Heavy Equipment for Construction: What Are the Different Types?

We’ve compiled a list of the most common types of construction heavy equipment. To complete construction projects in a timely, safe, and cost-effective manner, many different types of heavy equipment are used. You’ll almost certainly need to use at least one of these kinds of heavy construction equipment, depending on the size and complexity of the project.

17 Different Types of Heavy Equipment and Their Applications

We’ve included the most popular forms of construction heavy equipment, from excavators and dump trucks to concrete pumps and compactors. To jump to the type of equipment you’re interested in learning more about, click the link.

  1. Excavator
  2. Loaders
  3. Paving Machines
  4. Backhoes
  5. Bulldozers
  6. Dump Trucks
  7. Trenchers
  8. Compactors
  9. Graders
  10. Telehandlers
  11. Backhoe Loaders
  12. Tower Crane
  13. Feller Bunchers
  14. Dragline Excavator
  15. Wheel Tractor Scraper
  16. Pile Driving Machines
  17. Concrete Pumps


Excavators (hydraulic) are large construction machines with a boom, dipper or stick, bucket, and cab mounted on a rotating platform called the “house.” The house is supported by a track or wheeled undercarriage. They’re a natural progression from steam shovels, and they’re often referred to as power shovels.

Hydraulic fluid, hydraulic cylinders, and hydraulic motors are used to perform all of the movements and functions of a hydraulic excavator. Hydraulic cylinders operate in a fundamentally different way than cable-operated excavators, which employ winches and steel ropes to achieve movements.

Diggers, motorized shovels, and 360-degree excavators are all terms used to describe excavators. “360” is a commonly used abbreviation. By comparison with the backhoe, tracked excavators are also referred to as “trackhoes.”

Excavators are employed in a variety of ways, including:

  • Digging of trenches, holes, foundations
  • Material handling
  • Brush cutting with a hydraulic saw and mower attachments
  • Forestry work
  • Forestry mulching
  • Construction
  • Demolition with a hydraulic claw, cutter, and breaker attachments
  • General grading/landscaping
  • Mining, especially, but not only open-pit mining
  • River dredging
  • Driving piles, in conjunction with a pile driver
  • Drilling shafts for footings and rock blasting, by use of an auger or hydraulic drill attachment
  • Snow removal with snowplow and snow blower attachments


loader is a construction machine that moves or loads materials such as asphalt, demolition debris, dirt, snow, feed, gravel, logs, raw minerals, recycled material, rock, sand, woodchips, and other materials into or onto another type of machineries such as a dump truck, conveyor belt, feed-hopper, or railroad car.

There are many different sorts of loaders, which are referred to by different names based on their design and application, such as:

Paving Machines

A paver, also known as an asphalt finisher or paving machine, is a type of construction equipment that is used to apply asphalt on roads, bridges, parking lots, and other similar locations. Before being compacted by a roller, it lays the asphalt flat and offers mild compaction.

Barber Greene Co., which used to make material handling devices, invented the asphalt paver. The Chicago Testing Laboratory approached them in 1929, requesting that they use its material loaders to build asphalt roadways.

Concrete is frequently used to pave large motorways, which is done with a slip form paver. Trucks unload quantities of ready mix concrete in piles in front of this equipment, which the slip form paver subsequently spreads out and levels with a screed

