Sep 2020

Hydraulic Excavators: Different Types, Their Uses and Attachments


Every construction site has to work with lifting massive amounts of soil, rocks, and a bunch of other things. For this purpose, excavators are used. 

These massive pieces of machinery are also known as earth moving vehicles. Nowadays, these vehicles come with hydraulic technology to make them more powerful and efficient.

So what can hydraulic excavators be used for? They are commonly for building construction, residential projects, road construction, demolitions, mining, and a wide range of other needs. But when you purchase these massive machineries, you might need to look into excavator attachments as well.

Let's get into the most common excavators and some attachments they are used with for different purposes.


Crawlers are massive excavators that come with a tank-like chassis and a chain track system. That means they run on two endless tracks instead of wheels. These are majorly used in heavy-duty construction sites and mining.

The chain wheeling system makes them perfect for working in uneven terrain, or even slide down and scale hills with minimal risk.

The hydraulic mechanisms that are used in these machines give them the power to lift heavy soil and debris. 

Suction Excavators

Suction or vacuum excavators are used primarily for underground applications, cleaning up debris, and delicate digging up projects. These wheeled vehicles have suction pipes that are capable of letting air providing up to 400 horsepower. 

The vacuum excavator will initially release a water jet to make the ground loose. After that, it creates a vacuum to carry away the debris and soil at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.

Since it can reduce the chances of damage by more than half, it can be crucial for delicate digging or underground projects. 

Skid Steer

A skid steer excavator is a much smaller piece of machinery, which is why it goes perfectly well with residential projects where you can't fit massive equipment.

Unlike usual excavators, skid steers come with buckets and boom that face the other way from the driver. This feature allows them to be very useful in small and narrow spaces that need cleaning up. They can be used to dig up pools, do residential work, remove debris, cleanup sites, and do their magic in limited spaces. 

Long Reach

Long reach excavators are used in heavy-duty projects where you need to get access to hard-to-reach sites. These projects usually consist of demolitions and heavy-duty digging up. 

These machines come with a long arm, which can stretch up to 100 feet horizontally. At the end of the arm, you can find a bucket. 

Excavator Attachments

Every excavator is made up of several parts that allow them to be very versatile and be used for a range of purposes. 

An average excavator starts with wheels or track frame, then you have your counterweight followed by an engine and a cab. Then, the part that extends from the cab is your boom that is attached to an arm and a hydraulic cylinder. The final thing at the end is your excavator attachment. 

While you usually see excavators with buckets, they can have a total of five attachments. These are:

  • Auger
  • Bucket
  • Clamp
  • Breaker
  • Coupler

All of these attachments allow the excavators to further expand their usage. It will enable their owners to easily use them for other purposes instead of spending a good amount of money to buy another excavator with a different attachment.

For instance, you can use a breaker to break into very tough surfaces like concrete and stone. You can then remove that and attach a bucket on the excavator to dig or scoop something up.

Updated: 24 Sep 2020
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