Excavator hire is a construction site staple, as the machine can be used to dig trenches, foundations and holes. An excavator’s versatility means there are many different types to choose from, depending on the volume of earth you need to move, the size of your worksite and the conditions you’re working on. Each job whether residential or commercial has different needs, so the decision can often be the hardest part of the hiring process.
Ask yourself how long you expect the job to take and what the space you’re working with looks like when reading this guide.
Compact Excavators/ Mini Excavators
- Size: Below 6 tonnes
- Best for: Small spaces, indoor work
Mini excavators are the smallest class of excavator, including portable-type dragline excavators and skid steer loaders. They are small enough to be hauled with a Class 1 or 2 truck, so you may not need your commercial driver’s licence to transport it. They perform best at day-long residential jobs such as sewer repairs, water line installations and pool digging because they can safely operate between utility lines, power lines and houses. If you’re looking to hire an excavator for a rural residential job, you can afford to get a bigger excavator.
- Size: 6-10 tonnes
- Best for: Small spaces
Midi excavators can accomplish pretty much whatever a mini excavator can accomplish with more power and reach. They can dig slightly bigger pools in a slightly faster time and can complete building construction and landscaping jobs.
Portable dragline excavators and skid steer loaders also come in 6-10 tonne sizes. Dragline excavator hire is best for mining and civil engineering, as they have a large bucket attached with chains and ropes to a large truss structure. Skid steer loaders are three-wheeled excavators that can turn 360 degrees without moving.
Standard Excavators/ Crawler Excavators
- Size: 10-45 tonnes
- Best for: Commercial construction
Standard excavators are hydraulically powered, offering increased power, reach and attachment options. Standard excavator hire is best for trench digging and loading trucks. Standard excavators can work on uneven ground that other excavators may not. Standard excavators perform best on jobs that may last weeks. The most popular size within this range is 19-24 tonne excavators.
Dragline excavators of this size may need to be assembled onsite.
Large Excavators/ Long Reach Excavators/ High Reach Excavators
- Size: Over 45 tonnes
- Best for: Massive construction and demolition
These excavators are the largest in their class and provide the maximum in power and load capacity.
High-reach-type large excavator hire is best for tall building construction, with their high boom allowing increased accuracy for targeted demolition. They also help in avoiding falling debris.
Long-reach-type large excavator hire is best in difficult earthworks and demolition works where a standard boom can’t reach. These excavators are more accurate and safe in these jobs than other excavator types.
The downsides of large excavators are that they require oversized trucks and trailers to move them, and they’re unwieldy to store.
Dragline excavators of this size will need to be assembled onsite.
Other Excavator Types
There are a few specialised types of excavators classified by use rather than size, which may be available in any or all sizes stated above. These include vacuum excavators, amphibious excavators, spider excavators and clamshell excavators.
Vacuum excavators use a water jet to loosen the soil before using a vacuum tube to excavate it. This type of excavator is hired for non-invasive excavation, when you want to be careful of damaging pipes or other utilities, or where you aren’t sure where those delicate structures are.
Amphibious excavators are hired for working in and around water and are the safest excavator for this application. These excavators are most commonly used for dredging.
Spider excavators are all-terrain excavators with 4 wheels and 4 hydraulic stabilising claws.
Clamshell excavators are hired for underground excavation, with a 30m downward boom.
Choose your excavator and hire with EPH today.
Once you’ve taken into account how big your project is and what your site looks like, it’s time to hire your excavator! Eastern Plant Hire has excavators available for whenever you need. Contact us today to hire it out.