There are different types of equipment used in construction and industrial applications. Each one has a unique function that allows professionals to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. One of the most common machines you will find on a worksite is an excavator. The excavator has different uses in construction, making it a valuable piece of machinery for various projects.

If you are a builder, developer, or property owner who has a construction or industrial project, you probably need to buy or rent an excavator. However, before you do so, it’s best to learn more about this machine and find the right type of excavator for your project.

What is an Excavator?

An excavator is a type of heavy equipment typically used for a variety of earthmoving tasks. Also called a digger, it is equipped with a bucket, arm, rotating cab, and tracks that provide it the mobility and power it needs to complete several functions on the worksite.

What is an Excavator Used For?

In the most general sense, an excavator is most commonly used for transporting different loads, such as soil and gravel, for the ease of a construction or building operation. While smaller excavators may be limited to this transportation function, larger and more powerful excavator types have a wider range of applications, especially in large-scale projects, such as mining or foundation setting.

To learn more about how you can utilize an excavator for your project, we have listed the different functionalities of the machine. Continue reading to discover how useful an excavator truly is.

Excavation and Earthmoving

When one thinks of excavator uses in construction, the most common function that comes to mind is excavation and earthmoving tasks. Like any masterpiece, a construction project requires a smooth, blank canvas that is free from debris like rocks and loose soil. Depending on the scale of your project, there are a number of different excavator types that you can choose from based on your needs, budget, and project scale.


Even for many professionals in the construction industry, excavators may not be the first piece of heavy-duty equipment that come to mind when you think about a demolition job. Wrecking balls are often the more likely solution for a demolition job, but that does not mean that they are the only tool for the job. Some excavators are more than able to accomplish your demolition task, while still being fit for other deliverables on your project timeline. So, for better efficiency, kill two birds with one stone with an excavator rental in the Philippines that can tear down a building and lay the foundation for the next.

Mining and Pipe-Laying

With a degree of subterranean activity, mining and pipe-laying require powerful excavator types that can survive the constant pulling of heavy loads, as well as a steady hoist and drop hydraulic or electric motor system that can safely transport heavy pipes or mining finds. Excavator types that can fulfill this task category are usually armed with elongated, barebones booms that can withstand the constant horizontal and vertical load pulling required of these tasks.


From skyways and highways to bridges and tunnel roads, the infrastructure that goes into our roadwork would not be possible if not for the power and efficiency that excavators can bring to a project. By utilizing excavators for a roadwork job, you are able to create strong foundations for roads that can bear the weight of vehicles and loads and withstand the elements.


Whether residential or commercial, excavator equipment is a must for any construction project. The ability to dig deep trenches for multi-story buildings is a must for durable and long-lasting foundations. Furthermore, the flexibility that excavators afford for heavy lifting materials is a vital addition for compact work sites that require mobility when transporting items around the project.

Excavator Sizes

Excavators come in different sizes to accommodate the needs of different projects. Whether you’re using this piece of rental heavy-duty equipment to complete your backyard landscaping or commercial construction project, you can find the right excavator size that suits your needs.

There are three main excavator sizes you should learn about. These size classes were specified based on the weight of the machine.

Mini Excavator

The smallest excavator size you can find is the mini excavator. This type of excavator weighs no more than seven metric tons and is often referred to as a compact excavator.

Because of its size, the mini excavator is often used for projects that have to deal with tight worksites. It also offers great precision, allowing operators to work around pipes or gas lines that may be underground the worksite.

Additionally, the mini excavator is preferred for smaller projects because it can be used on soft terrain and completed sites without damaging or tearing up the ground. However, it is not as powerful as its larger counterparts and may not provide the necessary power needed for larger projects.

Standard Excavator

Weighing between seven and 45 metric tons, the standard excavator is one of the most common types offered by excavator brands. This excavator size is often used in a variety of construction projects because it provides the necessary power and hauling capacity.

Although the standard excavator is bigger than the mini excavator, it can still be easy to maneuver on smaller worksites. However, because of its size and weight, a standard excavator may cause damage when used over pavements, roads, and soft terrain. It may also be difficult to transport standard excavators. You need to load them on a transport truck before bringing them to the worksite because they cannot be driven over roads.

Large Excavator

The largest excavator size you will find in the market weigh more than 45 metric tons and is often used for heavy-duty jobs. Because of their size, large excavators can offer the power and hauling capacity necessary to complete large projects like large-scale demolition and major commercial construction.

Large excavators are utilized in digging foundations for large infrastructures, such as apartment complexes, shopping centers, and high-rise buildings. This type of excavator is also useful for handling large volumes of soil when completing earthmoving tasks.

Similar to standard excavators, large excavators may be challenging to transport. You have to invest in a large transport truck to be able to bring this piece of equipment to and from different jobsites.

