Just about everyone can identify a bulldozer or dump truck, but these iconic construction vehicles barely scratch the surface of what’s out there. From trailer-mounted accessories to massive excavators, you might be surprised at what’s available.
Here are 27 different types of construction vehicles to whet your appetite.
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Types of Construction Vehicles
1. Aerial Scissor Lift
This version of a lift uses a series of crossed beams and struts to elevate one or more workers safely. They’re often used for construction, building maintenance, and warehouses.
2. Articulated Truck
When you need to fit a dump truck down a narrow passage, the articulated truck is your go-to vehicle. The cab and narrow dump box are separated by a pivoting hinge.
The hinge not only allows for greater flexibility, it also improves traction so the articulated truck can traverse dangerous or uneven worksites. These trucks are used for a wide range of projects, from mining and hauling to utility construction.
3. Asphalt Paver
As the name implies, this vehicle is designed for laying asphalt song roads, bridges, driveways, and industrial sites. They’re available in a wide range of widths and paving speeds, but require a dump truck to do its job.
The asphalt is transferred from the dump truck to the paver. Once full, dispersion augers kick in and begin evenly distributing asphalt along the paving surface. A hydraulic cylinder similar to those on a steam roller is then used to pack down the asphalt into a solid surface.
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4. Backhoe Loader
These versatile construction vehicles are able to perform the functions of a backhoe, loader, or tractor. In addition to construction, the backhoe loader is often used in farming, excavation, and even hauling.
5. Boom Lift
Sometimes referred to as a basket cane or a type of cherry picker, the boom lift is a small trailer which has a hydraulic, enclosed basket on top. The basket can be raised to allow workers to access otherwise unreachable portions of the work area.
While used extensively in construction, farming, and forestry, the boom lift is also commonly used in film and theatre productions. Depending on the job requirements and number of people using it, they may be either articulating or telescoping.
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One of the most iconic construction vehicles, the bulldozer is also known as a crawler or track-type tractor.
Better known for their use in farming and construction, bulldozers can have various blade types and were actually used to create the first military tanks.
7. Cold Planer
These vehicles use a combination of rotating drums and carbide cutters to grind up asphalt or pavement. It’s not unusual for them to be equipped with a water system to reduce dust pollution.
While their primary use is recycling old road materials, they can also be used to create rumble strips or smooth out the ground prior to paving to reduce the risk of future potholes.
8. Compact Track and Multi-Terrain Loaders
These two vehicles are nearly identical, but have different tolerances. The compact track loader is able to handle heavier-duty use than the multi-terrain.
Meanwhile, the multi-terrain can transport materials over more fragile surfaces, such as sand or mud.
These large-scale excavators are used in mining and quarries. Their immense size means they have to be assembled on-site.
A tall boom arm contains a wire-based drag and hoist ropes, which allow the bucket to transport debris from the dig site to a dumping spot.
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10. Drum Roller
These descendants of the steamroller are sometimes referred to as compact rollers or road rollers. Depending on the job, one of two types of drum is used.
The padfoot drum has a stronger force and is ideal for compacting soil. Meanwhile, smooth rollers are used for compacting sand, dirt, or gravel and come in either single or double-drum configurations.
11. Electric Rope Shovel
These mining shovels use electricity, reducing the number of moving parts for added durability. They’re powerful enough to quickly move large quantities of material while also being energy-efficient and easy to use.
The highly adaptable excavator is a staple of construction sites. The long arm usually wields a bucket, but may also be equipped with other attachments, such as wrecking balls. Add to this an ability to rotate the cabin a full 360 degrees, and y9ou have a vehicle capable of tackling many jobs at once.
Excavators come in three size groups, with the mini excavator being small enough to fit into tight spaces or be used on residential properties. Medium excavators are larger but still able to be used for some smaller jobs. They’re commonly seen in moderate to large-scale projects.
Finally, the large excavator is much bigger and far more powerful. These tend to be used exclusively for large-scale operations.
There are quite a few different types of forklifts out there, but they all perform the same basic function: lifting heavy materials to relocate them somewhere else.
Forklifts are most often associated with warehouses, but they also have uses in other industries, such as forestry and even the military.
14. Hydraulic Mining Shovel
The powerful hydraulics on this shovel allow it to dig and move material with great efficiency. Easy to use and durable, this is a good alternative to the electric rope shovel.
15. Motor Grader
These machines are more versatile than bulldozers, especially for roadwork. The blades, called moldboards, are long and narrow with a cutting edge along the bottom.
They require some skill to use, but are small enough to create drainage ditches, remove snow, or even spread materials.
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16. Off-Highway Truck
This specialty dump truck is often used in mining and quarries due to its more rugged design and superior hauling power. Not only can an off-highway truck haul more material than a regular dump truck, you can also use multiple dump buckets with them.
17. Plate Compactors
These devices use heavy, vertical plates to tamp down surfaces. Because of their speed and power, they can crush materials to ensure flat, even surfaces.
Heavy-duty plates are most often used for road construction. Single plate compactors are most often used on asphalt or cement. Reversible plates are similar to single plates, except they can be rotated for more versatility.
18. Rotary Blasthole Drill
These autonomous drills contain many features such as built-in cameras and fully automated drilling. Between these bonus features and a power equal to manned drills, the rotary blasthole drill has become increasingly popular with miners.
19. Skid Steer Loader
The motto of these machines is “no job too big or slow”, and their ability to use multiple attachments makes the skid steer loader quite versatile.
They come in three size classes and are useful for excavations, road work, demolition, forestry, and a number of other tasks.
This relative of the forklift is designed for primarily outdoor work and offers a variety of attachments. As with forklifts, there are several different types to choose from based on your needs.
21. Towable Light Tower
Chances are, you’ve seen these in action but never gave them a second thought. They’re used in filmmaking, road work, and multiple other projects where working after dark is a necessity.
The base is usually a power generator or solar panel, with the lights themselves located atop a vertical beam.
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22. Track Loader
Track loaders employ tracks instead of wheels to allow them to move along more difficult terrain than other types of loaders.
23. Underground Mining Loader
These loaders have a lower profile and an attached bucket, allowing it to move material and haul it away simultaneously. You’ll usually find these vehicles in large-scale mining operations where they prove far more efficient than similar vehicles.
24. Utility Vehicle
You might not picture the almost sporty-looking UTV as a construction vehicle, but they’re perfect for a wide range of jobs. Most often, they allow for enclosed transportation in hazardous work environments and can haul materials as an added bonus.
25. Wheel Excavator
The obvious difference between a wheel excavator and regular excavator it the presence of wheels instead of tracks. The result is a more powerful, stable machine at the cost of some traction in various terrains.
However, the wheels also tend to make them more mobile than regular excavators.
26. Wheel Loader
Much like the wheel excavator, wheel loaders employ heavy-duty wheels instead of tracks. This gives them greater maneuverability within a worksite and can move materials using a front-loaded bucket.
They also include multiple attachments, allowing them to fill in the roles for other vehicles such as snow blowers and cold planers.
27. Wheel Tractor-Scraper
As the name suggests, these heavy-duty vehicles scrape and collect dirt via conveyer belt into a hopper. The hopper can then be dumped or moved. There are multiple types of this vehicle to allow for more task-specific advantages.