Types of Excavators and Their Uses

Excavators are one of the most common types of earthmoving equipment you’ll see in a construction yard and is characterised by a boom, dipper (or stick) and bucket. Used for a wide array of functions including digging, handing material, moving large objects and creating trenches, excavators are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can own. In today’s article, we thought we’d take a look at the most common types of excavators and their uses and where you can expect to see find them.

Types of excavators

Mini excavator

Mini or ‘micro’ excavators are perfect for manoeuvring in compact spaces and have the added benefits of being easier to drive and transport than their larger counterparts and can often be used for the same construction work. The many attachments also make the mini excavator highly versatile and able to be used for many small to medium sized projects.

Commonly used for: Digging holes, drilling, backfiling, demolishing small structures

Crawler excavator

A crawler excavator is distinguished by its two rotating tracks that look similar to an army tank. Widely used in multiple areas of construction to move earth, lift, bore, dig trenches and more, a crawler excavator is one of the most versatile construction equipment as it can be used for a variety of jobs.

Commonly used for: Mining, trenching, and grading

Wheeled excavator

A wheeled excavator works similarly to a crawler excavator, except it operates on tires instead of tracks. This makes it a better option for operating in areas with steady terrains such as concrete or asphalt, as it’s easier and quicker to navigate than a crawler. However, if you’re working on rough terrain, a crawler is a better option.

Commonly used for: Any job on a flat surface

Long reach excavators

As the name suggests, long reach excavators are used for construction projects that involve hard to reach places. This is because these types of excavators have long arms (up to 100 feet), which allows workers to safely dig in spaces where the terrain may be too rough for entry.

Commonly used for: Hard to reach places or places with dangerous terrain

Backhoe loader

A backhoe loader (or excavator loader) is a multipurpose construction equipment that’s a loader and digger all in one. So versatile is this piece of equipment that you can easily find one in any construction site as it can perform several tasks such as lifting and carrying materials, backfilling, cutting, boxing and more.

Commonly used for: Soil extraction and unloading waste

Hydraulic excavator

A hydraulic shovel excavator is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used for projects involving heavy digging. Commonly seen on a mining site, these types of excavators utilise a hydraulic system and can rotate 360 degrees. It can be used for demolition purposes and to move large amount of earth and minerals.

Commonly used for: Mining and demolition

Spider excavator

Named for its spider like legs, the spider excavator is designed to work on tough terrain, including mud, steep sites and even water. Like the arachnid, a spider excavator has an uncanny ability to climb down hills and hard to reach sites, which makes it one of the hardest types of excavators to get – especially if you’re hiring.

Commonly used for: Steep terrain

Dragline excavator

Dragline excavators are ideal for large scale operations and is commonly used in civil engineering projects. These types of excavators use a hoist system and unlike conventional excavators, use pressure to excavate earth from the ground.

Commonly used for: Soil extraction and unloading waste

Want to learn more?

Looking to buy an excavator? Contact excavator sales team today by calling 1300 794 684 or via our online form and one of our construction equipment experts will be in touch soon. Or check out some of the other construction machinery we have available, including skid steers, trailers, forklifts and more.

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