4 Main Types of Hoppers and Their Uses

If you work in a warehouse or manufacturing, you understand the challenges of moving materials, products, and waste efficiently.

Nothing slows down the manufacturing process more than having a workspace cluttered with trash, unfinished products, or unnecessary parts.

What helps solve these dilemmas?

Trash hoppers!

Trash hoppers allow a manufacturing facility to efficiently store and move trash, scrap parts, materials, and products.


Not only does this increase a facility’s efficiency, but it also makes a plant floor cleaner, easier, and safer to maneuver.

There are many types of hoppers available, and choosing the correct one usually depends on your specific needs.

In this article, we will look at four of the main types of hoppers, how they are used, and their unique designs.  We will also take a brief look at how hoppers work.

Are you ready to learn which hopper is right for your business?  

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  • 1. How Do Hoppers Work?

  • selficon

    2. Self-Dumping Hoppers

  • stretchicon

    3. Stretch Hoppers

  • dropicon

    4. Drop Bottom Hoppers

  • sawdusticon

    5. Sawdust Hoppers

  • 6. Conclusion

1. How Do Hoppers Work?

All trash hoppers work on a fundamental principle - collecting materials in a large bin for easy storage, transportation, or disposal.

This efficient collection of waste or materials in hoppers creates multiple benefits in the workplace, including:

  • Less clutter and waste material on the floor
  • Streamlined scrap collection and removal
  • Safer workspace due to correct scrap material storage
  • Increased efficiency overall in the manufacturing process
  • Happier employees due to an organized and clutter-free workspace

There are different styles of hoppers, and each style is designed for a specific use.  For example, a self-dumping hopper is made for misc scrap and needs an open top, but a sawdust hopper needs to be fully enclosed to capture all the sawdust.

Hoppers used in manufacturing settings are usually made from metal or steel.  The hopper size, gauge of metal used, and overall design are usually specific to the materials being stored or transported.

So how do you know what size hopper or which metal gauge you need?

These answers depend on the materials and use of the hopper.

If you are using a self-dumping hopper for scrap wood in a truss shop, you need a less robust hopper than a welding shop would need for scrap metal.  However, the truss shop may need a larger hopper if their wood scrap pieces are several feet in length.

Each business needs to look at its machinery, scrap products, and available space to determine which hopper style and size works best for them. 

Most hoppers are designed with built-in fork pockets for easy movement with a forklift or pallet jack.  Depending on the size and weight capacity, casters can also be used for quick movement.


2. Self-Dumping Hoppers

Self-dumping hoppers are designed to dump materials out the side without needing an external motor or pulley.

Self-dumping hoppers have a release latch when the hopper is ready to be dumped and emptied.  Releasing the latch allows the hopper to begin unloading the materials from the side, and when the load is dumped, the hopper closes, and the release latch becomes locked.

What makes self-dumping hoppers truly efficient? 

They allow a manufacturing plant to easily dump scrap materials, trash, or scrap without needing additional motors or pulleys.


Instead, all you need is a forklift to lift the hopper over a dumpster or truck, release the latch, and let it dump!

Self-dumping hoppers are ideal when working with waste or recycling.  When used as a trash hopper, many metal or wood shops find it efficient to place the trash hopper under their saws or other equipment.  Scrap pieces fall directly into the trash hopper for easy recycling or disposal.

Click here to learn more about Self-Dumping Hoppers!

4 Main Types of Hoppers and Their Uses 1

3. Stretch Hoppers

Like self-dumping hoppers, stretch hoppers are designed to be moved and dumped easily with a forklift. 

The main difference with stretch hoppers is their design.  

Instead of being used for small scrap pieces or products, stretch hoppers are made for long pieces of scrap or material.

Depending on the length of your scrap, stretch hoppers can be designed to have one or both ends open.  This allows the hopper to be easily used for long and medium pieces without requiring a large footprint.


Where are stretch hoppers effective?

If you have a truss shop and cut long pieces of lumber, you might have wood scrap 4-6 feet or longer.  

Instead of needing an enclosed hopper that is 6 feet wide, you can get a smaller stretch hopper and keep the ends open.  The smaller stretch hopper will require less space and be just as effective.   

Stretch hoppers are also used to haul long products and materials efficiently.  If several pieces of long metal need to be moved, a stretch hopper does this quickly and safely.

Click here to learn more about Stretch Hoppers!

4 Main Types of Hoppers and Their Uses 2

4. Drop Bottom Hoppers

Drop bottom hoppers, also known as bottom dump hoppers, are designed to minimize the hopper’s footprint while maximizing the storage space.  Their design and features are different from a self-dumping hopper.


How is a drop bottom hopper different?

First, the forklift inserts are usually at the top of the hopper instead of the bottom.  

Second, the hopper dumps materials when the bottom is either opened or “dropped.”  It does not dump out the side like a self-dumping hopper.

Third, drop bottom hoppers are built to maximize every part of the hopper.  Instead of needing room for a dumping mechanism, a bottom dump hopper uses every cubic inch of available space for scrap.  

Where are drop bottom hoppers most effective?

They work well as trash hoppers when space is a concern.  If you have limited space, or a tight corner, drop bottom hoppers work well to maximize the area you have.

Click here to learn more about Drop Bottom Hoppers!

4 Main Types of Hoppers and Their Uses 3

5. Sawdust Hoppers

Everyone who works with wood knows the issues sawdust creates.  

Difficulty breathing, dust and dirt everywhere, difficult cleanup, and other issues are quickly noticeable.

Sawdust hoppers solve the sawdust issue by capturing the sawdust in an enclosed hopper.  A forklift then takes the hopper to the sawdust collection area, and the sawdust is dumped from the bottom.

To minimize dust and dirt, sawdust hoppers typically come with an inlet port that can be securely connected to a dust and sawdust collector or fan.

Click here to learn more about Sawdust Hoppers!


6. Conclusion

No matter your industry or what you manufacture, you always have to deal with trash, scrap, and unused product.

The key is managing these pieces efficiently and safely.   

With their many designs and uses, you can purchase a trash hopper for your plant and make your team and plant safer, cleaner, and more efficient!


At Iron Bull Manufacturing, we develop many different sizes, styles, and grades of hoppers.  From self-dumping hoppers to drop bottom hoppers, along with specialty hoppers, we have the design you need.

Contact us today to get your custom quote for your new hopper!