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Since the introduction of the first oil drums over a hundred years ago, countless days must have been lost due to injury, back strain or accident as strong men attempted to move them. A typical 55 gallon drum weighs nearly a quarter of a ton which helps to put the preceding statement into perspective.
Nowadays they're usually transported on pallets which makes life easier for the logistics companies but creates its own problems for the end user - how to get them onto the floor safely. Assuming that the correct equipment is available this can be achieved but then comes the issue of moving them to their final location.
Fundamentally there are three types of drum trolley:
Modified sack trucks which require the small feet to be pushed under the drum so that it can be tilted back and moved around. Typically this requires about 60 to 70 kg of effort as opposed to the HSE Manual Handling guidelines of 25 kg maximum! This is by far the cheapest option.
Hydraulically operated models usually based on a pallet truck or corner depalletiser. Much safer to use than a sack truck they also require more space but at least the corner depalletiser can be used to move the drum off the pallet as well. However, it's unlikely they can handle all drum types. Prices vary dramatically but as with everything, you tend to get what you pay for.
The greatest advance in drum trolleys was made in the 1990s when the patented drum trolley was introduced. Requiring less than 25 kg of effort to move a 205 litre drum it can handle virtually any drum design or size and requires only a limited amount of space to operate. At 795 mm wide it can't go through narrow doorways but with the clever use of geometry it doesn't require hydraulics. Available in ATEX compliant or standard designs it is a mid priced option.
Which option you choose will depend on many factors including usage levels, working environment and of course price but hopefully this bit of background will help you make a more informed choice..