12 Types of Construction Equipment and How They’re Used

Modern Construction Equipment

When talking about modern construction equipment, the first things that come to mind are backhoes or excavators that dig into the ground. Yet not every piece of heavy equipment is used to move earth or be used at a construction site. 

Many industries use construction equipment for various purposes, from passenger hoists to lift utility workers to overhead electrical lines to conveyor belts that move items through production processes.

This modern equipment is vital to complete the processes when regular workers are incapable of manually performing the task or an inefficient option to use manual labour to complete the task.

Most construction equipment will be grouped into specific categories based on its main tasks, such as excavating, earthmoving, or hoisting categories.

Yet keep in mind that many machines can provide numerous functions in several categories. The machines may come with various attachments that allow them to perform additional functions. 

For example, a mini excavator is typically used as an earth-digging machine. Yet, it can also be used to lift materials to workers who may be working at different levels of a building.

Let us go over the categories of equipment that are utilized in the construction business.

Types of Construction Equipment

Earth Moving Equipment

Earthmoving equipment does as the name implies move large amounts of the earth around. They may be used to dig out trenches, remove dirt to create an area to place a foundation or move dirt for landscaping projects.

construction equipment

These machines may also be used to level the ground, demolish buildings, remove brush, or dredge rivers.

Types of earthmoving equipment include bulldozers, excavators, backhoes, track loaders, skid steers, motor graders, and trenchers.

Excavating Equipment

Excavating equipment is used to dig deep into the ground. The equipment can also be used to hoist materials and grade the earth.

construction equipment

Many of the same machines used as earth-moving equipment can also be used as excavating equipment based on the attachment.

The main differences will be the depth at which the machine can excavate, the height at which the equipment can hoist materials, and how far the machine can place materials at a distance.

Examples of excavating equipment include excavators, track loaders, skid steers, backhoe loaders, trenchers, and graders.

Hauling Equipment

Hauling equipment moves materials and debris around work sites. These machines are adaptable and can be used in several businesses and tasks.

construction equipment

The machines can haul construction debris from a demolished building to the dump or deliver gravel for road projects. Types of hauling machines include dump trucks, dumpers etc.

Hoisting Equipment

Hoisting equipment is used to move materials and workers around a construction site safely. While other equipment can be used to lift materials, it should never be used to lift workers in buckets or

construction equipment

a large amount of materials that go beyond their load capacity can cause a dangerous working environment.

Instead, hoisting equipment is designed to lift heavy loads at far greater heights and distances safely.

Types of hoisting equipment include tower cranes, passenger hoists, mobile hoists, and crawler-mounted cranes.

Paving Equipment

Paving equipment is used to construct roadways. The heavy equipment helps to lay down and spread hot asphalt continuously across the prepared surface.

Construction Equipment

In the front of the machine, a dump truck carrying asphalt drives slowly as the bed is tilted to pour the asphalt into the machine.

While the paving equipment lightly compacts the asphalt, the roadway will receive heavier pressed work from a roller machine.

Compacting Equipment

Wheeled rollers and pneumatic rollers are designed to compress loose materials such as gravel, soil, clay, and sand.

construction equipment

This heavy equipment typically has a large roller at the front that may have teeth that will use the weight of the machine to push down on the loose materials.

They may also have smooth-wheeled rollers to compact finer materials, such as sand. Other types of compactors include vibratory plate compactors and rammers.

Conveying Equipment

Conveying equipment may consist of long pieces of equipment with rollers or belts that move materials from one location to another.

construction equipment

While we often think of conveying equipment in warehouses or industrial plants, these machines are also used in construction and mining industries.

Conveyors can be placed on an incline when moving materials to different levels, vertically or horizontally.

Types of conveyors used in the construction industry include belt conveyors and bucket conveyors.

Pumping Equipment

At times there may be water at a construction site that will interfere with the building of structures or the movement of equipment.

construction equipment

Pumping equipment consists of large trucks that have a pumping system and holding tank. The water can be pumped into the holding tank and removed from the construction site.

The water may be removed from various places, such as trenches, pits, or foundations.

Pile Driving Equipment

Pile driving equipment is used to force long columns of wooden, concrete or steel beams into the ground. The equipment first lifts the pile until it is completed vertical to the ground.

construction equipment

Then it pushes the column downward forcefully using a hammer-like device. The driven piles may be used for structural support.

Two types of pile driving equipment include pile driving hammers and pile driving rigs.

Drilling Equipment

Drilling equipment is used to drill down deep into different materials such as solid rock, clay, mud, and soil.

construction equipment

This equipment may be used by mining, utility, and construction companies.

They may be as small as handheld auger machines to larger drilling rigs used to dig oil or water wells.

Drilling equipment can also be used to test the physical properties of the materials before other construction work is performed.

Dredging Equipment

Dredging equipment is part of large ships used to loosen and remove sediment from the bottom of lakes and rivers.

construction equipment

They may be used to expand canals or remove contaminated materials from the water that could hurt humans, fish, or wildlife.

Some dredges have cutting apparatus to loosen the sediment, suction hoses to pull the sediment up and hoppers to hold the materials.

Some types of dredging equipment include hopper dredges and cutter head dredges, and sidecasting dredges.

Material Testing Equipment

Material testing equipment is used on construction sites to perform an analysis of materials. The equipment may test for pH balance, permeability, moisture content and other factors.

Material that can be tested includes soil, concrete, mortar, and bitumen. Material testing equipment will typically be named regarding the types of tests performed, such as hardness testing equipment.

Mostly Used Construction Equipment


Excavators are a common piece of heavy equipment seen at residential and commercial construction sites.

They are used for digging deep into the ground, and these machines consist of a cab, hydraulic arm, and bucket attachment.

However, the bucket can be switched out for other tools such as a drill, rakes, cutters, grabbers, and rock crushers.

Excavators can come in a range of sizes, including mini excavators used in tighter spaces. The equipment can come with wheels or tracks based on ground conditions.


Backhoes are seen in a wide range of industries and are often available for rental to regular homeowners.

These machines have a hydraulic arm and bucket at the back of the machine and a blade at the front with the cab between the attachments.

Backhoes can be used for digging, hauling, and dumping materials. They also come with attachments, much like an excavator, to perform other tasks.


Graders will commonly be seen after the building or excavating work has been completed or before road work commences.

These machines level the ground, so the surface is smooth. Graders will also often provide a slight slope or elevation to the surface near buildings or other structures to divert water away from foundations.

The blade of the machine is positioned between the front and rear wheels below the cab, as the cab is on top of the rear axle.


Trenchers are larger pieces of construction equipment used to dig deep and long trenches into the ground when laying down pipework, sewer systems, buried electrical cables, or drainage systems.

The machine either has a metal wheel with teeth, called a wheeled trencher, or a long fixed arm with a chain attached called a chained trencher.

Skid Steers

Skid steers are often used for hauling jobs or for lighter digging in place of excavators.

construction equipment

It comes with either tracks or wheels as it has a bucket attachment in front of the cab. A skid steer is a versatile machine that can be used for other jobs based on the available attachments.

It can be equipped with a wheel saw for excavating, a cement mixer for paving, an auger for digging or a grinder for tree stump grinding.

Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are used to haul materials and debris around the construction site.

These heavy-duty trucks come in several varieties, such as trucks that dump their contents at the end of the machine or ones that unload materials from the side.

The truck has hydraulic rams attached to the bed and a hinged end to help lift the bed to one side to dump the contents.

Tower Cranes

Tower Cranes are often seen at large commercial development sites. These cranes are designed to hoist material up to greater heights.

A tower crane consists of a tower with a crane arm called a jib. A counter jib will carry the required weight at the crane’s rear to offset the weight of the material lifted by the jib.

Compact Track Loaders

Sometimes you will hear the word skid steer to refer to a compact track loader and vice versa. The machines look very similar to each other and function much in the same way.

However, compact track loaders come with tracks where skid steers often are wheeled. A compact track loader is also lighter than a skid steer.

It is used on surfaces where the operator wants to cause minimal damage or disturbance to the ground, such as lawns or paved roads.

These machines are often used in places where the ground is muddy, sandy, or snowy.

Final Words

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding how the equipment and available attachments should be used on a construction site.

For equipment used to lift materials or workers, an operator should pay attention to the machine’s maximum lift capacity to prevent tipping over the machine or causing damage.


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