A few years ago, my wife and I were looking for a new place. For months, nothing came up that was worth looking. Then, one day, a beautiful two-story home with a custom wood design was listed. Better yet, it was in our price range.
We immediately arranged to look at it.
I’ll never forget the first time I entered the main living space. It was big, open, has a vaulted ceiling and a kitchen island to die for. In fact, 90% of the working counter space is the island. We took place immediately and love it to this day.
However, we’ve lived in places with kitchens with no island. Our solution in those kitchens was to buy a small kitchen island on wheels. It proved enormously useful in every kitchen… and we continue to use it to this day even though we have a large kitchen island. Now it’s used as a dining area side table, which is another terrific use for small, portable kitchen islands.
If you don’t have an island and haven’t invested in a freestanding kitchen island, it’s worth considering. They’re always useful no matter what size of kitchen or layout you have.
Wheels or no wheels?
This is a key question. We chose a small butcher block kitchen island with wheels so we could move it around, which has proved very useful. However, if you have one definite space, it’s better to get one without wheels because I think they look better and it won’t get jostled around your kitchen.
Features to consider when buying a movable kitchen island:
This gallery sets out to show you different types of kitchen carts and islands with wheels. There are several considerations including:
- Surface: Wood, stainless steel or granite
- Storage: Cupboards, shelving, spice racks, towel rack(s), open or closed shelving.
- Locking wheels: Some carts offer locking wheels; others don’t. Locking wheels are a nice feature.
- Size: While each unit set out below is small compared to custom islands, they do range in size. Be sure to know how much space you have.
- Color: Some models offer multiple colors while others don’t.
- Shape: Most common shape options are square or rectangle.
Check out our gallery of 60 types of kitchen islands and carts below to see your different options.
Types of mobile kitchen islands on wheels
Please note that our aim here is not to provide an exhaustive list of such kitchen islands, but instead to set out a short list of the different types.
1. Square Butcher Block on Wheels with Shelving (by Catskill Craftsmen)
This is much like the butcher block we have. It’s always been a terrific item in our kitchen and now our dining area as a side table.
Size: 2.5″ thick wood block on top.
Height: 36″ / Width: 30″ / Depth: 20″
This portable butcher block has four 3″ caster wheels which makes it easy to move around – whether in your kitchen or to the dining area as a side table. Fortunately, the wheels lock so it can remain in place.
It also includes 2 shelves for additional storage (a key advantage of any island).
Made from North American hardwood.
2. Kitchen Island and Cabinet on Wheels with Granite Top (by Crosley)
Style is the name of the game here. Moreover, this dark design will fit well in a white kitchen or light wood kitchen because it creates a fabulous contrast. Of course, it works in a kitchen with dark cabinets as well.
With a narrow, long design (W: 52″ / H: 36″ / D: 18″), it will fit most kitchens, yet offers a decent amount of work space on top. Since the top is granite, it offers the functionality of any granite countertop.
With a combination of drawers and cupboards, you can store utensils, pots and pretty much any other kitchen items.
Moreover, there are towel racks on the side where you can place cloth or paper towels. These are situated under small side spice racks. In a nutshell, this is a compact and efficient storage cabinet that you can move around and use as a workspace.
You can get this with a stainless steel top. Additional colors include dark brown, light brown and white.
3. Portable Kitchen Cabinet with Wood Leaf & Stainless Steel Top (by Home Styles)
This is a true work station movable island. It’s loaded with storage and a large stainless steel surface with wood cutting board leaf that increases the workspace significantly.
Moreover, the top includes a stainless steel rim to prevent spilling.
Spice/condiment racks on one side offer convenient storage of your favorite sauces and spices within easy reach while prepping food. The side includes a paper towel (or rag) holder… which is always nice to have within arms’ reach while cooking.
What this cart offers that many don’t is additional surface area made of wood that’s a leaf extension.
The lockable wheels make it easy to move around (or lock to stay in place). Because this cart is really a cabinet on wheels, you can easily use this as a nice dining table side table/storage unit.
