Excavators are routinely operated on a variety of construction projects. It is important to properly match your machine to its work to maximize productivity. When looking to make good purchasing decisions, buying the wrong excavator can lower productivity. Finding the best models lets you maximize efficiency on the job.

You should review the machine’s specifications and determine what configuration will meet your expectations. It can be difficult to narrow down the specifications of excavators, but reviewing the machine’s specifications is as fundamental to purchase. Core excavator specifications that should be taken into consideration include:

  • Arm breakout force
  • Engine horsepower
  • Hydraulic flow
  • Lifting capacity
  • Maximum digging depth
  • Maximum loading height
  • Maximum reach, ground level
  • Operating weight

Machine Performance

Many excavator manufacturers continue to refine their designs and improve the optimization between the engine and hydraulic system for greater efficiencies and improved fuel economy. Some machines are designed with variable-speed-control technologies to reduce engine rpm during low workload requirements. This reduces the total energy required to perform a task and can measurably improve fuel efficiency. With pump torque control, the operator can effectively match a machine’s hydraulic pump torque and engine response to the task, preventing engine overload and excess fuel consumption.

Attachment Versatility

In addition to standard buckets, three of the most popular attachments are quick couplers, hydraulic clamps and hydraulic breakers, which offer a low initial investment with a high rate of return. For example, clamps enable precise movement and positioning and help secure material for superior loading and material-handling applications. When not in use, clamps can be retracted, making the attachment excellent for demolition, site preparation, and land-clearing applications, as well as when the excavator operator is using a lifting mode to lift and place materials.

Maintenance Considerations

Excavator owners should closely follow the maintenance interval schedule provided by the manufacturer in its operation and maintenance manual. As a general guideline, it is a good idea to clean your excavator on a regular basis, especially when performing service or maintenance procedures. Perform daily lubrication duties in addition to other key maintenance intervals recommended by manufacturers. It is also important to routinely complete a full undercarriage inspection for excessive or uneven wear. The tracks should also be inspected to see if any components look out of place. If so, this could indicate a loose trackpad or a broken track pin. Rollers, idlers, anddrives should also be inspected for oil leakage. Oil leaks could indicate a failed seal, which could lead to a major failure in the rollers, idler or drive motor.

Here are some of the most popular excavator brands.


Each new model of CASE features a variety of standard features designed to improve productivity and performance.

Image credit: Equipment World


JCB excavators are built for productivity. They approach their excavator machine by striving for maximum performance, strength, comfort, efficiency, safety, and productivity.

Image creadit: Equipment Direct International


KOBELCO excavators maximize the balance performance with efficiency, productivity & safety.

Image credit: Construction Equipment Association


You'll love the Caterpillar family of excavators their ease of operation, their durability, and their safety and technology features. More productivity, reliability, accuracy, and efficiency.

Image credit: Hawthorne Cat


Quiet, safe and reliable. The environmentally friendly Komatsu excavators are simple to operate and efficient.

Image credit: Larsen & Toubro


Small on the outside, but big on the inside, Hitachi has a comfortable cab and are easy to operate.

Image credit: automotiveemployment

To avoid hefty repair costs, don't forget to ask the right questions to get as much details as possible before buying used heavy machinery.

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