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How Many Cubic Yards in A Dump Truck?

How Many Cubic Yards in A Dump Truck?

Knowing how many cubic yards in a dump truck is essential information for any construction project. In general, most dump trucks have a capacity between 10 and 16 cubic yards. However, some smaller dump trucks only hold 1 1/2 cubic yards. 

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Dump trucks are one of the most important vehicles that you will need for any construction project. Understanding how many cubic yards in a dump truck is essential because it goes directly towards the final project budget. 

Construction project managers can easily determine the amount of concrete, sand, stone, or any other material needed to complete the project. However, determining how many dump truck trips or needed can be challenging because it involves calculating the number of cubic yards for each dump truck. 

This article provides you with a detailed explanation of how to determine your dump truck's capacity in cubic yards. It goes through the basics of the cubic yard, the weight of the cubic yard, and the way to calculate the number of cubic yards in each dump truck. 

What is a cubic yard? 

Before we dive into the details about how many cubic yards, let's step back and make sure that we know the cubic yard in the 1st place.

The cubic yard is a standard measurement to determine the quantity of certain construction material. It refers to the amount of material you need to fill a net volume of a 1-yard cube. In other words, if you have an area with a 1 yard high, wide, long, and you can fill it with a certain material, then you achieved one cubic yard. 

Having a sense of the cubic yard is very important because it helps you understand how much costs you have to pay for a certain construction project. If you sell not getting how much is a cubic yard, converting it into feet might be a little helpful. Every one cubic yard has 27 cubic feet.

What is the weight of a cubic yard? 

Keep in mind that the one cubic yard for a dry material does not have the same weight as at once material. This is because the wet material can't compress down more, and therefore it will take much more material to fill the one cubic yard than dry material. Therefore, the side understood what the cubic yard is; it is also essential to understand the weight of the cubic yard itself. 

Therefore, when you purchase one cubic yard of sand, you'll not get the same weight as another cubic yard of mulch. 

Here's a quick table to help you get some sense about the weight of a cubic yard by material:

Material Weight of cubic yard in pounds
Mulch  1000 
Stone, sand, and gravel  Around 3000 
Soil  2200 


Keep in mind that even the same material might vary in the weight of a cubic yard depending on the amount of moisture.

How to measure how many cubic yards of material do I need? 

If you're managing a certain construction project, you need to learn how to measure how many cubic yards you need. This way, you can determine the total amount of cubic yard needed so you can determine the number of trips your dump truck has to perform to complete transporting the project materials.

Keep in mind that plenty of available online tools can easily and quickly calculate how many cubic yards you need for a certain area. However, learning the basics can help you sense what numbers you get and help you QC the results you'll get from these calculators.

In general, here is how you can calculate how much material you need for a certain area: 

  • Determine the total area of your projects. You can do so by calculating the width and length of feet.
  • Calculate the total material death you're planning to have intentions 
  • Perform a quick head conversion from feet to inches by multiplying by 12 conversion
  • Calculate the volume by multiplying the depth by the total area 
  • Divide the final number by 46,656 to convert from cubic feet to cubic yards 

Remember that this simple approach is only suitable for areas that are rectangle or square. However, if your project area is in a different shape, you might need to rely on some of the available online tools that calculate the cubic yard of material needed for your project, depending on the shape of the area. 

Finally, how many cubic yards in a dump truck? 

Once you have a total volume of material, the next step is to determine how many cubic yards are in a dump truck so you can specify the number of trucks needed or the number of trips your dump truck needs to perform to complete the transport of the material to the project location. 

Although dump trucks might differ in size, usually, most dump trucks have between 10 and 16 cubic yards. However, some smaller dump trucks might not hold more than 1 1/2 cubic yards. 

The easiest way to get more accurate results about your specific dump truck is through their vehicle's owner’s manual. The manual should specify exactly the number of cubic yards your dump truck can hold.

If you can't find the right information from your vehicles owner’s manual, there is a simple procedure that you can follow to determine how many cubic yards are in your dump truck:

  • Width measurement 

Start by measuring the width of the truck bed in feet. To measure the width, you can simply use a measuring tape and go from one side to the other. For example, you might find that your truck's width is about 63 inches. Knowing that there are 12 inches in every field, the total width of your truck would be 5.25 feet.

