Types of Construction Equipment and their Uses

There are different types of construction equipment used in executing various types of large construction projects. The choice of equipment for executing any construction project largely depends on the size of the project and also the economy of the project to make the construction process faster and easy. In this article, we will consider different types of construction equipment and their uses.

Types of Construction equipment

Here is the list of different types of construction equipment and their uses:

  1. Bulldozers
  2. Motor Graders
  3. Excavators
  4. Backhoes
  5. Trenchers
  6. Dragline Excavators
  7. Wheel Tractor Scrapers
  8. Concrete mixer
  9. Concrete pump
  10. Wheel loaders
  11. Compactors
  12. Asphalt pavers
  13. Telehandlers
  14. Dump trucks
  15. Feller bunchers
  16. Truck crane
  17. Pile driving machine
  18. Pipelayers
  19. Boom lift
  20. Carry deck crane


 Bulldozers are powerful heavy earth-moving tractors that are used mainly for pushing large piles of rocks, debris, or removal of topsoil and other such materials at a construction site.

A dozer blade is mounted on the front of the tractor to enable it to push materials during operations and the rear of the tractor is fitted with a device known as a ripper, which is used to loosen hard or tightly compacted materials or soil. Most Bulldozers are mounted on continuous metal treads so they could navigate even the roughest terrains.

Motor Graders

Motor graders are some of the most commonly known construction equipment, they are heavy-duty machines used in roadworks to level earth materials, to create flat earth surfaces before laying granites or asphalt. They can also be used to lay granites or to remove snow and unwanted soil layers on a road.

Motor graders are classified into two types:

  1.  A single axle grader, which can not turn right or left about a point on the axle. 
  2. The articulated frame motor grader, fitted with a hinge in between the front and the back axle enabling it to turn left or right and to operate within small spaces. 


Excavators are also known as diggers, they are heavy types of construction machinery used for excavating earth and rocks materials alongside loading them into dump trucks.

Excavators usually have a bucket, a boom, and a cab on a rotating platform above an undercarriage that has wheels or tracks. They can execute different forms of duty by simply alternating the front attachment, and that makes them a popular type of heavy construction equipment.


Backhoes are small tractor-like machines that can only rotate 200 degrees from side to side.  They are often confused with excavators since they have similar excavation and lifting capabilities with excavators. However, Backhoes differ in size and functionality from excavators.

While Backhoes are small tractor-like machines that can only rotate 200 degrees from side to side, excavators are huge machines with buckets and booms that rotate 360 degrees. They are used to excavate materials and load them into trucks.


Trenchers are heavy construction equipment used for excavating channels or trenches for drainage purposes, installation of electric cables, and water or gas pipes. Trenching machines are available in two different types such as chain trenchers and wheeled trenchers.

Dragline Excavators

Dragline Excavators are heavy equipment with a long boom and a digging bucket suspended at the end for deep excavation projects. They usually have a system of ropes and chains that controls the bucket during excavation.

Some Dragline Excavators are heavy equipment weighing thousands of tonnes and can only be assembled on-site, while there are smaller ones that are moveable to a construction site.

Wheel Tractor Scrapers

Wheel tractor scrapers as the name implies are heavy types of construction equipment used in most construction projects to move, scrape and collect earth materials or dirt to allow proper grading and leveling of the ground surface. They are basically used as earthmoving equipment in large projects such as road construction.

An average wheel tractor scraper in operation takes 40 seconds to 1 minute to be loaded for spreading and moving material from one spot to another. A typical wheel tractor scraper has a sharp-angled scraper, sequence and load assist, a hopper, and a payload estimator system.

There are different types of wheel tractor scrapers in the market such as:

  1. Open bowl scraper
  2. push-pull  scraper
  3. Elevating scraper
  4. Tandem scraper

Concrete Mixers

Concrete mixers are special types of truck vehicles designed purposely to mix concrete and transport the same to the construction site. The trucks can be loaded with already mixed concrete from a concrete plant or alternatively, they are loaded with dry materials and water in accordance with the specified design ratio and the mix happens on the way to the delivery site. The concrete truck container keeps turning until is completely poured on the site to maintain the liquid mix state in order to prevent the concrete from setting.

Concrete Pumps

A concrete pump is a mechanical device usually attached to a concrete mixer to pump liquid concrete from the mixer into formwork or a specific location at the construction site. The machines are of two types:

  1. Line concrete pump: This type of pump is usually mounted on the truck vehicle with a hose attached leading to the specific concrete placement location on the construction site. With this type of pump, the concrete placement volume is usually low and can only be used for small or medium construction projects.
  2. Boom concrete pump: This other type of pump is high-tech and it uses an articulated robotic arm known as boom which is remote controlled to pump and place concrete at the defined area at the construction site. These types of pumps are usually used on very large construction projects due to their ability to pump and place large concrete volumes within of short period of time.

Wheel Loaders

A wheel loader is a very versatile and multifunctional machine for any scale of project from small-scale home construction projects to very large scale construction projects as the case may be. Many call it bucket loader or front end load, it has a wide square bucket at the front side for scooping, loading, and moving of heavy materials, objects, and other equipment around the construction site load materials into dump trucks for transportation to other defined locations.

