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Types of Demolition Machinery for Your Next Job

Types of Demolition Machinery for Your Next Job

Demolition work requires heavy equipment and material handlers, and you can find many different pieces of demolition equipment that suit different jobs. Demolition jobs include clearing debris, hauling debris, breaking down buildings, breaking up hard surfaces, and moving heavy material off-site.

You will need to carefully choose your demolition machinery based on the job you want done. Different machines offer specific demolition tools that work best for different tasks. Some come with multiple attachments and come in different sizes and working heights, and some demo equipment even uses explosives that might be needed for large-scale projects.

Demolition projects include everything from hauling debris to breaking up asphalt. This guide helps you zero in on your task to determine what equipment you need.

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Versatile Demolition Machines

Three main types of demolition machinery are versatile for breaking ground, digging, crushing, deconstruction, and removing materials.

versatile demolition machines


A demolition excavator is a heavy-duty piece of construction equipment with a bucket attached to an arm that is good for digging and breaking up ground. Excavators have many attachment options, such as a hydraulic hammer, concrete cutters, concrete busters, grapples, crusher bucket, pulverizers, and more.

Hydraulic excavators use a hydraulically rotating upper deck attached to a wheeled or crawler undercarriage. These excavators come in several types themselves: long-reach excavators have long arm and boom sections that work well in hard-to-reach places for the purposes of demolition, while wheeled excavators work well on uneven terrain, as well as asphalt and concrete surfaces. Other types of excavators, like crawler excavators, on tracks, work best on uneven ground like hills.

Excavators come in all shapes and sizes, from large excavators down to the mini excavators. These small machines work best for smaller or narrower job sites that require tight maneuvering specific to demolitions—such as with removing an in-ground pool, for example. Larger size excavators can be used for home and commercial demolition projects—at BigRentz, we have some excavator rental options that might fit your needs.

Excavator uses for demolition include:

  • Transferring materials from worksites to truck beds
  • Inground pool removal
  • Residential and commercial demolition projects

Best terrain for excavators:

  • Uneven terrain for track excavators
  • Even or flat surfaces for wheeled excavators
  • Residential and commercial sites

Sample rental cost for a 50000-59000 lb excavator*:

  • Day: $618
  • Week: $2,019
  • Month: $5,460

Skid Steer Loaders

Another demolition option is known as a skid steer loader, which is used for digging tasks and can help with demolishing concrete. The size of the skid steer loader matters for the project: smaller ones are good for interior demolition while large skid steers are best for large-scale demolition projects on your construction site.

Keep in mind that skid steer loaders must be transported to the site by a semi-truck. Once it’s on the job site, however, it’s a very versatile piece of equipment with lots of attachments. The primary attachment is a bucket that lifts and moves heavy materials, but it can be swapped for a ripper attachment or a grapple bucket that can pick up and clear debris.

Don’t confuse a skid steer loader with a track loader, as the skid steer is more ideally suited for hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete, and it can maneuver better in small spaces with lighter loads. They generally range from 700 lb to 3,999 lb of capacity.

Skid steer loader uses for demolition include:

  • Versatile with attachment options meant for breaking ground, moving materials, or picking up large objects
  • Breaking asphalt or concrete in commercial or residential areas
  • Moving demolition debris materials

Best terrain for skid steers:

  • Hard surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, or pavement
  • Small spaces

Sample rental cost for 3000-3999 lb wheel skid steer loader*:

  • Day: $269
  • Week: $836
  • Month: $2,255

Track Loaders

Track loaders have lots of similarities to skid steer loaders—the key difference is that they operate on tracks, not wheels. This allows them to maneuver better on uneven terrain and get more traction than a skid steer.

They are used for the same tasks as skid steers like breaking up ground, digging, and scooping up materials. But they can handle heavier loads due to their traction, and they are better on soft soils like sand and gravel. They shouldn’t be used on asphalt and concrete as they can damage the surface. Like the other pieces of equipment, track loaders come in different sizes ranging from 500 lb of capacity up to 3,999 lb.

