What Is a Forklift Hopper?

forklift dumping hopper

A forklift dumping hopper is a large container designed with fork pockets for the safe transportation of materials with a forklift. While primarily used for scrap metal or cardboard waste, the hopper can be used for a variety of applications, including:

  • Waste
  • Scrap Metal
  • Forgings
  • Concrete
  • Glass and Recyclables
  • Food and beverage

In the 1920s, Joseph Roura invented the original self dumping hopper, paving the way for hoppers as we see them today. The primary benefit and unique aspect of these containers is their ability to roll forward to conveniently and easily empty the contents. The built-in mechanism revolutionized material handling and safety.

How Does a Forklift Hopper Work

A forklift dumpster is unique because it allows for single-user operation, saving time and money. The safe operation of the hopper depends on the adherence to several simple steps:

  1. Only pick up the hopper from the designated forklift tubes
  2. Tip the forks and hopper back to maintain balance and prevent slipping
  3. For extra security, attach the safety chain
  4. Load the hopper
  5. Dump the hopper using the appropriate release operation
  6. Wait for the unit to re-latch before continuing

The standard release options include a latch or pull cable or a bumper. For the former, the forklift operator will pull a cable or latch connected to the hopper. The release mechanism should extend back to the driver to ensure single-operator action.

A bumper release is located on the front of the hopper and acts as a button. The forklift operator will intentionally bump the plate against the dumpster to engage the release mechanism and dump the hopper’s contents.

Types of Forklift Dumping Hoppers

The forklift self dumping hopper comes in various styles and sizes. Our selection of hoppers is designed to handle different materials, volume capacities, and content weight. The type of hopper you need will depend on your specific situation.

However, suppose your company performs a variety of material handling tasks. In that case, it is best to select a hopper that can handle your heaviest jobs, especially if you do not want to purchase several different styles of hoppers.

To help you understand your options, consider the standard specs and attributes of several hopper styles.

Concrete Hoppers

While labeled as concrete hoppers, these pieces of equipment are designed for heavy material handling. The range of sizes can manage loads between 8,000 and 10,000 lbs. The body is constructed of 7-gauge steel and, like the Rugged hoppers, incorporates additional supports to maintain the hopper’s integrity when carrying maximum loads. At Roura Material Handling, we can customize a solution that works for your specific needs.

Steel Hoppers

forklift self dumping hopper

If you need corrosion-resistant hoppers, our selection of galvanized and stainless steel hoppers is for you. These steel hoppers are ideal for many applications, including:

  • Fishery
  • Sewage
  • Wastewater
  • Chemical processing
  • Harvesting
  • Food and Beverage
  • Exterior handling

Plastic Lid

Plastic lid hoppers are perfect for keeping materials dry and protected. The drip channel design ensures that no liquid will get inside the bin. The lightweight lid design also provides easy and sustained access to the hopper.

Trash Hoppers

Pests and weather elements are common problems for exterior work zones. A trash hopper can help keep materials and waste dry while also reducing the risks of a pest problem. Our trash hoppers come in 1 cubic yard and 2 cubic yard sizes, and they come preinstalled with a plastic lid. The lid not only protects against potential pests and inclement weather but also helps to control any odor.

Scrap Hoppers

Like trash hoppers, our scrap metal dumpsters come with a lid to help protect materials against the elements and potential pests. These hoppers come in the same sizes as the trash hoppers and can be used in many of the same applications.


Our Durable hoppers come in 1/8 cubic yard to 5 cubic yard varieties. The primary use of these hoppers is in the temporary storage or handling of lightweight material applications. The most common applications for our durable line are metal scrap, sand, sawdust, glass, coal, ash, rubber, stampings, and other construction materials. The largest of these hoppers can safely handle 4,000 lbs.


The Rugged hopper uses additional reinforcements, with specially designed side and back angles and two bottom channel supports, helping the equipment handle up to 8,000 lbs. The hopper comes in 1/8 to 5 cubic yard styles. In addition to holding a larger capacity than the Durable hopper, the Rugged style is primarily used for heavy material handling operations making it more beneficial in demanding operations and settings. 


An upgrade from our Rugged models, the Ultimate hopper comes in sizes up to 5 cubic yards from 2 1/2 cubic yards. These hoppers are suitable for heavy material up to 10,000 lbs. The primary applications for these robust hoppers include concrete, demolition, stone, brick, forgings, castings, glass, and other highly dense materials.


Our Behemoth hoppers are the largest hoppers we manufacture. You can select these hoppers in sizes of 6 cubic yards through 10 cubic yards. The maximum load capacity for our largest hopper is 10,000 lbs. These hoppers are best suited to large-scale applications, including:

  • Demolition
  • Forgings
  • Castings
  • Shipyard
  • Hot ash
  • Glass
  • Concrete
  • Other heavy construction materials

Forklift Hopper Base Options

While we offer various base options, including casters, we primarily build our dump hopper for forklift maneuvering and transportation. However, that does not mean you are restricted to a specific forklift base option. Depending on the size and style of the hopper you select, we can customize a base that works for you, whether that be an open channel, boxed tube, base legs, or three-way base construction. 

All Rugged and Ultimate hoppers, 3 cubic yards and larger, come standard with a boxed tube base. The base is constructed of a 5/16-inch tube on these larger designs. The box design is superior for heavy material handling and aggressive transport. While we prefer the boxed design, we understand that other options might work better for your application. Therefore, you can speak with one of our design specialists to customize a hopper for your needs.

Custom Forklift Self Dumping Hoppers

Roura Material Handling is not in the market of forcing clients to use cookie-cutter hopper designs. If one of our prefabricated models works for you, excellent, but if you require custom solutions or even paint colors, we also have you covered.

Here at Roura, we want to do everything we can to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase. We offer several customization options, including:

  • Release systems
  • Bases
  • Covers
  • Casters
  • Colors
  • Band cutter

The band cutter is one of the most unique additions to a hopper. Attaching directly to the side of any of our hoppers, the band cutter allows your workers to manage and cut steel banding safely and efficiently.

Safely Operate Your Forklift Dumping Hopper

Worksite safety is a critical aspect of operations, especially for those working with heavy or hazardous materials. Our hoppers are only one step in ensuring the safety of your employees and job site. 

Because Roura Material Handling understands the importance of workplace safety, we have developed a training video series. In our series, we help teach you and your workers how to use our forklift self dumping hopper and other tools securely, reducing all risks of injury.