A Guide to Construction Equipment: Types of Excavators

ExcavatorsExcavators are commonly used machines in the construction industry. They are sometimes called diggers, and are commonly seen in building, road construction and mining sites.

People use this type of heavy equipment for excavating soil from the ground. While they come in different machine sizes, bucket sizes, boom or arm lengths, and operation speed, they basically serve one purpose – to break, crush, drag and excavate soil and rocks.

Like other types of heavy equipment, excavators come in different types. Here are some of the most common.

Back hoe

Back hoes are the most common type you see on the lots of companies offering excavator dry hire. It has a bucket attached to a boom, and it functions as a hoe. The operator of the equipment controls the boom in a way that the bucket digs up the soil and pulls it towards the driver’s direction before lifting.

Mcfadyengroup.com.au says a back hoe’s cab can rotate 360 degrees. This feature allows the operator to load the excavated dirt or stone to nearby trucks.


Dragline excavators are bigger than the typical back hoes. These units are often used in large-scale operations. You see them on sites of on-surface mining and expansive civil engineering projects.

Draglines come in two types – mobile and on-site. Mobile draglines are smaller than on-site units and are much like back hoes that can move around the site. An on-site dragline, on the other hand, is a large equipment assembled and built on the construction site.

Crawler and wheel excavator

Excavators are also classified according to the wheel mechanism. Units that use tracks or chain wheel systems are called crawlers. It’s highly efficient in areas with hilly terrain. The other type runs on wheels like that of a truck. Wheel excavators are mostly used on plain ground operations.

There are many other types of excavators used in various applications. Their size, features and power depend on the kind of project. Thanks to an excavator’s heavy duty features and versatility, construction workers can accomplish their work faster, safer and more efficiently.