What types of excavators exist and what are they used for?

What types of excavators exist and what are they used for?

  • excavator

05 February, 2024

If you are part of the construction sector or are related to similar industries, you surely know that knowing the types of excavators available on the market is crucial for making the most of them and using them correctly.


Here's everything you need to know about these machines, as well as the different ways they can help you.


Let's get started.

What are excavators?

Excavators are heavy machinery commonly used to move, dig, and handle different materials. Their structure consists of a rotating cabin, an articulated arm, a boom, and a bucket.


What makes each of these pieces especially important is that they all fulfill a specific function. In the case of the cabin, it is responsible for housing the operator and the machine's controls. The articulated arm, on the other hand, extends and retracts to allow the operator to reach various distances. Finally, the boom raises and lowers the bucket.


Their composition has made them an essential tool in the construction industry. They are responsible for contributing to a wide range of responsibilities and facilitating work, resulting in increased productivity, improved safety, and the possibility of achieving better outcomes.

In what responsibilities or tasks can an excavator assist you?


Excavators can help you perform various tasks in construction. Which ones?

  • Excavation:

They are used to dig trenches, pits, foundations, and other types of structures.


  • Demolition:

They are used to demolish old or deteriorated structures.


  • Earthmoving:

They are commonly used to move earth, rocks, or other types of materials.


  • Loading and unloading:

They are used to load and unload materials, such as sand, gravel, or cement.


  • Pipe laying:

​​​​​​​They are used for laying underground pipes.


Now, the world of excavators can be bigger than you imagine. In addition to being used for a wide range of tasks in construction, they can be classified according to their size and movement system.


Let's see!

Types of excavators and their classification



The types of excavators according to their drive system are classified into:

  • Hydraulic excavators: The most common excavators! They use a hydraulic system to move the arms and the bucket.

  • Cable excavators: As their name suggests, these excavators use a system of cables and pulleys to move the arms and the bucket. These are less common than hydraulic excavators. However, you should know they are more powerful and are made for demanding jobs.

Now, according to their movement system, we have:

  • Crawler excavators: In this type of classification, they tend to be the most common, as they have high traction and stability, which, in turn, makes them the most ideal for working on uneven or soft terrain.

  • Wheel excavators: Unlike track excavators, these types of excavators have lower traction and stability. They are used on harder and flatter terrains.

  • Amphibious excavators: They have a mixed function, as they are used both on land and water. The projects in which they are most often used are those in flooded areas or near water.

On the other hand, excavators according to their size are:

  • Mini excavators: The smallest and lightest of all. They are used, especially, in confined spaces or for tasks that require a lot of precision.

  • Medium excavators: They are in the intermediate, neither too big nor too small, which allows them to be versatile and applied to a wide range of activities.

  • Large excavators: As you read, these are the largest and most powerful excavators that exist. They are used for jobs that require digging large amounts of material or demolishing quite heavy structures.

What is the importance of excavators in construction?

Besides being a useful tool, it is important to know the significance of an excavator in projects associated with the construction environment. Some of the most relevant reasons:

  • Increased productivity: Although they do not replace labor, these heavy machines can perform tasks that would be very complex and even dangerous for workers. Their use helps construction projects to be completed in less time and at a lower cost.

  • Improved safety: Excavators preserve the integrity of workers and, on many occasions, free them from suffering injuries when performing tasks that endanger their physical state or their general health, such as digging or demolishing.

  • Expanded design opportunities: They allow builders to develop more complex and sophisticated designs.

And if you still doubt how significant excavators can be, we share some examples of what is achieved with them:

  • Road construction: Here, excavators are used for the foundations of bridges and tunnels.

  • Building construction: Excavators are important when excavating foundations and trenches for pipes.

  • Infrastructure construction: These heavy machines are used to excavate cables and transmission lines.

Finally, after learning about the types of excavators at your disposal and the benefits you can obtain, we want to leave you with some recommendations for working safely and responsibly with these heavy machines, as they can be dangerous and lethal for workers due to misuse.

Tips for safely using different types of excavators

Some of the main safety tips to keep in mind for a safe workplace are:


  1. Receive/provide training.

  2. Use personal protective equipment (PPE).

  3. Inspect the machine before use.

  4. Keep everything in sight.

  5. Be aware of the environment.


Without a doubt, excavators are a powerful work tool that will allow you to achieve your goals with greater efficiency while always preserving the safety and integrity of your work team.

Check out our extensive portfolio  of high-quality excavators we have for you and make your projects and those of your clients a reality.