I may be moving a 200lb appliance without help. I have some 1" width strap ratchets rated at 500lb from home depot (4pack). Could I stand in the bed and ratchet up the dolly backwards? Anyone done something like this and tips? I also have some 1000lb pulleys available.

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    You should just ask someone for help lifting. It sounds like you are working really hard to do this alone. – Mike Vonn Sep 9 '19 at 21:43
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    I need to do it on a weekday when people are at work. Its complicated. I may be able to get someone but if they fall through I want to have a plan. – user391339 Sep 9 '19 at 22:42
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    The smart thing to do is rent a truck with a lift gate. The second smartest thing is to kidnap a stout helper. But don't use "strap ratchets" no matter what -- they're not designed to pull a load, only hold it. If you go it solo, obtain a proper "come along" you can buy them for as little as $10; or rent one. Use stout coils of rope to attach it in a "V" manner to the appliance dolly handles. Be sure and have a camera filming so that we have fresh content for "Redneck Repairs". – Brock Adams Sep 10 '19 at 3:24
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    When I've needed help moving something heavy and didn't personally know anyone who could help, I just posted an ad on craiglist. I would usually offer $20-$40, even if it's just 5 minutes of lifting. Much less than that probably isn't worth the gas money for most, but even $40 is worth avoiding the risk of injuring myself or dropping an appliance (which can cause a lot more damage than its own value, depending on what it lands on) – conman Sep 10 '19 at 12:37
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    I am a big guy, and rarely get a chance to use my size to benefit society. If I was walking through a parking lot, and saw a man struggling to put an appliance in his truck, I would stop and help him. I also don't mind when people ask me to come along with them to help them with these types of transactions. I encourage to give the problem another look from this perspective. Our society works so much better when we work together to solve problems. – Mike Vonn Sep 10 '19 at 13:50

Having had to manhandle quite a few appliances on my own I would do this. Put the truck tray down. Tip the appliance over until the top just rests on the edge of the tray. Lift the back of the appliance and push forward. Use cardboard under it if you don't want to damage the side. Once it is all in, stand the appliance up. This way you are never deadlifting the appliance, more pushing and rotating it. You can use rachet straps like lifting straps to get better purchase if you want.

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I have a local delivery service and use a hand truck and the sides of my tray as ramps to load and unload large furniture on my own. It only takes a second or two to wheel modern fridges and most other items up this way.


For anything requiring a dolly I keep a light, cheapo steel block and tackle in my kit, which were left over from a kid's flying fox, but that's slower. I've used ratchet straps too, but as you're only getting 20 or 30cm of movement before needing to reset with another strap, that's just unprofessionally slow.

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    +1 just for the pic of what a safe truck load looks like. – A. I. Breveleri Sep 10 '19 at 22:56
  • Just curious why you wouldn't lay it down? Could that hurt the load? – BruceWayne Sep 11 '19 at 14:38
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    @BruceWayne Refrigerators specifically should not be laid down at all, although modern ones may be more tolerant. Their manuals typically mention that if they have been they must be left upright for 24 hours for refrigerant to return to the reservoir before switching them on. – electric-skeptic Sep 11 '19 at 14:41
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    Ah, thanks! I figured there was a good reason :D – BruceWayne Sep 11 '19 at 15:39

Motorcycle-style ratchets don't do well for this. Their levers are short, meaning you don't have much pull, and when the spool gets full of strap you're done until you reset, which means you need to temporarily support the load. I suggest looking for a ditch and some 2x10 lumber, then just wheel it up.

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  • Normally there is no ditch available. How could one person lift, for example, a refrigerator into the bed of a pickup? – Jim Stewart Sep 9 '19 at 19:31
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    Normally one person doesn't attempt to do so. Even with a long ramp it's dangerous to the health of the person and the appliance. – isherwood Sep 9 '19 at 19:38
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    If something bad happens, it's extremely useful to have someone who's able to call 911 and doesn't have a fridge on top of them. – user3757614 Sep 9 '19 at 19:40
  • With nobody around and you inside the bed there's got to be a way to get it up safely using the ramp. Failure mode would be the appliance falling down I guess maybe damaging the truck. – user391339 Sep 9 '19 at 21:16
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    @JimStewart if it's on a proper appliance dolly one person can lift surprisingly heavy stuff by leaning it on an angle and just pulling up -- the dolly itself acts as a ramp and they often have skids or one-way belts on the back to help lift. Also most modern appliances aren't as heavy as they look -- I once worked with a guy who could move crazy stuff up stairs etc. Of course he was very experienced and pretty tough; experience & practice 60%, brute strength 40% I'd say. None of this applies to OP, so I'm not suggesting it for him. (unless he's also a powerlifter and didn't mention it) – jkf Sep 10 '19 at 2:46

Those straps aren't rated for straight lifting, and I wouldn't recommend that anyway. Ramps are the way to go, and I would combine ramps with those straps, along with some sort of friction modifier such as the appliance's wheels or bars of Ivory soap.

Just expect it to fail worst case at any time, watch what you are doing to assure it doesn't, and move an inch at a time. Slow and steady wins the race.

It's unbelievable what a rigger can move when he loads with his brain and a lot of patience.

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  • The ratchet straps are good for fixing the appliance securely on the hand truck/flat bed dooly and later on the car.
  • 250 daN straps are IMHO quite flimsy. IIRC the 25 mm straps we use are rated at 400 daN. Don't underestimate the force you have on a strap when properly securing the appliance to the car (or dolly).

  • If you put, say, a 2.50 m ramp to get up to the car's bed at ≈ 90 cm above ground (pick up), instead of lifting 120 kg, you'll lift 0.9 m / 2.50 m * 120 kg ≈ 45 kg. For a van (trunk sill 55 - 60 cm), you'd have < 30 kg.
    Make sure the ramp is safe and cannot shove off the sill, if needed support it halfways.

  • When loading single-handedly, I'd always pull the hand truck (unless you have a very nice concrete floor, that's anyways easier): if something goes wrong, and the appliance rolls down again, you're on top of it, not beneath.

  • A helper may help by pushing, but for a load of only 100 kg the ramp should make that totally unnecessary - leaving the helper free to e.g. put something blocking the pulley against rolling down and to take care of any emergencies.

  • Depending on the height of your sill and the of the appliance (height, center of gravity, is the suitable side able to take the load), you may be able to load the appliance "over the sill" (not really sure how to express this in English).

The most important muscle for this type of work is the one between your ears ;-)

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if you have a garageor a balcony or like that, you can just lift it up and attach to the ceiling and then drive the vehicle below it. same for unloading. not move the furniture, move the truck! sorry my english is bad

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Sep 11 '19 at 21:54

I have done somewhat of the opposite of this. When bringing home a large bookcase on top of my SUV I found myself needing to unload it alone. I used a few ratchet straps anchored to my roof rack as safety stops while lowering it so I would not have to hold it's full weight myself and could take frequent breaks.

Were I you, I would lever the appliance upward, tighten a strap to hold it there, and then take a small break and re-set the lever for a higher lift. Once it is halfway up you should be able to tip it into the truck bed.

Alternatively, You could bring a few larger pieces of wood and make a ramp, or use a pully to lift the appliance into a tree and simply park your truck under it and lower it back down.

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