Compact Rollers

Compact rollers are a type of heavy construction equipment used at job sites to compact and level materials such as gravel, asphalt, and earth materials on roadways or construction sites. They are purposefully and specifically design to compact and level down materials of any kind to create a level and stable ground surface for roadways or building structures.

Compact rollers are of different types such as:

  1. Sheepsfoot rollers: This type of roller is made up of a heavy steel drum with protruding rectangular or round feet also known as lugs. They are usually used for compacting heavily dense and fine-grained soils or earth materials for embankments, dams, road subgrade layers, or railway projects.
  2. Pneumatic tyred roller: This type of compact roller is made up of a highly loaded wagon that has rows of tyres that are closely spaced to provide uniform impact throughout the entire width covered by the roller. This is also known as rubber tires roller and is commonly used in road subgrade works to compact coarse gravels and soils and to compact embankments already compacted by a sheepsfoot roller.
  3. Smooth wheeled roller: This type of roller is also another heavily loaded compactor with a large steel drum on the front side and either one or two wheels on the rear side. It is commonly used for the consolidation of hardcore, stones, ballast, and gravel.
  4. Vibrating roller: This type of roller is loaded with at most two smoothed surfaced steel drums, the drums rotate and vibrate by an eccentric shaft inside the drums. They are suitable for compaction and consolidation of granular base courses and also asphalt layers to greater depths compared to other rollers.

Asphalt Pavers

An asphalt paver is another common type of heavy construction equipment used for laying asphalt on public or private roads, parking lots, bridge decks, industrial sites, driveways, etc. On operation, a dump truck carrying a prepared asphalt follows the asphalt paver behind dropping the asphalt into the paver, and when it is full, the paver uses the dispersion or spreading augers to spread the asphalt across the leveled ground and provide some minor level of compaction before the surface is then rollover by a vibratory roller.  


Telehandler also called telescopic handler is a multifunctional lifting machine similar to a forklift but is usually used for outdoor constructions or bulk material lifting in a warehouse. Modern telehandlers come with a fitted telescopic boom with different lifting buckets or bucket grabs for relevant operations.

There are different types of telehandlers ranging from their frame size, lift height, and load capacity.

Dump Trucks

Dump trucks, are also known as dumper trailers or tipper lorry as the case may be in different parts of the world, are some of the most common types of construction equipment usually used for moving construction materials such as soils, stones, boulders, gravels, or dirt from one location to another. Dump trucks or trailers are made up of an open box bed attached to the rear with very powerful hydraulic rams for lifting the bed backward when depositing materials at the delivery site.

Their ability to transport large volumes of materials at a time makes them very important and useful equipment in large construction projects.

Feller Bunchers

Feller bunchers are motorized vehicles with fitted apparatus to firmly grab and cut down trees. Though they are very rare in the construction industry, these types of equipment are very useful as they help in simplifying work for log harvesters in providing timbers for construction.  A typical feller buncher harvest trees dress and stack them for easy evacuation and transportation for further processing.

Truck Cranes

Truck cranes are special trucks designed specifically for the purpose of lifting, lowering, and moving materials at construction sites. They are usually made of up a self-propelled crane that enables them to lift and lower load.

A typical truck crane has fitted two major components:

  1. The upper component:  Which consists of the lifting crane and,
  2.  The lower component:  Which consists of the chassis or the undercarriage.

These two major components are fitted together by a turntable the enables the upper part of the crane to rotate around about 180 degrees for some of the cranes and 360 degrees for some other cranes.

Pile Driving Machines

This type of machine as the name implies is used for the installation of piles into the ground without any form of excavation, the piles are practically driven into the ground with the help of the machine. The machine in operation firmly holds the pile in place punching it into the ground to the depth required by using a hydraulic press to hit and push the pile into the ground to the depth required. 

Pipe Layers

Pipelayers are heavy construction equipment designed to lift and lay pipes underground during pipeline projects. They can also be used for pipe installation in large water lines, gas pipelines, and sewer projects. They are built on the same principles as truck cranes and other lifting machine types with a low center of gravity.

Pipelayers sometimes are built with excavation as the main base machine.

Boom Lifts

Boom lifts are types of machines used to lift people up, they have what is called cherry picker or basket crane which serves as a platform to elevate workers to their workspace high above the ground. These are basically aerial lift mechanisms that can support one or more users at a time depending on the size. 

They are multipurpose and can be used across various industries such as agriculture for harvesting, fire fighting and maintenance works in high rising buildings. Boom lifts are basically of two types;

  1.  Articulating and,
  2. Telescoping 

Carry Deck Cranes

These are multifunctional small mobile pick and carry cranes designed for lifting equipment and materials that require low-profile cranes. A typical carry deck crane has a 360-degree rotating platform or deck with four wheels and a control system to drive the crane. Because of their sizes, they are most suitable for operation in narrow spaces with overhead obstructions.


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