A Complete Guide To Earth Moving Equipment

Earth moving by a bulldozer in the construction of a road in Spa
  • Author: Mohsin Khan
  • Posted On: October 24, 2022
  • Updated On: July 11, 2023

As its name implies, earthmoving equipment refers to any kind of heavy machinery that can grade and move rock and soil. Other than construction work, they’re also used for demolition, materials handling, mining, and any industry that needs more power than humans can provide.

When determining which earthmoving equipment is essential for construction sites, the options can make things confusing. Besides, every project is unique, and there are various things you need to consider.

Many factors play a vital role in deciding which equipment is suitable for a project, including other equipment involved, the job to be done, and accessibility to the site. By understanding the different functions and designs of earth moving equipment, you can easily decide which one is best for the construction project.

Several companies offer a variety of earthmoving equipment. Some of the common types are as follows:


A bulldozer is a powerful piece of equipment used to grade and move dirt across a huge tract of land. It has a big blade in the front, and depending on the job at hand, the blade’s angle and height can be adjusted. It’s also extremely heavy and oversized, and its weight and size can be used for crushing boulders if needed.

There are different types of bulldozers you can choose from. When searching for a company providing a wide selection of earthmoving equipment, ask for options. Typically, these companies have the following bulldozer types:

Wheel Bulldozer

Sometimes known as a tire bulldozer, a wheel bulldozer is usually bigger than a crawler. It’s also more maneuverable than crawlers because its tires provide better overall handling. Since its tires are gentler than tracks, a wheel dozer is also perfect for sensitive or soft ground.

Mini Bulldozer

A mini bulldozer is also called a compact bulldozer. It’s best for projects that require more versatility and maneuverability than bigger types of machinery. Thanks to its compact size, it can do well in various construction jobs requiring clearing and grading lots.

Crawler Bulldozer

Commonly referred to as a track bulldozer, a crawler looks similar to tractors. However, unlike tractors, crawlers are good at moving heavy materials and perfect for traversing irregular and dense terrain since the tracks provide excellent traction. Bigger crawlers also have rippers that help with clearing and crushing dense terrain.


This earthmoving equipment is made to create trenches. A trencher tears deep into the ground and clears out the soil, rocks, roots, and objects. Homeowners can also use it to make a trench for drainage or companies needing to lay pipes or wires under the ground.

earth mover and excavator at work in construction site

earth mover and excavator at work in construction site

A high-performance ride-on trencher is popular, but there are some walk-behind models for those who want to maneuver within narrower spaces. Beyond such preferences, you may also select between chain trenchers with a chainsaw design and provide maximum control.

Wheel Tractor-Scrapers

Also known as belly scrapers, wheel tractor-scrapers are another type of earthmoving equipment used in the construction industry. Their rear bed features a vertically moveable hopper with sharp horizontal front edges that cut into the soil and fill the hopper. Once full, the hopper is closed, raised, and the scraper transports the load to dump it in the fill area.


Excavators are necessary for any construction project. This is especially true if the job involves lifting a heavy amount of soil. Compared to other earthmoving equipment, an excavator features an arm, a bucket, movable tracks, and a rotating cab.

Two Excavators Bulldozer Are Ready to Work Such components offer superior mobility and digging power, enabling them to perform various functions, such as breaking holes, digging trenches, excavating mines, and lifting away waste. Excavators are also applied to different industrial needs, including demolitions, building construction, mining, and road construction.

There are several kinds of excavators. The smaller types handle the drilling and digging functions, while the bigger excavators have various tools for heavy-duty projects. Whether you plan to opt for equipment leasing or purchase excavators, you would want to consider the speed, size, and site’s working conditions, such as soil types and amount of space. This way, you’ll be able to choose the right one for the job.

Dump Trucks

A dump truck is known universally to collect trash from businesses and residences. The truck’s big bed may tilt to dump its cargo at a landfill or waste management facility. However, an enormous dump truck does move earth and not only waste in places like industrial sites and open-pit mines. Some manufacturers make models of rigid dump trucks, which are made to excel off-road and meet the needs of the construction and mining industries.

Open pit mine industry, big yellow mining truck for coal anthracite.

Open pit mine industry, big yellow mining truck for coal anthracite.

Motor Graders

This earthmoving equipment is also similar to tractors, which specialize in flattening the surface, moving debris, and leveling the ground. A motor grader is equipped with a blade, which can penetrate the ground to reach the preferred depth to level the surfaces. The blade will sweep away the unnecessary stuff leaving leveled and flat ground.

Typically, a motor grader prepares the ground for clearing operations and construction. There are two primary types of motor graders: articulated frame motor graders and rigid frame motor graders.

The rigid frame motor graders have one blade or axle, often positioned in between the back and front wheels. They can’t also move right or left and are limited to backward and forward movements, making them efficient in creating straight grounds or paths.

On the contrary, articulated frame motor graders feature two blades or axles, one in the front and the other in between the front and back wheels. Compared to the rigid frame motor graders, they can move right and left. The front blade is usually used for sweeping objects in front and guides the equipment in a particular direction.


A backhoe is a type of earthmoving equipment that can be used for various tasks. While they are excavation machines, they can also perform double duty because they have working components on both the back and front of a tractor body.

Generally, a backhoe can dig up to 14 feet and can be confused with excavators because they’re both used for digging. However, excavators don’t have a loader in the front. In addition, unlike other pieces of earthmoving equipment, a backhoe is versatile, making it popular for tasks ranging from moving materials in construction sites to uprooting trees.

Wrapping Up

Earthmoving is a vital task in the construction industry. Having the right earthmoving equipment for your projects is a must. So, before you choose any type of earthmoving equipment for the job, make sure to review the available options in the market and understand their differences to make a well-informed decision.

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Author: Mohsin Khan

Mohsin has worked as one of the experienced editors with ConstructionHow since 2020 with a total span of 5 years of experience in business PR, boasting a remarkable professional trajectory, he has collaborated with entrepreneurs and startups, and certain publications over the last few years. His unwavering interest lies in the construction industry and related materials. He believes in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings, and homes that fall under the right budget. With a wide range of experience in construction, he also tapped into DIY and home improvement projects based on his extensive set of knowledge in the industry.