What excavator do you need for your job? : Hirepool

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What excavator do you need for your job?

Excavators or diggers are a common piece of equipment that’s used in construction on a day-to-day basis. They’re built for heavy duty digging and hauling - whether it’s gravel or debris you’re trying to move, an excavator will  be able to move it quickly and without too much effort. An excavator isn’t just used on construction sites though, and can be helpful in achieving your more ambitious DIY projects on your property too. 

Hiring an excavator can be confusing though, with so many options available and so many factors to weigh up, such as the size, the type of tail swing, the load capacity and more. Luckily for you, we’ve taken the liberty of explaining everything you need to know when choosing an excavator, so that you get the right one for the job. 


Everything you need to know about choosing the right excavator

Choosing the right excavator is very important and will determine how long the job will take and how easily you’ll be able to complete it. You first need to understand how excavators actually work, what your project requirements are and what different features of an excavator need to be considered.


How do excavators work?

Excavators are controlled by the navigation controls that are located inside the ‘cab’ of the excavator (the house is the space the operator sits in). The operator uses the pedals and joysticks to control the excavator arm or boom, and to move it backwards and forwards. When the excavator has reached the area that needs to be dug, the operator can lower the excavator arm and scoop the ground to collect the debris in the bucket, which can be moved somewhere else.


What are your project requirements

Ultimately, the type of excavator you need depends on the type of project you’re working on. Some excavators are better for larger jobs while other excavators may need to be more compact to get into smaller work areas or need to be more efficient at digging and trenching. So, the first step should be to determine your project requirements and think about factors such as:



The reach of the excavator refers to how far the arm of the excavator can dig away from the excavator “cab” itself. While a longer reach can make jobs a little bit slower, it can be very useful at worksites where accessibility is limited. 


Dump height

Where do you plan on dumping the excavated material? If you’re planning on dumping it to the side of the hole that is being dug, then you may not need a high dump height. If you’re dumping it into a truck on the other hand, then the dump height needs to be high enough to clear the height of the truck. 


Dig depth

You’ll need to find out the depth that needs to be dug for your job - whether it’s 2 metres or 10 metres makes a big difference! You can also get various attachments for the excavator that improve the ease of digging to different depths.


Load capacity

If you’re working on a big excavating job, this factor is going to be very important as the larger the load capacity is, the more earth it can move in one scoop. You should ask yourself “how big is the job?”,  “what material is being shifted’ and “how much time do I have to do it?”.  


Load weight

You will need to consider how much weight the excavator will need to lift. With heavier materials, you’ll need an excavator with a larger load weight and anti burst valves (found on excavators that weigh more than 7 tonne) for safety when using as a crane.  


If you’re unsure about any of these requirements, chat to the team at Hirepool for advice or give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help you out. 


Mini excavators vs standard excavators

Excavators come in different sizes to suit any type of project. Both mini excavators and standard excavators are very useful in their own ways, so understanding the benefits and downsides of each will help you pick the best excavator. 


Mini excavators are generally better for smaller jobs where site access is limited or too small for a larger excavator to access. Because of the smaller size, it’s easier to maneuver and can fit into tighter gaps. Mini excavators are also generally easier to transport quickly and efficiently from site to site, giving you more time to excavate and less time required to move the excavator. Don’t be fooled by the smaller size - mini excavators are still quite powerful!

You’ll want to hire a trailer to get the mini excavator to your site, but this can be used to remove materials from the site too. 


Standard excavators are better for larger jobs that require more brute force and power. Because they’re larger in size, they have a larger load capacity, reach, lift height and dig depth compared to a mini excavator, which could come in handy for big excavating jobs. Standard excavators can be tricky to fit into tight spaces, and can also be a challenge storage and transportation wise - so we’d recommend you opt for a mini excavator if those are important considerations for your job. 


What are tracked excavators?

Most excavators move on two parallel tracks that provide traction on slippery surfaces and on hills. Their main advantage over wheeled excavators are that they can move on soft terrain, whereas wheeled excavators can’t. 