Overall size: W: 52.5″ / H: 36″ / D: 17.75″
4. Portable Kitchen Island and Dining Table with Stools (by 4D Concepts)
This is not something most people consider (or even know exists) when looking to buy a portable kitchen island.
This is a hybrid concept combining the kitchen island concept with a portable in-kitchen dining table. You could certainly use it as a work station, but once your meal is prepared, it serves as a small dining table for two people.
With 3 open shelves, it offers easy-access storage.
Because it’s a dining table, it’s not a stand-alone chopping block – just be sure to use a cutting board on top.
Like the other islands featured in this gallery, it’s small and will fit most kitchens (W: 37.8″ / H: 35.4″ / D: 27.5″).
5. Hybrid Closed and Open Storage Kitchen Cart on Wheels (by InRoom Designs)
This option is similar to the one above (albeit a tad smaller), except instead of storage for garbage, the closed storage area is a typical cupboard with one adjustable shelf. The drawer on top offers easy access to utensils you may need while using this storage/workspace.
This is a particularly small kitchen island, which may be perfect for exceptionally small kitchen spaces. It measures a width of 28″, the height of 32″ and a depth of 14″.
The open shelving offers additional storage that’s easy to access.
The surface material is marble laminate.
6. Rectangle Butcher Block Style Kitchen Cart with Shelving and Drawers (by Crosley)
This is a hybrid butcher block/kitchen cart.
It’s rectangle shape offers more surface area than the typical square butcher block. It also includes drawers, two sturdy shelves and towel racks on each side.
The solid wood surface makes it ideal as a large chopping block and food prep surface. Moreover, this cart measures 38.75″ in height, which is 2.75″ higher than the standard 36″, which makes it a comfortable work station (especially for taller people).
This is one of the larger featured kitchen islands on this page measuring a width of 42″ / height of 38.75″ / depth of 18.25″.
7. Partially Open and Closed Storage Kitchen Island on Wheels (by Home Styles)
The unique feature of this kitchen island is the partially open shelving placed in between two cupboards.
The partially open shelving offers easy access to implements/dishes, etc. yet they are largely protected with side and rear walls.
Like other carts on this page, this one features a wood surface, towel racks, spice holders, wheels (two wheels lock), and drawers.
The light wood offers a decent contrast color design in white kitchens or dark cabinet kitchens.
This unit is particularly large (in relation to other units on this page) measuring 49.75 inches wide, 35.25 inches high and 24 inches deep.
8. Microwave Storage Cart Shelf on Wheels (by Home Source Industries)
If you’re in need of a more convenient place to store your microwave, consider this microwave cart with wheels.
The microwave storage area measures 24″ wide by 16.9″ wide by 61 inches in height.
In addition to storing a microwave, it includes attractive shelves on a wire frame. The lowest storage compartment is a drawer.
One thing to note, this particular microwave cart does not include wire access holes behind the microwave storage area. You would probably need to create this.
9. Mobile Kitchen Island with Garbage Can Storage
If you’re short on a place to put your kitchen garbage, check this idea out. It’s a small kitchen island on wheels with a garbage area. What I particularly like about this is how it tilts open which is more convenient than the usual under-the-sink arrangement.
It includes additional storage and a butcher block on top so it’s more than just a garbage can. I didn’t think gray would be my thing but the light gray looks great with the light wood butcher block.
10. Extendable Folding Top Kitchen Island (on wheels)
If you’re short on space and countertop, you can buy a small option with folding leafs. The one above is tiny but actually the two leaves extend to provide a workable surface. This is a great space-saving island perfect for tiny apartment kitchens.
11. Mobile kitchen island with wine storage
Not many mobile kitchen islands offer all that much wine storage, but some do such as this example above. It only stores four bottles, but that should get you through the evening. It also has additional shelving and a larger cabinet. The think wood surface offers a workable small countertop as well. Notice the nifty paper towel holder on the side – you can never have close enough proximity to paper towel holders.