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

Dumper or dump trucks are one of the most important means of transportation of construction materials from one place to another. So, while you’re managing material delivery; you need to know how many cubic yards are in a dump truck or how many tons does a dump truck hold.

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 how many cubic yards does a dump truck hold.

Knowing exactly how many cubic yards are in a dumper is critical because it directly affects the overall cost of the construction project.

Having sufficient details of dump truck capacity eliminates the chances of over-budgeting, also it will help you to plan how many dump truck trips it will take to fulfill the desired requirement. In the case of excavation, you can determine the dump truck trips to get rid of soil after excavation.

Be it demolition or some landscaping venture, for hiring delivery services; you’re always wondering how many cubic yards in a dump truck. Be it gravel, dirt, mulch, topsoil, or rock; you got the estimate of material for your project but don’t know how many cubic yards can a dump truck hold

Cars & Trucks Exports 2020
Cars & Trucks Exports 2020

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.

For 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 of stone in dump truck.

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 dump truck size is usually 3-4 feet tall and 10-18 feet long. A dump truck carrying capacity may vary, however, full-size dump trucks normally have a carrying capacity of 10-16 cubic yards. The dump truck carrying capacity for different materials is as follows:

MaterialDump Truck Capacity         (Cubic Yards)
Gravel16.5
Top Soil15
Stones12
Dirt14
Mulch22
Sand19
Dump truck capacity for different materials

So, how many cubic yards of dirt in a dump truck? 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.

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
Limestone1602560
Loam801280
Mud, flowing1081730
Mud, steady1151840
Rock, well blasted1552480
Sand, dry971555
Sand, wet1191905
Density of different earthwork materials

How many yards of gravel in a dump truck?

We recommend using a standard 10 feet long dump 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 the dumper body. So, if you multiply the width × length × height of the dumper 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 dumper has a dump 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 many cubic yards does a dump truck hold?

Normally, most full-size dumpers have a capacity of around 10-19 cubic yards. 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. 

How many Yards does a dump truck hold?

When procuring loose material, it is very important to understand how big a yard is and how much it weighs. A dump truck’s hold capacity varies as there are different sizes of dumper available. A full-size dumper can hold material 7 to 19 cubic yards, whereas a small-size dumper can hold material around 1.5 to 3 yards.

But remember, a Dump truck’s body shape can also affect the material capacity.

How many tons does a dump truck hold?

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

Dirt Cubic Yard Capacity of a Dump Truck:

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 dumper.

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

Gravel Cubic Yard Capacity of a Dump Truck:

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.

Also Read: Bulldozer uses in Construction – Types – Blade sizes

How many cubic yards are in a 14 ton dump truck?

For a dump truck with carrying capacity of 14 tons can carry 10 to 13 cubic yards of dirt in one trip. For dry loose dirt the cubic yards will be less while for the wet loose dirt the cubic yards will be more. You can calculate the cubic yards of a dump truck, by dividing the weight carrying capacity (14 tons) of truck with the density of the dirt or material.

Also Read: Weight of concrete per cubic foot – With Examples – (Including Calculator)

How many cubic yards are in a 15 ton dump truck?

For a dump truck with carrying capacity of 15 tons can carry 11 to 14 cubic yards of dirt in one trip. For dry loose dirt the cubic yards will be less while for the wet loose dirt the cubic yards will be more. You can calculate the cubic yards of a dump truck, by dividing the weight carrying capacity of truck with the density of the dirt or material.

So, for a 15 ton dump truck, the weight equals 30,000 pounds. So, if the density of the dry loose dirt is 76 lb/ft3 that means dividing 30,000 / 76 we get 394 ft3. Now as 1 cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet. So dividing 394 / 27 equals 14.59 cubic yards. That means a 15 ton truck can carrying 14.59 cubic yards of dirt in one trip.  

Also Read: How much does brick weigh? Average brick weight

How many cubic yards are in a 20 ton dump truck?

For a dump truck with carrying capacity of 20 tons can carry 13 to 19 cubic yards of dirt in one trip. For dry loose dirt the cubic yards will be less while for the wet loose dirt the cubic yards will be more. You can calculate the cubic yards of a dump truck, by dividing the weight carrying capacity (20 tons) of truck with the density of the dirt (75 lb/ft3) or material.

So, for a 20 ton dump truck, the weight equals 40,000 pounds. So, if the density of the dry loose dirt is 76 lb/ft3 that means dividing 40,000 / 76 we get 526 ft3. Now as 1 cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet. So dividing 526 / 27 equals 19 cubic yards. That means a 15 ton truck can carrying 19 cubic yards of dirt in one trip.  

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

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. So, there’s no sure short answer for how many cubic yards are in a dump truck. One cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet. Therefore, dump truck carrying weight would be different for different materials.

Further Read: https://definecivil.com/how-much-does-a-cinder-block-weigh/

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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