Contractor Choice: Who Makes The Best Asphalt Paver?

In a post on the Facebook group Asphalt Life, which has a community of almost 220,000 global members, the question of which manufacturer makes the best asphalt paver was discussed across hundreds of comments. The results will surprise you!

The newly redesigned BOMAG CR 1030 T.
The newly redesigned BOMAG CR 1030 T.
BOMAG

The Asphalt Life Facebook group boasts that it is the single largest blacktop centriccommunity group on the social media platform. Every day people post everything from asphalt related memes, jobsite photos, professional questions, jokes, personal stories, job openings, and more. The link to the original post is here. Over the Fourth of July holiday a community member posted one of the hotly debated questions that you could possibly ask: Who makes the best asphalt paver? The link to the original post is here. 

Given how much asphalt crews care about the machines they use on the job, there's likely no more disputed answer in the industry. For those men and women who use them every day, they aren't just machines, they are their livelihood. That's why the discussion get's really passionate. 

I decided to go into the full thread and count up every paver mentioned in the comments, add them up, and see what the community came to agree upon. Of course, this is all completely subjective, as Tim "TJ" Wheeler pointed out early on in the thread, "That's like asking who makes the best trucks..... it's subjective as hell."

And with that in mind, we know that this list isn't definitive in any way, but just a fun look at what the community's opinion looks like. Ultimately, community member Eru McClean had a great perspective on the whole matter when they said, "Who cares as long as you got good operators on top and on the sides and it lays a good mat and they make it easier for the guys coming in behind them."

Daniel Hullen made a great point when he told everyone, "It depends on what you plan on using it for. DOT work, private work, commercial work. The answer is different for all. I agree with Scott Trisha Hall though on whomever supports their equipment better is the one you want."

Beyond brands and companies, Steve Totten provided the best dose of truth, "The operators make the best pavers."

But just for fun we counted up the informal votes anyways, and here are the results in alphabetical order, along with their percentage of the overall mentions in the thread post.

Note: The percentage of Asphalt Life community Facebook group that engaged with this post only represented less than 1% of the total group.

Ammann / ABG: 3.5% 

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At the end of 2023 it was announced that Volvo CE was divesting from its paver division ABG and that Ammann was set to acquire it. The deal included the transfer of Volvo CE’s paving businesses in Linyi (China) and Bangalore (India) as well as Volvo CE´s ABG facility in Hameln (Germany). Most of the comments in the Facebook thread pertained to the positive relationship that contractors have had with the brand under the ABG banner, as it remains to be seen how the Ammann deal will impact the brand going forward. This is especially important when it comes to the support of the product, as many comments pointed out that it makes a huge difference to them.

According to the Ammann press release, they will leverage its industry knowledge and customer relationships to guide development of the pavers, with ABG in Hameln (Germany) becoming the Center of Excellence for paving operations within Ammann. Customers and dealers of both Ammann and Volvo CE will retain access to the full line of paving offerings, as well as aftermarket and other services.

Astec / Roadtec / Carlson / Barber Greene: 11%

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A lot of comments in the post thread use these company names interchangeably, and we counted them all under the Astec banner since the company decided to abandon the distinctions in mid-2021. What's great is that Astec provides models of paving equipment for every size operation as pointed out by a few community members in the post. There were several posts in the comments that referenced Barber Greene, which was sold to Astec inc. in 1986, but many of the "old timers" in the group still remember it. To honor that legacy we included their counts here.

Olivier Emard said, "Roadtec for a big paver and Carlson for smaller paving, Astec for the win!"

And Blake Prince added, "Carlson screeds are a great combination with a Roadtec."

Blaw-Knox: 13%

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Starting in 1917, Blaw-Knox is another one of the classic brands in the asphalt paving industry. While the company did change hands throughout the last century a few times, they saw a renaissance of sorts in the early 2000s under the ownership of Volvo CE, until they were recently sold to Gencor Industries in 2020. While Gencor is a well known manufacturer of asphalt plants, they now have offerings from production to paving. 

From a press release at the time of the deal: Marc G. Elliott, president and director of Gencor Industries, also commented, “With our already strong position in the asphalt industry, this acquisition will afford Gencor access to the venerable brand of Blaw-Knox, and provide an entry into the hot mix paver segment. We are committed to the long-term growth and development of the Blaw-Knox brand.”

BOMAG / Cedar Rapids: 3%

The newly redesigned BOMAG CR 1030 T.The newly redesigned BOMAG CR 1030 T.BOMAG

It's been more than a decade since the Cedar Rapids line of pavers were acquired and rebranded by BOMAG, and their recognition and quality in the industry has only grown more popular since then. The model pictured above is the newly redesigned CR 1030 T.

