Construction Machines & Vehicles - Excavators & Dredgers

The Excavator: Everything You Need To Know

January 2022

Construction Machines & Vehicles - Excavators & Dredgers

The Excavator: Everything You Need To Know

January 2022

Excavators are an essential piece of heavy equipment for most construction projects. Often referred to as diggers, excavators are used for all kinds of jobs like material handling, landscaping, demolition, mining projects, river dredging and construction.

The Makeup Of An Excavator

The anatomy of an excavator is made up of a boom, dipper (or stick) and bucket. These pieces connect to a cab that sits on a rotating house. Most houses can rotate a full 360 degrees. Excavators are available with either tracks or wheels depending on the manufacturer and what the nature of a project is.

Excavators are available in a variety of sizes and can weigh up to 180,000 lbs. There are many other attachments for excavators that can take the place of the digging bucket to diversify the machine. By swapping out the bucket for an auger, drill, ripper or rake the excavator can be used for many different jobs.

Choosing the Right Excavator for The Job

The best way to choose what excavator rental is needed for your project is to assess what exactly you need the machine to do. Identifying the right size of excavator, what attachments are needed and how long you need the rental for will help you determine the best machine for your job. It is more efficient for a job to rent the right size equipment for what is needed instead of trying to make one piece fit for a variety of jobs.


What Are The Different Types of Excavators?

An excavator is often used for earthmoving projects. That being said, the variety of popular excavator rental sizes and attachments available for this machine make it useful in excavation projects of all sizes. From a landscape project to the construction of a completely new high-rise skyscraper, you can expect to see an excavator on almost any construction project.

The variation in size allows them to be used in big construction projects and small backyard renovations. Wheeled excavators are popular in Europe and are used for working in urban areas since their wheels are kinder to finished roads and pavement than the traditional metal track.

The Cable vs. Hydraulic Excavator

The difference in the cable and hydraulic excavator comes from how the parts of the machine move. Cable excavators which use a series of steel wires and cables to move the main parts replaced the steam shovels in the early 1900s.


Hydraulic excavators work by allowing the driver to use levers to control the movement of the hydraulic fluid to push and move the cylinders that control the boom and bucket of an excavator.


The 7 Kinds of Excavators

There are six key types of excavators available on the market: Crawler, Dragline, Suction, Skid Steer, Long Reach, Mini Excavator and Wheeled Excavator.


  1. Crawler Excavators:

The most commonly recognized excavator used for mining, trench digging and landscape grading the crawler excavator is what most people picture when they hear the word “excavator”. This kind of excavator is available on wheels instead of a track.

  1. Dragline Excavators:

A larger kind of excavator that uses a hoist rope and dragline system to clear earth for underwater projects, pile driving or road excavations.

  1. Suction Excavators:

Uses water jets and a high-pressure vacuum to clear dirt, soil, and debris. Operated out of a wheeled vehicle the suction excavator is used for underground applications, debris cleanup and other delicate excavation projects.

  1. Long Reach Excavators:

With arms that extend up to 100 feet with attachments, the excavator is good for heavy-duty digging and industrial demo projects.

  1. Mini Excavator:

A compact, smaller version of a crawler excavator, mini excavators – often referred to as mini diggers – are useful in narrow job sites, job sites with obstacles, and jobs with delicate terrain like landscaping. Mini excavators have zero tail-wing capability and are ideal for small jobs. Mini excavators are also popular for home and DIY landscape projects.

  1. Wheeled Excavator:

The wheeled excavator is the same as a regular excavator but is fitted on wheels instead of tracks. Growing in recognition for their use in city projects, wheeled excavators are becoming more and more popular.

Related Articles

Latest Articles