Media Carts, Utility Carts, Rolling AV Carts: What’s the Difference?
No matter what they look like, media carts, rolling AV carts, and utility carts all serve the same basic purpose: to transport your AV equipment conveniently and safely from one place to another.
The media cart or AV cart is the work horse of the high tech world.
Whether it’s a humble plastic cart or a rolling metal AV cart, these utility carts put your AV equipment on wheels so you won’t break your back getting it from one place to another – and it keeps your expensive gear secure and safe, thus protecting your investment.
Why Do You Need A Rolling AV Cart?
Media carts and AV utility carts are particularly useful in schools and offices, where audiovisual equipment is not only used often, but also used in many different places. If it weren’t for rolling AV carts, high school AV clubs would have to join up with the bodybuilding clubs!
But carts aren’t just transportation – they’re also, in effect, AV furniture. When you’ve got your projector or monitor on a cart, you don’t need to find a spare desk, table, or other surface on which to place it. Just move the cart to the optimal location and you’re presentation-ready.
Moreover, with some of the features now available in a media cart these devices have really come of age as all-in-one platforms for your multimedia presentations.
Here are seven important features to consider when shopping for a media cart or AV cart:
The dimensions of a utility cart – especially height are of importance. In addition, a lot of carts have height adjustable top shelves. This comes in handy if you’re using a projector and need to position it in relation to a fixed screen. Height adjustability – the taller, the better – is also useful for positioning a projector to make sure audiences in large rooms can see presentations on a monitor or TV screen.
Carts are all about storage and especially secure storage. Locking cabinets, placed on the bottom of carts, are great for storing expensive AV equipment and accessories including manuals and cables. Just don’t lock your keys inside!
Most media carts and AV carts are made of steel, and with good reason. Steel is durable, rugged, and it can easily support the heaviest AV equipment. However, carts made of plastic such as polyethylene can give steel carts a run for their money, and they can save you money as well; they’re usually cheaper and lighter. Depending on how much equipment you’re planning to pile on, going with a plastic cart may be a wise investment.
A tall media cart or AV cart carrying a large, heavy monitor can turn into a AV disaster if you take a turn too sharply. Many carts employ wide body or graduated designs, with a wider base and a narrower top, to add stability to those heavy loads. If you’re planning to transport heavy equipment, definitely take the cart’s design into consideration. Another, inexpensive way to help ensure your cart’s safety is the media cart safety belt, which securely fastens your equipment to the cart. It’s a great accessory, although it’s not a substitute for a well-designed cart.
5. Electrical Assemblies:
Many media carts and AV carts have built-in or integrated electrical assemblies into which you can plug one or more components, as well as a long cord (usually about 25 feet) to plug in to a wall outlet. You can keep all your AV equipment plugged in, and you can also use your electronics even if you’re not near an outlet. Check to make sure the assembly has a surge protector, and also make sure it’s UL listed/CSA approved for safety. You don’t want your equipment getting fried because of an electrical surge! A cord winder also comes in handy.
A media cart or AV cart with extra shelves or leaves can be just what the AV doctor ordered for important presentations, when you need to use additional materials like papers or a laptop. They’re particularly handy because when you don’t need them, they can either fold down or slide underneath another shelf without taking up extra room.
The small, swiveling wheels that are attached to the bottom of media carts and AV carts, as well as other furniture, are known as casters. Casters are the key to portability. The quality of the casters determines how easy or difficult it is to transport your equipment. They can be made of steel, rubber, or plastic, so figure out which material will work best with your floor or carpet before you buy. It’s important to make sure the casters are non-marring, so they won’t scratch up your floor. Locking casters are also important for protecting your AV equipment if the cart gets bumped or rammed.
Ready to roll? Have a look at our selection of media carts, rolling carts and AV utility carts!