There’s really no such thing as the “perfect” kitchen — it seems there’s always too little countertop space, not enough cabinets, or some combination of the two. This is where storage solutions come in handy, like an over-the-sink dish rack or stackable containers for the pantry. But few things are as functional as a kitchen cart that can hold everything you don’t have room for (and possibly double as an island, too). To find the best of the best, I talked to experts — including professional organizers, recipe developers, and a prop stylist — about the kitchen carts that they recommend. I also put a few to the test, and I’ll be trying out more and reporting back soon.
What we’re looking for
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.” Prop stylist Cait Gury also likes steel since you won’t have to worry about the stains that might “plague a more porous material like marble or wood.” (Plastic is also an option). Additionally, you’ll want to think about the aesthetics of it all. “Matching your cart color to your cabinets will create a more cohesive look,” Lipkin suggests.
Speaking of aesthetics, I considered the interplay between form and function with every cart. Several of our experts mentioned carts that feature 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 if you have uneven floorboards). Really, the right design is about, as 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?”
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 your maximum measurements with painter’s tape on the floor. And Lipkin points out that many countertops are around 36 inches tall, so a cart that matches that height will look “more at home in your kitchen” and, for most people, be comfortable to work at. For each of the recommendations below, I included the measurements in the following order: length, width, and height, so you can compare between them more easily.
Best overall kitchen cart
Material: Steel, polyester powder-coated | Design: Three tiers, movable middle shelf, leveling (non-locking) wheels | Size: 13.75” x 17.75” x 30.75”
The multipurpose Råskog takes the “best overall” blue ribbon for its endless 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 Råskog 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.”
There’s a reason it’s a top seller: The Råskog is really a no-muss, no-fuss solution, which I found out for myself when the company sent me one to test. Assembly is easy enough — just a few screws. The tiers are secure and the wheels are steady. I have a hodgepodge of things in mine, including honeys, hot sauces, and almost-ripened avocados.
But you can also use it in a more focused way, like Vanessa Dina, author of The Art of the Bar Cart, who has transformed her Råskog into a martini-making station. In our guide to the best bar carts, the Råskog won the title of “best bargain” with Dina applauding its durability. And for an extra $12, you can buy a cutting board designed specifically for the topmost shelf to have a surface to make your drinks.
Of course, the Råskog is helpful outside the kitchen as well, and has appeared in our archives a number of times. Jeni Aron, founder of Clutter Cowgirl, cited it as one of her favorite dorm-room storage solutions, as it can double as a nightstand (and then work just as well in a student’s first apartment). Strategist writer Lauren Ro used it to furnish her firstborn’s Montessori-inspired playroom, where it holds construction paper, coloring books, and Play-Doh.
Best kitchen cart for small spaces
Material: Chrome-plated steel, wood | Design: Adjustable shelves, chrome hooks, smooth-rolling wheels (two locking) | Size: 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 to maximize every spare bit of space. 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 of the cart with a blender, toaster, cast-iron skillet, colander, and portable dishwasher (phew) packed into the bottom racks. The height of the racks can also be adjusted depending on what you want to store on them.
Best (less-expensive) kitchen cart for small spaces
Material: Steel | Design: Four tiers, mesh-like shelf design, non-locking wheels | Size: 6.7” x 17.3” x 38.3”
Billed as a laundry cart, this metal mDesign option 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. She finds it to be especially useful for small items that can be hard to find a place for, like bottles of supplements. And since it’s taller rather than wider, it can slide into narrower spots and won’t take up too much floor space.
Best kitchen cart for in between cabinets and appliances
Material: Steel, wood | Design: Slim-profile, three tiers, side handle, two swivel wheels and two rigid wheels | Size: 5.1” x 18.7” x 31.7”
Yamazaki has made appearances all over our archives — unsurprisingly, the brand turned up again while I was reporting this guide. This extra-slim cart is meant for those corners and tight spaces that might otherwise go unused. Heidi Lee of home-organization service Prune + Pare stores hers in a little nook between her appliances. She especially likes the cart’s “out of sight, out of mind” quality, as it stays tucked away until she turns on the stove and pulls it out to grab things from it while she cooks. It’s ideal for those who don’t have a pantry, according to Lee, who stores spices, canned foods, wine bottles, oils, and vinegars on the cart, organizing it with a “like goes with like” philosophy. “It’s great for small living with limited space,” Lee adds.