backhoe (also known as a rear actor or back actor) is a type of digger that consists of a digging bucket attached to the end of a two-part articulated arm. It’s usually installed on the back of a tractor or front loader, forming a “backhoe loader” in the latter case.
The boom is the piece of the arm closest to the vehicle, while the dipper or dipper-stick is the section that carries the bucket, both terminology borrowed from steam shovels. The boom is normally attached to the truck by a pivot known as the king-post, which allows the arm to swivel left and right, usually 180 to 200 degrees in total.
Bulldozers are typically massive, powerful tracked heavy equipment. They have outstanding ground holding capability and movement across very rough terrain thanks to the tracks. The bulldozer’s weight is distributed across a vast area, reducing ground pressure and preventing it from sinking on sandy or muddy ground. Swamp tracks or LGP (low ground pressure) tracks are extra-wide tracks.
Transmission systems on bulldozers are designed to take advantage of the track system and offer good tractive force. Bulldozers are frequently utilized in:
Road Building
Land Clearing
Infrastructure Development
and other operations that require highly mobile, powerful, and robust earth-moving equipment due to these characteristics.
The wheeled bulldozer is another type of bulldozer, with four wheels operated by a four-wheel-drive system and a hydraulic, articulated steering system. The blade is hydraulically operated and situated forward of the articulation joint.
The blade and the ripper are the bulldozer’s major tools.
bulldozer blade is a large metal plate mounted on the front of a tractor that is used to push items and thrust sand, mud, debris, and snow. Dozer blades are normally available in three different types:
A short, straight blade (an “S blade”) with no lateral bend or side wings that can be utilized for precision grading.
A universal blade (sometimes known as a “U blade”) is a tall, curved blade with big side wings that can carry more material.
An “S-U” (semi-U) combination blade with smaller side wings, less curvature, and less curvature. This blade is commonly used to push massive rock piles, such as at a quarry.
Blades can be installed straight across the frame or at an angle, with ‘tilt cylinders’ used to alter the angle while moving. The blade’s bottom edge can be sharpened to chop tree stumps, for example.
The ripper is the bulldozer’s long claw-like mechanism on the back. Rippers can be purchased individually as a single shank/giant ripper or in packs of two or more multi-shank rippers.
For heavy ripping, a single shank is usually used. A replaceable tungsten steel alloy tip referred to as a ‘boot,’ is attached to the ripper shank. Ripping rock breaks down the ground surface rock or pavement into small, easy-to-handle, transportable rubble that can subsequently be removed for grading.
A farmer uses agricultural ripping to cultivate rocky or extremely hard soil, such as podzol hardpan, that is ordinarily unplowable.
Other similar construction equipment, such as a huge front loader, is also incorrectly referred to as “bulldozers.”
Dump Trucks
dump truck, also known as a dumper truck or tipper truck, is a construction vehicle that transports dumps such as sand, gravel, or demolition trash. An open-box bed on a dump truck is hinged at the back and fitted with hydraulic rams to elevate the front, allowing the material in the bed to be dropped (“dumped”) on the ground behind the truck at the delivery site.
Dump Trucks Come in a Variety of Shapes and Sizes
Dump trucks come in a variety of sizes and configurations to suit almost any need. The numerous types of dump trucks are listed below.

A typical dump truck consists of a vehicle chassis with a dump body attached to it. The back of the bed is hinged at the back of the truck, and it is raised by a vertical hydraulic ram located under the front of the body or a horizontal hydraulic ram and lever arrangement between the frame rails.
The tailgate can either swing up on top hinges (and occasionally also fold down on lower hinges) or be designed in the “High Lift Tailgate” type, where pneumatic rams lift the gate open and up above the dump body.
semi-end dump is a tractor-trailer combination with the hydraulic hoist built within the trailer. A typical semi-end dump in the United States features a three-axle tractor pulling a two-axle trailer with dual tires.
A semi-end dump’s main advantage is its big payload. When raised in the dumping position, they are quite unstable, which limits their use in many situations where the dumping spot is uneven or off level.
transfer dump truck is a dump truck that tows a trailer with a moveable cargo container that may be filled with construction aggregate, gravel, sand, asphalt, clinkers, snow, wood chips, triple mix, and other materials.
An electric motor, a pneumatic motor, or a hydraulic line power the trailer’s second aggregate container (“B” box). It rides on rails from the trailer’s frame into the empty primary dump container (“A” box) on little wheels. This increases cargo capacity while maintaining the regular dump truck’s mobility. Due to the unique weight constraints on roadways in the western United States, transfer dump trucks are commonly encountered.
A transfer dump is extremely similar to a truck and pup. It is made up of a dump truck towing a dump trailer. Unlike the transfer, the pup trailer has its own hydraulic ram and can self-unload.

