cart also ended up being the best choice for her galley-style kitchen since it helps her easily roll equipment (especially her frequently used stand mixer) from one end to the other.

Best kitchen cart with a stainless-steel top

Stainless steel, chrome finish | Metal basket-style shelves, removable wheels, side hooks | 36” x 38.62”’ x 20’”

If you don’t mind something more industrial, consider the Miriam cart. It’s one that Gury frequently recommends to her own clients — her tip is to add touches like fresh flowers, fruit, or stacks of cookbooks to make the stainless steel feel more domestic. The cart includes three shelves (if you count the top), two of which mimic metal storage bins, with several hooks “for easy-to-grab items, like wooden spoons and dish towels, while cooking,” Gury says. And the Miriam comes with removable wheels, unlike others on our list — take them off to give the cart more of a kitchen-island look.

Best kitchen cart with a spice rack

Compressed wood | Spice rack, towel holder, one drawer, cabinet with two shelves | 15.5” x 44.9” x 35.2”

Aysegul Sanford, the food blogger behind Foolproof Living, directed us to this rolling island that has a specially designed shelf just for spices. It’s a space-saving solution to cluttering your countertop with seasonings — Sanford likes that she can add even more spices to the additional drawer space, which is “another essential that many other carts lack.” Along with this shelf and drawer, the cart comes with a dual-door cabinet. “The doors hide everything away,” she says, adding that the cupboard is where she keeps her air fryer. And when there are a number of cooks in the kitchen during dinner parties or family get-togethers, the cart’s top is sturdy (unlike others that rattle over time), making chopping on it much easier, Sanford explains.

Best kitchen cart with cabinet storage

Mix of solid and manufactured wood | Three drawers, cabinet with three shelves, removable wheels, drop-leaf top, spice rack, towel rack | 36” x 53.5” x 18”

Though this Abramovici-approved Red Barrel Studio cart is similar to the Hodedah above, it offers a lot more storage. The Kuhnhenn acts as “basically another row of cabinetry,” Abramovici says. It’s tricked out with three drawers on one side and a two-door cabinet with three interior shelves that block the “visual noise” of mismatched plate stacks or countless food-storage containers with missing lids you don’t want out. Her clients often like this cart for that very reason. Along with the top that doubles as a countertop space, the cart can be used as a table — there’s a drop-leaf hinge you can pull out.

Best (less-expensive) kitchen cart with cabinet storage

$260

Stainless steel, MDF | Three drawers, cabinet with three shelves, towel and bottle rack, smooth-rolling wheels | 53” x 18” x 36”

And as a more affordable alternative, Elbert recommends this Costway cart. Like the one from Red Barrel Studio, this pick includes a combination of doors and drawers to configure in just about any way you’d like. The cabinet’s interior shelves are spacious enough for small appliances, while the drawers can hold silverware and other utensils, according to Elbert. All that room means you’ll have “easy access to the items you use all the time.” Although it’s on the larger side, Elbert assures us that it moves around without a problem.

Some more kitchen carts we like

$72
4.3 stars 198 reviews
$67
4.7 stars 10,638 reviews

Our experts

• Nicole Abramovici, owner of Genius Organizing
• Vanessa Dina, author of The Art of the Bar Cart
• Elsa Elbert, founder of Composed Living
Cait Gury, prop stylist
Liz Lipkin, interior designer
• David Mason, owner of cabinet hardware business the Knobs Company
• Brittany Nims, associate director of e-commerce partnerships and business development at Vox Media
• Aysegul Sanford, food blogger behind Foolproof Living
Jessie Sheehan, recipe developer and author of Snackable Bakes
• Hannah Starke, former member of the Strategist’s social team
• Lisa Zaslow, owner of Gotham Organizers

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The 8 Very Best Kitchen Carts