Best-looking kitchen cart
Material: Steel, synthetic rubber | Design: Three shelves, handles, swivel wheels (one locking) | Size: 19.3” x 15” x 32.1”
There’s an elegant minimalism about this cart — it features clean lines and comes with practical additions like hooks (for pot holders, tongs, or a fish spatula) and a slim handle (which you can use to hang a dish towel). Jessie Sheehan, author of Snackable Bakes, likes that the modest cart sort of “disappears” when full of equipment — she stores cookbooks and cutting boards on the top and a stand mixer on the bottom — and rolls easily from one end of her galley-style kitchen to the other. In contrast to the Råskog’s higher sides, this cart is completely open concept, with not even a small lip around the edges of the shelves. When Yamazaki sent me one to try, I found that this design made the shelves easier to access — and more difficult to keep looking neat. (Sheehan’s trick is to organize with smaller items in the front and taller ones in the back.) You could also use the cart for serving, carrying whatever you need for a dinner party so you don’t crowd the table.
Best-looking kitchen cart (that’s a splurge)
Material: Stainless steel with powder-coated finish | Design: Two shelves, scalloped edges | Size: 12.25” x 24.75” x 20.75”
I first saw the Arcs Trolley — which debuted in August — in a Strategist Slack thread, and almost immediately reached out to the Danish design house to try one. It’s indulgent, starting at $295 for a two-shelfer (the three-shelf version goes for $495). But it’s beautiful — the stuff of an Architectural Digest “Open Door” tour — with a scalloped edge on each tier. It was designed by Belgian artist duo Muller Van Severen for the company’s Arcs Collection, and comes in sea green (which is more minty in person), eggshell, and navy for the two-shelf version, and eggshell and auburn red for the three-shelf. Like other housewares I own from Hay, assembly was intuitive: The instructions can be summed up as “screw everything together” with no tools needed. The cart is structurally sound, and even with no locks on the wheels, it stays pretty put. It’s enough of a splurge that you probably won’t want it to be dripping in canola next to the stove, but the powder-coated steel is easy to clean in the event of any spills. It’s a great place to display your fancy olive oil, an ice bucket, pretty bakeware, or a stack of cookbooks; you could also use it as a bar cart or a serving trolley for hors d’oeuvres and charcuterie.
Best heavy-duty kitchen cart
Material: Steel | Design: Three adjustable-height shelves, leveling feet, removable wheels (two locking) | Size: 13.4” x 23.2” x 32.75”
“It’s shockingly sturdy,” says Rebecca Firkser, freelance food writer and recipe developer, of this “professional-looking, home-kitchen-friendly” cart from Amazon Basics. Though Firkser recently upgraded to a more stationary island (the Belmont from Crate & Barrel, if you’re curious), she fondly reminisces about this cart that previously helped her organize her kitchen. The bottom tier housed her stand mixer on one side and sheet pans and cutting boards on the other. The middle tier carried bins with everything from serving utensils and citrus juicers to funnels and a stack of liquid-measuring cups. And the topmost tier held a number of condiments including chile crisps, flaky salt, and finishing oils. She even packed in a pile of towels and hung tongs and ladles on an edge of the cart. (“Whew, can you see how I outgrew this?” she jokes.) Despite the weight of those essentials, however, the cart was easy to move around — as long as the wheels were unlocked. “When locked, it wasn’t going anywhere,” Firkser says. She adds: “I also find furniture assembly very complicated, but this gave me no trouble at all.” She still uses the five-tier version elsewhere in her apartment.
Best kitchen cart with a stainless-steel top
Material: Stainless steel, chrome finish | Design: Metal basket-style shelves, removable wheels (two locking), side hooks | Size: 20” x 38.62”’ x 36”
If you don’t mind a more industrial look, Gury frequently recommends this Miriam cart 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,” Gury says. It also comes with removable wheels, unlike some of the others on our list — take them off to give the cart more of a kitchen-island look.
