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Cart vs. Wagon: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A cart is a two-wheeled vehicle drawn by an animal, used for transporting goods, while a wagon is a four-wheeled vehicle, often larger, for similar purposes.
Cart vs. Wagon

Key Differences

A cart is typically a simpler, two-wheeled vehicle, often drawn by a single animal like a horse or donkey. It is designed for transporting goods or sometimes people over short distances. In contrast, a wagon is usually a larger, four-wheeled vehicle, capable of carrying heavier loads and more passengers. It is often pulled by multiple animals and is used for longer distances.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
Historically, carts have played a crucial role in agriculture and small-scale trade. They are lightweight and maneuverable, ideal for narrow or crowded spaces. Wagons, with their increased capacity and stability provided by four wheels, have been pivotal in the development of trade routes and in the transportation of goods over rougher terrain.
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In terms of construction, carts often have an open design, allowing for easy loading and unloading of materials. Wagons, on the other hand, can be enclosed or have a more complex structure, including features like benches or seats for passengers, making them more versatile for various uses.
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The use of carts is more common in areas where the infrastructure is less developed or where smaller loads are transported. Wagons are more suited to developed areas with better roads, as they can efficiently move larger quantities of goods or people.
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Dec 05, 2023
In modern contexts, the term 'cart' is also used for various small wheeled vehicles like golf carts or shopping carts, emphasizing its smaller size and simpler design. 'Wagon', meanwhile, is often associated with larger vehicles, including certain types of cars or railway wagons, indicating its capacity for heavier loads and longer-distance travel.
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Comparison Chart

Wheels

Two-wheeled, simpler design.
Four-wheeled, offering greater stability.
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Size

Smaller, for light loads.
Larger, for heavier loads and more passengers.
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Animal Power

Usually drawn by one animal.
Often pulled by multiple animals.
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Usage

Ideal for short distances and narrow spaces.
Suited for longer distances and rougher terrain.
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Modern Context

Extended to various small wheeled vehicles like shopping carts.
Associated with larger vehicles, including cars and railway wagons.
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Cart and Wagon Definitions

Cart

A cart can refer to a light, open vehicle used on golf courses.
They drove the golf cart across the fairway to the next hole.
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Wagon

Wagon can imply a child's toy vehicle, often open-topped.
The child pulled her toy wagon filled with stuffed animals.
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Cart

In retail, a cart is a wheeled basket used in supermarkets.
She pushed the shopping cart down the aisle, adding groceries.
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Wagon

A wagon is a four-wheeled vehicle for transporting goods or people.
The pioneers traveled across the plains in a covered wagon.
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Cart

A cart is a two-wheeled vehicle pulled by an animal, used for transporting goods.
The farmer loaded hay onto the cart for transport to the market.
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Wagon

A four-wheeled, usually horse-drawn vehicle with a large rectangular body, used for transporting loads.
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Cart

In technology, 'cart' is a short form for cartridge, a storage device.
He inserted the game cart into the console to start playing.
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Wagon

A light automotive transport or delivery vehicle.
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Cart

A small wheeled vehicle typically pushed by hand
A shopping cart.
A pastry cart.
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Wagon

A station wagon.
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Cart

A two-wheeled vehicle drawn by an animal and used in farm work and for transporting goods.
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Wagon

A police patrol wagon.
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Cart

The quantity that a cart can hold.
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Wagon

A child's low, four-wheeled cart hauled by a long handle that governs the direction of the front wheels.
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Cart

An open two-wheeled carriage.
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Wagon

A small table or tray on wheels used for serving drinks or food
A dessert wagon.
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Cart

A light motorized vehicle
A golf cart.
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Wagon

Wagon The Big Dipper
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Cart

To convey in a cart or truck
Cart away garbage.
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Wagon

Chiefly British An open railway freight car.
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Cart

To convey laboriously or unceremoniously; lug
Carted the whole gang off to jail.
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Wagon

To transport or undergo transportation by wagon.
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Cart

A small, open, wheeled vehicle, drawn or pushed by a person or animal, more often used for transporting goods than passengers.
The grocer delivered his goods by cart.
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Wagon

A heavier four-wheeled (normally horse-drawn) vehicle designed to carry goods (or sometimes people).
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Cart

A small motor vehicle resembling a car; a go-cart.
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Wagon

Abbreviation of toy wagon; A child's riding toy, with the same structure as a wagon (sense 1), pulled or steered by a long handle attached to the front.
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Cart

(Internet) A shopping cart.
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Wagon

(rail) A vehicle (wagon) designed to transport goods or people on railway.
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Cart

A tape cartridge used for pre-recorded material such as jingles and advertisements.
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Wagon

(slang) transporting]] prisoners
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Cart

A cartridge for a video game system.
My Final Fantasy cart on the NES is still alive and kicking.
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Wagon

; (by extension) a sport utility vehicle (SUV); any car.
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Cart

(transitive) To carry or convey in a cart.
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Wagon

A woman of loose morals, a promiscuous woman, a slapper; (by extension) a woman regarded as obnoxious; a bitch, a cow.
Thesaurus:promiscuous woman
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Cart