Track loader uses for demolition include:

  • Versatile with attachment options meant for breaking ground, moving materials, or picking up large objects
  • Breaking asphalt or concrete in commercial or residential areas
  • Working on unstable terrain with short distances required to dig and move demolition debris

Best terrain for track loaders:

  • Undeveloped and uneven terrain
  • Soft and slippery muddy ground
  • Short distances between tasks

Sample rental cost for a 2500-2999 lb track skid steer loader*:

  • Day: $341
  • Week: $1,016
  • Month: $2,877

Machines for Hauling and Moving Debris

If it’s debris removal and hauling you need, you can use three types of machinery particularly suited for that job.

machines for hauling and moving debris

Articulated Trucks

Articulated trucks are dump trucks that have a pivot point directly behind the cab so they can maneuver better on unstable and rough terrain on a demolition site. They can carry and transport large amounts of wood, brick, steel, and other heavy materials and are able to drive through demolition sites easily.

Articulated truck uses for demolition include:

  • Transporting large amounts of materials at once
  • Hauling materials on-to-off road locations
  • Clearing land

Best terrain for articulated trucks:

  • Rough terrain
  • Slippery muck
  • Steep grades
  • Deep and rugged ruts


Bulldozers are good for pushing heavy debris from place to place with various blade attachments. They also have rippers at the rear of the bulldozer that can break down rocks and earth. You can also use a rake attachment that can result in a smoother push of large piles of debris.

Bulldozers also come in several types, such as crawler, wheel, and mini. Crawler bulldozers are better for small-scale sites on irregular terrain, like plains and fields. Wheel bulldozers, on the other hand, are the bigger vehicles that are best on softer ground for leveling and clearing large areas.

Mini bulldozers are used in small spaces, like residential sites. There are several different bulldozer size options to choose from, ranging from 70 hp (horsepower) up to as high as 249 hp.

Bulldozer uses for demolition include:

  • Loading and pushing heavy objects or demolition debris materials
  • Clearing and leveling grounds

Best terrain for bulldozers:

  • Fields or plains
  • Uneven and irregular terrain

Sample rental cost for a 90-99 hp bulldozer*:

  • Day: $567
  • Week: $1,549
  • Month: $4,520

Wheel Loaders

A wheel loader has a front-mounted bucket that is good for digging into the ground and scooping materials like soil, rock, and demolition debris. Loaders come in many types, such as skid, track, and backhoe, each with a different purpose. For example, wheel loaders are best for transporting large loads to and from sites, while a skid steer loader must be transported by semi-truck.

Wheel loaders are ideal for jobs that involve moving rubble or materials from place to place easily due to their maneuverability as compared to a tracked vehicle. Various sizes are available for rent, from 2-cubic-yard loaders to vehicles that are twice that size.

Wheel loader uses for demolition include:

  • Hauling fine materials, such as sand and soil
  • Moving large materials like rocks and demolition debris
  • Placing loads into other equipment
  • Digging to move heavy materials

Best terrain for wheel loaders:

  • Uneven terrain with rocks, wood, soil, demolition debris, or waste

Sample rental cost for a 4 cu yd articulating wheel loader*:

  • Day: $694
  • Week: $2,040
  • Month: $6,113

*Rental prices vary by market and are based on availability for a particular item.

Machines for Breaking Down Tall Structures

Another category of demolition machines are those that can break down tall structures. This comes down to one type of machine: cranes.

cranes for breaking down tall structures


Cranes are used for a type of high-reach demolition called TopDownWay, which is a method of safely and efficiently breaking down tall buildings and skyscrapers. This method prevents negative environmental effects like dust, debris, and noise. In this process, the operator uses the crane to demolish the building, starting at the top and working downward, floor by floor. BigRentz has crane rental options to choose from if you are demolishing a skyscraper.

Crane uses for demolition include:

  • Helps remove levels of buildings

Best terrain for cranes:

  • On buildings
  • Soft or smooth ground
  • Uneven terrain

Demolition Safety Measures

When taking on a demolition project, safety should always be the number-one priority. Ensure that everyone is capable and trained to use the heavy machinery you’ve rented, and put in place safety measures, such advising site workers, operators, engineers, and supervisors of hazardous and flammable materials and potential exposure to unsafe chemicals, noise, or dust. Make sure you have the correct permits in place as well.

Ensuring you have the right demolition machinery, such as a bulldozer or an excavator, is important for safety, too. After all, you don’t want to get a machine that can’t handle the loads you need to move, which creates a tipping risk that endangers the operator.

By reviewing this guide, you will be able to make the right choice. And if you’ve still got questions, ask the professionals at BigRentz. We’re here to help.

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