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6 March 2024

CHOOSING THE RIGHT EXCAVATOR FOR YOUR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

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Choosing the right excavator for your construction project is crucial to the delivery of optimal productivity and a quality finish.  But narrowing down what you require can be difficult with so many different diggers for hire out there.

ASHBROOK has product-tested many excavators available to the market so that you don’t have to.  We concluded that Cat excavators offer the user the best experience in terms of productivity, reliability, fuel efficiency, supportive technology, and ease of use.  Therefore, our fleet is made up, in the main, of Cat diggers and they range in size from 1t all the way up to 36t.  Meaning, no matter what size the job and whether on a construction site, farm, in a quarry, or elsewhere, there’s a digger for hire in the ASHBROOK fleet, suitable for your needs.

Our knowledgeable team are excellent at determining the right machine for the job so drop them a line or request an online quote and we’ll be more than happy to help.  Alternatively, read on…

Experienced operators use excavators to dig to exact depths, grade, lift muck, shift muck and demolish items, to name just a few jobs.  To support these activities Cat diggers come with an excellent array of technology, meaning that both experienced operators and those newer to the tools can complete a productive day’s work safely and efficiently.

The ASHBROOK excavator hire fleet is available for business hire only and comes with a range of bucket sizes and types, excavator attachments, track types and track widths, so that the right machine can be matched to the job.  Talk to us about the requirements of your project at the time of booking, so that the correct attachments and optimal specification of the machine can be supplied.

THE 8 MOST COMMON TYPES OF EXCAVATORS

There are 8 main types of excavators:

  1. Standard excavators
  2. Long-reach excavators
  3. Backhoe loaders
  4. Wheeled excavators
  5. Dragline excavators
  6. Hydraulic shovels
  7. Suction excavators
  8. Skid steer excavators

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll stick to the first three as these feature in the ASHBROOK digger hire fleet.

1. STANDARD EXCAVATORS

Standard excavator hire from ASHBROOK

Standard digger hire from ASHBROOK

In the main standard excavators use a mono-boom, consisting of the boom, stick and bucket arm attachment at the front of the equipment to move material.  Unlike the backhoe loader, the cab can rotate 360 degrees, making the dig-and-dump action straightforward.  In addition, these excavators operate on rotating tracks which provide excellent stability and traction, allowing them to navigate rugged terrain and steep slopes with ease. For use in areas where tarmac has been laid rubber tracks as well as metal are available.

Standard excavators come in a range of sizes and are used in construction, groundworks, landscaping, utility installation, farming, mining and more.

Getting the right size for the project is crucial, too small or without the right functionality and it will take too long, too large and the machine may not fit in the space provided and will use unnecessary fuel.

1.1 MINI DIGGERS AND SMALL EXCAVATORS

Mini digger hire from ASHBROOK

Mini digger hire from ASHBROOK

In the ASHBROOK excavator hire fleet mini diggers and small excavators are classed in size from 1t (the Cat 300.9) to 5t (the Cat 305 next generation).

These are small and agile earthmovers, ideal for operating in tight and confined environments. The off-set boom can be slewed one way, and the carriage rotated the other, which allows the operator to excavate directly adjacent to an existing structure.  It also means the tracks of the excavator to remain parallel to the trench for efficient repositioning.  This type of boom is available on all ASHBROOK diggers for hire up to 8t.

For extra ease of use, pick a zero-tail swing option or compact radius, as it is also known.  This specification is found on the ASHBROOK 1.5t mini diggers, 3t excavators, and the 5t diggers.  In addition, the retractable undercarriage adds to the flexibility of these mini digger models.  Making it an excellent project partner for landscaping, sewer repairs, small civils work and some indoor work.

The dig-to-blade and dozer float features support an easy clean-up and assist with back dragging and fine finishing.  Making these handy machines to have from breaking ground to putting the finishing touches to landscaping.

This size range comes with cabbed and non-cabbed options.  Those without a cab offer a protective ROPS safety frame structure for additional operator protection.

In the ASHBROOK digger range, our 8t and below excavators for hire come with rubber tracks which are useful when operating on tarmac or in dirt, grass, and other soft surfaces as they can easily manoeuvre across these conditions without causing too much damage to the surface.  In addition, the rubber tracks also help reduce vibrations and noise, thus creating a more pleasant operating environment.