A straight dump truck with a trailing axle, a liftable, load-bearing axle rated up to 13,000 pounds, is known as a super dump. The trailing axle, which follows the rear tandem 11 to 13 feet behind, stretches the outer “bridge” measurement, which is the distance between the first and last axles, to the maximum overall length allowed.
The gross weight allowed under the federal bridge formula, which establishes limits for vehicle size and weight, is increased as a result of this. Superdumps can be rated as high as 80,000 pounds, depending on the track length and axle layout. GVW and a payload of at least 26 short tons.
The trailing axle toggles up off the road surface on two hydraulic arms when the truck is empty or ready to dump, clearing the back of the vehicle.
semi-bottom dump, also known as a belly dump, is a three-axle tractor towing a two-axle trailer with a clamshell-style dump gate in the trailer’s belly.
The ability to arrange material in a window, or a linear heap, is a fundamental advantage of a semi-bottom dump. In addition, unlike the double and triple trailer combinations discussed below, a semi-bottom dump can be maneuvered in reverse.
These trailers may be of the windrow kind, as shown in the illustration, or of the cross spread style, with the gate opening front to back rather than left to right. The cereal grains will be dispersed fairly and evenly across the width of the trailer with the cross-spread type gate.
The windrow-style gate, on the other hand, leaves a pile in the center. On the other hand, the cross-spread type gate is prone to jamming and may not perform well with coarse materials.
two-axle tractor pulls one single-axle semi-trailer and another full trailer in a double or triple bottom dump (or two full trailers in the case of triples). The driver of these dump trucks can place material in windrows without exiting the cab or halting the truck.
The biggest disadvantage is that backing double and triple units are tough.
side dump truck (SDT) is made up of a three-axle tractor pulling a two-axle semi-trailer. The dump body is tilted on its side by hydraulic rams, spilling the material to the trailer’s left or right sides. The side dump’s main advantages are that it allows for faster unloading and can handle more weight.
In addition, unlike semi-end dumps, which are prone to tipping over, it is nearly impervious to disturbance or tipping over while dumping. A side dump trailer, on the other hand, is quite likely to flip over if dumping is halted too soon.
When dropping loose debris or cobble-sized stone, the side dump can also become stuck if the pile grows large enough to cover the trailer’s wheels.
By dumping their cargoes further to the side of the truck, trailers that dump at the suitable angle, such as 50 degrees, avoid the problem of the dumped load fouling the path of the trailer wheels, providing enough clearance to walk between the dumped load and the trailer.
Many winter service vehicles are built on dump trucks, allowing for the insertion of ballast to weigh the truck down or the storage of sodium or calcium chloride salts for spreading over ice and snow. Plowing is a dangerous job that necessitates the use of heavy-duty equipment.
A Roll-off has a hoist and a subframe, but no one, and it transports containers that can be removed. The container is loaded on the ground, then winched and cabled onto the rear of the truck. After the truck has been dumped, the empty container is taken and positioned in order to be loaded or stored.
The hoist is raised, and the container is slid down the subframe, landing on the ground at the back. The back of the container includes rollers, and it may be moved forward or back until the front is lowered onto the ground.
The containers are mostly open-topped crates for rubble and construction debris, but garbage compactor containers are also transported. A contemporary hook-lift system serves the same job, but instead of using a cable and hoist, it uses a boom to lift/lower and dump the container.
Off-highway dump trucks are large construction vehicles that look nothing like highway dump trucks. Off-road mining and heavy dirt hauling jobs require larger off-highway dump trucks.
A stiff frame and an articulating frame are the two main types. The mining sector, as well as the manufacturers who make these machines, do not use the term “dump” truck. This strictly off-road vehicle is better known in the United States as a “haul truck.”
In huge surface mines and quarries, haul vehicles are used. They have a sturdy frame and traditional steering with rear-wheel drive. The 450 metric ton BelAZ 75710 is the largest ever production haul truck, followed by the Liebherr T 282B, Bucyrus MT6300AC, and Caterpillar 797F, all of which have payload capacities of up to 400 short tons.
Diesel-electric powertrains are used in most heavy haul trucks, with the diesel engine driving an AC alternator or DC generator that feeds electric power to electric motors at each rear wheel. For its size, the Caterpillar 797 is unique in that it uses a Diesel engine to power a mechanical powertrain, which is used in most road-going vehicles and intermediate-size haul trucks.
SANY, XCMG, Hitachi, Komatsu, DAC, Terex, and BelAZ are some of the other significant haul truck manufacturers.