  • Length measurement

Similarly, go ahead and measure the length of your truck, which is the other long side of the truck bed. 

  • Height measurement

Finally, you need to measure the truck's height by starting from the bottom of the truck to the side of the tailgate. Again, make sure that you end the measurement at the lowest between the tailgate and the site. 

  • Cubic yard calculation 

With that, you should have three different numbers: the width, the length, and the height. Multiply these numbers by each other to get the total capacity in cubic feet. Then, divide the answer by 27 to get the total capacity in the cubic yard. For example, if your dump truck is 6 feet wide, 14 feet long, and five feet high, the total capacity in feet would be 420. Once you divide this number by 27, you should get 15.56 cubic yards, which is your dump truck's final capacity in cubic feet. 

What is the dump truck weight rating? 

Understanding how many cubic yards in a dump truck is not the only information you have to mind for your construction project. Most dump trucks also have a weight capacity that they cannot exceed.


Therefore, understanding the dump truck weight rating is another essential component when determining the number of dumps trucks, you will need for a certain project.  

The weight rating depends heavily on many factors, including the weight of the material itself and the capacity and the power of the dump truck's suspension system. For example, larger dump trucks can hold up to 30,000 pounds or 15 tons in one trip. However, smaller dump trucks might not be able to hold more than one ton of all material. 

As we explained in detail before, every material has a different total weight, which means that the one cubic yard to hold certain material will be a different situation than another. So, for example, if there are about 3000 pounds in every cubic yard of sand, then you don't truck might not be able to hold more than ten cubic yards of sand at a time. 

When dealing with mulch, things could be challenging because mulch is one of those materials that might differ in terms of moisture amount. Therefore, when calculating the weight rating and the cubic yard capacity for mulch, you need to consider that wet mulch might weigh up to 1500 pounds while dry mulch might only weigh about 700 pounds. 

Can I haul material in my truck? 

Some people might take a shortcut and decide to haul their construction material in their trucks. However, making this decision requires some calculations to prevent dealing with safety issues.

For example, even if your truck can hold up to two cubic yards, you need to consider your suspension system and your vehicle's holding capacity before carrying the material from one location to another. Also, notice the behavior of your vehicle because when you're hauling at the maximum capacity, your vehicle's behavior will not be the same as when not hauling anything. 

Therefore, even if you'll save a lot of money by moving your construction material from one location to another using your truck, you need to consider the consequences and how much effort and stress you apply to your vehicle suspension system.  

How to choose the right dump truck? 

If you are planning to haul many materials and your job requires transporting these materials from one location to another, it might be worth purchasing a dump truck. unfortunately, there is filled with too

Here are some factors to keep in mind when selecting your next dump truck:

  • Body style

Different body styles, including the SIM elliptical, have ground and the traditional rectangle when shopping for and no dump truck. Therefore, you must look at each one of them and see which one serves your needs better. 

  • Body material

The body material itself is not the same as old dump trucks. Yes, they are all made of metal, but every medal is different, and it has its own tensile and strength capabilities. In general, most dump trucks are made of either aluminum or steel. 

  • Engine power

Dump trucks come with different powers, and the horsepower ranges from 300 to 600. Determining the right power is essential because it affects the final price significantly. Automotive experts recommend that you do not purchase more power than what you need because it is considered a waste of money if not used. 

  • Transmission capacity

While most smaller vehicles come with an automatic transmission, dump trucks offer manual transmission that allows you for easier and more flexible maneuverability. Thus, check the type of transmission you want to go with depending on your specific job before deciding on purchasing that next Dump truck. 

  • Dump truck axle requirements

The dump truck axle requirements specify exactly the weight rating and how much your dump truck can haul. But, of course, the actual requirements are specified in conjunction with the engine, the body, and the suspension system. Thus, keep it in mind and look at the specifications of the gross vehicle weight rating or the GVWR. 


Dump trucks are one of the most important vehicles in any construction project. Learning how many cubic yards in a dump truck is crucial to maintaining the budget and preventing surprises during construction.

In general, most dump trucks hold between 10 and 15 cubic yards. However, smaller trucks might not hold more than 1 1/2 cubic yards.

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