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Need an Excavator This Summer? Tips to Choosing the Right Equipment

Posted by IronPlanet on Jun 30, 2016 9:49:21 AM

Now that summer is here, the excavator becomes essential for many jobs sites, big and small. But, how do you know what type of equipment you need? Should you consider an attachment instead? Whether it’s job needs, weight or resale value, there are many things to consider when purchasing a used piece of heavy equipment. Taking the time to learn about different choices will help you select the right machine for your job. Here are a few tips to choosing the right excavator to help with your summer project and beyond.




Job requirements

First determine what work the excavator will be required to accomplish your job sites. Excavators are available in a number of different sizes. Mini-excavators are often used within buildings because they fit inside easily and can be used for interior demolition or in tight spaces between buildings. However, they aren’t capable of carrying heavier loads. For organizations doing water and sewer work, it’s essential an excavator be able to lift heavy concrete structures and dig within certain depths. For contractors working alongside highways, the excavator may need to have a zero tail swing or zero radius so that it can be operated without swinging into oncoming traffic.

Options and attachments

Today, there are many more used excavators available across North America with in-demand options. Additionally, the number of attachments that can be used on excavators has also increased over the past 10 years. Options make the machines more versatile because they can complete a variety of tasks, allowing you to take on more diverse projects, while many attachments can be used across multiple excavators. For instance, couplers on excavators allow users to easily change buckets or other attachments on the machine. Auxiliary hydraulics allow excavators to run various powered attachments, such as a plate compactor that compacts backfill in trenches as the crew lays water lines or storm drain. Hydraulic breakers allow operators to break rock or concrete and then a bucket can quickly be reattached to load the pieces and clean up the worksite. Clamps for pipe or barricades can be attached to move materials around a site or load and unload materials with ease. Grapples or thumbs can be added to allow an excavator to pick through debris or sort scrap.


Later-model machines are often compatible with GPS systems that allow operators to more efficiently complete trench and sewer work, rather than doing it manually. Many manufacturers are now also offering electronic data collection via satellites that gives buyers more control over their equipment. Even some older excavators can be retrofitted with this technology. The data also provides critical information about fuel consumption and engine temperature to owners that can easily be monitored from any computer.


The weight of the excavator should be a factor when looking at different types. Some owners are limited to a 15 metric ton maximum because they must be able to haul it on a trailer or behind a pick-up truckutility truck, or dump truck. Heavier excavators will require more complex transportation from site to site, which can become costly unless the equipment is staying at a site for the long term.

Resale value 

Purchasing a used secondary or tertiary excavator brand can have consequences a few years down the road. If you want or need to sell it or trade it in at some future date, the value is likely to be lower compared to a premium brand. By spending a little more up front on a premium brand, the machine will generally hold its value better because it has a larger following in the aftermarket and a wider dealer network.

 Purchasing options

It’s not always feasible for buyers to travel to an auction site to view used equipment. And even if they do, there may be a limited number of excavators available. Purchasing a used excavator online can be efficient and convenient if buyers work with a trusted marketplace. The marketplace should provide inspection reports that offer detailed photos, oil samples and information about the equipment’s features and condition, and these reports should be guaranteed so that any potential issues can be easily resolved. The marketplace should also have a list of transportation partners that the buyer can work with when the purchase is complete. In addition to excavators, equipment attachments can also be bought online. 

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Topics: Trucks, Construction

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