When you pass a construction site, you will notice all sorts of interesting-looking tools lying around. Learning what these tools are and how they work can help you prepare for your next job. Whether you are planning a big project or just want to do a bit of DIY renovations, you need to know about these types of construction equipment.


A forklift is a compact machine that can lift and move materials. Forklifts are extremely useful for all types of construction. They often assist with unloading materials from trucks and transporting pallets to various spots around the construction site. Forklifts come in many shapes and sizes. Most construction sites use smaller and more versatile counterbalanced forklifts. However, some may use telescopic forklifts which work better on uneven ground.


These are one of the most versatile types of equipment. They have a cabinet where the machine operator sits and a long arm with a digging bucket on it. Excavators do a great job with digging and basic excavation, so they are often used for making trenches or large holes. However, you can also use them for things like lifting heavy objects, demolishing buildings, or cutting up trees. Excavators come in many sizes, ranging from small mini excavators to massive, oversized ones.


A backhoe looks quite similar to an excavator. However, the digging tool faces backward to point toward the driver, and a hoe is attached to the front of the cab. Backhoes are a little more flexible than excavators. The position of the bucket makes it easier to dig below machine level, and the arm can be moved in all sorts of directions. The hoe in the front can be used for smoothing, leveling, carrying, and other tasks.


Bulldozers are heavy equipment with a sharp, wide metal plate across the front of the machine. You can use this to scrape along topsoil and shift materials around. Bulldozers are frequently used for removing or adding soil and rock to various spots. They can also help with transport for gravel and other loose construction materials. Bulldozers come in multiple sizes, and you can choose between ones with wheels and ones with a track.

Scissor Lift

A scissor lift is a type of mobile platform that can lift people and tools several feet in the air. Underneath the platform is a set of angled supports that can shift the platform higher or lower as needed. Scissor lifts are used for construction in higher spots such as roofs or multi-story buildings. They provide the same benefits as scaffolding while being more mobile. You can shift them around the site as needed or leave them in one place.


A compactor is a type of tool with a broad, heavy cylinder across the front of the machine. This wheel helps to flatten, smooth, and compact all sorts of loose substances. Some compactors help to flatten soil before construction begins, while others may be used to smooth out layers of asphalt or other construction materials.

Skid Steer

A skid steer is one of the smaller types of construction equipment, but it handles a broad range of tasks. This compact machine has lift arms on either side that you can attach all sorts of tools to. Though it is small, it can lift a surprisingly large amount of weight. The most common option is a flat bucket attachment that can be used to transport heavy materials or dig a hole. Other attachments can help with things like grading a site, removing trees, or ripping up pavement.

Boom Lift

A boom lift is a device with a long arm that holds a platform on the top. Boom lifts can be used to lift both people and equipment to very high spots. Boom lifts can fit into tight spaces and lift people higher than scissor lifts. However, a boom lift can be slightly more challenging to operate. They are helpful for doing things like painting tall buildings or taking tools up to the top of a roof.

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