A guide to earthmoving

When it comes to earthmoving projects, it's important to use the right equipment for the job. And whether you are creating a pit for a pool, loading materials into the back of a truck, digging a trench or levelling land there's a machine just for you. Here's an insight into some of the most common vehicles.


An excavator is a self-propelled vehicle mainly used for heavy construction. It has either tracks or wheels with an upper body that can slew 360 degrees.

The body of the machine consists of a boom, stick, dipper, hydraulic arms, a bucket and cab, which sits on a rotating platform atop the undercarriage. The chassis or undercarriage of the machine does not move, except forward and reverse.

While excavators are mostly used to excavate, they can also be used for digging, grading, backfilling, rock breaking, demolition, pipe laying, loading, lifting, levelling and more thanks to its compatibility with a wide range of attachments.

Wheeled loader

A wheeled loader is a self-propelled machine with a large-capacity, removable bucket mounted on the front.

As its name suggests, the loader is mainly used to move aside or load materials in construction, such as asphalt, demolition debris, rock, sand, logs, and so on.

The loader usually works in conjunction with trucks and tippers to undertake loading and handling projects.

They can range from compact utility machines, through to loading, handling and stockpile machines, hard-rock quarry face loaders, and large mechanical and electrical drive mining loaders.

Backhoe loader

A backhoe loader is a heavy equipment vehicle that consists of a tractor-like unit fitted with a loader-style shovel or bucket on the front and a backhoe on the back.

They come in two-wheel and four-wheel steering versions, and are the ideal multipurpose workhorse when handling both loading and digging tasks.

A backhoe loader is essentially a loader and an excavator in one machine, and is often referred to as a loader backhoe, digger, or shortened to backhoe. The front of the machine is used to load and push material, while the back is used to dig into the ground for excavation.

Skid Steer

A skid steer is more commonly known as a bobcat, and provides fast and effective equipment for accomplishing a huge range of tasks, including construction and landscaping.

They are a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine, and are arguably the most versatile of all the earthmoving equipment.

The skid steer is much smaller in size and nimbler in its movements when compared to other earthmoving equipment, yet it still has high digging forces and lifting capabilities and is easy to operate. The machine turns by skidding or dragging its wheels on the ground, hence the name.

A different variation of the skid steer is called a compact tracked loader, which instead of wheels, features tracks for better stability on muddy and soft grounds.


A bulldozer is essentially a tractor equipped with a substantial metal plate used to push large quantities of soil, or rubble during construction or conversion work. They are typically equipped at the rear with a claw-like device to loosen densely compacted materials.

The dozer is perhaps more specialised in its applications than the other earthmoving equipment, as its blade allows it to push massive mounds of dirt for levelling, drain cutting, and battering purposes.

Dozers range from machines for small site earthworks and final trim works, to large heavy construction and mining dozers able to handle the most challenging earthmoving.