Top 10 Excavators 2019

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Read our buying advice for excavators

Introduction to Excavators

Many businesses rely upon excavators to perform their daily operations. Construction, utility work, paving, landscaping and independent contractors often use excavators to help prepare land for construction projects. An excavator is one piece of equipment that can drastically reduce the cost of a job, since renting an excavator often ends up costing more in the long run. It's one of the most crucial equipment buys a firm can make to improve the efficiency of their operations. While each manufacturer defines and rates their excavators differently, there are three main types of machines available on the market:

Most companies will go with a standard size excavator, although the actual size of the excavator purchased depends largely on the needs of the company. High-end excavators generally go far beyond the needs of most companies, and the extra cost for these machines is generally not justified. The smaller machines are good for small projects, and can be very useful for a company that doesn't need to move large amounts of land. This guide focuses on what you need to know before purchasing a full-sized excavator. You'll learn the following important information and techniques:

After determining the excavator that is right for your business, you can get several quotes from excavator sellers in your area. This ensures you get the best leverage when purchasing an excavator from available sellers.

Features and Attachments

An excavator consists of three main components: Cab, engine, undercarriage, boom arm and attachment.

Buckets and Attachments

Depending on the type of jobs you engage in, you might find that you need different types of attachments. There are several different attachments that can help you get a job done more effectively. The type of bucket you use will have an impact on your project. The size and style of the bucket has an impact on your project:

Additional attachments can be purchased for specialized jobs. Augers can be used for boring holes in the ground. Thumbs are used for pinching and gripping at the ground. Hydraulic hammers, rakes, mulchers and rippers can be used to tear into the ground and make it easier to dig. While an excavator is usually set up for one specific task, the excavator can be set up for more than one application if necessary.

If you want an excavator that can serve more than one function, consider getting one with "quick attach" couplers. These couplers make it easier to switch between attachments quickly. Additional optional features include monitoring systems that can be programmed to adjust the hydraulic flow depending on the attachment. Power boost modes are used to balance the power available for the boom, bucket and tracks. A backfill blade may be available on a smaller excavator, and it can be attached below the boom. The backfill blade makes it easier to refill and level after digging. Additional useful, but generally unnecessary options include climate-controlled cabs, and anti-vandalism features are available for those who leave their excavators on-site.

Purchase Considerations

The biggest factor you must consider is the size of the excavator you want to purchase. Getting the right size excavator for your project can help you save time and money. When deciding on the size of your excavator, keep these three considerations in mind:

The size of the machine also matters, but it is less important in the greater scheme of things. If you need to get the excavator through narrow gates or between close buildings, this could become an important factor. Some projects will require the use of a smaller, more flexible excavator. When possible, choose the smallest machine that will function for your job. A larger machine is going to cost more to operate.

Optional Considerations

Newer machines use controls that can make it easier to work for extended periods of time. If you need to use your excavator for long and extended periods of time, the level of comfort is also important. Operators with more comfortable cabs tend to perform better and make fewer mistakes. The machine should also be easy to use, and the maintenance shouldn't end up costing more than the cost of the machine. Check out how easily you can access the engine and hydraulic systems. If these are hard to get to, it's going to be more time-consuming and expensive to maintain the vehicle.

Choosing a Seller

Go with a seller who can provide you with service and maintenance options after the purchase of your excavator. Ask the seller the following questions:

If you can, ask to see a demo of the excavators and get references from other companies that have bought excavators. Companies that regularly work in the industry know where the best and most reliable dealers are. It's not always the price point that should be the deciding factor when purchasing an excavator, the quality of the machines and service also matter. Finally, avoid pushy sellers who seem only interested in selling you a specific model that they are trying to clear from the floor.


New excavators can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000. More expensive excavators are also available. This guide shows you what you can expect for various sized excavators.

One bucket is usually included in the cost of purchase. Aim to get one that matches what you'll be using your excavator for most often. Additional buckets can cost from $7000 to $5,000. If you need powered attachments, you can typically expect to pay between $5,000 to $10,000.

Buying Used and Rentals

Used machines are available for purchase and rentals can be acquired for short-term jobs. It's usually best to rent large machines if you don't use them very often and get a used, smaller machine for routine digging. Used models with about 1,000 hours of use may only cost about 25 percent less than a new model. With a used model, you also have to worry about making sure the machine is free of defects. You must evaluate a used excavator before buying. Check to see that the entire range of motion is free, and don't be sold on a machine just because it has a fresh coat of paint. Check the machine for any new welds or signs of repair. Rentals can cost between $3,000 to $8,000 per month, depending on the size of the machine.

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