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 counterspace 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 free standing 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.
Below is our original list, but some may not be available. We recommend you browse the scrollable gallery above.
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)
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. Small Kitchen Island with Wood Top, Closed Garbage Container Unit and Open Shelving on Wheels (by Venture Horizon)
This kitchen island is a hybrid of closed and open storage.
One side includes a closed space for holding a 13-gallon trash can and drawer while the other side offers easy-access shelving.
With a solid hardwood top, it can be used as a cutting board, which is convenient because it’s a large space (big as cutting boards go with a width of 35″, the height of 35″ and a depth of 18″).
Why garbage can option? Actually, it’s really smart because it makes for disposing of scraps super easy and convenient while prepping food and cooking. I bet you didn’t think you’d discover this option when looking for a small kitchen island.
6. 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.
7. Rectangle Butcher Block Style Kitchen Cart with Shelving and Drawers (by Crosley)
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.
It’s rustic wood design fits in many kitchen designs including white and wood-tone kitchens.
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″.
8. 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.
9. Wine Cart Kitchen Island (by Crosley)
It’s difficult to see the unique offering of this kitchen cart – it’s a portable wine rack that includes cupboard and drawer space plus the requisite work surface (in stainless steel – but also available with a wood surface).
This style of kitchen island reveals another use for portable kitchen carts and that is as a portable mini-bar. Instead of or in addition to being a kitchen work and storage place, it can be used as a mini-bar station in your living room or dining room.
This movable wine cart can store up to 20 bottles of wine (or whatever beverage bottles you wish to store). It also includes 2 cupboards and two drawers. On one side adjacent to the surface is a small shelf extension that can hold 3 bottles of wine.
The dimensions for this cart are: W: 48″ / H: 32.5″ / D: 18″. Please keep in mind that this cart is slightly lower than the typical 36″ high counter tops found in most kitchens.
10. Microwave Storage Cart with Wheels (by Hazelwood Home)
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 25″ wide by 8″ deep by 16 inches in height.
In addition to storing a microwave, it includes a large cupboard and drawer as well as a shelf above the microwave storage area.
The unit is constructed of compressed wood, has an oak finish and oak handles. 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.