Important Considerations When choosing an Excavator


Excavation is one of the most crucial components of any job, helping to shift earth, rock and other materials so that the building foundations can start to take place. There are many processes involved including trenching, digging, dredging and site development and for this reason it is important that you choose the right excavator for the job. With so many different machine sizes and specifications on offer, it can be hard to decide.

In this blog post, E-Tech will share some helpful tips on selecting an excavator and staying safe on site.

Important Considerations for Excavator Size, Power and Safety

You will need to keep the following in mind:

  • Engine Power – an insufficient excavator will struggle to perform, only setting your job back further. Pay close attention to bore and piston stroke and look carefully at the strength of various engine offerings.
  • Weight – If you choose an excavator which is too heavy, a lot of damage will occur on site. Pay close attention to maximum operating weight and consider your site type carefully.
  • Size – The last thing you want is to get an excavator which is too big and doesn’t fit on site. Likewise a machine which is too small will only result in project delays and may not be sufficient for the types of jobs you anticipated. Don’t purchase or hire anything without first checking your site and model measurements, and thinking about how/where you will store it when not in use.
  • Safety and Comfort – Consider the safety and comfort of your operators, who will be using the machine for extended periods of time. Try to look for an excavator which uses ergonomic chairs and controls and has plenty of space inside the cab. Heating and air conditioning should also be included. Finally, if looking to hire/purchase a secondhand machine make sure that you give it a good look over. Check for leaks, smoke coming from the engine, condition of the oil, and overall condition of the engine and wiring to make sure it is clean, safe and fully operational.

Choosing an Excavator

Exacavators can be found on mine sites and construction jobs all around the world, and they can range in size from 0.5 tonnes to well over 500 tonnes. Of course when investing in such an expensive piece of equipment, you want to know that your excavator will be suited to a wide range of tasks typically carried out by your business. Specifications for excavators can be hard to read, and before long you might be tempted to just give up due to the complicated explanations and different types of machines on offer.

To make it a bit easier, we’ll explain the 3 most common types of excavators and their typical usage scenarios below.

Mini (compact) Excavators

If a high level of mobility is important for you, then a mini excavator will fit the bill. These can weigh as little as 5,000lbs but they go up to just below 7 tons. If you only plan to work on small sites or within fairly restricted spaces, then a mini excavator will suit you well. They have low power requirements, and with lower weights they are unlikely to do much damage at all as they move about.

Standard Excavators

These are the most common excavators, usually checking in between 7 and 45 metric tons. They are used for most commercial construction projects due to their good combination of power and hauling capacity making them suitable for a range of tough jobs. Easy to transport, powerful and suitable for just about any site, you can’t go wrong with a standard excavator. Keep in mind that due to the weight and power, some damage will occur during movement.

Large Excavators

Large excavators range from 36 right up to 90 tons. They are normally employed for bulk earthmoving and heavy lifting applications, and you won’t find them in urban environments or slopey sites. If you are looking for an industrial workhorse with maximum power and size, a large excavator is what you need. Keep in mind it will also require further equipment as well as a suitable trailer.

There are also other types of excavators which are less common, here’s a brief overview:

  • Knuckle Boom Excavator – equipped with an extra joint, this allows the excavator to swing right to left for additional versatility during digging as well as extra reach. Useful for tight sites with lots of obstacles.
  • Long Reach Excavator – extended arm between 39-95 feet for maximum reach, ideal for dredging and demolition.
  • Spider Excavator – a niche excavator not commonly used, but can work in just about any terrain due to ‘walking’ ability.
  • Swamp Excavator – capable of floating on water, ideal for dredging.
  • Zero Swing Excavator – if working in a tight space, you can benefit from a swing which only covers the width of its tracks.

There’s a lot of thought and consideration involved in choosing an excavator, but if you get the right one you can expect it to provide reliable service and cover just about any scenario throughout the construction cycle. Whether you plan on using it for grading your foundation, lifting materials or something else the main thing to keep in mind is a) is this model capable of performing the intended task? And b) will it fit on site?

If you have any doubts at all about your choice of excavator, E-Tech Group strongly advise seeking the professional advice of a trusted equipment dealer who have the experience and knowledge necessary to steer you in the right direction.

E-Tech Group are a leading Sydney construction services company. Contact us today for more information regarding our services.