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What is a tracked stair climber?

A tracked stair climber is a means for transporting goods up and down stairs, consisting of a frame and tracks. Tracked stair climbers are usually fitted with an electric motor and are used for carrying items such as materials, furniture, safes or other heavy loads on stairs. A tracked stair climbing hand truck must not be confused with a tracked stair climber for wheelchairs, which is used to carry disabled people in a wheelchair.

The difference between tracked stair climbing hand trucks and tracked stair climbers for wheelchairs

The main difference between the two types of tracked stair climber is therefore their intended use. Tracked hand trucks for stairs are for transporting goods, whereas tracked stair climbers for wheelchairs are for carrying people. The technology for moving up and down stairs is essentially the same, but there are differences in the technology in order to comply with the regulations governing the two different types of transport (goods and people).

Development of the stair climbing hand truck: from wheels to tracks

Tracked stair climbers were a turning point for carrying loads up and down stairs. Initially there were only stair climbing sack trucks with wheels. The first stair climbing sack trucks had two wheels. This type of stair climber is still very common. Over the years stair climbers with wheels have developed, in particular with the addition of 3 multiple wheels on each side. The advantage of stair climbing sack trucks with six wheels is that they make it easier to go up and down steps.

However, the main drawback of wheeled stair climbers, even those with six wheels, is that the load has to be kept balanced as it is carried up the stairs. Moving heavy goods or materials with a wheeled stair climber involves three safety issues:

  • For the operator transporting the load
  • For the goods, which could be damaged if they fall while being moved
  • For the stairs, which could be damaged if the goods fall off.

Tracked stair climbers, on the other hand, are the ideal hand trucks for moving heavy materials on stairs.

The reason for this is that the weight of the load is distributed over the entire surface of the tracks.

In addition, tracked stair climbing hand trucks are almost always electric. This means that the operator does not need to make any physical effort to move the goods up or down the stairs.

Tracked stair climbers have also developed over the years. Let’s take a look at the features and differences between the various hand trucks for stairs with tracks available on the market.

The main differences between tracked stair climbers

Heavy duty stair climbers with tracks are not all the same, and this is reflected in the different purchase prices.

The following are the most important features of tracked stair climbing hand trucks to bear in mind before making your purchase:

  • Tilting the load when travelling up or down stairs
  • Manoeuvrability: changing direction and rotating on a landing
  • Adjustable speed
  • Quality of the tracks
  • Load capacity
  • Electric motor and battery autonomy


It is very important to be able to tilt the load when travelling up or down a steep staircase. The more modern and innovative tracked stair climbers, like Domino Automatic and Skipper, feature electronic technology that automatically tilts the load when it is moved on stairs.

Automatic tilting of the load guarantees maximum safety when moving loads on stairs.


Good manoeuvrability is an important feature of powered stair climbers with tracks. It is obvious that moving heavy materials on stairs means being able to manoeuvre the load in accordance with the transportation requirements.

For example, when transporting goods, it may be necessary to change direction, perhaps to pass through a door. Or it could be necessary to rotate the load on the landing in order to enter a corridor. Not all tracked electric stair climbers can rotate on a landing.

The video shows rotating on a landing when moving windows on stairs using the Skipper tracked hand truck for stairs

Some tracked stair climbers cannot even change direction. This can be a major problem, for example if you are having to move very heavy furniture on stairs as part of a house removal. The manoeuvrability of the stair climbing hand truck also depends on its operating system. Normally tracked stair climbers are operated using handlebars.

These can either have twin grips, or consist of a single handlebar along the whole side from which the stair climbing hand truck is operated. The advantage of a single handlebar is that it can be held at several points, depending on the operator’s height and the length of his or her arms.

The more modern tracked stair climbing hand trucks, like Domino Automatic and Skipper also have a proportional joystick that can be used to operate the stair climber with a single finger. Easy and intuitive.


Speed is relatively unimportant when moving heavy loads weighing in excess of 100 Kg on stairs. Transport on stairs must be safe above all, and speed does not matter. However, it is essential to be able to regulate the speed when changing direction, or rotating the load on a landing, for example.


No article on tracked stair climbers would be complete without mentioning the tracks themselves. Normally these are made of rubber, but they are certainly not all the same.

Tracks need to possess three very important characteristics:

  • They need to guarantee the stability of the load even in transport conditions that are not ideal. The best tracks are non-slip
  • They do not ruin the stairs. A good tracked stair climber does not leave traces
  • They need to carry goods both inside and outside buildings , both on stairs and on flat surfaces.


Tracked stair climbers are the ideal mode of transport for heavy loads. However, their load capacity may vary considerably: from 80 Kg for the lighter, more economical stair climbers, up to 600Kg. Machinery, winches and heavy material always require a high load capacity, in excess of 200 Kg.


The electric motor is another feature to examine carefully before purchasing a stair climbing hand truck with tracks. The more modern stair climbers do not have just one motor, but two independent motors. Twin motors are fundamental for two reasons:

  • For full rotations, as each of the two tracks is powered by a single motor
  • For climbing helical staircases

Another very important factor is battery autonomy. The battery is almost always a silicon battery.

Normally battery autonomy is inversely proportional to the weight of the load. This means the higher the weight of the load, the lower the battery autonomy.

Which is the best hand truck for stairs?

Tracked stair climbers are the ideal mode of transport for carrying heavy goods and materials on stairs. However, not all tracked hand trucks for stairs are the same. Before making your purchase, look carefully at their features, such as the load capacity and electric motor, but above all their safety features.

Another advantage of tracked stair climbers is that they can be used both inside and outside building, to carry the load to the stairs.

Zonzini’s tracked hand trucks for stairs are Domino Automatic and Skipper. These tracked stair climbers are extremely safe, allowing a single operator to carry loads weighing up to 400 Kg on stairs without any physical exertion.

Look at our customers’ testimonials and find out what you can carry using our tracked stair climbers

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