I was a floating teacher for two years before I realized that a high-quality rolling cart was essential for my peace of mind. I needed to teach science to third-graders in three different schools in my district and couldn’t depend on having the correct materials at my fingertips when I entered the classroom. The only option was to bring the vinegar and baking soda myself. I first tried a regular airline carry-on bag. Every time I opened it, everything was a jumble and sometimes covered in vinegar. I started separating things into Ziploc bags. This was extremely time-consuming, so I just gave it up. A friend of mine is a scrapbooking nut, but she had one of the best rolling carts, and it changed my life.
Even if you remain at one campus the whole day, there is a good chance you may change classrooms more than once. Middle and high school teachers occasionally have loads of notebooks, textbooks and other items from their students that they need to take home and check well into the night. A good rolling cart will go a long way towards reducing the stress that you might not be prepared for your lesson. I’ve used several models of rolling carts and have watched other teachers struggle with theirs. Here are the best rolling carts for teachers my colleagues and I have personally tried and can recommend to you with complete certainty.
Best rolling carts and bags for teachers:
- Husky Rolling Tool Tote Bag with Telescoping Handle →
- Copernicus School Classroom →
- Olympia Fashion Rolling Shopper Tote →
- CROP IN STYLE 60001 XXL Rolling Tote →
- Deluxe Teal Geometric Rolling Papercraft Organizer →
- Mount-it! Mesh Rolling Utility Cart →
- Smart Cart Moroccan Tile Collapsible Rolling Cart →
- Original Tubster 3-shelf Utility Cart →
- ECR4Kids 4-Tier Metal Rolling Utility Cart →
- Honey-Can-Do All-Purpose Rolling Activity Car →
- Oklahoma Sound Premium Presentation Cart →
With an eye to saving money, I tried several cheap rolling carts and learned the hard way that cheaper isn’t always the best option. In fact, it took me long time of patching with duct tape and making do with my cheap selections until I realized I wasn’t saving money buying a new cheap one every year. A rolling cart full of heavy books and other supplies takes a lot of abuse on rough driveways, up and down stairs, and from frantic hands pulling at the pockets and zippers to find something in a hurry. The worst-case scenario is when a handle or zipper top breaks off in your hand or you tear a pocket that’s made of cheap plastic, and all your colored pens, or worse, scatter on the floor. Even when my loads were light, a cheap rolling cart wouldn’t make it through a whole school year without major repairs.
The rolling bags and carts I’ve used
There are different kinds of rolling carts: briefcases, backpacks, organizers, portable carts, crates, book bags, and wheeled totes. But I’d like to tell you about the rolling carts I’ve used. This is my personal experience, and I’m happy to share it with you.
It finally dawned on me that I needed a durable, high-quality cart just like an electrician uses, such as a Husky 18-inch rolling tool tote with plenty of space and neat pockets. The handle is made for rough use and the wheels are designed to last for years. My advice to you is to spend a little extra on the Husky and save in the long run. Buying universal rolling carts is just like using a Band-Aid when you need a full cast. If you’re worried about the condition of your rolling bag or cart, you’re not getting the best use out of it. You need one that serves your needs, not one that you need to pamper.
Goodies I found:
- Room for whatever you want to store and lots of pockets. I could organize everything I needed permanently, and always know where to find it.
- It has a large main compartment that holds files without bending them, as well as books and notebooks. There are seemingly endless pockets with seven inside the cart and 11 outside. There’s also room for your lunch without squishing your sandwich.
- Good quality parts. It has a heavy-duty, telescoping handle that pulls out smoothly. No more tugging. The wheels are also strong and maneuver easily.
- Durable and not too large to pull. Goodbye cheap plastic, hello durable 600 denier Tuff, water-resistant material. Even with all the extra space, this cart has been designed to be user friendly. This cart takes care of you, not the other way around.
Watch this video to learn about this rolling tote. The review wasn’t made by a teacher, but it demonstrates all the capabilities of this bag.
Best for: Floating teachers who are always on the move, and teachers who have to transport a lot of items back and forth from home to classroom every day. This is the toughest bag in this list and my favorite, except for one which you’ll see in a minute.
Copernicus School Classroom has it all. Not only will it hold all the items you need, but you can also take two whiteboards. When I had to use three classrooms in one school, I didn’t have time to set up for each lesson. With this cart, I didn’t need to because I was virtually always set up. I could teach shapes and colors to kindergarteners, and then move to a fifth-grade science class for magnetism and on to another fifth-grade class for fractions and decimals. Yes, I’m a very versatile teacher! The best part is, if you have access to interactive whiteboard technology, you always have your screen with you.
