The Best Kitchen Island Carts for Maximizing Space

We love the Winsome Drop-Leaf Kitchen Cart because it offers a lot of storage in such a compact design.

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Best Kitchen Island Carts for Maximizing Space
Courtesy of Amazon

Whether you want more storage space, an additional work surface to chop on, or the convenience of having your most-loved gadgets within reach, a kitchen island cart can benefit countless kitchens. "Rolling carts are the powerhouse of any cook's kitchen," says Kristen Schultz of Krieglelein Design.

Organization is key to a functional environment, and kitchen island carts provide the perfect amount of storage and working space without making the area feel cluttered. They come in different sizes, shapes, and materials, and most offer shelves, but some have additional features, such as pull-out drawers, granite tops, or wine racks. To help you choose the right kitchen island cart for your needs, we tapped two interior designers for their takes on what every home cook should look for in a cart. Keep scrolling to see why the Winsome Wood Drop-Leaf Kitchen Cart is our winner and the rest of the models that made our list.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Winsome Wood Drop-Leaf Kitchen Cart

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Kohl's.

Pros: With drop-leaf sides for extra workspace, a pull-out drawer, and a storage cabinet, this compact cart is full of useful features.

Cons: It's slightly shorter than some other options.

Maximize your space as much as possible with this drop-leaf cart that can expand on each side to provide an additional ten inches of workspace. The pull-out drawer is ideal for small goods, like wine keys, and the large cabinet underneath can house larger equipment. The hardware has a brushed nickel finish, and the body is constructed of durable beechwood. A wooden cart is an excellent choice to offset the starkness of a white kitchen: "It's a great look if you have marble countertops to bring in a warm element to the design that is also super useful," says Gillian Lefkowitz, Principle Designer of Gillian Design.

Price at time of publish: $169

  • Dimensions: 20.16 x 43.27 x 33 inches
  • Material: Beechwood
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 2 drawers, 1 shelf

Best Small: Amazon Basics Kitchen Storage Microwave Rack Cart

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: Customize your storage needs with this cart's removable wooden top, adjustable shelves, and numerous hooks for hanging.

Cons: The wooden top is a bit small to use as a full prep surface.

This budget-friendly kitchen island cart has two adjustable shelves, so you can create a structure that suits your needs, plus four hooks you can hang items such as towels or pots and pans. The top wooden shelf is ideal for a microwave or a mini fridge, but it can also be used as a prep surface for small culinary tasks. There are no tools needed to assemble the cart, which is a boon for those who are less than mechanically inclined, and even once it's assembled, you can move the shelves up and down in one-inch increments. This model is also ideal for use as a bar cart since everything on it will be visible.

Price at time of publish: $73

  • Dimensions: 15 x 36.7 x 21 inches
  • Material: Wood and steel
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 2 shelves

Best Stainless Steel: Origami Folding Kitchen Cart

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: This multifunctional cart moves and folds easily and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Cons: You'll need to lock and unlock numerous wheels in order to move it or keep it in one spot.

The stainless steel finish is perfect for those who enjoy an industrial look or just want to add some contrast to their current kitchen decor — while also adding two shelves, a worktop, and a towel bar. "If you plan to use your cart as a prep center, I'd add a butcher block top," Schultz says. "This will extend your usable prep space and create a portable workstation." You can keep this cart stationed in your kitchen, but if you only want it out occasionally, you can fold it in half and store it against a wall or in a closet. Bonus: It comes assembled, so you can start using it right away.

Price at time of publish: $220

  • Dimensions: 25.75 x 20 x 36 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 2 shelves

RELATED: The Best Kitchen Drawer Organizers for Streamlined Storage

Best Butcher Block: eHemco Kitchen Island Cart

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: It has a sturdy bamboo butcher block, pull-out drawer, extra shelf, and enclosed cabinets.

Cons: It's made of engineered wood, which is lower quality than non-engineered wood.

This kitchen cart's worktop is made of natural bamboo, a sustainable, renewable material that doesn't require pesticides or fertilizers to grow, and works well as a space to either prep ingredients or set up a coffee bar. Each side of the cart has a metal bar for hanging items like towels, and one side features three metal hooks for pots, pans, and oven mitts. There's a shelf located directly on top of the cabinet, making the most out of a small space and adding additional utility. It comes in three different base color options — black, gray, and white — so you can choose one that suits your kitchen's style.

Price at time of publish: $190

  • Dimensions: ‎19.75 x 28.75 x 35.5 inches
  • Material: Bamboo and engineered wood
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 2 drawers, 1 shelf

Best Granite Top: Crosley Furniture Kitchen Island Cart

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Home Depot, Overstock, and Walmart.

Pros: This sturdy cart comes in six wood hues and five granite colors and has several built-in features, including a spice rack.

Cons: It's bulky, so it might not be suitable for small kitchens.