Best kitchen cart with a spice rack
Material: Wood | Design: One drawer, two shelves, locking wheels, spice rack, towel holder | Size: 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 that doubles as an island
Material: Birch, plywood, acrylic paint | Design: Two shelves, two drawers, wheels on two legs, work top | Size: 39.375” x 17.875” x 35.375”
The Förhöja is a “moveable feast,” according to organizing expert Caroline Solomon, with a set of wheels only on one side of the trolley, so it feels more fixed into place, as an island would be. (And if you do plan to move it often, you’ll want to avoid piling on too much weight.) The cart is inoffensively “neutral looking” and can “eke out more counter space” with the cutting-board-like top to do prep on, such as rolling out dough or chopping veggies. Solomon recommends putting your most-used cooking utensils (rolling pins, measuring cups, a peeler) in the drawers — though they can also hold silverware. The two open shelves make it easy to find what you’re looking for and are sturdy enough to hold cookware or pantry items at the ready; just mind the gaps between the slats, as narrower items might lean or fall through. The Förhöja also comes in gray and natural birch colorways, as well as a square, one-drawer model if you are short on space.
Best drop-leaf kitchen cart
Material: Mix of solid and manufactured wood | Design: Three drawers, three shelves, removable and locking wheels, drop-leaf top, spice rack, towel rack | Size: 18” x 53.5” x 36”
This Red Barrel Studio cart has the distinction of being the only one on this list with a drop-leaf top, which can double as additional counter or dining space that you can tuck stools underneath. It’s similar to the Hodedah above, except with a lot more storage. Abramovici describes the Kuhnhenn as “basically another row of cabinetry.” There are three drawers and a closed-door cabinet that helps block the “visual noise” of stacked plates or a tower of food-storage containers you’d rather hide, according to Abramovici.
Best kitchen cart with cabinet storage
Material: Stainless steel, recycled wood scraps | Design: Three drawers, three shelves, towel and bottle rack, smooth-rolling and locking wheels | Size: 53” x 18” x 36”
Elbert recommends this Costway cart, which includes a combination of doors and drawers to organize in just about any way you want. The cabinet’s interior shelves are spacious enough for small appliances, while the drawers can hold silverware and other utensils, providing “easy access to the items you use all the time,” Elbert says. And although it’s on the larger side, Elbert assured us it’s easy to move around.
Best small-footprint kitchen cart with cabinet storage
Material: Mix of solid and manufactured wood | Design: One drawer, two shelves, locking wheels, tower rack, side rack | Size: 19” x 32” x 35.5”
Those who need more cabinets but don’t have much floor space should consider the Loden. Founder of the New Baguette Alexandra Shytsman depends on the cart — using it to hold all her silverware and pots and pans because her galley kitchen has tiny drawers and very little cabinet space. Shytsman has also been able to store her toaster, water-filter pitcher, and food processor — her three most-used appliances — on the cart, along with a large Dutch oven on one shelf. There’s just one caveat: Though it has a wooden block on the top, it’s not the sturdiest surface if you’re doing a lot of chopping. “I wouldn’t do any major prep work on it,” she says, adding that it’s better for small tasks, like cutting up a banana for granola.
[Editor’s note: This cart is currently out of stock, but you can sign up to receive a notification once it’s back.]
Best kitchen cart for small appliances
Material: Wood | Design: Two cabinets with two shelves, locking wheels | Size: 33” x 22” x 33”
This small-but-mighty cart is where I keep a toaster and an espresso machine, along with a few mugs, tea accessories (sweeteners, strainers, samples), and those serving platters I don’t have another place for. The top shelf is probably best for small appliances, as you can hide the cords behind the cart if you position it against a wall (there’s no slot to pass through wires elsewhere). The middle shelf can almost act as a curio cabinet — you can stack up and show off your porcelain and know it won’t topple off the back. And the cart is structurally sound — I bought it two years ago and it’s still sturdy and scratch-free.
• Nicole Abramovici, owner of Genius Organizing
• Vanessa Dina, author of The Art of the Bar Cart
• Elsa Elbert, founder of Composed Living
• Rebecca Firkser, freelance food writer and recipe developer
• Cait Gury, prop stylist
• Heidi Lee, founder of home-organization service Prune + Pare
• Liz Lipkin, interior designer
• 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
• Alexandra Shytsman, founder of the New Baguette
• Caroline Solomon, organizing expert
• Hannah Starke, former member of the Strategist’s social team
• Lisa Zaslow, owner of Gotham Organizers
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