KEY REASONS WHY TO HIRE A MINI DIGGER OR RENT A SMALL EXCAVATOR;
  • smallest excavators available,
  • most effective for use in small spaces and some indoor work,
  • can be easily transported to the site.

Rental prices vary for mini digger hire depending on an individual’s specification, so get in touch for a no-obligation quote today.

Please note that we can only hire to business customers, unfortunately, we are unable to cater for private individuals.

1.2 MIDI EXCAVATORS

Midi digger hire from ASHBROOK

Midi digger hire from ASHBROOK

The midi excavators in the ASHBROOK excavator hire fleet are classed from 8t up to 15t.  Whilst the majority of our digger hire fleet originates from Cat, this is where we have a slight deviation by featuring the excellent Hitachi ZX135US-6, a zero-tail swing 14t digger.

These larger excavators are most commonly found on commercial construction sites, and our 13t Cat 313 next generation excavators, in particular, can be found on building sites the length and breadth of the UK. They have more power and reach than their small counterparts but can still offer straight-forward usage with the 313GC and below not needing diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) or ad-blue as it is known.

Our midi excavators for hire can come with rubber or steel tracks depending on your preference.

At this size, they start to offer additional Cat technology.  For example, the Cat 313 next generation can come with Cat Grade with 2D, Grade Assist, Cat E-Fence and Payload.  Keep reading to find out more about these supportive technologies.

Differing power modes also become available in this size range of excavators, meaning that the power-to-dig ratio can be easily varied to offer the best fuel economy versus work rate.  Thus, often saving on operating costs.

KEY REASONS WHY TO HIRE A MIDI DIGGER OR RENT A MEDIUM-SIZED EXCAVATOR;
  • offers an excellent power-to-size ratio,
  • capable of standard construction work,
  • offers Cat supportive technologies whilst still being small and agile enough to work in restricted environments.

Hire prices vary for digger hire depending on an individual’s specification, so get in touch for a no-obligation quote today.

1.3 LARGE EXCAVATORS

Large excavator hire from ASHBROOK

Large digger hire from ASHBROOK

Large excavators are the beasts of the earthmoving sector. Our fleet ranges in size from 20t (Cat 320 next generation) to 36t (Cat 336 next generation) and can be found in quarries, large construction sites and demolition areas to name just a few spaces. Amongst our Cat diggers of this size, you can also find the Hitachi ZX225USR-7, an excellent spec of digger coming complete with a hi-viz boxing ring for additional operator safety.

If you’re operating in an environment where rubber tracks would be beneficial our 20t and 25t diggers for hire can be fitted with these.

Our large Cat next generation excavators all come with Cat productivity technology ensuring that dig depth and grading are straightforward and accurate.  Working in a restricted environment?  Then the height and slew restrictors are perfect to support operator safety.  The 360-degree view cameras also help to keep the work site safe.

Our range of next generation Cat excavators for hire all come with Stage V compliant engines, thereby supporting on-site emission targets.

KEY REASONS WHY TO HIRE A LARGE EXCAVATOR;
  • hydraulic system offers increased power and attachment options,
  • capable of moving large amounts of material in a short space of time,
  • large enough to load articulated dump trucks with ease.

Rental prices vary for excavator hire depending on the project specification, so get in touch for a no-obligation quote today.

2. LONG REACH EXCAVATORS

Long reach excavator hire from ASHBROOK

Long reach excavator hire from ASHBROOK

Long-reach excavators can come in many sizes and as the name suggests are specifically designed to reach further than a standard digger.  These machines are perfect for specialist jobs such as reaching into the upper stories of buildings to act like a wrecking ball but with better control and increased precision.  On farms, they are perfect for emptying the slurry pit and completing drainage/ dredging tasks.

As you would expect, to facilitate the additional reach, the arm and boom are longer than on a standard excavator with longer hydraulic cylinders to allow the extra reach to occur and manoeuvre into different areas.  To keep the machine stable, the body comes with an additional counterweight to help balance the extra length.

Hiring a long-reach digger is often beneficial on larger sites as it helps the operator to work faster and safer with less movement of the excavator required.

