Bulldozer Blades The Different Types And Their Uses

Dozer blades are tools and like any tool you need the right one for the job.   Efficient machine applications require the proper dozer attachments for the job at hand.  Dozers are used in a wide variety of construction and maintenance applications for which a number of blade types have been developed.  Soil characteristics, moisture content, compaction, ambient temperatures and terrain are just some of the variables that will influence proper blade selection for optimal dozing productivity.  Using the right blade for the job will mean result in fuel savings, higher productivity, less wear tear on the tractor and a better finished product.    Some dozer blades are designed for a specific application, while others have a broader range of uses and are more often employed.  The following paragraphs provide a brief description of some common dozer blade types, blade mounting arrangements and their applications.

S Blade

The straight blade or “S” is as the name suggests a geometrically straight blade.  The S blade is attached to the tractor by dozer arms that attach at the lower corners of the back of the blade eliminating the option of angling.  The S blade is vertically stabilized with angle braces to the dozer arms that may be outfitted with a hydraulically operated tilt cylinder allowing for horizontal blade adjustment.  Tilting the blade enhances ground penetration by concentrating the cutting force over varying blade lengths.  The tilts also increase versatility to include operations such as ditching and crowning.  Given the straight configuration and lack of side wings to hinder material side spillage the S blade has limited material carrying capabilities.   The experienced operator can improvise and enhance material carrying by building and employing a push trough.

Where the S blade performs best is in medium to harder compacted materials.  The rugged design, weight, and geometry of the blade give it good ground penetrating characteristics which allow for better dozing of harder materials.  The S blade is used in many applications including backfilling, stumping, stripping, shaping and ditching.   The versatility of the blade increases with the skill of the operator in finding means of overcoming design limitations.

The SU Blade

SU stands for semi-U.  This blade is designed to occupy the middle ground between the straight blade and the U blade providing to a lesser degree characteristics of both.  The SU blade is mounted to the tractor with the same heavy straight push arms attached to the lower back of the blade.  The blade is vertically stabilized from the dozer arms with angle braces which will incorporate one or two hydraulic tilt cylinders.    The tilt cylinders provide the ability to alter the horizontal plane of the blade and concentrate ground penetrating forces.   This feature increases the blade versatility to include crowning and ditching.   The distinctive feature that sets this blade apart from the S blade is the addition of the forward curving side wings on either end which work to hamper material spillage.  The gives the SU blade increased materials loading and carrying capability thereby broadening the range of efficient uses for the tractor equipped with this blade.

The SU blade has less ground penetration ability than the S blade, but the more efficient material carrying capability make it a good choice in a number of bulldozer activities including stumping, stripping, backfilling, ditching, crowning and leveling.  The blade works well in soft to medium hard soils, especially with the skillful application of the tilt feature.   The SU blade will have limited efficiency in glacially compacted tills (hardpan) without prior loosening with a ripper.  The SU blade provides a degree of versatility that makes it a common choice for outfitting a tractor.  Combined with an experienced and skilled operator the SU blade will perform well at most tasks.

U Blade

The geometry of this blade is as the name suggests a generalized “U” shape.   The U shape works like a scoop to hold in materials and minimize side spillage off the blade.  This feature gives the U blade good loading and material carrying qualities allowing for more efficient movement of soils over longer distances.   Similar to the S and SU blade the U blade is mounted with heavy dozer arms from trunnions on the sides of the tractor to the lower bottom corners of the blade.   The U blade is vertically stabilized from the push arms with angle braces that incorporate one or two hydraulic tilt cylinders.  The tilt cylinders provide the blade with the ability to concentrate the ground penetrating forces thereby increasing versatility to include operations such a ditching and crowning. The increased width of the U blade lowers the overall ground penetrating forces making the blade most suitable for medium to soft soils.   The limited ground penetrating penetrating characteristic of the blade can be mitigated by mounting a ripper on the tractor to loosen glacially compacted silts such as hardpan or soft rock.

Angle Blade

The angle blade is typically a straight blade pivot mounted on the centre of a “C” frame.  The centre pivot mount allows the blade to be angled to the left or the right to enhance side casting of materials.  On older machines the blades often had manual screw type tilt adjusters on the side arms which vertically stabilize the blade, but on newer machines these were generally upgraded to hydraulically operated tilts either on one or both side arms.  These improvements allowed for greater operator ease of blade horizontal tilt adjustment and consequent productivity increases.

The angle blade works well for a number of uses including, stumping and stripping, shaping, ditching, trail pioneering, and general dozing of medium to softer materials.   The straight geometry of the blade allows material to easily spill off the sides thus reducing its value for carrying materials longer distances.   Experienced operators will partially overcome this deficiency by creating a trough when longer pushes of materials are needed.

Overall the angle dozer allows a broad range of tractor applications that make it a prime choice when outfitting a new machine.


PAT stands for power, angle, and tilt.   Though commonly referred to as a type of blade the PAT blade is normally a straight blade combined with multiple hydraulically controlled tractor attachment points allowing for angle, elevation and tilt blade adjustment by the operator.    Enabling quick and easy operator control the PAT blade enhances dozing productivity and tractor versatility.


Dozer blades and attachment options have evolved to suit changing circumstances ranging from the machines they are mounted on, to the purposes for which they are designed.    Specialized blades have been designed for specific purposes including land clearing, trash handling and brush piling.   As bulldozers increased in power and traction blades have been designed or altered to capitalize on these improvements to increase productivity and reduce energy inputs and wear.   Selecting and equipping a tractor with the proper blade arrangement requires a thorough evaluation of what are the main activities the machine will be engaged in.   This process is not limited to the blade, but also applies to choices of undercarriage, guarding, driveline options and attachments such as rippers.   The time and energy spent in making the right choices whether outfitting a new tractor or deciding on the best used machine to buy will provide owners with optimal performance and good return on investment.

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    include figuree for better understsnding of your explaination