To carry goods.
I've been carting these things around all day.
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Wagon

(math) A kind of prefix used in de Bruijn notation.
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Cart

(transitive) To remove, especially involuntarily or for disposal.
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Wagon

(slang) Buttocks.
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Cart

To expose in a cart by way of punishment.
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Wagon

To load into a wagon in preparation for transportation; to transport by means of a wagon.
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Cart

A common name for various kinds of vehicles, as a Scythian dwelling on wheels, or a chariot.
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Wagon

To travel in a wagon.
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Cart

A two-wheeled vehicle for the ordinary purposes of husbandry, or for transporting bulky and heavy articles.
Packing all his goods in one poor cart.
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Wagon

A wheeled carriage; a vehicle on four wheels, and usually drawn by horses; especially, one used for carrying freight or merchandise.
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Cart

A light business wagon used by bakers, grocerymen, butchers, etc.
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Wagon

A freight car on a railway.
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Cart

An open two-wheeled pleasure carriage.
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Wagon

A chariot
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Cart

To carry or convey in a cart.
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Wagon

The Dipper, or Charles's Wain.
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Cart

To expose in a cart by way of punishment.
She chuckled when a bawd was carted.
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Wagon

To transport in a wagon or wagons; as, goods are wagoned from city to city.
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Cart

To carry burdens in a cart; to follow the business of a carter.
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Wagon

To wagon goods as a business; as, the man wagons between Philadelphia and its suburbs.
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Cart

A heavy open wagon usually having two wheels and drawn by an animal
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Wagon

Any of various kinds of wheeled vehicles drawn by a horse or tractor
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Cart

Wheeled vehicle that can be pushed by a person; may have one or two or four wheels;
He used a handcart to carry the rocks away
Their pushcart was piled high with groceries
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Wagon

Van used by police to transport prisoners
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Cart

Draw slowly or heavily;
Haul stones
Haul nets
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Wagon

A group of seven bright stars in the constellation Ursa Major
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Cart

Transport something in a cart
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Wagon

A child's four-wheeled toy cart sometimes used for coasting
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Cart

Cart also denotes a small, wheeled stand or trolley used for various purposes.
The vendor used a food cart to sell hot dogs in the park.
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Wagon

A car that has a long body and rear door with space behind rear seat
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Wagon

In automotive, a wagon refers to a car with a long roof and ample storage.
They packed their luggage into the station wagon for the road trip.
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Wagon

In rail transport, a wagon is a freight car for goods.
Coal was loaded into the rail wagon for transport to the power plant.
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Wagon

Historically, wagon denotes a large, sturdy vehicle for long journeys.
The merchant loaded his goods onto the wagon for the trip to the next town.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a cart?

A cart is a vehicle with either two or four wheels, typically used for transporting goods.
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What is a common use for a cart?

Carts are commonly used in settings like gardens, construction sites, or for shopping.
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Are carts motorized?

Carts are usually not motorized; they are often pulled or pushed by hand or animals.
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What historical significance do wagons have?

Wagons played a crucial role in historical transportation and logistics, including pioneering and farming.
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Can wagons be covered?

Yes, some wagons, like the classic "covered wagon," have a fabric or canvas cover.
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How much weight can a wagon typically carry?

The weight capacity varies widely but traditional wagons could carry several hundred kilograms.
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Can carts be used for carrying people?

Some carts, like rickshaws, are designed to carry people, but it's less common than goods transportation.
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Are wagons still used today?

Wagons are less common in modern transportation but are still used for specific purposes like farming or historical reenactments.
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What materials are wagons made of?

Traditional wagons are made of wood and metal, but modern ones may include plastic and other materials.
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What defines a wagon?

A wagon is a four-wheeled vehicle, often pulled by animals, used for transporting goods or passengers.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is a cart easy to maneuver?

Carts, especially smaller ones, are generally easy to maneuver due to their size and simplicity.
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What distinguishes a wagon from a cart?

The main distinction is that a wagon has four wheels and is typically larger than a two-wheeled cart.
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Are carts used in modern transportation?

Yes, carts are still used in modern times for various practical purposes, though not usually for long-distance transportation.
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What is the cultural significance of wagons?

Wagons have a rich cultural significance, often associated with historical travel, pioneering, and settlement.
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Do carts have a steering mechanism?

Many carts have a simple steering mechanism, usually a handle or a bar for direction control.
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Do carts have brakes?

Some carts, especially larger industrial ones, have brakes, but many simple carts do not.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are carts used in sports?

Yes, carts are used in sports, such as golf carts in golfing.
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Dec 05, 2023

What's the difference in terrain usage between carts and wagons?

Wagons, with their sturdier build and four-wheel design, are better suited for rougher terrain, while carts are more suitable for smooth surfaces.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can wagons be customized?

Yes, wagons can be customized in various ways, especially for specific uses or decorative purposes.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is a shopping trolley considered a cart?

Yes, in American English, a shopping trolley is often referred to as a shopping cart.
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Dec 05, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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