Types of Heavy Duty Machinery and Equipment for Construction

8 min read

In the construction industry, developers and contractors use numerous pieces of heavy construction equipment to erect tall buildings or lay asphalt. The type of heavy machinery required for each construction project can vary from tower cranes to a compact track loader, so you’ll need to find the right equipment for each job.


Caterpillar Bulldozer
Caterpillar Bulldozer

Sometimes just a called dozer, this heavy-duty equipment, and very similar to a robust tractor. Their main function is to push big loads. Thus, a bulldozer is usually used on construction sites to push large piles of loose materials, debris, and rocks off the soil surface. Most often they are useful in moving demolition waste.

Their main function is ensured with a wide metal blade, the dozer plate, which is mounted on this powerful tractor and pushes the loads. Most bulldozers have on the opposite side of the blade, on the rear side, a ripper, which is a device necessary to loosen compacted materials, so they can be detached and moved with the blade. 


Caterpillar Large Excavator 336
Caterpillar Large Excavator
Model 336

These machines are always present on construction sites and are mainly used for demolition stages. They come in all sizes from mini to heavy-duty and can be either wheeled or tracked, depending on the need of your project. When it comes to heavy equipment financing, excavators are quite popular too.

The main characteristic of an excavator is its long, mobile arm ending with a strong deep hoe or digging bucket. They are very versatile and adaptable to all sorts of construction jobs. Usually, the most robust ones are used by construction developers, especially for excavating, demolition, hauling, and removing items, but also for landscaping works or forestry. The tracked excavators are usually preferred for large-scale projects since they have better stability than wheeled ones.

The mini-excavators are very good for narrow spaces or indoors, and even for many agricultural operations, or your yard.

Asphalt Pavers

Caterpillar Asphalt Paver AP655D
Caterpillar Asphalt Paver
Model AP655D

This equipment is very common, especially in urban construction sites. It is a heavy machine required for laying asphalt, on roads or some other open spaces. The process takes place with several steps, as follows: asphalt is prepared then loaded in a dump truck and added to the paver’s hopper. The asphalt paver machine then lays the hot, fresh asphalt in front of a screed as it moves along. This screed lays equal amounts of asphalt in the roadbed and also applies the first compaction.

Dump Trucks

Caterpillar Dump Truck 793F
Caterpillar Dump Truck
Model 793F

Also known as tipper trucks or damper trucks, a heavy-duty dump truck has a hydraulic lift system, used to load and then move away various materials at the construction site. From sand, and gravel to debris, all types of solid materials can be loaded and unloaded in a dump truck.

The truck has on the rear side a special tipping and open-top tank. The movement is ensured by hydraulic rams that lift this tank from the front part, next to the truck head so that the content can be dumped at the back of the truck.

Backhoe Loaders

 This is a versatile medium-size piece of equipment that combines the tasks done by an excavator and a loader. It is known as two-in-one equipment. It has on one end of the tractor a medium-size bucket and on the other side, an excavator’s hoe, also of medium-size. They are very good at doing all sorts of activities required at a construction site, as long as it is not a heavy-duty one. 

It can excavate with one side, demolish some old material, and then load the debris, or push it with the other side. It is a powerful robust equipment that for many proves to be a wise investment in only one multi-purpose machine, instead of buying two different ones to do the same job.

Wheel Loaders

Caterpillar Wheel Loader 938M
Caterpillar Wheel Loader
Model 938M

 It is a big machine, just like a tractor equipped with a large tipping bucket at one end. They are present on almost any construction site and are very useful for loading and transporting materials or debris from one location to another, or for loading fast, large quantities into dumping trucks. It is versatile and used even in agricultural works or for landscaping.

 As the name shows it, most loaders come equipped with big wheels, for stability, but also rapid movement on the site. However, some brands also produce loaders on tracks that can travel over very rough areas keeping the same stability as their loaded bucket. Many loaders can be fitted when in need, with a dozer blade on the opposite side of the bucket.


They are versatile pieces of equipment used to move around and lift materials and objects at a worksite or in a warehouse. As they lift loads to a really big height the main concern is granting the proper stability, for safety and clean operations.

 Thus, besides the lifting capacity, forklift types are differentiated by the stabilizing system. There are counterweight forklifts that are stabilized through a built-in counterweight and can transport the loads without having extendable arms.

 Then there are side-loader forklifts mainly used in storage rooms. They are easily operated in narrow spaces and allow you to load materials or move whole pallets directly to and from storage racks.

There are also pallet jacks which are specifically created in small sizes for warehouses to move around pallets fast. The best type of forklift for your needs must suit the space you want to use it in and the volume and weight of your usual loads.

Motor Graders

Caterpillar Motor Grader 140M3
Caterpillar Motor Grader
Model 140M3

They are strangely-looking construction machines equipped with a long blade, similar to that of a dozer blade, yet much thinner and longer. They are called either motor graders or road graders or moldboards.

The grader’s blade has a sharp, cutting edge on the bottom side to move the surface. They are used for more niche works, unlike bulldozers, and especially for road works. Depending on how you operate the machine, you can get different results, either cutting deeper in the terrain or scrapping more on the surface.

Scissor Lifts

It is a mobile platform that goes up and down via hydraulic pumps. It can lift people and loads to daring heights. They come in various sizes and capacities, yet they are very stable options even for the heaviest materials. Their structure is made for extra safety, with crossed steel arms, that fluidly push up and pull back the platform, with material, with workers, or with both.

Wheel Tractor-Scrapers

This type of heavy equipment is a multi-functional machine used in construction projects on a larger scale. It can perform a lot of operations like scraping, moving, collecting dirt, grading, and leveling the terrain.

A wheel tractor-scraper has an angled, sharp scraper that cuts and moves the surfaces it runs over. Then there is a conveyor band that filters the material and collects it into a hopper. Then the material can be transported and dumped where you need it.

Skid Steer Loaders

Caterpillar Skid Steer Loader 277B
Caterpillar Skid Steer Loader
Model 277B

They are small machines somewhat similar to the bigger wheel loader, yet they exceed stability due to their skid steering wheels system. Although small in size, a skid-steer loader is used even on large construction sites, since they are also versatile, having the ability to change their small bucket with many other attachable tools.


This is a big machine using a plate to vertically vibrate and compact a surface. The purpose is to level the area and make it flat. It works through repetitive movements that crush the area beneath the plate.

Depending on where you will use the compactor, you can choose between heavy-duty compactors, single-plate compactors, or reversible compactors. The single-plate type is for small buildings or asphalt works. The reversible one is used for areas that need compacting in more directions. Whereas heavy-duty compactors are the best choice for big-size projects.


The term comes from the telescopic handler and represents a piece of lifting equipment with an arm that extends. They are used to lift construction pieces to upper floors. They come in various sizes of the telescopic boom and also in various load capacities.