According to Dan Wustrack, "Our brand new BOMAG is pretty slick..."

As part of the FAYAT Group, these machines are well known to be dependable, high-end asphalt pavers.

Caterpillar / CAT Paving: 32%

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It was quickly very apparent that the voices in the Asphalt Life post that were fans of Caterpillar pavers were the most numerous and loudest. With more than a third of all the mentions in the comment section, Cat was the clear favorite. It's hard to fully account for the large disparity without more information about the membership data, and the types of asphalt work they mostly do. 

For instance, out of pure speculation, this could possibly mean that the majority of those answering the original poster's question work on large scale projects more frequently than commercial size work. Whatever the case, Cat stands as the most popular among respondents.

Dynapac: 1.5%

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In the 1930s the company first developed vibratory plate compactors, including a 1.5 ton model nicknamed The Frog. The "Pac" in Dynapac stands for compaction, and that's something the company is most well known for. However, following the release of the CA25, which became such a strong leader in the industry, the company rapidly expanded their product offerings starting in the mid 1970s. That includes a full line of asphalt pavers for every type of paving job, including models that can deliver high-density compaction of the screed. These models, available in the U.S. market, are capable of running roller compacted concrete (RCC) which is a specialized product and process. Which is something only Dynapac and Vögele pavers can boast of doing in North America.

LeeBoy: 9.75%

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Celebrating their sixtieth anniversary this year (1964-2024), LeeBoy have come to be virtually synonymous with the "blacktop" industry. The weekend warriors. The commercial crews. This includes their relationship with American Pavement and the "Raised On Blacktop" branding of the Stanley family. Their full lineup of pavers and other equipment are hand built outside of Charlotte, NC, and possess the Legendary HD screeds. LeeBoy made history in 2023 when they revealed the first North American electric commercial asphalt paver, the 8520C (pictured above), which shows that while they are dedicated to their quality traditions, they are also pushing the envelope of innovation. The lower than expected showing for LeeBoy in this thread, could, again, be attributed to our previous speculation that the Asphalt Life group skews more towards the large scale road work type jobs, and less in the way of commercial and/or residential.

Jordan Fletcher said, "Had most [of these] brands thought my years of being in business and LEEBOY is the machines u want to run!!! If you know how to pave you’d understand pretty quickly. If you're a good operator of your LEEBOY, [you] don’t need to do any hand work to the mat."

Mauldin: 2%

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Several of the comments that mentioned this company did so in the capacity of having them alongside other pavers, as a sort of specific tool in the asphalt paver's toolbox. Capable of being the "swiss army knife" paver in your yard.

According to the Mauldin website:  Management negotiation with the Mauldin Brothers Company led to a purchase agreement in 1994 [by Calder Brothers Corporation]. The most visible change made to Mauldin after its takeover was in adding and implementing state of the art technology. It was a process of transforming an old line, manually oriented company, into a high technology 21st century assemblage. It was a deliberate forceful proceeding of the entire Calder Brothers Corporation working together, bringing everyone’s’ expertise into the process and changing one item at a time.

Vögele / Wirtgen Group: 19.25%

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When we started counting the mentions of pavers in the comments, Vögele was the first to jump out to an early lead. The company ended up claiming the second most mentions, adding up to nearly one-fifth of the total. Once again, this is another piece of circumstantial evidence to support our theory that the Asphalt Life group skews towards the large-scale asphalt paving work.

As part of the WIrtgen Group of companies, it was first integrated in 1997, and was acquired in 2017 by John Deere as part of a definitive purchase agreement of $5.2 billion. The Vögele pavers, like Dynapac, are capable of high density paving operations, including RCC. Additionally, they are popular outside the United States due to their tamper bar screeds which can allow for paving depths up to six inches per lift. 

Gerrit Springelkamp said, "VÖGELE [is] SIMPLY THE BEST!"

Joseph Angus added, "Vögele all day. They are used on all runways and racetracks in England."

Weiler: 6.25%

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This may be the youngest company on the list, and definitely the most recent to start building asphalt pavers. The parent company traces its roots back to the year 2000, and it wasn't long after that their relationship with Caterpillar began. That tight connection continues today, and the associated dealer network provides the company with a large advantage. Access and support were constant mentions in this thread by contractors, and Weiler offers that through all Caterpillar dealerships and service centers.

The P385 Weiler commercial paver came to market in 2009, and offered a lot of what made Caterpillar so appealing in the larger paver market space to the commercial needs. Dylan Connelly echoed this sentiment in his comment, "Cat for highways and big parking lots, Weiler for smaller driveways, parking lots."

James Brown added his vote of confidence, "Weiler makes the best paver!"

Where did your favorite paver brand end up at on this list? 

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