BENEFITS OF LONG-REACH EXCAVATORS;

  • successful operation in a complex project where work at additional height or reach is required,
  • larger working range,
  • more digging force at a longer reach,
  • higher load capacity at a longer reach.

At ASHBROOK, we have a Cat 320 SLR next generation (super long reach excavator) available for hire.  In fact, we were the first company in the UK to take delivery of this market-leading digger. It comes with wider trackpads than the standard Cat 320 long reach, at 7.9m wide.  The purpose of this is to ensure optimum stability when the digger is operating at its maximum reach of 15.57m.

For long-reach excavator pricing information, request a quote today.

WHY HIRE A LONG-REACH EXCAVATOR?

Whilst these machines are very useful on site their specialist nature means that it is often better to hire a long-reach excavator than to own one. Here are the top three reasons to hire a long-reach digger.

  • Ease of transportation: As long-reach excavators are so large; they need a movement order to transport the machine between sites. Hiring the digger means that all the paperwork and admin falls to the hire company to sort out and all you have to say is where and when you require the machine- simples!
  • Substantial outlay of ownership: Buying a long-reach excavator requires a substantial initial outlay, not to mention the year-round insurance costs. This may not pay off if the machinery isn’t utilised to its full potential.
  • Fleet renewal: Here at ASHBROOK, we regularly renew our fleet to ensure that top-quality machines with the best available technology and fuel consumption arrive on your site.

3. BACKHOE LOADERS

Backhoe Loader hire from ASHBROOK

Backhoe Loader hire from ASHBROOK

The backhoe loader is a versatile machine and can be viewed as a mixture between a loading shovel and an excavator.  It is quicker across the ground than a digger, with wheels rather than tracks and can be more readily used on tarmacked areas than a standard excavator.  The wheels allow it to operate with ease across a variety of terrains from rocky soil to inclined surfaces.

The design of this machine means that it can only rotate 200-degrees, but its front and back buckets can excavate materials, load waste and drag debris towards the vehicle with ease.  All helping to maintain its image as the ‘Swiss army knife’ of the construction world.

It is used by landscapers, farmers, and construction professionals to complete a full range of projects from digging a ditch to moving muck to levelling off a site.

In the ASHBROOK fleet, we have a Cat 432 available for hire, which boasts a Stage V compliant engine, a max digging depth of 5.9m, and a 1.03m3 multi-purpose bucket equipped with edge and roll-over forks.

For a price on hiring a backhoe loader, request a quote today.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN EXCAVATOR?

The size and type of the excavator you require will depend on 6 main points:

  • Any restrictions to movement and the size of space you are working in.
  • The depth you wish to reach.
  • The distance you wish to reach.
  • Are there emission targets in the project?
  • Will any supportive technology be useful?
  • What type of attachment do you wish to use?

1. PROJECT SITE RESTRICTIONS

The size of the excavator you will need will depend on the project.  The ASHBROOK hire fleet features excavators from 1t up to 36t, with our most popular machine being the 13t excavator.  Therefore, we will have something suitable for most projects.  With nationwide delivery, your next digger hire can be found in the list below.

If you’re balancing the need to move lots of material with restricted movement, then it is worth considering a zero or reduced tail swing model.  In the ASHBROOK excavator hire fleet these are the:

For working in tight spaces, is a retractable undercarriage useful?  If so, check out the:

If you require height and slew restrictors these can be requested on the:

If you’re removing muck from the site, what size dumper are you using?

  • For a 16t wagon and above you don’t want anything smaller than a 13t excavator.
  • For a 9t dumper, you don’t want anything smaller than a 5t excavator.
  • For a 6t dumper, you don’t want anything smaller than a 3t excavator.

2. EXCAVATOR DIG DEPTH

Dig depth is an important factor when picking which digger to hire.  The handy table below will help you narrow down which type of excavator you need based on dig depth.

Excavator dig depth Excavator hire options
Less than 1.5m Cat 300.9
Less than 3m Cat 301.7 or Cat 302.7
Less than 5m Cat 305 or Cat 308
Less than 6m Cat 313GC, Cat 313, Hitachi ZX135US-6 or Cat 315GC
Less than 7m Cat 320 or Cat 325
Less than 8m Cat 330 or Cat 336
Less than 12m Cat 320 SLR

3. EXCAVATOR REACH

The maximum reach of your hired excavator will also be a limiting factor, therefore it’s worth considering what reach you are looking to achieve from your machine. The table below will guide you towards the right digger to hire from a reach point of view.