An articulated dumper is an off-road dump vehicle with all-wheel drive. It includes a hinge connecting the cab and the dump box, but unlike a semi-trailer truck, the power unit is a permanent fixture rather than a separate vehicle.
Instead of using a rack and pinion steering system on the front axle like a traditional dump truck, hydraulic cylinders pivot the entire tractor in relation to the trailer.
The trailer’s wheels follow the same route as the front wheels while steered in this manner. It is very adaptive to tough terrain because of all-wheel drive and a low center of gravity. Volvo CE, Terex, John Deere, and Caterpillar are among the leading manufacturers.
trencher is a piece of construction equipment that digs trenches, usually for the purpose of laying pipelines or electrical cables, establishing drainage, or trench warfare preparation. Trenchers come in a variety of sizes, from walk-behind units to skid loader or tractor attachments to very heavy tracked heavy equipment.
Trenchers are divided into five categories.
wheel trencher, also known as a rock wheel, is made up of a toothed metal wheel. It is less expensive to run and maintain than chain trenchers. It can work in either homogeneous (compact rocks, silts, sands) or heterogeneous (divided or shattered rock, alluvia, moraines) soils.
A chain trencher uses a digging chain or belt that is driven around a circular metal frame, or boom, to cut trenches. It looks like a massive chainsaw. This trencher is capable of cutting ground that is too difficult to cut with a bucket-type excavator, as well as cutting narrow and deep ditches.
Micro Trencher — A micro trencher is a “tiny rock wheel” built specifically for urban applications. It has a cutting wheel that allows it to dig a micro trench with smaller dimensions than standard trench digging equipment.
Portable Trencher — Landscapers and lawn care professionals can utilize a portable trencher to lay down landscape edging and irrigation lines. These trenchers are quite light (about 200 pounds) and agile in comparison to other trenchers. The cutting device could be a chain or a blade that revolves in a vertical plane, comparable to a rotary lawnmower blade.
Tractor-Mount Trencher — A tractor-mount trencher is a trenching device that requires the use of a creeping gear tractor. This trencher is a variation of the chain trencher. The tractor should be able to travel at the same speed as the trencher.
There are three types of compactors used in construction:
The Plate
The Rammer
The Road Roller
The plate compactor, also known as a vibrating plate or tamper, has a massive vibrating baseplate and is used to level the ground.
The foot of the rammer compactor is smaller. The rammer, also known as a trench rammer, is primarily used to compact backfill in narrow trenches for water or gas supply lines, among other things. Vibrating rollers are sometimes found on road rollers.
Crushed rock is compacted as a base layer beneath concrete or stone foundations or slabs using roller compactors. Vibration is provided by rapidly spinning eccentric masses in plates and rollers. Smaller plates have a tendency to move forward due to vibration, but some larger plates have directional control.
The foot is fixed on a sleeve that glides vertically in the leg of the rammer. The engine drives a piston up and down inside the sleeve via a reduction gear, crank, and connecting rod. The piston is connected to the sliding sleeve by substantial coil springs above and below it.
The sleeve and foot join at a minor angle, causing the entire rammer to tilt away from the operator. As a result, the vibrating motion is slightly off vertical, and the rammer has a tendency to ‘walk’ ahead. Flexible bellows protect the sliding joint in the leg.
grader, also known as a road grader or a motor grader, is a construction machine with a long blade that is used in the grading process to create a level surface. Although the first types were towed by horses or other powered equipment, most modern graders have an engine and are referred described as “motor graders” technically incorrectly.
The engine and cab are located above the rear axles at one end of the vehicle, and a third axle is located at the front end of the vehicle, with the blade in between.
The rear axles of most motor graders are driven in tandem, although some add front-wheel drive to boost grading capability. Many graders also come with optional attachments such as a ripperscarifierblade, or compactor for the back of the machine.
A side blade can be installed for snowplowing and some dirt grading tasks. The entire equipment is referred to as “the blade” by some construction workers. Blade widths span from 8 to 24 feet, while engines range from 125 to 500 horsepower.
Depending on the grader, it may be able to run various attachments or be built for specific jobs such as underground mining.
Grader Manufacturers
Case Corporation
Caterpillar Inc.
Deere & Company
Galion Iron Works
Komatsu Limited
LiuGong Construction Machinery, LLC.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
New Holland Machine Company
Terex Corporation
Mahindra & Mahindra
Telehandlers (Telescopic Handler)
A telescopic handler, also known as a telehandler, teleporter, reach forklift, or boom lift, is agricultural and industrial machinery. It looks like a forklift but has a boom (Telescopic cylinder), making it more of a crane than a forklift. It features a single telescopic or articulating boom that can extend forwards and upwards from the vehicle, giving it additional adaptability.