Goodies I found:
- Two whiteboards. I could have my shapes ready for the little ones on one board and the decimals and fractions ready on the other board. The whiteboards are removable.
- The bins kept me super organized. There’s space to store big books and chart paper. The bins are roomy and easy to reach, and hold large books.
- The whiteboards have two magnetic page paws and snap-on chart paper hooks.
- The wheels are heavy-duty and roll well, even over carpet.
Here’s a video that clearly shows you the possibilities of teaching with this easel:
Best for: One of the best rolling carts for teachers who need to change classrooms. You can have her lessons ready in advance for each grade level, and will never disturb another lesson already on the classroom board.
In my research on Amazon for the best rolling carts, I found this cute Olympia Fashion Rolling Shopper Tote and had to have it. I use it for school when I have a lighter load, and at other times such as overnight trips to the beach. I even used it for a picnic once. It’s called Olympia Fashion because it’s well designed and attractive. You’ll never look like you’re hauling tools.
Goodies I found:
- Well made. It has several outside pockets, a weatherproof top that zips, a telescoping handle, and solid wheels. Also, the bottom is solid heavy-duty plastic, so you don’t need to worry if you load it with heavy books.
- Nice design. This is why I stopped on the page. The design is sleek and reminds me of an Italian sports car, even though the name is Greek.
- Easy to maneuver. Since it was designed for shopping, the wheels turn on a dime and make pulling it a dream. In addition, one of the best features is the long handles on top. You can put it over your shoulder if the rolling option isn’t possible.
You can decide whether you should buy this rolling bag for teachers or not after watching this video review.
Best for: This is an attractive tote that has a lot of uses, but for teachers, it may be best for those who have a lighter load to carry. Even though I said you shouldn’t pamper your rolling bag, I may make an exception for this one. This is my other favorite bag.
Some different types of teachers’ totes on wheels
I’m not the only teacher I know who needs a useful bag for work. You may use a lot of visual aids or need to carry art supplies everywhere you go. Whatever your needs, there is a rolling bag, cart or shelf that will lighten your load in every sense of the word. Here are some other recommendations from my colleagues.
This is one of the best organizing tote bags you can find. It has a separate compartment for each type of item, and many of the dividers are clear so you can simply look at the contents and not dig around to find what you want. It has a large pocket for magazines where you can keep folders, workbooks and students’ files where they won’t get bent or crumpled. The dividers are removable if you want to carry a large item. It has two wheels, so to roll it you’ll need to tilt it towards you.
Goodies I found:
- Easy-to-pull telescoping handle
- Front and side pockets good for carrying electrical cords
- Space for a projector and laptop
- It’s designed for arts and craft items and scrapbooking, so it’s be ideal for carrying classroom supplies.
Here’s a video that shows you what this bag looks like up close:
Best for: Teachers who carry a lot of electronic equipment as well as office supplies, books and papers. It can also become a case for traveling art teachers.
This Deluxe Rolling Papercraft Organizer was designed to look attractive to enhance the appearance of the user. If you’re wearing a suit, this bag won’t embarrass you, but it’s tough enough for the busiest teacher. It’s recommended by teachers of kindergarten to high school and beyond as a strong rolling bag for carrying a laptop, binders, books, and stacks of paper. The dividers are removable for the days you need to carry a projector or model. This teachers’ tote on wheels will give you that extra little éclat while you go about your business.
Goodies I found:
- 75D quilted polyester fabric and stylish chrome zippers
- Reinforced handles and wheels
- 47 separate storage spaces specially designed to keep paper safe
- Clear compartments for easy searching and Velcro snaps to hold the top up
Best for: All of these rolling bags are good for carrying stuff, but this bag has the added bonus of attractive form as well as function.
This isn’t exactly a rolling bag, but it’s a lightweight, mesh rolling utility cart that’s great for moving books, papers and supplies from room to room. Since you can see through the sides, you can immediately find whatever you need without moving everything first. It’s very versatile, so when you don’t need it for school, you can use it for grocery shopping.
Goodies I found:
- The rubber wheels are the strong, silent type.
- It folds flat and is easy to transport and store.
- It has a polypropylene case and strong aluminum handle.
You can see this mesh cart in greater detail in this video review of different carts:
Best for: This is probably one of the best rolling carts for you if you need to dump everything in it quickly and move on. It may not be the best for long-term storage for school supplies, books and papers. It’s a great help if you have to carry a lot of books and papers to class or home.
This is another stylish rolling cart , but it doesn’t come anywhere near the classy look of the Teal Geometric. It’s available in several colors and designs, and some are better than others, but it does look more like a diaper bag or laundry tote than something for a professional. Having said that, it’s collapsible and suitable for books and papers. If you teach kindergarten, your kids may love it if you get the right design. The wheels work well, and the pull-up handle is strong. It could double as carry-on luggage if you ever get a chance to get away.
