Most common types of heavy machinery

For most industrial, commercial, and construction companies, heavy machinery gets the job done. These are the pieces of equipment that build, create, and pack the good we use on the daily basis. They build our homes and our cars and supply us with the modern comforts we’ve all become so accustomed to.

But the average person, or even experienced builders, might be curious about how these machines really work and how they fit into the bigger picture. Let’s take a look at some of the most common construction machinery. Keep reading to learn more!


Excavators are one of the most recognizable pieces of machinery. You’ll find these super-sized machines at build sites. Just think about the name, excavator – they’re specialty is digging, breaking ground, demolition, and excavating!

When materials need moved around, an excavator has the power to move these quickly and in large volumes. You’ll find this machinery as part of material handling processes, like mining operations. Most commonly, you’ll see these huge machines breaking ground at building sites. Excavators make quick work of the ground, effortlessly breaking ground for building and home foundations.

Skid Steer

A skid steer (skid loader) is a smaller, more compact machine. Despite their smaller size, these still pack a lot of power. Skid steers work a bit differently than other machinery. They have four fixed wheels that don’t have the capability to turn. Instead, each side of the machine (left and right) can operate at a different speed. This speed difference is what allows the machine to turn, or steer!

You’ll find skid steers for sale with a multitude of attachments. Skid steers are common at job sites because of the diversity of attachments that can be fitted to the machine’s two front arms. These small but powerful machines can have plow, drill, trencher, loader, or even lift attachments. Next time you pass a construction site, look for the skid steer – you can’t miss it!


You’ll find a forklift in most every warehouse. These small machines are perfect for lifting, stacking, and organizing boxes – packing them onto shelves for storage or into trucks for delivery. Forklifts are easily recognizable, resembling their name – a fork! The two long blades easily slide under skids or boxes, allowing the machine to move them short distances.

There is more than one type of forklift machine, though. We all know the typical forklift design, found in warehouses all over the world. There are also mast and telescopic forklifts, each designed to perform more complicated tasks than a traditional two-blade lift.


A crane is another easily recognizable machine. When we think of skyscrapers being built, we imagine cranes lifting materials into the sky. Cranes have been around since ancient times – starting as wooden frames with a series of ropes and pulley systems. The Industrial Revolution gave birth to mechanized cranes, no longer needing to rely on manpower to move and lift heavy materials.

Cranes come in so many different makes and models, from small cranes to huge machines, there’s one for every job. There are tower cranes, all terrain cranes, mobile cranes, truck-mounted cranes, and overhead cranes – just to name a few!

From giant excavators to powerfully compact skid steers, each has their special place at a job site. These are just a few of the most common and most easily recognizable pieces of heavy machinery. Next time you pass a new building site or warehouse center, you’ll know how everything works together to accomplish the final product!