Choosing the Right Size of Excavator for Your Project

excavator on a construction site

With a variety of excavator sizes to choose from, deciding on the right piece of equipment for your project may be quite challenging. You need to choose an excavator size that suits your project’s requirements and boosts your productivity. To help you decide, here are some factors you need to consider when picking an excavator size:

Worksite Layout

Determine the layout of your project’s worksite and see if there are any tight spaces that you need to access or obstacles you must avoid. If you do, you might have to choose a compact excavator, which will allow you to maneuver small spaces and obstacles easily.

On the other hand, if you have enough space on your worksite, you can choose a standard or large excavator without any problems. You only need to be mindful of obstacles that may appear as the project progresses.


The weight of the excavator can determine the type of terrain it can be used on. If you’re working on soft terrain or a finished site, you might need to avoid using standard or large excavators. These excavator sizes are too heavy and can cause damage to the ground.

Instead, you should use a mini excavator, which is safe to use on these types of terrain. It is light enough not to damage the ground but can still provide you with the functionalities you need from an excavator.

Project Specifications

Another thing you need to consider when choosing an excavator is the requirements of your project. You need to make sure that the excavator size you pick will allow you to meet the project specifications when it comes to the following:

  • Dig depth
  • Reach
  • Lift height
  • Load capacity
  • Load weight

Transportation and Storage

You need to be prepared with the transportation and storage of the excavator you’ll be renting or buying for your project. Transporting and storing large and standard excavators may be expensive and might need special permits.

If you don’t have the extra budget to pay for storage space and a large transport trailer, you might have to choose a mini excavator. This excavator size won’t give you any trouble when it comes to storage and will only need a small transport truck, which is more cost-efficient.

Types of Excavators

Aside from being categorized by size, excavators can also be classified based on their specific functionalities. Some of the most common excavator types used in various projects are the following:

Crawler Excavators

As the model that typically comes to mind when one thinks of excavators, tracked or crawler excavators are excellent because of their powerful excavation capability and their availability in several sizes. Smaller, more compact models of crawlers are available for rent and out on the market for projects with less ground to cover. When comparing tracked vs. wheeled excavators, the former makes for more excellent maneuverability even in difficult terrain due to their infinite tracks and the secure operator cab design.

Purchase or Rent This If: You want a type of excavator that is dependable and powerful enough to survive different working conditions while fulfilling a number of basic tasks outside of just excavation, such as load lifting.

Long-Reach Excavators

Built with a significantly longer boom and stick, long-reach excavators are an excellent multi-purpose type of excavator that can tear down tall buildings and old roadways while having the capacity to dig deep, underground trenches and holes for subterranean construction or mining operations. Long-reach excavators are built with a lengthy arm that makes demolition jobs safer because they can be operated from the cab at a farther distance. Combined with this utility as an excavator type, this makes it an excellent choice for large, multi-story projects that require either demolition or foundation construction.

Purchase or Rent This If: You are working with high-rise developments that require plenty of range during operation with demolition and construction or intensive underground digging that reaches deep into the earth.

Dragline Excavator

Dragline excavators can rely on their long booms for subterranean activities like surface mining, road work, and pipe laying. Moreover, these booms are usually powered by electric motors for added dragging or hoisting capabilities. While most excavators rely on their heavy buckets to accomplish heavy-duty lifting on the surface, dragline excavators rely on their pulling ability to hoist heavy debris like stone and soil out of the ground. Furthermore, they are also expected to have the same boom power for carrying heavy materials for pipe laying to create durable sewage and water systems for long-term use.

Purchase or Rent This If: You expect to use your excavator for accomplishing plenty of subterranean work in a large-scale project that involves pulling loads into or out of underground worksites.

Types of Excavator Attachments

Excavators already offer a lot of functionalities on their own, but different attachments can make excavators more versatile pieces of equipment. Here are a few excavator attachments that are typically used by professionals:

  • Buckets: This is the most common attachment used in an excavator. You can choose from different types of bucket attachments, such as slim, wide, and smooth.
  • Thumbs: Designed to make handling materials easier, a thumb attachment can improve the functionality of your excavator’s bucket. It can also make gripping bulky and large pieces much easier.
  • Augers: With an auger, digging tasks can be completed quickly and more efficiently. This is why this attachment is often used for digging holes for fence posts, building supports, and foliage.
  • Hammers: A hammer attachment can effectively break up pavement and other tough surfaces, which is essential in demolition projects.
  • Rippers: This is another attachment that can be used in demolition projects. Rippers can easily smash the solid ground and demolish buildings.

We hope that this guide to excavator types, sizes, attachments, and the tasks that they can perform will help you narrow down the excavator models that you would like to rent or purchase for your project. If you are still unsure about which model best suits your needs, feel free to reach out to us over at Hastings Motors for our best recommendation and quote.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *