25 Most Popular Types of Heavy Equipment in Construction
Heavy construction equipment is an integral component of any civil, commercial, industrial, or residential construction project.

Heavy construction equipment is an integral component of any civil, commercial, industrial, or residential construction project.


Depending on job site conditions and construction tasks, construction companies use a variety of construction machinery, including articulated truck, asphalt paver, backhoe loader, boom lift, bulldozer, concrete mixer, dump truck, excavator, motor grader, skid steer loader, telehandler, tower crane, trencher, wheel loader, and wheel tractor scraper.


Construction work uses a fleet of heavy machinery for several tasks—from digging, drilling, and demolishing to grading, heavy lifting, and hauling.


Construction work is made easier, safer, more efficient, and less expensive with equipment available in different specifications for residential, commercial, and industrial construction.


What are the most common types of heavy equipment used in construction? Read on.


Table of Contents

Articulated truck

Asphalt paver

Backhoe loader

Boom lift


Compact track loader


Concrete mixer


Drum roller

Dump truck


Feller buncher


Hydraulic mining shovel

Motor grader

Pile driver

Skid steer loader


Telescopic crane

Tower crane


Utility vehicle

Wheel loader

Wheel tractor scraper


25 Most Popular Types of Heavy Equipment in Construction


Here are the most common types of earthmoving and heavy equipment used in construction (listed in alphabetical order):






An articulated truck is an adaptable and versatile heavy-duty dump truck that consists of a cab (tractor unit) and a narrow trailer or dump box, connected via a pivoting hinge. Articulated haulers or articulated trucks are used at many rigorous worksites, with little to no paved roads, low ceiling height, slippery or sandy surfaces, or steep slopes. Such trucks are best suited for diverse job sites, including:


  • Aggregate and material hauling
  • Mining
  • Recycling and scrapping
  • Utility construction






An asphalt paver or paver is a commonly used piece of commercial construction equipment for laying asphalt on a road surface or other such facilities. Prepared asphalt is added to the paver’s hopper. Later, the asphalt is moved by a conveyor from the hopper to the auger that places it in front of the paver screed. Finally, the screed spreads the asphalt evenly on the road surface and runs initial compaction.


Modern pavers can increase screed width to cover larger areas and also monitor fuel consumption. A paver is usually accompanied by a compactor to roll the asphalt flat for a fully flattened and smoothly finished surface. Asphalt pavers are used to lay asphalt on places, such as:


  • Bridge decks
  • Building construction
  • Driveways
  • Industrial sites
  • Parking lots
  • Public and private roads
  • Recreation courts






A backhoe or a backhoe loader is earth-moving equipment similar to an excavator but cannot lift as much. Nevertheless, the versatile backhoes are found on construction sites of all sizes and ideal for various light-to-medium duty jobs, such as:


  • Breaking up of asphalt or concrete
  • Digging holes or trenches
  • Backfill excavations
  • Farming
  • Landscaping
  • Loading, unloading, and lifting of materials
  • Small demolitions at construction sites


A backhoe loader is a multipurpose piece of heavy equipment that serves as a backhoe, loader, or tractor, with a quick turn rate to use the digging bucket and the loader simultaneously.


While the tractor is the central operating machine, the loader or loading bucket is in the front and the backhoe or hoe (digging bucket or digging assembly) is located on the back side of the machine.


The configuration of a backhoe allows for the front bucket to load, lift, and unload material. Sometimes, the bucket may be replaced with other pieces of equipment like an auger, grappler, or hammer for specific construction operations.






Also known as a “basket crane” and “cherry picker,” a boom lift is an aerial platform that gets workers off the ground, using a bucket large enough to accommodate 1 or 2 workers. This construction lift is suitable for work on an elevated project.


While a hydraulic lift system operates the crane that lifts the bucket, a continuous band of treads or wheels make the machine mobile. “Articulating” and “telescopic” are the two main types of boom lifts used in the construction industry.






A bulldozer is designed to consistently push hard for a long time and maneuver through difficult terrain. So, it is aptly termed the “workhorse of the heavy equipment world.”


Also known as a “crawler,” “dozer,” and “track-type tractor,” a bulldozer is available in a vast range of operating weights and is critical for several projects, including:


  • Demolition
  • Farming
  • Home renovation
  • Land clearing (clearing waste or vegetation)
  • Mining
  • Road construction
  • Rough or fine grading


A bulldozer has a large, sharp-edged metal blade/plate mounted at the front that can crush/lift/loosen/push/remove building materials, debris, dirt, rocks, sand, soil, snow, or other material. Moreover, a bulldozer can raise or lower the plate using hydraulic pistons to target soil at varying depths.


There are different dozer blades, such as the curved universal blade (“U blade”), flat and edgeless straight blade (“S blade”), and semi-universal combination blade (“S-U blade”).


Bulldozers can be track-mounted or wheel-mounted based on the priorities of a project—tracks provide better grip whereas wheel dozers are much faster than their track counterparts.



A compact track loader is intended for heavy-duty use to transport heavy worksite materials like demolition waste and excavated soil and is designed with large, moving tracks instead of wheels. It is known for stability, traction, and versatility.


The machine can handle mud, rocks, sand and other challenging surfaces, as well as move easily across rugged terrain, including hard-to-reach areas. Apart from pushing debris or materials, the compact track loader is used for excavation and land clearing and achieving faster loading with a vertical-lift loader design for better reach.


Unlike skid steer loaders, compact track loaders have high-flotation rubber tracks that allow for working across sensitive surfaces and in poor underfoot conditions. 






Also known as a “roller,” a compactor is used to press and compact the ground or material (gravel, rocks, etc.) and create a level grade. As a compactor moves, it vibrates—shaking the paved material and making sure it is flat and does not contain empty pockets, so it provides a stable base for any construction.


Among compactors, a landfill compactor is ideal for working with waste and a soil compactor is preferred for working with dirt and soil.


Furthermore, specialized compactor models (such as the plate compactor, jumping jack, and road roller) are available when construction companies need surfaces to be as flat as possible.






Also known as a “cement mixer,” a concrete mixer is a special truck used to mix concrete ingredients and ship the mixture to a construction site. Generally, the truck is filled with dry materials and water, with mixing continuing during delivery. In addition, a concrete mixer can maintain the mixture’s liquid state through turning of the mixing container until delivery.


On the contrary, the truck can be loaded with material that has already been mixed at a plant. While large volumes of concrete with required consistency and superior quality can be produced by using a concrete mixer, a portable concrete mixer can also be used to make concrete at a construction site.



A crusher is used to reduce large boulder or rock sizes to smaller and uniform sizes suitable for concrete mix. Hammer mill crusher (hammer crusher) and jaw crusher are two commonly used crushers.


A hammer crusher crushes materials with compressive strength less than 200 MPa (megapascal) like bluestone, coal gangue, and limestone. On the contrary, a jaw crusher crushes all kinds of hard and soft materials with compressive strength between 300-350 MPa.






Also known as a “compact roller” and “road roller,” a drum roller is used at worksites for leveling and smoothening of building terrain or roadways and removing air pockets.


Drum rollers can effectively and quickly flatten surfaces to create flat, stable grounds at construction sites—from road construction to driveways and residential yards.


There are two main types of rolling drums:


Smooth rollers: Smooth rollers are available in single- or double-drum variations and use a combination of pressure and vibrations to create smooth surfaces out of dirt, gravel, or sand. Moreover, single drum rollers have a heavy drum roll (front) and wheels (back) and work well for paving roads and creating site foundations.


On the contrary, double drum rollers (twin drum rollers) do not rely on wheels and are used for flattening asphalt roads.


Padfoot rollers: Similar to smooth rollers, padfoot rollers use the same technology but use a strong manipulative force to make soil more compact and solid.






A dump truck is also known as a “dumper truck,” “rock truck,” or “tipper truck.” A dump truck is available in a variety of sizes and used on a construction site to carry materials (such as construction debris, gravel, sand, and soil) in large quantities from one site to another or to the dump location/dump yard.


A standard dump truck has an open-box bed equipped with hydraulic rams that lift the front of the bed to dump construction waste—the dump bed’s design ensures debris is carried without spilling loose contents on the way to the intended destination.


Usually, off-road dump trucks with large wheels are used on big construction sites to transport heavy material in any type of ground conditions. A rigid dump truck has an immobile chassis and is used on major mining projects with even terrain.


On the contrary, an articulated dump truck is used on medium-sized projects and has a pivot between the cabin and truck bed for maneuverability when driving over a rough or an uneven terrain. In addition, articulated dump trucks are more expensive than rigid models and deliver increased yield at a lower cost per ton.






Also known as a “digger,” an excavator is an extremely adaptable, large equipment (from the smallest weighing a little over 2,000 pounds to the largest weighing over 2 million pounds) used to:


  • Clear land
  • Cut trees
  • Demolish structures
  • Dig trenches and foundations
  • Excavate earth and rocks and load them onto dump trucks
  • Excavate large holes and channels into the ground and more (crushing, drilling, heavy lifting, pipe installation, river dredging, etc.)


An excavator typically contains a hydraulic crane-like boom, digging bucket, dipper (or stick), and an operator cabin on a 360° rotating platform (useful for working multiple areas from one location) above an undercarriage with tracks or wheels. The heavy machine can handle a variety of works by changing the front attachment to an auger, a grab, ripper, rock breaker, etc.


A tracked/track excavator uses steel tracks to navigate a variety of conditions and terrains. However, a wheeled/wheel excavator’s movement is assisted by massive, construction-grade equipment tires.


Excavators are available in different sizes, including:


Mini excavators: Mini excavators are ideal for residential or small-scale projects and have the same basic capabilities and functions like standard excavators but less power.


However, a mini excavator has impressive maneuverability and can get into tight access jobs or navigate difficult-to-reach areas like narrow entrances on construction sites.


Medium excavators: Medium excavators can handle larger jobs and are suitable for large-scale renovations and medium- to large-scale construction sites.


Large excavators: Large excavators are very powerful and are apt for high-volume, heavy-duty projects.


For example, a dragline excavator that consists of a long-length boom and a suspended (using a cable) digging bucket is used for construction of ports, digging canals, larger depth excavations, sediment removal in water bodies, etc.



A feller buncher is used in the forestry and logging industries to cut, harvest, and carry trees. This piece of tree-cutting heavy equipment is built with a cutting blade, four-wheel base, and multiple metal arms.


A feller buncher uses metal arms to hold trees in place and then cuts them down using an attached chainsaw. Later, the metal arms gather the trees into a pile before the trees are broken down into usable parts.






A forklift is a heavy-duty vehicle with a steering wheel, dashboard controls, and an attached platform that an operator can lower to pick an object on or below the ground and raise to move the object in construction sites, warehouses, etc.


Forklifts are great for loading and unloading heavy packages or materials. For example, the reach forklift can “reach” boxes and other objects at exceedingly high heights in a warehouse.


The weight and volume of the items used with a forklift determine the choice of a forklift used at a construction site or an industrial location.


Forklifts have evolved substantially to increase their uses at a construction site—from unloading pallets of blocks and bricks, steel joists and construction equipment and materials to hauling items from the delivery truck and carrying them to the site.


Different types of forklifts include:


Counterweight: A counterweight forklift uses a built-in counterweight system to remain stable while transporting (without using arms) products directly.


Pallet jack: A pallet jack is designed to move pallets around a warehouse. Furthermore, the small size of a pallet jack aids in easy movement.


Side loaders: Side loaders are perfect for warehouses with bulky materials and limited workspace. The side loader design allows an operator to load materials directly from the storage rack without any hassle.


Warehouse: A warehouse forklift is used to move products, shipments, and supplies quickly around a warehouse.



Hydraulic mining shovels use hydraulic components for material moving and powerful digging at mine sites. Like electric rope shovels, hydraulic mining shovels are easy to use and last long for consistent use even in the most challenging conditions.






Also known as a “grader” or “road grader,” a motor grader has long, narrow blades (moldboards) that are rotatable, with a cutting edge on the bottom. The cutting edge includes a variety of blade profiles, such as corrugated, curved, flat, and serrated to break through the surface material.


Motor graders are self-propulsive and fast-moving machines commonly used for road construction (roadway installation/maintenance) and other projects like: