Nearly every jobsite will have at least one excavator, for everything from digging trenches to hauling heavy materials and grading landscapes. Part of the reason why they’re so common is because they come in a variety of sizes that suit a wide range of needs. To find the size that works best for you, you should consider what you need and what the machine has to offer.
Excavators are categorized into weight classes. Weight is used to define an excavator’s size because it is a better gauge of power and digging capability than height or girth. Excavators can weigh anywhere from 2 to 3 tons to well over 45 tons.
As the smallest size in this equipment category, mini excavators generally weigh 6 tons or less. A smaller size generally means weaker hauling and digging capabilities, but it also makes them better at moving in tight spaces. They also leave minimal damage to the surrounding area, making them great for delicate terrain. Plus, mini excavators are usually light enough to be transported without a CDL.
Also known as mid-sized excavators, a midi can weigh anywhere from 6 to 10 tons. They offer more power and reach than a mini excavator but are still usually small enough to work in delicate spaces or even indoors. They’re capable of some standard construction work, but not to the degree of larger excavators.
Most excavators you’ll find will fall into this weight class. A typical standard excavator will weigh 19-24 tons, but they can range from 10 to 45 tons. Unlike smaller sizes, standard excavators are fitted with treads instead of wheels, making them good at navigating rough terrain. Their treads are where they get the name “crawlers.”
A large excavator is anything that weighs over 45 tons. Typically used for heavy construction, they offer more power than a standard size. However, they are generally more expensive than most and are difficult to maintain and transport.
There are several factors you should consider before browsing for a machine, and they’re just as important as the excavator’s features and your project needs.
Digging is a primary function of an excavator, so it’s important to consider just how much digging power you’ll need:
Lifting capacity is the other primary function of an excavator. Consider how much power you’ll need to move and lift materials:
Depending on where and when you’re working, you’ll need an excavator that best fits the environment of your job:
Your finances are ultimately what decides what kind of excavator you get, so it’s important to evaluate the following:
The size isn’t the only thing that matters about an excavator. There are other features you might want to consider:
Even with knowledge about excavators, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need. EquipmentShare is here to help. With experts all over the country, you can rely on us to help with all of your construction needs. Find your nearest location here.
Excavators come in a wide variety of types, for anything from underground debris removal to dock work. Learn more about the types of excavators here.
The question of renting versus buying your machine has no straightforward answer. Each offers its own advantages. Really, it’s a matter of knowing which will work best for you.
Buying, for instance, is more cost-effective in the long-run. Although you’re responsible for storing and maintaining the excavator, the machine is yours. That means you avoid the perpetual payments of renting. As a general rule, buying is the better option if you plan on using the machine regularly and often.
Renting, on the other hand, can be extremely useful for maximizing or supplementing your fleet. Plus, when you rent from EquipmentShare, you’re free to stop renting the machine whenever it is no longer useful through the “off rent feature” within our T3 app. Renting is also the better option if you think this machine will be used seasonally or sporadically.