how to move a heavy tv

How To Move A Heavy TV

how to move a heavy tv

Moving a heavy TV is a big problem if you can’t employ professional movers, but many solutions like moving dollies and lifting straps are available to help. Whichever option you choose, you need to make sure you carry your heavy old TV safely.

Needless to say, the best option when trying to move a heavy TV is to employ professional movers. They have the equipment, strength, and experience in moving heavy objects. Putting your back out or other injuries like crushing a toe are a definite possibility.

However…If you want to do this by yourself, here are some ideas. 

Moving a heavy TV by yourself on a ground floor

Big televisions can restrict your vision (because of their large size). It’s essential to clear debris in your walking space before you begin. Of all potential scenarios, moving a heavy TV on your own is possible only on a single, level floor. You can usually achieve this with the minimum of equipment.

Depending whether you have hard floors or carpet you’ll need to protect them before you start. A strong sheet of cardboard or plastic can be used to lay down in front of the TV. You can then maneuver/ rock it onto the sheet. DO NOT try to lift a heavy TV off the floor on your own!

If the TV is mounted high up, you will need help to lift it and place it on the floor.

Making a heavy TV slide easily

Once you have it on the sheet, it should slide relatively easily once you get over the initial friction. On hard floors, you can use a tip I picked up from a washing machine repairman – use furniture polish. Give the floor a spray of polish in the direction, you are heading. It should provide enough slip to glide the unit to the destination.

Don’t over-apply the spray or, you may end up being the one doing the slipping. If you have wooden floors, be careful you don’t scratch them when sliding the TV over them.

Move your TV with a dolly or cart

If you need to move your TV further than across a room, you’re going to need another solution. A wheeled movers dolly (Piano Dolly) or a hand truck or cart with decent carrying capacity is ideal.

With a hand cart, tilt the TV up and slide the lip of the cart underneath it. Levering it up and wheeling the TV to its new resting place. This can be done relatively safely by yourself.

With a dolly, you should be able to place the TV on the dolly and wheel it safely to its destination. Keep the dolly near to the TV set, so you don’t have far carry it.

With this option, you’re going to need the help of more people to lift the TV onto the dolly. To safely pick the TV up follow this procedure. Again, this should only be done if you don’t have any back problems!

Moving a heavy TV…Step-by-step

1.     Stand alongside the TV with your lifting partner with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be close to the television. Not too close to avoid trapping any toes if you drop it!

2.     Your back should be straight when you squat down to pick the TV up, with your knees bent at approx. 90 degrees.

3.     Securely grab the bottom of the TV – Some sturdy non-slip gloves are an essential item. Make sure that you and your lifting partner have a solid grip before attempting to lift. Also, try to establish if you are both equally balanced, i.e., the weight is evenly distributed between you.

4.     Lift the TV up using your leg muscles and not your back. Keep your back straight as you lift up. Use your legs, chest, hips and abdominal muscles to lift the TV.

5.     Walk very slowly to your destination to avoid any trip hazards.

Using moving straps to move a heavy TV

If you have a partner to lift with but no access to dollies or a hand cart, consider using moving straps. Moving straps like the Shoulder Dolly 2-Person Lifting System. Or Forearm Forklift are popular devices and consist of sturdy canvas straps.

As its name suggests. The shoulder dolly consists of two harnesses worn over the shoulders by two people. A long strap attaches to both harnesses which fits under the appliance that needs to be moved.

To lift the TV, the two people using the harnesses simply stand up. Their hands brace the bulky item that they are moving. Once both individuals are upright, they only have to walk the object to its new destination.

These devices reduce the strain of lifting from your arms, transferring weight to stronger muscles like your shoulder, back etc. Leaving your arms free to brace, secure and balance the load that you are carrying on the straps.

Shoulder Dolly
Copyright: Shoulder Dolly

Dolly vs lifting straps?

Generally speaking, lifting and carrying large heavy items with straps is safer than using a traditional dolly. They cause fewer injuries because the individuals using them merely need to stand and walk. There’s no pushing, pulling or dragging involved with moving the item.

Personal lifting systems are ideal for lifting and carrying awkward, heavy TV’s over long distances or where traditional dollies can’t go. I would caution people who aren’t of a fit to be careful using these devices.

Lifting straps can be dangerous in inexperienced hands because they attach you to whatever heavy object you are carrying. If you or your partner trip or drop a heavy TV you are most likely going with it!

Moving a heavy TV from an upper floor (upstairs or downstairs)

A more complicated situation involves stairs. Heavy TV’s don’t easily slide downstairs without ending up as a pile of glass and wood/plastic etc. There are plenty of unsafe ways of taking a TV up or down steps. But I’m not going to encourage those here!

Although some hand trucks/carts have stair kits, these are for lighter loads and shouldn’t be used for heavy items. The best and safest option for heavier units is to get the help of two or preferably three other people. With the help of your volunteers, you’ll need to do the following to safely lower or raise it.

You need to decide whether you’re keeping your old TV or just getting rid of it. If you do want to keep it, you’ll need to protect the casing from bumps and scratches. Wrapping it in an old blanket or something similar will help. Turn the TV on its side. Then use ratchet straps to secure it to a sturdy board. A thick piece of plywood will do.

Add some protection to the glass screen. A piece of foam or an old cushion.  If you intend to get rid of the TV, the above step isn’t necessary.

Attach a rope to the board to allow you to lower or pull the unit up or downstairs. A couple of strong people gently pulling or lowering the unit could do this free hand. The safest way is to attach the rope to a pulley and winch system.

Using a pully system for lowering heavy TV’s

If you decide to use a pulley system, you’ll need somewhere secure to anchor it which could be tricky. If there isn’t anywhere directly at the top of the stairs. You might need to secure it via a rope to some other sturdy anchor point elsewhere in the room.

You can then safely lower or pull the TV down/upstairs with the pulleys taking the strain rather than your back. It would be advisable to have someone else acting as a spotter. Just make sure they don’t stand directly underneath the TV in case it slips out of someone’s grip.

To ease the unit down/up the steps it would be best to create some form of tracks. A couple of long pieces of wood laid down the stairs to place your TV carrying platform on are ideal. This way – with two tracks – there is less friction than trying to slide it directly down the stairs. Plus, you don’t have to risk getting stuck on each step if the board carrying the TV tips.

Another advantage of doing this is that it protects the stair covering. If you have expensive carpet you don’t want to be dragging a wooden board up it!

If your stairs are finished with carpet or other expensive materials, its best to protect them first, try putting down thick towels or a mover’s cloth. These are the thick quilted ones you can get where they rent U-Haul. If possible lay plywood on top before you begin sliding your TV downstairs.

One final but obvious thing, remember gravity is your friend; it is much easier to go down than up!