Most of our excavators from Hirepool are tracked with either rubber or steel as we see these as being the best option for most jobs - you’ll get precision and traction when operating on slippery surfaces, although it's worth noting they shouldn’t be driven on roads or hard surfaces. 

Excavator Rubber vs Steel Tracks


What is tail-swing?

Tail-swing is the movement of the tail of the excavator that swings in the opposite direction of the front of the excavator. So for instance, if you turn the excavator’s arm and bucket to the right side, the tail (back-end of the excavator) will move to the left. It's also how far over or outside the tracks the tail or rear of the excavator reaches.

This can affect how easily you can operate the excavator in tight spaces and a smaller tail-swing will reduce the chance of hitting any trees or buildings. There are three different types of tail-swings on excavators:

  • zero tail-swings

  • limited tail-swings

  • standard tail-swings.


Zero tail-swings, as you can probably guess from the name, have the least amount of tail-swing as the excavator tail doesn’t extend beyond the tracks when the cab turns. 

Limited tail-swings on the other hand, provides little tail-swing as the cab extends a few inches over the track allowing it to maintain a bit of stability and maneuverability.  

Standard tail-swings are the most common, and are best for excavating jobs that require greater reach over maneuverability. Although, this can be problematic if you’re working in a tighter space. 


Think about the terrain you’ll be working on

Before choosing an excavator to use, you’ll need to consider one of the most important factors; the terrain you’ll be working on. This is key because different excavators are better suited to different terrains. 

Wheeled excavators are best suited for sites and jobs where travel is needed, and perform only on flat surfaces. Tracked excavators are more common and operate best on soft terrain. Track type is an important consideration, as steel tracks are better suited for muddy conditions and rubber tracks are better suited for grass or hard surfaces.

The size of the excavator is also very important here too, as heavier excavators could tear up the ground that it’s working on if the ground is weak.


How should you transport your excavator?

Transporting excavators is one of the more difficult parts of using an excavator - especially since you can’t just drive it down the road!

Even wheeled excavators, which can be driven around large, flat sites are not designed for long distance travel. 

If you’re using a tracked excavator, you can carry a mini excavator up to 2 tonne to the worksite and easily hire specialised equipment trailers from Hirepool to do so yourself if you don’t have a suitable trailer or vehicle. If you need to transport a larger excavator (over 2 tonne), Hirepool can help sort transportation to and from your site so you can crack on with the job. 


The types of excavators available from Hirepool

At Hirepool we have a wide range of excavators for hire. There are mini excavators with a limited tail-swing to make it easier to work on smaller sites, like the 1.5-1.7 tonne limited tail swing towable excavator. You can get larger excavators that are best suited for the bigger jobs like the 20-25 tonne limited tail swing excavator. If you’re working on a large flat site and  want to be able to easily transport the excavator from place to place, our 13 tonne wheeled excavator is a great option, but if you’re not concerned with that aspect, simply take your pick from the wide variety of tracked excavators.

We have an excavator to suit almost any job, check out the full range and seek out advice from our equipment experts on the best one for you. 

When you hire a digger from Hirepool instead of buying one, you’ll save money (buying an excavator is a huge cost), and you won’t need to worry about spending time on maintenance. And we’re stating the obvious, but these are huge pieces of equipment to store, so let us take care of that for you too! 


Book an excavator online

If you’re looking for efficient and reliable excavators then you’ve come to the right place. Hirepool offer a huge range of excavators to fit any purpose and to make excavating a little bit easier. Digger rental is affordable with Hirepool and we’ll make the entire process more convenient for you. 

Excavator hire is easy with Hirepool as you can book online on our website. Our booking process only takes a few minutes and once that’s done your excavator will be ready to collect or the team will arrange to get it to you. Some of our excavators are Priced on Application (POA)but start the process online and we’ll be in touch to provide pricing and availability!