A higher-end choice at a moderate price point, this kitchen island cart can transform your workspace into one with much more functionality. It has a built-in paper towel holder, towel bar, and spice rack, as well as three enclosed cabinets that each have an adjustable shelf. There are also two pull-out drawers to stash utensils and other small gadgets. It stands at a full 36 inches tall, so for the average person, this cart is the right height for counter preparations. Pop a cutting board on top, and you're good to begin meal prep.

Price at time of publish: $511

  • Dimensions: 18 x 52 x 36 inches
  • Material: Wood and solid granite
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 3 shelves, 2 drawers

Best Splurge: Modular Double Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Pros: Large drawers, tons of shelf space, and a sleek look make this cart an excellent addition to any kitchen that can fit it.

Cons: It's pricier than other options but a great investment piece.

Lefkowitz chose this cart as her top recommendation for a high-end piece, and we can see why an interior designer would love it as the ultimate choice for any kitchen without enough built-in working room. The Carrera marble slab is a full half-inch thick, and the drawers are poised on ball-bearing glides for optimum smoothness. If you've been looking to add luxury to your kitchen without a remodel, this cart can serve that purpose. It also features an enormous 72-inch long surface, meaning you and your loved ones can use it at the same time.

Price at time of publish: $6,395

  • Material: Marble, wood, and steel
  • Dimensions: 72 x 36 x 36 inches
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 3 drawers, 2 shelves

Best with Wine Rack: Linon Home Keagan Kitchen Cart

Kitchen Island Carts
Courtesy of Bed Bath And Beyond

Pros: Thanks to its many compartments, you can store wine, food ingredients, and equipment on this compact cart.

Cons: Assembly is required, and the warranty is short.

You get lots of bang for your buck with this compact cart, featuring a drawer, a shelf, and a wire basket in addition to the wine rack. If solely used for wine products, stock the wine rack with your favorite blends, fill the drawer with wine openers and stoppers, and store glasses on the bottom shelf. To take it a step further, you can add some crackers and fruit to the wire basket, so you can prepare a charcuterie board in a snap. Overall, it's a great option for wine lovers who like to entertain.

Price at time of publish: $189

  • Dimensions: 15.75 x 22.88 x 33.88 inches
  • Material: Pinewood and metal
  • Number of Drawers/Shelves: 1 drawer, 2 shelves

RELATED: The 10 Best Outdoor Bar Carts for Al Fresco Entertaining

Our Favorite

The Winsome Wood Drop-Leaf Kitchen Cart is our top choice thanks to its expandable sides that add extra workspace in a flash but can be folded down when not in use. It's constructed of durable beechwood with brushed metal hardware and features a storage cabinet, a pull-out drawer, a shelf, and, of course, a worktop.

Factors to Consider

Size

Kitchen carts range from compact enough to store in a small corner to large enough to function as a full island. Choose the size that best fits your kitchen without overwhelming it. Additionally, Schultz suggests you "make sure that your cart is counter height or slightly higher, as you want to make sure it provides a comfortable work surface."

Storage

Carts come with storage features like drawers, shelves, hooks, bars, and racks. Choose a cart with the features you need the most, and make sure it will be sufficient for the items you're looking to store. Lefkowitz recommends two shelves, while Schultz prefers three.

Style

Whatever style your kitchen is, you can find a cart to match or complement it. Kitchen island carts can be traditional, modern, or industrial, with granite, marble, stainless steel, or wood worktops.

Pro Panel Q+A

Is a kitchen cart useful?

Yes, a kitchen cart is all about usefulness. "[It is] a perfect place to store daily cooking staples, like onions, shallots, potatoes, garlic, and other vegetables that don't require refrigeration," Schultz says. "Add cooking oils, a knife block, and commonly used seasonings, and you have a well-organized sous chef ready to be of daily service."

"As a designer, if I am doing projects with a smaller kitchen, the island cart is the perfect solution for extra storage and counter space," Lefkowitz says. "There are so many great old-school duplexes and apartments with kitchens that don't have enough space, and this really serves its purpose well."

What do you keep in a kitchen cart?

You can store a wide variety of things in a kitchen island cart. "They are great for compiling all items necessary for a specific task. Need baking items? Assemble the mixer, canisters, rolling pin, pantry items, and baking pans and pull them out when needed," Schultz says. "For carts with wine or spice racks, you can store those items, and if a cart has hooks, you can keep pots or pants on it." Lefkowitz loves carts for storing cutting boards as well as a set of bowls in varying sizes.

How tall should a kitchen island cart be?

A standard height for a kitchen island cart is 36 inches. Some smaller carts are a little shorter, which is fine for anyone who isn't tall. If you are tall, you'll want it to be at least 36 inches high so you don't hurt your back or have to hunch over while using it.

Our Expertise

Contributor Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist, and bestselling author who has worked and lived in homes of all sizes with a wide breadth of storage space. She believes in making the most out of every inch of space while keeping it as tidy and attractive as possible and has owned many a kitchen island cart herself over the years.

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