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A wheelbarrow is a tool used to increase the speed of hauling. Wheelbarrows can be made of metal or wood at a metalsmith's forge or carpenter's workshop, and can carry the equivalent of a single stockpile tile, be it a single stone, a bin or barrel (with its contents included), or stray items. This is equivalent to one fifth of a minecart's capacity.


Wheelbarrows are constructed of either wood or metal:

Material Worker Workshop
Wood (1 log) Carpenter Carpenter's workshop
Metal (2 bars) Metal crafter Metalsmith's forge or Magma forge


Each stockpile may have up to 3 wheelbarrows assigned for hauling items to that stockpile, with stone stockpiles having 1 wheelbarrow automatically assigned upon designation. This setting can be changed from the Set Building Tasks/Prefs (q) menu with the w hotkey. Wheelbarrows will be stored in their assigned stockpile when not in use, potentially sharing a tile with a stockpiled item. A stockpile's wheelbarrows are only used to carry items to that stockpile; they will not be used to carry items away from it.

Dwarves carrying items in wheelbarrows ignore the weight of the contents, moving always at their top speed. This makes them particularly useful for hauling heavy items like stone, which slow haulers a lot. There's little benefit to carrying light items in a wheelbarrow, as dwarves won't load multiple items in it. They will, however, load a single bin full of items in a wheelbarrow.

Wheelbarrows carry less stuff than minecarts, but do not require a track to be preconstructed, and can go up and down stairs.

If wheelbarrows are assigned to a stockpile, dwarves will use them exclusively and cease hauling items to it with their bare hands, meaning that the number of assigned wheelbarrows is also the maximum number of active hauling jobs for said stockpile. This behaviour can save haulers for other more urgent jobs, but is sometimes inconvenient. Increasing the number of assigned wheelbarrows and adding linked stone stockpiles can allow you to pour more dwarfpower into hauling. If you set wheelbarrows at your stockpile to 0, all haulers may carry stones there, but will do it by hand, which is painfully slow work when long distances are involved.

Forging and Melting

  • Metal wheelbarrows cost two metal bars or adamantine wafers to forge.
  • When a metal wheelbarrow is melted down, it will return 1.8 metal bars or 1.8 wafers, for an efficiency of 90%.


  • Once a stockpile has an assigned wheelbarrow and a bin/barrel, storing an item in this bin/barrel will be split into two separate jobs: hauling the container by hand to the location of the item to be collected, and fetching the wheelbarrow to return the errant container. Since this doubles the number of trips, it is generally inadvisable to enable wheelbarrows and containers in the same stockpile.Bug:5964 As a workaround, a "feeder" stockpile with wheelbarrows enabled can be designated to "give to" an adjacent "storage" stockpile with containers enabled.
  • If all of a stockpile's tiles are occupied by wheelbarrows, it will stop requesting new items even though the tiles under the wheelbarrows have no stockpiled item. Consequently, stockpiles need to have more tiles than wheelbarrows to work correctly.
  • Dwarves carry wheelbarrows instead of pushing them when the wheelbarrows themselves are being hauled.Bug:6008
  • Items can occasionally be left inside a wheelbarrow, causing the wheelbarrow to become unusable. This can cause a stockpile to stop collecting items if all of its wheelbarrows end up in this stateBug:6074 You can work around this by marking the contents of the wheelbarrow for dumping.
  • Like several other tools, adamantine wheelbarrows take the wrong amount of material to make - they can be created with two wafers instead of the size-appropriate six.Bug:6230