Every piece of heavy equipment serves a different function. For contractors thinking about starting their own businesses, deciding what to invest in for equipment can be quite a challenge. Future business owners can find out about the most common and useful types of heavy equipment found on different construction sites below. The chances are good that business owners will need to invest in at least one of them.


Excavators, also sometimes called diggers, are some of the most versatile pieces of heavy construction equipment available. They can be used to excavate land for laying foundations, dig trenches, demolish old structures, haul heavy items, remove brush, and more. There are many different types of excavators available. The most common is the traditional digger, but there are also vacuum excavation services that are used in more delicate situations. They are used to excavate around pipes or service lines that would be damaged by traditional excavators.

Heavy Equipment Used in Construction


Backhoes are just as useful and ubiquitous as excavators. These multipurpose machines are used not just during the land clearing and excavation phases of construction projects but also for loading and unloading materials and lifting them to different heights during any stage of the building process.


Bulldozers can only excavate the first few feet of soil, but they’re great for moving and pushing massive quantities of materials. Most bulldozers run on tracks, but wheeled versions are also available. They’re more commonly used during land clearing and for demolition than during the actual construction process.

Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are essential for hauling loose materials like sand, gravel, and soil. They can also be used to haul brush after a piece of property is cleared or to remove construction waste following a demolition.


As the name implies, loaders are used primarily to help load items onto trucks. They feature versatile buckets designed to carry many types of materials, including everything from soil and rocks to demolition waste. Most loaders are wheeled, but tracked loaders are also available for use in difficult-to-reach places.


Compactors, or rollers, are used to compact the ground or fill materials. There are many types of compactors, each of which fulfills a slightly different purpose. Landfill compactors are better for working with waste, while soil compactors are ideal for dirt. Contractors should consider what types of projects they might be asked to complete before purchasing a compactor.


Construction contractors who plan on installing driveways and parking lots may need graders. These specialized pieces of equipment function similarly to bulldozers, but they’re designed specifically for leveling ground prior to road construction.

Tower Cranes

It’s very common to see tower cranes in the city working on skyscrapers. These specialized pieces of equipment hoist materials to different heights. Contractors won’t need tower cranes unless they plan on constructing tall buildings or bridges, but their usefulness makes this piece of specialized equipment worth mentioning.

Find All the Right Equipment

New business owners may not have it in the budget to purchase all the equipment they need brand new and all at once. Finding a company that also offers equipment rentals can help, as can buying used machines. Just be sure to rent or buy from a reputable distributor. Construction equipment is expensive, so contractors need to invest their money wisely.

Bryan Cunningham

Zombie maven. Musicaholic. Friendly student. Unapologetic organizer. Hipster-friendly internet geek.

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