How to correctly identify different kinds of common construction equipment.

I have been noticing for a long time that many otherwise well-educated, intelligent people haven't got a clue about how to correctly identify common types of heavy construction equipment. Such people usually just randomly call everything they see, either a bulldozer (most commonly) and/or a loader. Occasionally, if they're feeling especially daring, they'll sprinkle in the word backhoe. But they almost always misuse these words.

I am here to tell you - if you should happen to be one of these unfortunate people. These words mean things. Very specific things. And by misusing them, you sound like a total idiot.

This, then, is my attempt to help all of those ignorant people.


Equipment name:  Bulldozer

Key feature for identification:
Blade (not a bucket of any sort), also tracks rather than wheels.

Equipment name:  Loader

Key feature for identification:
Extremely large front bucket, also articulated frame (front and back ends can pivot on a large joint in the middle).

Equipment name:  Backhoe

Key feature for identification:
Presence of a backhoe (small bucket mounted on a boom) on the back of the machine, almost always also has a front bucket (smaller than a loader).

Equipment name:  Excavator

Key feature for identification:
Large front boom, with a large bucket, also, generally tracked, though sometimes wheeled.