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Choosing the Right Garbage Truck for the Task

Types of Garbage Trucks

When investing in a new garbage truck for your fleet, you can make your best decision if you know your options. Many types of garbage trucks are on the market, so choosing can be difficult. To get you started, this handy guide from Hardline Equipmentdiscusses the different kinds of garbage trucks and their benefits to help you make an informed decision.

Different Types of Garbage Trucks

Garbage trucks come in four basic styles;you can customize some to your needs. We’ll discuss the features and benefits of each below.


A frontloader garbage truck faces the container it is emptying. Its front forks slide into the waste container’s sleeves or pockets designed for the purpose and lift the dumpster over the cab. The mechanism turns the dumpster over, emptying the refuse into the hopper and lowering the dumpster to the ground. The truck then compacts the waste, pushing it to the back.

Frontloaders are most efficient for use with commercial and industrial dumpsters.


Rearloading garbage trucks open in the back, and this configuration is convenient if the waste worker dumps the refuse manually. You can also fit rearloaders with a chain or cable lifting mechanism that automatically lifts and dumps residential trash, recycling, or dumpsters.


Sideloading garbage trucks pull up to the curb next to residential bins. Operators can load these trucks manually, or, more commonly, automated forks grab the container and lift it, turning it over into a well in the top front of the truck. A mechanism forces waste from the well into the hopper,where a compacter flattens it and pushes it toward the back of the truck.

Sideloaders are at their best in residential neighborhoods.

Roll-Off Trucks

A roll-off truck handles trash differently than a front, side, or rearloader. Instead of lifting and emptying a dumpster into a hopper, the truck uses a winch or hydraulic lift to load the wheeled dumpster onto the back. The roll-off truck has anchors to secure the dumpster safely to the bed.

When the roll-off truck reaches the dump point, the operator anchors the rear doors open, raises the dumpster, and gravity pulls the waste out of the back of the dumpster. The winch or hydraulic system then lowers the dumpster back onto the truck bed, and the operator takes it to its next location.

Benefits of Different Types of Garbage Trucks

Each garbage truck style has benefits for different types of waste collection. This section will discuss the best applications for each type and why.


Frontloaders are best for a commercial or industrial dumpster route, and they can lift tremendous amounts of weight, up to 8,000 lbs. and 40 cubic yards at full capacity. These dumpsters typically sit behind an apartment complex, restaurant, or commercial establishment, collecting refuse from these establishments until emptied at the site.

Frontloaders are fast and efficient for commercial or industrial waste removal. The movable forks easily lift bulky containers, capably hoist them overhead and dump them into the hopper while the operator stays safely in the cab.

These trucks have a high capacity, reducing trips to the landfill.


Rearloaders are a rugged, practical, traditional style of garbage truck for residential or commercial waste hauling. These trucks are particularly versatile and incur less cost for repair and maintenance than the other garbage truck styles.

While more economical than the other truck types, a single operator cannot run a rearloader. They are a bit slower, and waste workers will need the strength to raise and dump bins into the hopper.


When you have large neighborhoods with consistent containers to cover, a sideloader is likely your best bet. A single operator operates these trucks, stays safely in the truck, and never has to handle the trash. These trucks are highly efficient and can empty up to 950 cans daily.

The arms are strong and efficient for typical residential trash and recycling containers but top out at about 800 pounds.

Roll-Off Trucks

Heavy-duty commercial routes for large construction, industrial, or disaster recovery operations often have a high-capacity dumpster onsite. A roll-off truck capably handles this type of waste load.

Roll-off trucks can carry up to 10 tons of waste to the landfill, and a single person can operate them. If the truck operates using a winch, the operator exits the truck to attach and release the winch. Hydraulically-operated roll-off trucks operate automatically.

These trucks are versatile, efficiently addressing different types of waste hauling, and because they have fewer moving parts than a garbage truck, they need less maintenance.

Hardline Equipment Supplier

Hardline Equipment carries a broad selection of quality-built garbage trucksand related equipment built for different purposes. We carry the tough Amrep and Loadmaster trucks and quality Perkins lifters.

Our commitment to customer service is second to none. Our knowledgeable team helps you review your needs and choose the truck that will give you the most return for your money.

A Few Final Words

When you need to add a garbage truck to your fleet, Hardline Equipment can help you select the optimal solution. Different garbage truck models have different strengths; part of the value we add is our experience. Contact us today at 720-702-8355. We’ll be happy to discuss your needs.

The conclusion will summarize the content and provide a call to action for readers to contact Hardline Equipment Supplier for their garbage truck needs.


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