Whether you’re in construction, agriculture, or utilities, finding the right excavator for the job can be as difficult as the work itself. Investing in new equipment is always a difficult decision with so many options available. As a key investment in your business, it’s critical to get it right from the beginning. Heavy equipment is rarely chosen based on specific features or specifications. It’s about how these features work together to create a versatile machine that can fulfil a variety of needs on the job site. But no more chit-chat. Here’s how to choose the right excavator.

3 Best excavators for construction crews

The construction industry relies on a broad range of different excavators depending on the job. Typically, commercial projects will require one of three different kinds of excavators. 

  1. 5 -10 ton “Midi” or medium excavators are excellent for working in tighter spaces where a reasonable level of power and reach is still necessary. Smaller private builds and mid-sized commercial projects with more complex excavation jobs are ideal for this class of excavators. Transport and storage costs are also lower than most.
  2. 10 - 45 ton Standard “crawler” excavators are the most common for large commercial projects that require heavy earthworks and for deep excavation jobs. Hydraulic systems are built for heavier loads and a wide range of attachments - making them the ideal candidate for most construction jobs. 
  3. 45 + ton Large excavators are for extreme, heavy-duty digging on projects demanding the highest levels of power. All this power comes with its drawbacks. Because of their size, transportation on purpose-built trucks means running costs are higher than any other excavator on the market.

How to choose the right excavator as a commercial plumber

Whether it’s a new septic system or a new sprinkler network, having the right excavator as a plumber can save hours of backbreaking shovel work. Choosing a mini excavator with enough versatility to navigate complex job-site environments while also providing enough weight and power to lift in heavy pipes and tanks is critical. An excavator that does all this will need to be small, but robust. Consider a Kubota mini-excavator with a zero-swing tail allowing a full 360-degree swing to make the digging count. For larger commercial plumbing projects, consider upgrading the reach and power of the machine to increase productivity. It’s important to balance out transportation, fuel, and running costs with the kind of work the excavator will be doing. 

Excavators for irrigation specialists

Irrigation specialists will benefit from two things: minimal footprint and maximum versatility. Because targeted excavation and compacting are integral to irrigation installation, every stage from the first bucket to finishing and ‘dressing up the yard must be as efficient as possible. Choosing a compact zero-swing-tailed 5-ton excavator with a dozer blade will make digging and compacting quicker. Light, rubber tracks are ideal for lowering the footprint, and speeding up the project when it comes to cleaning and pack-up.

How to choose the right excavator for demolition jobs

Demolition specialists require extra reach, power, and improved safety features. Extra reach and optimised hydraulics are necessary for accessing tall buildings, ensuring a safe distance between the job site and the operator, and increased accuracy when tearing and leveraging structures. Increased power along with a hydraulic hammer will also be needed to effectively demolish tougher concrete structures. Source an excavator with the highest safety features for when it all comes crumbling down.

How to choose the right excavator for agriculture

Farmers and agricultural businesses may require excavators for a range of on-site jobs and smaller more targeted tasks around the home or stables. Depending on the scale of your property and the kinds of work you tend to do yourself versus what you usually outsource, will indicate what kind of excavator you should invest in. Medium or compact excavators are an excellent choice for farmers looking to do trenching work, fencing, and site clearing. Increasing versatility is a big focus in agriculture, choosing the right excavator will mean looking at a variety of roles rather than just one function.

Mining and quarries 

For more heavy-duty tasks, bulk earth removal, and deep excavation, the big guns are needed for extra power and durability in the face of long work hours, tough surfaces, and heavy lifting. Extra-large and specialist excavators of usually 50 + tons are ideal for mine sites looking to diversify or increase their running time. When working with large amounts of natural materials, excavators with higher bucket and lift weight capacities are necessary for denser, heavier loads. The larger the engine, and the more powerful and responsive the hydraulics, the more productivity you’re going to get over the long term.


Landscape contractors would be attracted to versatility and low maintenance costs. A machine that does it all, from planting trees to picking up heavy blocks of stone, landscapers often need to execute a range of functions at one job site and often in quick succession. A zero swing tail is a must-have for versatility on different projects, and depending on the types of services on offer, consider going for a mid-range 6 -10 ton excavator with good engine power. 

How should councils choose the right excavator?

Local councils often tread the fine line between owning and renting, but more often than not, owning becomes cheaper over the long term, and, as needs change over time new equipment becomes necessary. Whether it’s seasonal jobs that require particular attention, or spot cleaning after freak storms, having a range of equipment at the ready can save time and money. Jobs like seaweed removal, or dune maintenance require large bucket sizes for collection and disposal, and plenty of traction for easy movement over sand and mud. 

How to choose the right excavator for waste disposal facilities 

Waste and rubbish disposal facilities require excavators for lifting a mixture of materials and clearing and crush waste. For this purpose, lifting strength is key. Large-scale excavators of 30 + tons with advanced hydraulics will be ideal for efficient lifting and clearing. Consider using extensions like an excavator claw for effectively grabbing waste and manoeuvring it without damaging or spilling in the process.