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What are the different types of bulldozers and which one you should use

10 March | 883 views

Bulldozers perform a heavy-duty role in any construction site and other projects. However, the type of bulldozer you work with can affect the time and efficiency of your team working on a particular area and terrain. If it’s too small or not powerful enough, you could spend more time pushing debris out of the project area. If it’s too powerful, you might exhaust more resources on upkeep and maintenance of the equipment you won’t maximize. 

How do you know which types of bulldozer equipment are best for your needs? Those searching for earthmoving equipment can get professional assistance by contacting our team for more information. 

Here’s a rundown of the different types of bulldozers and what they’re best used for. 

What Is a Bulldozer?

Bulldozers are heavy-duty earthmoving equipment generally used for pushing debris away, digging, excavating, and leveling grounds. Though the parts can vary depending on the bulldozer type, one unit typically has these parts:

  • Blade: This is the metal plate at the front of the bulldozer and is controlled by the push frame. Blades push and dig materials and can vary in shape, size, and use, including:
  • S-Blade: The shortest type of blade with no side wings. Best used for stripping, ditching, evening, grading, and backfilling ground. It can be used on fine-grained, coarse, and hard materials. 
  • U-Blade: The blade has a curved U shape with large side wings. It’s used for pushing debris, handling and hauling materials, and crowning, and it is best for soft to medium soil.  
  • S-U Blade: Featuring the S-blade’s slightly-curved shape and the U-blade’s side wings, this blade is narrower and provides better penetration. Best for pushing soft to medium soil long distances and moving, stumping, and ditching. 
  • Angle Blade: The blade has an angle that allows any debris caught at the bottom to be moved to the side of the dozer. It’s best used for shaping, evening, and stripping worksites and removing snow, gravel, and medium-hard soil.
  • Power-Angle-Tilt Blade: Attached to the center panel, this blade can be moved and used in different motions. This makes it practical for leveling and scraping medium to hard materials and backfilling and clearing debris. 
  • Cab: The middle area where the operator controls the bulldozer. Depending on your bulldozer, it can have additional safety and comfort features that make navigating easier for the operator. 
  • Engine: Bulldozers have heavy-duty engines that give them the power to demolish or push debris around. 
  • Ripper: A claw attachment behind the dozer used for breaking up land or down the soil. These can come as single or multi-shank rippers.
  • Tracks or Tires: Bulldozers can either have tracks or tires, depending on their use. Tracks are better for construction sites with uneven terrain, while wheels are suitable for soft grounds prone to damage. 

Bulldozers are used in construction and other industries like farming, transportation, and residential and commercial projects. 

Types of Bulldozer Models

There are plenty of variations and hybrids of bulldozers on the market. A few factors that affect your decision can include the following:

  • Your industry.
  • The type of project you’re working on.
  • The worksite’s size and terrain.
  • The materials you plan on using with your bulldozer. 

We can categorize bulldozers into three main types:

Crawler Bulldozers

Key Features:

  • Heavy metal plates that load or push debris and other heavy materials. 
  • Tracks that are better suited for dense and irregular terrain. 
  • Rippers for crushing and clearing terrain. 

Best for: All-around construction projects that need a bulldozer for uneven terrain.

Also known as track bulldozers, this bulldozer type looks similar to tractors but has a heavy metal plate in front. Depending on the size of your crawler dozer, it can have the size and power you need to move debris. Because of their tracks, crawler dozers have good traction, especially in uneven and unstable terrain. 

While they’re an excellent all-around tool on a construction site or project, they’re best for industries and uses requiring high tractive exertion. Smaller crawler bulldozers have less power and are best for areas that need more flexibility than power, while larger dozer crawlers are for moving heavier-duty debris. 

Compact Bulldozers

Key Features:

Smaller size gives it better flexibility and versatility on the site. 

  • Faster driving speed and better handling. 
  • Better maneuverability, particularly in areas with restricted space. 

Best for: Residential work sites and areas with limited space and accessibility. 

These types of dozers are also known as mini-dozers. They’re much smaller than the average bulldozer, which means they have less powerful engines. But what they lack in power, they make up for in speed, handling, and flexibility. 

