How Heavy 20 Tons Is: Guide With Examples

Interested in knowing how heavy 20 tons is? 

Maybe you’re a measurement enthusiast looking for general knowledge as a part of your curiosity-driven exploration of various facts and figures.

Or maybe you want to understand how heavy it is to get context or somewhere you can base comparisons on in your daily life. 

Whatever your motivation is behind the search for how heavy 20 tons is, you just landed on the right page. This post covers items that weigh 20 tons and those that add up to that weight in multiples to give you reference points. 

Let’s go! 

Read: 10 Common Things That Weigh About 2 Tons (With Pics)

Examples of Things That Weigh About 20 Tons

Twenty tons is a massive measurement, equivalent to 40,000 pounds or approximately 18,000 kilograms.

You would need heavy-duty equipment such as cranes, large trucks, or specialized machinery to transport such a weight. 

Use the following items to get a perspective of how heavy it is.

1. A Loaded Coach

Coaches are regular sights on highways and roads worldwide, often seen transporting passengers or as charter or tour buses. 

When loaded to capacity, depending on the number of passengers and the type, these couches weigh approximately 20 tons, specifically the 2-axle coaches (the most common), so they are perfect examples of things that weigh 20 tons. 

When empty, they weigh much less, about 10 tons. So, in this case, you need to refer to two.

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2. A Small Garbage Truck

Also known as refuse trucks, waste collection vehicles, or dustcarts, garbage trucks are regular sights in urban and suburban areas, collecting and transporting solid waste. 

According to Titan Recycle and Trash, garbage trucks can be as heavy as 32 tons. However, – as compared – small ones weigh much less, approximately 20 tons.

3. A Standard Excavator

Excavators are heavy construction machines used for various tasks, such as digging, trenching, lifting, and demolition. They’re popular in everyday projects such as road and bridge construction, landscaping, and mining. 

Similarly to garbage trucks, excavators come in different sizes and configurations, including large machines weighing as heavy as 45 tons. 

However, standard ones can be a perfect reference for 20 tons since they’re in the 19-24 tons range. To spot them, they have threads instead of wheels, making them suitable for rough terrains.

4. 4 Type II Ambulances

With a mention of a Type II ambulance, you might wonder what type of an ambulance is that. Right? 

Well, there are four types of ambulances. And of all, Type II ambulances are the most common. If you walk near a highway, you’re most likely to spot one; they’re just typical vans converted into an ambulance. Got it? (If not yet, refer to the picture above).

These ambulances are perfect references for weight measurements such as five tons since they weigh approximately 4.8 tons. 

They can also paint an idea of 20 tons if you can visualize the weight of four.

5. 12 Midsize Cars

Midsize cars fall between compact cars and full-size sedans. They’re arguably the most popular cars worldwide, including in the United States, due to several benefits, including fuel efficiency and affordability. Some everyday examples include the 2023 Hyundai Sonata, 2023 Kia K5, 2023 Toyota Camry, and 2023 Honda Accord

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The weight of these midsize cars varies depending on the model and manufacturer, but the difference is usually minimal. Most weigh about 3,300 pounds (1.65 tons) and can be reliable references for 20 tons if you can visualize how heavy 12 would be.

6. 3 African Male Elephants

African elephants are massive creatures that roam the grasslands and savannas of Sub-Saharan Africa. They’re a must-see in African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, where they’re usually moving unbothered in large groups. 

Elephants are crowned the largest land animals on earth, with males weighing about seven tons. If you’ve seen them, you can compare the weight of 20 tons to about 3, and you won’t go wrong.

7. A Whale Shark

While whale sharks are not among the most common animals in the United States, they’re regular sightings in the Gulf of Mexico and the waters around Hawaii, where encounters can occur, attracting enthusiasts and tourists.

Contrary to their name, whale sharks are fish, and, in fact, the biggest of all, weighing approximately 20 tons – their mouth alone is about four feet long. 

Their sheer size makes them larger than most species of sharks and even some species of whales.

8. 20 Bison

Bison are majestic animals known for their distinctive appearance; a massive head, a hump on their shoulders, and a thick, shaggy coat ranging in color from dark brown to nearly black. 

The animals inhabit various national parks, reserves, and private conservation ranches in North America. 

They’re the largest of land mammals in the region, with males weighing up to one ton. 

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If you’re familiar with them, imagine the combined weight of twenty such beasts to get an idea of 20 tons.

9. 13 Male Giraffes

Giraffes are one of the most recognizable animals on earth, thanks to their height, including the neck that spans a whopping six feet long. The skyscrapers inhabit the same environments as African elephants, so if you have seen the elephants, there’s a high likelihood that you’ve seen giraffes too. 

Giraffes are light compared to elephants but slightly heavier than bison, with males weighing about 1.5 tons. 

So, thirteen male giraffes have a collective weight of approximately 20 tons.

10. A bundle of 36 Wooden Hydro Poles

Wooden hydro poles, also known as wooden utility poles, have been used extensively for power distribution and telecommunication purposes for decades. They are everyday sights in many countries, usually seen along highways and roads in rural and urban areas. 

Most of these poles are as long as 40 feet and weigh about 0.55 tons. During installation, you often see them lying in bundles.

If you can have a bundle of as many as 36, it would be a solid example of things that weigh 20 tons collectively.

Read: 9 Things That Weigh About 7 Tons (+Pics)

To Sum Up…

Twenty tons is undoubtedly an incredible weight measurement.

So, understandably,  it’s rare to find items weighing that much, or even close, at home.

However, if you walk around especially near highways, you’ll find several items, including coaches, ambulances, and wooden poles, that can help you paint a picture of how heavy it is.

Also, if you’ve toured Sub-Saharan African countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, you can use animals such as elephants and giraffes to gain a perspective of 20 tons.

About Kevin Jones

My name is Kevin Jones, and I'm the proud founder of this website. I'm a self-professed measurement enthusiast, and I've been passionate about measuring things for as long as I can remember. On this website, you'll find information on all aspects of dimensions, including measurements and weight of stuff.