Saturday, April 27, 2013

IKEA BEKVAM Kitchen Cart Review

Kitchen counter space is prime storage real estate -- sorry, prime hoarder real estate. It's so large and expansive, you just can't help but stash whatever you can into it. Before long, you're out of space and "need" to use your kitchen table as your food preparation surface. Well, that's what happens in my house at least.

Having an extra surface and storage space in the kitchen doesn't hurt, especially one that you can move around relatively easily. Having a very large, hard to move kitchen island is ideal and just plain cool. But what if you're short on space? Then a kitchen cart with wheels fits that bill quite nicely. Ikea offers a few options for this purpose with prices ranging from pretty cheap to pretty expensive. There's steel and wood to suit your preference.

Ikea BEJVAM Table Surface Material
The BEKVAM is a wood kitchen cart with two wheels priced at the lower end at just $59.99. It's not particularly big at 58 cm x 50 cm x 85 cm (l x w x h on website). From the measurements, it's obvious that the profile is essentially a square. At 85 cm tall, it's about the height of my abdomen, so it'll sit around waist high for taller people. Made of solid birch and untreated wood, it looks crude yet polished and simple. Being a solidly built piece, the cart weighs in at 33 lb according to the website. From what I recall, the weight of the package isn't too heavy and it can be hauled home with a vehicle relatively easily.

Configuration

1 Ikea BEKVAM Kitchen Cart ($59.99)

Assembly

This wasn't a particularly hard piece of furniture to put together due to its size, but it had quite a few parts. I started with the surface then worked my way down and attached the legs. Sitting at 33 lb in total, I didn't have too much trouble putting this one together on my own. As usual, an extra set of hands did not hurt to help hold things in place. It was put together on its side and upside down as usual before being flipped upright.

Below is a photo of the underside of the top surface of the cart. The larger brackets hold the four horizontal supports together and it is also a primary attachment point for the four legs. Note that the legs are connected to the two shelves below as well.

Underside of BEKVAM Top Surface
After attaching all the wood pieces together, I put the two wheels on. Unfortunately, the holes for the wheels were not predrilled on the base of the legs, so I had to poke them myself. Overall, a pretty fun thing to put together.

Stability

As a relatively low profile and square piece of furniture with thick legs, lateral support across most of it's height, this thing is very stable. I have not had any issues with tipping and at 33 lb, it is not the easiest thing to move and push around -- more on this later.

Expandability / Customizability

This is a standalone product and not part of any series that I know of. Supposedly, you can treat the surface if you know what you're doing and up for it.

Everyday Use

We've been able to fit a rice cooker and water kettle on the top -- it could fit more if we wanted to. Fruit and other perishables go in the middle shelves. Being paranoid about messing up the wood, we put place mats on the top to protect against stains.

As a working surface, it would probably do fine being so solidly built and stable. As a semi-mobile working surface, it might do fine too. However, as a wheeled around cart, it's probably not the best in my view. Don't get me wrong, the two wheels plus two fixed legs helps make it stable, but it also hinders movement. This is especially true because the wheels do not swivel. It's handles a bit worse than a shopping cart -- even shopping carts have rotating front wheels, if I remember right. On the bright side, there is a longer lip on the side of the cart without wheels to help lift the unit when moving it around. I would not try to use this thing like a cart with anything on it that you can't afford to drop.

BEKVAM Wheel Close-up
To be honest, we have not used this thing as a cart. It sits on the side holding up appliances and storing other stuff. The wheels and lip have come in handy for cleaning and moving it around when necessary like once a year though. For the price, it's still a pretty good piece of furniture. If I had the real estate though, nothing beats a massive kitchen island in the middle of your kitchen.