H2bid Blog

The 2 Main Types of Dredgers

Dredgers are used to remove unwanted debris or sediment from bodies of water. The type of dredger that is used depends greatly on the size and details of the project. That includes factors like the depth of the body of water, what type of material needs to be excavated and how much, what the disposal method is, and more. There are many types of dredging equipment but they all tend to fall under one of two categories:


Hydraulic dredges, also known as Suction Dredges, use suction to excavate loose material like soil and sand. They suck up a mix of water and material from the site like a giant vacuum to create what is called “slurry.” Then the slurry is moved to the surface via a pipe. Hydraulic dredging is sometimes considered the most effective type, since some of its subtypes can also loosen and suck up hard-packed material like rock or clay. Some examples of hydraulic dredgers are the Hopper Dredge, Cutter Suction Dredge, and Auger Suction Dredge.


Mechanical dredges are heavy-duty pieces of equipment that remove material from the water by many different means – the most common being digging, or “scooping.” Often, the body of water has to be drained to allow the mechanical dredger to get to the site directly, or it has to be brought by and operated from a barge. Their specialty is removing large quantities of hard, compacted debris in confined spaces. Each mechanical dredger is usually named after the type of “scoop bucket” or “grabber” it has. Some examples are the Clamshell Dredge, Bucket Ladder Dredger and Backhoe Dredge.

Which should you choose?

Both types of dredgers have their benefits. Hydraulic dredgers tend to be faster and leave less room for error, but mechanical dredges are rugged and can handle more material for longer periods of time. Depending on the job, one may be more cost effective than the other for you.

If you’re looking for a vendor or contractor for a dredging job you can contact us here. For more interesting articles on similar topics visit our blog page.