Tips on choosing the right excavator

Tips on choosing the right excavator

Excavators are used for digging trenches, holes and foundations. They’re the most effective equipment on the market to do this type of job. They can both dig and lift material out of the way. An excavator is a very efficient machine for landscaping, construction and hauling. If you’re looking for used excavating equipment to help with your next project, look no further than Lyon Auction. Below are the different types of excavators, as well as some information on attachments and sizes!

Types of excavators and their purpose

It’s important to know the types of excavators and their purposes before diving into which size and attachment is best for your job.

Crawler excavators

Crawler excavators have a bucket, boom and arm on the front of the machine, and they come in a variety of different sizes. They’re considered all-around excavators because they can be used for digging sites, demolishing structures, trenching and lifting heavy objects.

Wheeled excavators

What’s different about wheeled excavators is that they run on wheels vs tracks. They are general-purpose excavators. What’s nice about them is you drive them from site to site without having to load them on a trailer, like excavators on tracks.

Short-swing radius excavators

This is another variation of general-purpose excavators. They have a short-swing radius, which is helpful when it comes to confined areas, especially in the city. They come as crawlers and with wheels.

Long-reach excavators

These are the third type of general-purpose excavators. They have an extended arm and boom, giving them a wide range of movement. They’re great for digging underwater, deep trenching and placing utility pipes at a depth that freezing temps won't affect them at.


Attachments are used to maximize productivity on a job site. The bucket is most common for excavators. Slim buckets can be used to dig, and wide buckets are better for scooping and carrying. The thumb is used to help secure larger loads in the bucket. Augers are used a lot in landscaping and construction, as they allow excavators to dig holes more quickly.

Hydraulic breaker attachments, also known as hammers, are used to demolish structures and pavements more quickly. Shears are ideal when it comes to demolishing buildings and steel structures. Hydraulic quick couplers allow the excavator to go from using one tool to another without the crew having to change it manually.

Rippers can tear through strong materials fairly easily and can even tear through frozen surfaces. Tilt-rotators enable the arm to rotate 360 degrees and tilt plus-minus 45 degrees, giving the excavator more conditions to work with.


There are mini/midi, medium and large-size classifications. Each has its own purpose, and some are better suited for one project than another.


Mini excavators are used for projects in small areas. They’re good for landscaping projects such as digging a hole for trees. They have hardly any swing, which makes them able to easily move around buildings and houses. They are also easy to transport because they don’t weigh much. Midi excavators have a bit more power and capacity compared to mini excavators.


Medium excavators are general-purpose. This is the most commonly used size of excavators, as they’re suitable for a wide range of jobs and can fit many attachments. They are not best for confined spaces because of their large swing. You will see these at most construction sites.


Large excavators are also general-purpose. They have the most power and hauling capacity. You will see them at large construction sites and demolition projects, such as large-scale buildings and malls. If you have a large project, this is the best size to choose.

Find the right used excavating equipment

Lyon Auction knows the importance of having the right equipment for the job. If you’re in the market for used excavating equipment, you’ll definitely want to check out our upcoming auctions. Contact us today for more information!


Previous Page