The operator can attach a bucket, pallet forks, muck grab, or winch to the end of the boom. In North America, telehandlers are sometimes referred to as cherry pickers, as the term can refer to any truck or heavy equipment with such a boom.
Pallet forks are the most frequent telehandler attachment in the industry, and the most typical application is to carry items to and from positions where a normal forklift cannot reach.
Telehandlers, for instance, can take palletized freight from a trailer and position items on rooftops and other high locations. A crane would be required for the latter application, which is not always practicable or time-efficient.
The most frequent telehandler attachment in agriculture is a bucket or bucket grab, and the most common application is to carry items to and from places unreachable by a ‘normal machine,’ which in this case is a wheeled loader or backhoe loader.
Backhoe Loaders
backhoe loader is a heavy equipment vehicle that comprises a tractor-like unit with a loader-style shovel/bucket on the front and a backhoe on the back. It is also known as a loader backhoe, digger in layman’s terms, or commonly reduced to backhoe within the industry.
Backhoe loaders are highly frequent in urban engineering and minor construction projects such as building a tiny house, restoring urban roadways, and so on, as well as underdeveloped countries, due to their comparatively small size and versatility.
This equipment is comparable to and descended from the TLB (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe), which is an agricultural tractor equipped with a front loader and a rear backhoe attachment.
Tower Cranes
A crane is a machine that can lift and lower goods as well as move them horizontally. It is usually equipped with a hoist rope, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves.
It is mostly used to lift heavy objects and carry them to different locations.
The device creates a mechanical advantage by using one or more small machines to transfer loads beyond a human’s natural capability.
Cranes are widely used in the transportation business for loading and unloading freight, in the construction industry for material moving, and in the manufacturing industry for heavy equipment assembly.
Tower cranes are a more modern version of the balancing crane, using the same basic components. Tower cranes are employed in the construction of tall buildings and are fixed to the ground on a concrete slab and occasionally attached to the sides of structures. They provide the optimum combination of height and lifting capacity.
The crane’s height is then determined by connecting the base to the mast. Furthermore, the crane’s slewing unit (gear and motor) is coupled to the mast, allowing it to rotate. The long horizontal jib (working arm), the shorter counter-jib, and the operator’s cab are the three primary components on top of the slewing unit.
Feller Bunchers
feller buncher is a type of logging harvester. It’s a vehicle with an attachment that can quickly gather and cut down a tree before chopping it down.
Bunching is the skidding and assembling of two or more trees. Feller is a traditional word for someone who cuts down trees.
A feller buncher accomplishes both of these harvesting roles and is made up of a typical heavy equipment base with a tree-grabbing mechanism equipped with a chainsaw, circular saw, or shear — a pinching device for cutting tiny trees off at the base. The equipment then stacks the chopped tree for delivery to further processing such as delimbing, bucking, loading, or chipping using a skidder, forwarder, or yarder.
Due to the lack of an articulated arm on some wheeled feller bunchers, they must drive close to a tree to hold it.
Dragline Excavator
In civil engineering and surface mining, a dragline excavator is a piece of heavy equipment.
Draglines are divided into two types: those that are based on ordinary lifting cranes and those that must be developed on-site. Most crawler cranes can be used as a dragline if they include a front-mounted winch drum. These cranes, like other cranes, are designed to be dismantled and transported on flatbed trailers across the road.
This smaller crane-type dragline is nearly typically utilized in civil engineering. These are used to build roads, ports, ponds, and canals, as well as pile driving rigs. Crane manufacturers such as Link-Belt and Hyster produce these models.
The considerably larger on-site variety is often employed in strip-mining operations to remove overburden above coal and, more recently, in oil sands mining. The world’s largest heavy draglines are among the world’s largest mobile land machinery. The smallest and most typical heavy type ships weigh roughly 8,000 tons, whereas the largest ships created weigh around 13,000 tons.
dragline bucket system is made out of a huge bucket suspended by wire ropes from a boom (a massive truss-like structure). A multitude of ropes and chains are used to maneuver the bucket. The bucket and hoist-coupler system are supported from the boom by the hoist rope, which is driven by huge diesel or electric motors. The bucket assembly is drawn horizontally using the drag rope. The bucket is manipulated for varied operations by skilled maneuvering of the hoist and drag ropes. Below is a diagram of a huge dragline bucket system.

