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Tim Forestell
April 13, 2021

Like most things in the world, construction equipment is given nicknames and terms of endearment. These special and unique names depending on who’s speaking, where they live, and what they’re using the machine for. The challenge with this, though, is that certain names are incredibly specific to locations and geographical areas. This can make it confusing for contractors when working in new locations, when looking for construction equipment to rent or when trying to plan projects with new companies. 

Here are some alternative names for popular pieces of construction equipment!

Excavators

Perhaps one of the most recognized pieces of equipment, excavators do have many different names. 

Simply calling it the “ex” is the most popular short form. There’s also digger, crawler, trackhoes, or on a more technical note – mechanical shovels. The trackhoe nicknames come from the comparison to the backhoe since most excavators move by tracks. 

There are variants in these terms as well depending on if you’re speaking about a more specialized type of excavator. Wheeled excavators are lovingly referred to as Rubber Ducks for how they bounce and bob around on the rubber wheels. Mini excavators are mini-diggers, mini-hoes, mini-ex’s or even simply a shovel. 

Excavator digging and dumping dirt

Telehandlers

Although it’s a diverse and powerful machine, not all contractors know what a telehandler is. This may be because it’s also referred to as a material handler or a lull. The term lull is mostly used in the southern USA and refers to a specific make of telehandler that was popular in the south in the past. 

Because it mirrors the look and use of a forklift, telehandlers are also called reach forklifts, variable fork reach, tele-forks, or teleporter. Another fun name for telehandlers is the “zoom boom”. Telehandlers are also commonly called the cherry picker – although this term more commonly refers to a boom lift. 

Telehandler with fork attachment driving on construction site

Skid Steers

Skid steers or skid steer loaders are most commonly called a Bobcat. This is because Bobcat is the most common manufacturer of skid steers is Bobcat. It’s the same way that all facial tissues are called “Kleenex” although Kleenex is actually a brand. 

Skid steers are also called skid loaders, a compact tracked loader (or wheeled loader if it has wheels) and just compact loaders. They are commonly rented with mini excavators and the two work together on many small or landscaping DIY projects.

Skid steer loader dumping load of sand

Tractors

While tractors are most common on farms they have become more popular in construction and snow removal for being an easy-to-use and fuel-friendly alternative when hauling and moving equipment. Tractors are sometimes referred to by the attachments they have such as a cultivator, tiller, plow, etc.

Loaders

Loaders are one of the most powerful machines for lifting and moving heavy loads of material. Loaders are also called wheeled loaders, front loader, scoop, bucket loader, skip loader, payloader or high lift. Some people put skid steers and wheel loaders in the same category. 

Wheel loader driving carrying rocks

Dozers

Dozers are a plowing, destroying, leveling and pushing machine like no other. Their full name is the bulldozer. Some people refer to bulldozers simply as a D6 – a popular make of Caterpillar bulldozer. Dozers are also called crawlers because they use a crawler tread to move along grass, dirt, mud or demolished material.

Man Lifts

Man lifts and aerial lifts are an interesting category because there are a few different types of lifts already. Telescopic booms, straight booms and scissor lifts are the three main varieties of man lift. Boom lifts are often called cherry pickers but all three could simply be referred to as a lift.

Many Names for Mighty Machines

Whatever you call a piece of construction machinery, every type has its own strengths and uses for all kinds of projects. Find the machine you need for your project on DOZR.com – no matter what you call it. 

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Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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