Goodies I found:
- I prefer the plain black or dark blue, but there are colorful designs, flags and animal prints if you so desire.
- It collapses for easy travel or storage.
- It’s very lightweight.
This video will give you a detailed description of the multi-purpose folding cart:
Best for: This is an inexpensive rolling bag that may not withstand too much heavy moving and shaking. If you have a few books and papers that you would rather not hang on your shoulder, this would be a good rolling bag for you. However, it may not take a full year of rough handling.
A few of the best rolling carts I’ve found
All of the following rolling carts are strong and durable, and mainly designed to carry tools and other heavy equipment. They’re suitable for floating teachers who have a lot to move from place to place. Some don’t have the organizational capacity of rolling bags and are not meant to be put in your car and taken home, but if you have to move projectors, textbooks, piles of papers, and notebooks in the same location, any one of these rolling carts will be very useful.
The Original Tubster Cart is a very sturdy, heavy-duty rolling cart that was designed to carry cleaning products and supplies. The four-inch heavy-duty full-swivel casters lock so you can be sure it’ll stay where you park it. The shelves are 2.5 inches deep, so supplies won’t slide or roll off, even when you’re rushing to the next classroom. This cart holds up to 400 pounds, so you can pile it on and push it along with ease. It’s made of high-density polyethylene and has very strong legs. This is the rolling cart you want if it’s going to take a lot of abuse from scrambling children, crowded corridors, and moving to many different locations.
Goodies I found:
- It comes with an optional lockable box.
- The push handles are ergonomic.
- It’s easy to assemble without tools.
Check out this video to see how easy it is to assemble this rolling cart on your own:
The ECR4Kids 4-Tier Rolling Cart is designed as a storage and organizer space. It’s very attractive and doesn’t look like a utility cart. It comes in several colors and is stylish enough to stay put in an office. Its powder-coated steel frame with four heavy duty casters, two of which can lock, make it useful for a teacher who needs to move supplies from room to room, but if you want a rolling cart that you keep stocked with supplies, this may not be the best option. It may be better over shorter distances and for spontaneous activities. It needs to be assembled.
Goodies I found:
- The shelves are perforated for air flow to dry any brushes, and it comes with removable clear plastic liners so small stuff can’t fall through.
- Other uses during vacation when you don’t need it at school are moving garden supplies and as a mobile bar for an outdoor party.
- In fact, it would be a nice addition to a kitchen, bathroom or patio.
This video shows how easily this metal rolling utility cart can be assembled:
The Honey-Can-Do Rolling Cart was made with primary school teachers in mind. It’s a rolling arts and crafts classroom with clear pockets on the ends, bins, and three shelves. It has four bins in the middle shelf and three in the top. The bins are removable so you can pull one out to give sketch pens to one group of children while giving a bin of paint brushes to another group. It has a strong steel frame and can function as an additional workplace.
Goodies I found:
- It’s a useful piece of equipment for a floating art teacher, and even if it stays in one classroom it’s great for storage and organization.
- The four casters are easy to maneuver and lock in place so no “little helper” can push it off in another direction.
- It comes with instructions and the tools needed for assembly.
See this instruction video for assembling this heavy duty rolling cart:
The Oklahoma Sound Premium Presentation Cart is designed for audio/visual equipment. If your main job is to give presentations from a laptop, this cart can simplify your life. If audio/visual equipment is essential for your subject — and these days it seems to be essential for every subject — you may want this rolling cart in addition to a rolling bag that holds other supplies. This is a rolling cart that you can share with other teachers, since it’s easy to set-up with a laptop for another class. It has an attractive black-powder coat and a mounted six-outlet power strip. It’s easy to assemble.
Goodies I found:
- The presentation table can be adjusted so you can use it standing or sitting.
- Built-in grommets to manage miles of wires
- The four three-inch casters roll smoothly.
To learn more about the presentation cart, watch this video:
To Sum Up
If you’re a teacher who moves from classroom to classroom and even to different campuses, you probably need to keep certain supplies close at hand because you can’t count on them being at your destination. Fortunately, several manufacturers understand this problem, and have created a variety of shelves, bags and carts that roll right along with you.
Whether you need to take your art supplies down the hall or carry all of your audio/visual equipment across town, there’s a well-designed carrying case for you. I spent several years trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, and finally did the research to find the rolling bag that fits my needs exactly. I hope I’ve saved you time and energy that you can better spend on your teaching by presenting a few of the best rolling bags, carts and shelves I’ve encountered along the way.