Compact bulldozers are easier to navigate in tight spaces, making them a good option for average-sized residential properties. They’re also used in grading, evaluating, and clearing land. Ideal for projects that want to focus more on maneuverability and don’t necessarily need more extensive hardware. 

Wheeled Bulldozers

Key Features:

  • It moves on tires, which offer better maneuverability than tracks.
  • Operates on a smaller axis. 
  • It can be used on soft and sensitive ground, as it’s gentler than traditional tracks.

Best for: Tiled outdoor areas, soft grounds, stadiums, and anywhere with outdoor flooring.

Wheeled dozers have large tires instead of tracks. These make driving easier for operators, especially on a smaller axis. It also improves handling and features better hydraulic steering. While the compact bulldozer is versatile because of its size, wheeled dozers are versatile for better movement and handling without sacrificing power and size. 

This is the best option for outdoor projects in areas that have fragile outdoor flooring. For instance, parks, gardens, sidewalks, and other outdoor spaces may have concrete, stone, tiles, or wood that can break under a regular track. These wheels are gentler and reduce the risk of breaking. 

Comparison of Bulldozer Types

The best bulldozer to use depends on your project, its conditions, and how you plan on using it. Here’s an overview of these three types of bulldozer equipment:

Crawler Bulldozer Compact Bulldozer Wheeled Bulldozer
What Is It? A bulldozer with tracks A smaller bulldozer A bulldozer with wheels
Best For Project sites with hard ground and pushing heavy loads Small project sites Areas with soft ground and delicate outdoor flooring
Mobility Average, best for uneven terrain Much more flexible in small spaces, faster mobility Moves on a smaller axis for easier maneuvering
Which One Is Better For:
Moving Heavy Loads
Uneven Terrain
Soft Ground
Clearing Small Areas
Delicate Terrain
Farming Land

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Bulldozer Type

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to help you choose which bulldozer model gives you the best value. 

Crawler Bulldozer Compact Bulldozer Wheeled Bulldozer
  • Better traction and friction as there’s more contact with the ground. 
  • Designed for high loads and to distribute pressure evenly. 
  • Fuel efficient because it requires less fuel consumption to navigate uneven terrain.
  • Offers the most mobility and flexibility compared to larger types of bulldozers.
  • Easier to transport compact bulldozers in smaller areas like residential neighborhoods.
  • Still a more practical solution than manually demolishing and moving debris.
  • Bigger than a crawler but better for more delicate and softer ground. 
  • Moves on a smaller axis, allowing better handling and navigation despite its size. 
  • Best for soft grounds or outdoor areas with fragile flooring that should not be broken. 
  • Tracks can result in compacted soil, which can cause irrigation issues. 
  • Can cause significant noise pollution, especially in smaller areas. 
  • Less durable option when used on slopes.
  • Lacks the same engine power as larger bulldozers. 
  • It may not be suitable for large-scale jobs like tree removal, as it does not have the capacity for root extraction.  
  • Can take longer to remove more debris in larger project sites.
  • Size may also be an issue, especially in areas with limited space. 
  • Its size can lead to problems in smaller spaces, which can cause damage to surrounding structures.
  • Operators may need to adjust the tire grip depending on the project site’s conditions.

Unsure Which Type of Bulldozer to Rent? Contact National Dispatching for Assistance

Bulldozers can be a helpful addition to your worksite’s heavy equipment. With a trained operator inside the correct type of dozer, you can clear out areas, move loads, and get your construction site ready for the next step of your project. 

At National Dispatching, we carry several bulldozers with power ranging from 70 to 259 hp and at different rental rates that can meet your budget. If you’re still unsure which of our units best suits your project’s needs, feel free to contact our team for a recommendation. 

National Dispatching is your source for equipment rentals and industrial solutions. We’ve assisted thousands of projects by providing reliable rental equipment that boosts efficiency and quality. 

Browse our available earthmoving equipment for rent to view our selection of bulldozers, excavators, and other units that help you do the job efficiently. 

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