Wheel Tractor Scraper

wheel tractor-scraper is a piece of heavy equipment used for earthmoving in civil engineering. A vertically moving hopper with a sharp horizontal front edge that may be lifted or lowered can be found in the scraper’s rear section. The front edge, like a carpenter’s plane cutting wood, slices into the dirt and fills the hopper. When the hopper is filled, it is raised and closed, allowing the scraper to transfer its cargo to the fill area and dump it. A conveyor belt pushes material from the cutting edge into the hopper with a ‘elevating scraper.’

Scraper Configurations

  • A push-cat (bulldozer or equivalent) is frequently required to assist in loading an open bowl.
  • Elevating scraper: self-loading since it loads material with an elevator; no push-cat required.
  • Tandem scrapers: in hilly or slippery locations, separate tractor and scraper engines provide superior traction; a push cat is necessary except when loading loose materials.
  • Tandem Push-Pull: combines the horsepower of two machines into a single cutting edge. The push-pull attachment enables two independent scrapers to work together as a self-loading system, loading both machines in less than a minute.
  • Auger pulls material upwards using a vertically mounted auger in the bowl.
  • An agricultural tractor, articulated dump truck, or bulldozer is used to draw a pull-type scraper. Individual pull-type scrapers can be used, or two or three units can be towed behind a single tractor.

Pile Driving Machines

A pile driver is a machine that drives piles into the ground to support the foundations of buildings and other structures. Members of the construction team that work with pile-driving rigs are also referred to as pile drivers.

A weight is inserted between guides on one type of pile driver, allowing it to glide vertically. It’s positioned on top of a stack. The weight is lifted with the help of hydraulics, steam, diesel, or manual labor. When the weight reaches its greatest height, it is released and slams against the pile, crushing it.

Types of Pile Driving Machines

Pile driving machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

  1. Small-sized — torque is around 60–100 kN m, engine power 108 kW, drilling diameter 0.5–1.2 m, drilling depth 40 m, total quality 40 t.
  2. Middle-sized — torque is around 120–180 kN m, engine power 125–200 kW, drilling diameter 0.8–1.8 m, drilling depth 60 m, total quality 42–65 t.
  3. Large-sized — torque is around 240 kN m, engine power 300 kW, drilling diameter 1–2.5 m, drilling depth 80 m, total quality 100 t.