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articulated dump truck vs rigid dump truck
articulated dump truck vs rigid dump truck
Articulated Dump Truck vs. Rigid Dump Truck: Which One Should You Choose for Your Hauling Needs?
6 minute read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
March 28, 2023

Articulated Dump Truck vs. Rigid Dump Truck: Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to moving large quantities of dirt, rock, and earth on an earthmoving or mining project, few pieces of construction equipment get the job done like articulated dump trucks (ADTs) and rigid dump trucks (RDTs), also called mining trucks or off-highway trucks. Both are designed for off-road hauling but each type of heavy-duty hauling equipment has its differences, costs, use cases, pros, and cons. We cover each of these factors below so you can pick the right one for your next dump truck rental.

What is the difference between Articulated Dump Truck and Rigid Dump Truck?

The primary differences between these two types of haulers are the way they are designed, the range of capacity and payload, and how maneuverable they are on sites.

Design and Features

Articulated dump trucks have the standard cab and dump body, but instead of having a single frame, they are connected by a pivot joint. This joint allows the cab and chassis to move separately, giving them better flexibility to move in narrow or tight areas, while also having a smaller turning radius.

The design of the six-wheel-drive articulating body allows these trucks to keep in contact with the ground at all times. This makes them great for terrains that are muddy, wet, soft, and slippery because they provide great traction. Their suspension and wider tires also give them a more comfortable ride in undesirable conditions.

Volvo articulated dump truck A35F
Volvo articulated dump truck A35F

Rigid dump trucks have the cab and dump body all on one frame. They typically have higher hauling capacities and work great on large-scale projects like quarrying and mining with lots of open space. They are not designed for slippery, muddy environments. Rather, they are designed to perform best on hard-packed, well-maintained roads with their rear-wheel drive capabilities.

Nowadays, both ADTs and RDTs have technology that monitors payload data including the efficiency of each haul, traction control to gauge performance in different conditions, and radars and cameras to improve the driver's performance.

Capacity and Payload

Currently, the articulated dump truck capacity and payload are more limited than mining trucks. ADTs, depending on the brand of manufacturer, typically have a payload capacity between 25 and 60 tons and a heaped capacity between 20 and 46 cubic yards.

Mechanical and mining trucks often can move much heavier payloads, typically ranging between 40 to almost 700 tons. This makes them great for long-term mining and quarrying projects.


Often the main feature between picking these two machines is maneuverability. Because articulated dump trucks can move the cab and dump body separately, they are much better at navigating in tight, confined spaces. This includes job sites that could be affected by switchbacks, low ceilings, and slippery terrain.

If solid roads have been built and well maintained on a project with unlimited space then rigid dump trucks work great. The most important factor in picking an RDT would be their ability to haul more material which can reduce the number of trips and increase efficiency. Rigid dump trucks should be avoided if you're not working with flat terrain.

Articulated Dump Truck vs. Rigid Dump Truck Rental Cost: How much does it cost to rent?

Articulated dump truck rental costs will change depending on your market. However, the average cost to rent an ADT is $1,600 per day, $4,500 per week, or $12,600 per month. To get an accurate depiction of what the rental cost of an articulated dump truck is in your area, you can search our rental pages.

John Deere articulated dump truck on site

Rigid dump trucks are typically much more expensive with rental prices around $25,000 per month depending on the market. For more information about RDT rental prices, we recommend calling our sales reps.

Which one should you choose for your project?

When it comes to picking between an ADT or RDT for a project, cost should come into consideration, as should other factors we've mentioned above including ground conditions, the type of job, the size of the site, and the amount of payload needed.

Articulated Dump Truck Use Cases and Benefits

Articulated dump trucks should be chosen if working on wet, muddy, or slippery sites due to their traction capabilities. This level of traction makes them stable in all environments and allows them to work great even on terrain with tons of slopes.

The types of jobs for articulated dump trucks can range anywhere from medium to heavy-duty earthmoving projects like land clearing for a pond or residential development. They also have the payload capacity for quarries and mines.

As for the size of the site, they can work on any project type, but work best in narrow, confined spaces. This is what gives them their competitive edge over rigid dump trucks. On jobs that have lots of open space, RDTs will help with moving more dirt faster.

Lastly, the amount of payload needed will also play an important factor in choosing which type of dump truck to use. If you're looking to haul smaller amounts of dirt per trip then articulating dump trucks will get the job done at a much cheaper rental cost.

Rigid Dump Truck Use Cases and Benefits

Alternatively, rigid dump trucks should only be your go-to hauler if working on a construction site with well-maintained, compacted roads. As they are rear-wheel drive, their traction in wet environments is nowhere near the performance of ADTs.

Typically only used in large-scale mining and quarrying jobs, they are used for the biggest projects imaginable. If you're not looking to move lots of heavy rock and minerals, an articulated dump truck is probably the better machine.

Rigid dump truck on a construction site

They also require sites with tons of open space and wide roads. Rigid dump trucks won't be optimal in tight, confined spaces which will really depend on the location of the job. Open-pit mines are great sites for RDTs to be used, primarily because of their size and hauling capabilities.

Pros and Cons of Articulated Dump Trucks and Rigid Dump Trucks

As a summary, here are some of the pros and cons of articulated dump trucks and rigid dump trucks.

Articulated Dump Truck Pros and Cons


  • They have wider tires which help with evening out the load and give them more suspension on uneven terrain

  • They can drive on grades up to 35%, giving them the ability to work on many jobs

  • Have great traction on uneven, muddy, wet, steep, rocky, and rough terrain

  • Because of the dump body suspension quality, less material is lost in transportation

  • Can operate beautifully on narrow, confined projects

  • Typically have more fuel efficiency and versatility than RDTs


  • Provide less range in payload and heaped capacities

  • Better for jobs with shorter haul distances

Rigid Dump Truck Pros and Cons


  • Can handle high-impact loads like rocks and mining materials better

  • Have a wider range of payload and heaped capacities

  • Can haul materials further and at higher speeds

  • Stronger and have more longevity than ADTs


  • Best to operate on well-maintained roads which can be costly to build in the first place

  • They have a large turning radius which makes them unusable on smaller, confined projects

  • Not great on uneven, wet terrain

Picking Between An ADT vs RDT

Clearly, there are some key differences between the performance of articulated dump trucks and rigid dump trucks. We hope this has helped you figure out what type of dump truck you need for your next off-highway hauling project.

For any ADT or heavy equipment rentals, check out the DOZR Marketplace or click the button above. For a rigid dump truck, you can call our sales team to get a rental estimate.

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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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