On-Highway vs. Off-Highway Dump Trucks

On-Highway vs. Off-Highway Dump Trucks

Though they have similar functions, on-highway and off-highway dump trucks are optimized for completely different purposes. Learn more about the differences between on-highway and off-highway dump trucks with the earthmoving experts at The Cat® Rental Store. 

What Are the Different Types of Dump Trucks?

Dump trucks are typically split into the following categories: 

On-Road Dump Trucks

On-road dump trucks can brave job sites and highways with ease. There are eight main types of on-road dump trucks: 

  • Standard dump trucks: The standard dump truck has a hydraulically adjustable bed and is designed to easily maneuver congested job sites thanks to its relatively small wheelbase. 
  • Super dump trucks: A super dump truck has the same abilities as a standard model but with a much higher load-bearing capacity of 13,000 pounds. These trucks have a trailing axle 11 feet behind their rear tandem axle and are the maximum allowable length on the road.
  • Transfer dump trucks: Transfer trucks increase payload capacity and allow dump trucks to carry two types of materials without mixing them by using a detachable trailer.
  • Truck and pup trucks: Like transfer dump trucks, truck and pups are designed for hauling separate materials, yet are capable of standalone dumping. 
  • Winter service vehicles: While winter service vehicles resemble dump trucks, they are instead used to spread materials such as salt and grit while in transit. 
  • Semi-trailer end dumps: These trucks are the basic form of trailer dumps and have a detachable, two-axle trailer that increases their payload. They are also available in bottom-dump configurations.
  • Double- and triple-trailer bottom dumps: These trailers use a two-axle configuration to pull a single-axle semi-trailer alongside a full trailer. They are cumbersome to maneuver, but they can carry a great deal of material.
  • Side dump trucks: Side dump trucks allow for faster material unloading and increased safety.

Off-Road Dump Trucks

While off-road dump trucks may be limited in their driving capabilities, they more than make up for it in their hauling capacity. Off-road dump trucks fall into two categories — articulated dump trucks (ADTs) and rigid haul trucks. Rigid haul and articulated dump trucks each have the following advantages: 

Rigid Haul Trucks

Rigid haul trucks are the simpler of the two configurations. While rigid haul trucks may not be extremely flexible in their maneuvering capabilities, they can haul significantly more than ADTs. Even the smallest rigid haul style dump trucks have a weight capacity of around 60 tons, while the largest trucks have weight capacities of up to 500 tons. Due to their high weight capacity and off-road designation, almost all rigid haul trucks are used for mining operations.

Articulated Dump Trucks 

Articulated dump trucks are the most common type of off-road dump trucks due to their versatility. Their articulating center joint allows them to maneuver rough terrain with ease at the cost of weight capacity. Most ADTs have a haul capacity between 25 and 45 tons, though many international models haul between 10 and 30 tons. 

Find a Variety of Dump Truck Rentals at The Cat® Rental Store

To learn more about our products, or to schedule a free rental quote, call 1-800-RENT-CAT or browse our equipment online and rent the right dump truck for your operation.

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