My search for an affordable bar cart led me to Target’s Wide Metal Utility Cart. In the Made by Design product line the wide utility cart is large enough for wine bottles to fit on the bottom shelves, has a great modern aesthetic and feels incredibly sturdy.
Table of contents
Everything comes in a tightly packed box. There is plenty of padding and the items have little room to shift or move around during shipment. There are also few pieces, which should make the cart’s assembly much easier.
Everything you need is included. There is only one type of bolts along with an allen wrench for the shelves and small combo wrench to tighten the casters.
By the end of the assembly I did have two leftover bolds, which generally would concern me. Considering how easy the assembly was, I’m convinced they were extras that Target included.
The instructions are as straightforward as can be. It’s a single pamphlet with three steps: assemble the frame, add trays and attach the metal casters.
The four frame parts lock together without the need of bolts or tools, which saves a ton of time.
The trickiest part of assembling the cart is lining up and adding the trays. I generally tried to get two bolts caddy-corner from each other part of the way in. Then I would add the remaining two bolts.
Also, I’ve always insert all the screws needed for a specific step by hand. Only when all the screws are in, I come back with the allen wrench and tighten them.
One thing I would be careful of—the matte black coating can scratch, if you are trying to force the shelves in there. I would leave all the trays a bit loose and go back and tighten them all at once.
The caster wheels are heavy and feel like they are good quality. The frame is metal with a hard plastic wheel.
Two of the four wheels include breaks. The instructions say to place them both on one of the long sides. I decided to place two of them on the same short side. You probably can’t go wrong, but I’d avoid placing them caddy-corner from one another.
Ta-da! The completed cart in my minimalist apartment.
For size comparison the IKEA PS Cabinet is about 25 inches tall.
Measurements of this cart may seem like an odd thing to include in this review. I’ve decided to include them because I couldn’t find one single answer anywhere in the internet—What are the specs of these shelves?
In particular I plan on using this as a cheap bar cart. I wanted to see if I could fit an average 750ml wine bottle on one of the lower shelves.
Shelves are about 24 inches wide.
The inside is 11.75 inches deep.
And there is a little more than 12 inches between each shelf—just enough to stand a wine bottle up.
Last thing to note is the rounded corners and bolts. Both take up a bit of space. If you’re trying to fit a wine rack or something precisely, take off an inch or two to for each measurement.
Target also has the overall specs as follows:
- Dimensions (Overall): 36.08 inches (H) x 26.38 inches (W) x 14.01 inches (D)
- Weight: 15.48 pounds
Overall, I’m a big fan of the matte black, minimal look. My place has a fairly modern decor and this cart has no difficulty fitting in. The mesh bottoms are great for keeping towels and other items that may need to breath a bit.
I do have one nit-pick about the cart. The outside frame bows slightly inwards. Most people will never notice it—but as a designer, it’s the type of thing that drives me crazy. I can’t unsee it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a defective product. It’s likely a design flaw that all the Made by Design carts have. If you look closely, you can see how the product photographs online also have a bit of a bow. If there was a tighter fit where the bottom of the frame meets the top, I doubt this would be a problem.
If I was rating the design, this would be 4 out of 5 stars, which is a shame. I hope Target’s product team takes a look at this and can make corrections. It seems a silly problem for an otherwise perfect design.
There were a handful of other carts I looked at before purchasing this one. Most of them are probably a fine choice depending on how you plan to use the utility cart. However, to make a cheap bar cart I went with the largest model.
Made by Design Round and Regular 3-Tier Utility Carts
The round and regular carts appear to have the same design, qualities and flaws as the wide version of this cart—they are both in the Made by Design product line. Perhaps if you’re space-constrained or you want a gray or white cart, these would work equally as well. Both of these models sell for $30, which is $10 cheaper than the wide cart.
Room Essentials Utility Cart
The Room Essentials Cart is another tiered cart that Target produces. It goes for about $30 and definitely has a cheaper look to it. I would advise one of the other carts on this list unless you don’t want the shelving to have a lip.
While walking through IKEA I saw the RASKOG and wondered if I could turn it into a bar cart. It’s super-sturdy comes in a variety of colors and doesn’t have a slight bow like the Target Made by Design models. The only problem is that it is very small. It could be a good place to store kids toys or extra bathroom toiletries, but the shelves have an 8-inch clearance and is generally too small for a bar cart.
All-in-all this utility cart is an incredible value. For $40 you get an attractive, sturdy cart that is easy to move and has a variety of uses. I nit-pick about the bowing issue, but for that price it is easy to overlook flaws.
Whether it’s toys, towels or alcohol, I’d say that Target’s Wide Metal Utility Cart is a solid purchase and have no issue recommending it to others.
Sources and further reading
- Wide Metal Cart With Wheels Black - Made By Design , Target.com, 11/23/2018
Originally Published November 23, 2018