Construction 101: Everything You Need to Know About Earth-Moving Equipment

construction 101 Earth-Moving Equipment

Construction 101: Everything You Need to Know About Earth-Moving Equipment | Earthmovers do exactly as their name implies: They powerfully transport rocks, soil, and other materials in a variety of different methods from one place to another. These incredible machines are indispensable to the construction industry, but each is made for a specific job.

Read on to learn the design and roles of earthmovers to help you determine which to enlist on your job site.

Different Machines for Different Jobs

Many factors play into the decision to use one machine over another for a particular project: accessibility to the site, the job to be performed, and the other machines involved are only a few. By reviewing the particular design and function of the equipment in question, you can better decide which machine to use. Which machine does what and where would it be best used on your project? When you are planning out a job, it’s important to have a solid guide to earth moving machines. Here are some of the most important earth movers you may want to consider for your current or upcoming project: 

Vacuum Excavators

Vacuum Excavation is the safest way to excavate earth around underground services like sewerage lines and gas pipes. Unlike other earth moving machines vacuum excavators are used for small areas that require extra care, you don’t want your traditional excavator to break a sewage pipe, do you? They work by using high pressure waters to cut and displace the earth, that then creates a slurry (earth and water mixed together). A vacuum then sucks out the slurry mixture, moving it to a nearby tank. Vacuum excavators are perfect for those high-risk jobs where mistakes could end up costing you thousands of dollars.


If you are working on a large project such as dredging a river, excavating a foundation or simply digging a large hole or trench in the ground, an excavator is an essential piece of heavy equipment for the job. Designed with a long protruding arm carrying a bucket on top of a tracked or wheeled undercarriage, the excavator is used across the industry for core tasks, such as moving heavy materials, installing pipes, digging large holes, and more. It’s perfect for jobs that require an extended reach.

Backhoe Loader

With two sides sporting different equipment, the backhoe loader offers various abilities. This makes it a versatile and useful machine on construction and agricultural sites. Equipped with a tractor-like body, it sports a large dustpan-style loader on the front and a claw-like backhoe in the rear. From moving trees, ploughing, breaking asphalt, and more, the backhoe loader offers a lot of power on a range of projects.

Wheeled Skid Steer Loader

While it may look a little bit squat, the wheeled skid steer is a mighty piece of equipment that is perfect for tasks in tight-access points. Because the movement is based on wheels instead of a track, it is extremely mobile and proves to be very versatile in all kinds of jobs.

Posi Track

If work must be done on earth that is wet or muddy, this tracked vehicle is a much better option than a wheeled vehicle. While it lacks the 360-degree rotation that an excavator might have, most posi tracks boast a 200-degree rotation radius. It digs in a linear fashion, pulling earth and debris back towards the vehicle.


A high-powered tractor with a large blade on the front, a bulldozer, is made much like a tank and can easily move across muddy or rough terrain. While it may not be very versatile, the bulldozer effectively pushes large items, such as rocks or brush. They are also capable of towing other heavy equipment.

Dump Truck

Essential for efficiently transporting large loads of dirt or debris, dump trucks are made with a large open bed that can be used to collect earth extracted by another vehicle. The bed on this truck is made to tilt, allowing you a dumping capability essential for many applications in construction.

Chances are, you’ll need several different pieces of heavy-duty equipment to accomplish your particular job. Reviewing the options of earth-moving equipment like the ones described above can help you make a better decision as you draw up your project plan and budget.