Here’s How to Select the Right Excavator for Your Needs

December 8, 2021 10:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’ve ever driven by a construction site, chances are you’ve seen an excavator. An excavator is a large piece of heavy machinery that is designed to move massive amounts of dirt on a construction site. The standard excavator has treads on the bottom and a large arm and bucket attached to the front.

But there are several different types of excavators that are well-suited to various types of construction applications. No matter why you need an excavator, it’s helpful to know how to decide which type you should use.


The size and scope of your construction project will inform what size excavator you will need. Excavators vary in size, from the mini excavator that can handle under six tons to large excavators that can move over 45 tons. What you’ll be moving and where you’ll be moving it should determine the size of the excavator you elect to use.

Job site

Once you’ve selected the correct size for your excavator, you’ll now have to consider the conditions and location of the job site. You should ask yourself why you need an excavator and what type of project you’re conducting.

Is the job site a flat, wide open space, like a field or a parking lot? Or is it an indoor operation or a more urban application with many obstacles you’ll have to navigate? Is the ground flat, or steeply sloped? Some excavators have wheels instead of treads, and these may work better on hard and flat surfaces.


Each individual job site will have a maximum operating weight that your excavator should not surpass. This is where you’ll have to try and strike a balance between being able to move all the earth you need to while making sure you don’t damage the ground in the process. When in doubt, opt for the smaller excavator, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Digging capabilities

Just as important as the size and weight of the machine, its bucket capacity and ability to dig should factor into your excavator selection criteria. This involves knowing just how much earth you’ll be moving and what size the excavator’s bucket needs to be to ensure you can adequately do the job.

The excavator’s reach and maximum digging depth should be accounted for as well, as those components are also integral to its performance.


No matter where your project is located, you’ll have to transport your excavator to and from the job site. This may be another reason to opt for a smaller excavator, if possible, because they are easier to transport than larger excavators. You’ll also need to consider how many different job sites your excavator will need to be transported to.

If you need an excavator at several different job sites, a mini excavator can be transported easily. If you just need to move a large excavator to a mining operation one time, where it will live out its life and then be scrapped, then transportation isn’t as much of an issue.

Call for your excavator today

Knowing why you need an excavator is only half the battle. To find the right excavator for your project, call us at Estes Excavating Inc., where we’ve been providing high-quality excavation services since 1974.

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