How many cubic yards are in a dump truck? (Capacity Chart)

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: December 6, 2023 | ⏳Time to read:10 min

Dumper or dump trucks are one of the most important means of hauling construction materials from one place to another. So, while you’re managing material delivery; you need to know dump truck capacity in cubic yards or knowing tonnage capacity of a truck.

Well, Construction material includes sand, water, coarse, aggregate, massive stone, topsoil, and dirt. The cost Engineer and Planning Engineer can easily determine the number of trips for each cubic yard of material needed to complete the project if they know the dump truck capacity.

By using the capacity charts you’ll be able to

  • Eliminates the chances of over-budgeting
  • To plan how many truck trips it will take to fulfill the desired material requirements.
  • Determine the truck trips to get rid of soil after excavation.

The capacity or cubic yardage of a typical dump truck is around 10 to 16 cubic yards but still it can vary depending on the type of vehicle as well as the material.

A dump truck can hold more of gravel than that of cubic yards of stone because of the packing factor.

All the loose materials – gravel, stone, dirt, topsoil, and mulch – will require different number of trips even if the estimated volume is same.

Example – If you’re working on gardening project and require 20 cubic yards of mulch as an estimate. But along the same project, you need a dirt fill of 20 cubic yards. So, you might need 2 trips of dump truck for mulch but for backfill you have to order 4 trips.

How many cubic yards are in a dump truck?

Table of Contents

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The number of cubic yards of the same dump truck would be different for different materials. A truck size is usually 3-4 feet tall and 10-18 feet long. However, it’s material carrying capacity may vary, however, full-size trucks normally have a carrying capacity of 10-16 cubic yards. On the basis of material the carrying capacity for can be estimated as:

MaterialDump Truck Capacity         (Cubic Yards)
Top Soil15
Carrying Capacity for different materials
  • Dirt: Well a loose dry dirt (bulk conditions) has a density of 76 lb/ft3 and thus on that basis a dump truck can take 14 cubic yards of dirt in one go.
A full size dump truck can carry between 7-19 cubic yards in a dump truck. But smaller dump body pickups can only carry about 2-3 yards.

Also Read: How much does a yard of sand weigh? (Sand Weight per Yard)

Here’re densities of different materials:

MaterialDensity in lb/ft3Density in kg/m3
Dirt, loose dry761220
Dirt, loose moist781250
Clay, dry1001600
Clay, wet1101760
Gravel, dry1051680
Gravel, Wet1252000
Mud, flowing1081730
Mud, steady1151840
Rock, well blasted1552480
Sand, dry971555
Sand, wet1191905
Density of different earthwork materials


We recommend using a standard 10 feet long truck that can carry about 15 to 16.5 cubic yards of gravel per trip or per truck load. So, if you’re planning to have gravel on your budget you can divide the total volume of gravel needed by the 16.5 to get the total number of trips required of a standard size dump truck.

What is a Cubic Yard?

The carrying capacity of a dumper is not only measured in cubic yards but also it can be measured in tons or pounds depending on the nature of the business. Cubic yards of any material means the amount of material it will need to fill a cube of 3 feet wide × 3 feet long × 3 feet high.  Therefore, one cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet.

As mentioned earlier, the weight of one cubic yard fluctuates depending on the nature of the material. For loose materials like sand, gravel, dirt, and crushed stone the dump truck’s carrying capacity would be around 7-19 cubic yards. It happens because of their weight because one cubic yard of crushed limestone can weigh around 3,000 pounds per yard, whereas one cubic yard of dry dirt weighs around 2,100 pounds per yard.

Also Read: How many yards are in a ton of gravel? (with Online Calculator)

The number of cubic yards in a dump truck:

Cubic yards in a dump truck depending on the size of body. So, if you multiply the width × length × height of the body, you will get the storage capacity of the dumper. Now by dividing it by 27, you will get the cubic yards. Mostly full-size truck has a bed of 7 ½ feet wide, 3 ½ -4 ½ feet tall, and 10-18 feet long.

You need to calculate the volume of material before placing the order. In general practice, materials are ordered by the yard and not by weight.

Therefore, to calculate the volume just multiply the length × width and depth of an area to get the cubic feet of an area. After multiplication, divide the value by 27, which will give you the volume in cubic yards. At least, add 5% to 10% extra material for every project as it will compensate for any by chance wastage.

How to Calculate?

If you are having trouble finding your dumper cubic yard’s capacity, don’t worry there is an easy way to find out the capacity just using a measuring tape and some basic math.

  • First thing first, measure the inside depth of the truck bed.
  • After measuring the width, measure the inside length of the truck bed and the height of the truck bed from the bottom to the top of the wall.
  • After taking the three measurements of the inside dimensions of the truck bed, convert all the needed inches into feet and fractions into decimals for the sake of calculation.
  • Using basic multiplication of length × width × height; you have the dump truck’s capacity in cubic feet. As you know, there are 27 cubic feet in 1 cubic yard, now by dividing the number of cubic feet by the dump truck value; you will get the value in cubic yards. 

Capacity in Tons

Depending on the size, a truck can hold dirt, gravel or sand for weight of about 8 to 14 tons. Larger trucks of size 16 to 18 feet in length can carry 14 tons or even more depending on the capacity. But for small trucks of length 9 feet, for such it can carry 8 tons at maximum.

Dirt Carrying Capacity

Earth fill or dirt approximately weighs 2,100 pounds dry and up to 3,000 pounds wet, per yard. Keeping in mind the carrying capacity of dumpers, we can precisely calculate the number of trips and budget at the same time. Depending on the maturity of your backfill or dirt whether it’s wet or dry, you can order an appropriate size.

As for now, consider a full-size and you have a backfill of 30,000 pounds or 15 cubic yards, if it is dry soil then a full-size 15 tons will do the trick.

Whereas if it is wet backfill then the dumper can only dispose of 10 cubic yards of wet backfill. This is because dump trucks have weight limitations.

For Gravel

Aggregate or gravel approximately weighs 2,800 pounds dry and up to 3,000 pounds wet, per yard. Consider a full-size 15 tons dumper, now if you have aggregate weights of around 30,000 pounds, then can only carry 10.2 cubic yards of dry aggregate or gravel and 10 cubic yards of wet gravel. It is very important to keep in mind the maximum loading capacity of the dumper to avoid over-weighting its weight limit.

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Truck typeLoaded weight (dirt)
14 tons10 to 13 cubic yards
15 tons11 to 14 cubic yards
20 tons13 to 19 cubic yards
Different sizes of dump truck and their load carrying capacity

Dump Truck Capacity Chart

SizeHeight Range (ft)Bed Length Range (ft)Capacity Range (cu yd)
Small Dump Truck8 – 108 – 125 – 6
Medium Dump Truck9 – 1212 – 1610 – 14
Large Dump Truck11 – 1415 – 2015 – 30
Articulated Truck12 – 1520 – 3025 – 40

Final Remarks:

Dump truck size and weight carrying capacity vary depending on the nature of the material whether it’s wet dirt or dry dirt, wet gravel or dry gravel, loose material or coarse material. One cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet. Therefore, truck carrying weight would be different for different materials.

Further Read:

Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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