Choosing the right excavator

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If you’re in the market to hire an Excavator, you may soon find out that there are many different types to choose from. Depending on your project, there will be an excavator better suited to your needs. Although this may seem like a complicated task, it needn’t be. There are excavators ranging from 0.5 tonne right through to over 500 tonnes. So where do you start when looking to choose an excavator for hire? We analyze some of the common excavators and their uses, as well as the jobs they’re best suited to.

Standard excavator

This is the most common excavator found on most job sites. It ranges between 6 to over 500 tonnes and is used for a wide range of projects. From a small construction job to a digging job on a mining site, this excavator is suited to the job. However, digging isn’t it’s only purpose. These excavators are also very handy for material handling, dredging jobs, demolition sites and even snow plowing. This excavator is the most versatile of equipment due to its many available uses.

Mini or micro excavator

As the name suggests, these excavators are a smaller, or “mini”, version of a standard excavator. Ranging from zero to 5 tonnes, these smaller pieces of equipment are usually suited to small area projects. If the project is in a tight space or has a small access area, this is the excavator of choice. They are often used for backyard projects, such as for digging a swimming pool, pond or landscaping project

Knuckle boom excavator

One of the key features of this particular excavator is the fact that it has an extra joint on it’s arm compared to a standard excavator. This extra joint provides extra flexibility of movement as it can then swing right or left when digging. It works just like a standard excavator, however  due to the extra joint, it can reach in places that may not be possible with a standard excavator. The knuckle boom excavator is often used in cramped spaces or excavating around large obstacles.

Long reach excavator

As the name suggests, the long reach excavator has a longer range of reachability. It features an arm range reaching from 39 feet right through to a maximum length of 95 feet. To give you an idea of how this compares to a standard excavator, a standard excavator can only reach up to a maximum of 41 feet. This excavator makes a perfect choice for dredging and demolition jobs where a standard excavator arm just would not be able to reach.

Spider excavator

As something that looks like it came straight out of a futuristic movie, the spider excavator is often considered a niche piece of equipment due to its uses. It is also known as the “walking excavator” due to its featured legs, rather than tracks like on a standard excavator. This excavator can be used on all types of terrain, including uneven ground, steep ditches or an inclined surface. It is used for projects where a standard excavator would have trouble entering or excavating on the site.

Swamp excavator

Another piece of equipment used for very specific projects, the swamp excavator is used in areas where it is required to be on water. It’s also known as an amphibious excavator and is perfect for dredging jobs. It utilises special tracks that allow the equipment to float on water.

Zero swing excavator

The zero swing excavator has a very limited swing capability. It is only able to swing its arm within the constraints of the track width, which means it’s the perfect solution for projects that are in tight, confined areas.

Other factors to consider

Once you understand your project and it’s needs, you may also need to consider a few other factors before choosing your equipment.

Think about the site and the excavator you will be using. Can you picture it on the site? It’s important to also consider any potential hazards and the needs of your site as to which excavator you will choose. The location and size of accessways will heavily determine the excavator you choose. After all, there is no point in having an excavator that cannot even access the job.

Other factors you will need to take into consideration are the engine power of your equipment, weight, size and bucket capacity. All of these factors will impact your decision and the piece of equipment you will ultimately choose. You may also want to consider what attachments you will need, if any. Attachments include buckets, couplers, rippers and hammers. Generally, you would choose the same manufacturer as your excavator for these attachments to ensure compatibility.

Because different projects will require different types of machinery, it is often more suitable to hire an excavator rather than purchase one outright. The locations, needs and accessibility will all determine the equipment needed and these variables will often change each time you have a new project. Because of this, hiring is often a much more flexible option for your construction and excavating needs.





7 thoughts on “Choosing the right excavator”

  1. You got my attention when you said that standard excavator is the most common type of excavator and can be very handy for demolition sites and even snow plowing. My father is planning to shop for an excavator because he is planning to have his mini garden demolished. He mentioned that he has other plans for his garden, so he wanted to have the old building removed. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I liked that you mentioned that there are excavators weighing between 0.5 and 500 tonnes, as I didn’t know that before. I would imagine that if you were doing a big project, it would be important to have the right excavator head for your needs. It would be more beneficial if you could find a company that made heads that could be used for more than one situation, that way you could get more done with less.

  3. I’m glad you explained the different types of excavators. My friend needs to hire a mulching and excavating service for his land. This info should help him ask questions about their equipment!

  4. I agree that you should consider potential site hazards. My friend told me over lunch today that they need excavation services for a backyard landscaping project. I will pass your advice along to them when I see them again this weekend.

  5. That’s cool that you could get a mini excavator to help make it fit in tight spaces. I feel like that could be useful if you had only a certain amount of space to work, like if you were digging a pool in a backyard or something. I should ask if the contractor could use something like that if I decide to install a pool, so I can make sure that they can fit in my backyard.

  6. My brother wants to build a pool in his yard, and I suggested he rent an excavator to help him dig where the pool will be. Your article had some great tips for getting something like this, and I liked how you said that a mini or micro excavator would be perfect for my brother, as they are smaller pieces of equipment ranging from 0-5 tons. My brother doesn’t need a huge excavator as its’ for a smaller backyard projects, and I’ll be sure to share this with him so he can start work on his pool.

  7. I really appreciate your tip to try and get a spider excavator when you have uneven terrain that you want to work on. My wife and I have been thinking of getting some work done in our backyard so we can lay the new foundation for a backyard gazebo. Since our backyard isn’t flat, I will be sure to get a spider excavator!

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