Excavator reach Excavator hire options
3m Cat 300.9
Less than 5m Cat 301.7 or Cat 302.7
Less than 7m Cat 305
Less than 8m Cat 308
Less than 9m Cat 313GC, Cat 313, Hitachi ZX135US-6 or Cat 315GC
Less than 10m Cat 320 or Cat 325
Less than 11m Hitachi ZX225US-7 Cat 330 or Cat 336
Less than 16m Cat 320 SLR

 

4. EMISSION CONSIDERATIONS 

Many projects are now managed through emission targets to help preserve our environment for future generations.  With this in mind, all ASHBROOK Cat next generation diggers for hire come with a Stage V compliant engine.

To further manage your emissions and to achieve better fuel consumption, if you’re looking for an excavator around the 13t to 15t size, then consider having a GC model.  These engines offer a great power-to-dig ratio whilst boasting a better fuel economy than their non-GC counterparts.  In addition, with the Cat 313GC there is no need to add ad-blue!

 

5. EXCAVATOR SUPPORTIVE TECHNOLOGIES 

The large Cat next generation diggers come with an excellent range of supportive technologies.  Your next project will have access to the below when you hire a digger from ASHBROOK.

  • PRODUCT LINK from Cat allows you to wirelessly connect all your technology to give the most transparent view of how the machine is performing.
  • GRADE with 2D, allows you to select your target depth and slope, which in turn engages onboard processors and sensors to provide real-time guidance on the distance to grade.
  • 2D E-fence is a fantastic safety feature that keeps the front linkage within a predefined work area to avoid hazards such as traffic.
  • With Cat Payload operators can instantly view load weights in real-time on the in-cab monitor display and know precisely how much material is in the bucket and in the truck, every load, every time.
  • Cat Grade Assist automatically controls boom and bucket angles to hold the bucket cutting edge precisely on grade.
  • Lift Assist helps the digger stay firmly grounded when lifting heavy loads.
  • Bucket Assist maintains the last known bucket angle and keeps the cut accurate in levelling, fine grading, sloping and trenching applications through the use of the monitor.
  • Swing Assist automatically stops the excavator swing at defined points when truck trenching and loading. This has the impact of reducing fuel consumption and improving cycle times.

Find out more about how these Cat excavator-supportive technologies work.

WHAT SUPPORT TECHNOLOGY DO CAT NEXT GENERATION EXCAVATORS HAVE?

Excavator PRODUCT LINK Cat grade with 2D Cat E-Fence Cat Payload Grade Assist Lift Assist Bucket Assist Swing Assist
Cat 313GC X
Cat 313 X X X X X X X X
Cat 315GC X
Cat 320 X X X X X X X X
Cat 320 SLR X X X X X X
Cat 325 X X X X X X X X
Cat 330 X X X X X X X X
Cat 336 X X X X X X X X

 

6. WHAT TYPE OF ATTACHMENT DO YOU REQUIRE? 

All our excavators come with a full range of buckets, if you have a specific requirement, please speak to the hire desk team at the point of rental and this will be included for you.  In addition, we also have a large range of excavator attachments available for hire:

  • Breakers- 3t, 5t, 8t, 13t, 20t and 36t,
  • Forks- 13t and 20t,
  • Hydraulic pulveriser,
  • Hydraulic rotating selector grab- 5t, 8t, 13t, and 20t,
  • Pallet forks- 8t, 13t, and 20t,
  • Riddle buckets- 5t, 8t, 13t, and 20t,
  • Ripper Tooth- 13t and 20t.

Can’t see what you need?  In a lot of cases, we can source additional attachments, so that the complete hire can be completed through one provider, taking away the need to spend additional admin time on this task.

CONCLUSION

Choosing the right excavator for the job can seem like a daunting prospect but with the support of a knowledgeable hire company, such as ASHBROOK, this can be much more straightforward.

Remember to consider:

  • Are there any restrictions to movement and the size of space you are working in?
  • What depth are you looking to reach?
  • What reach are you looking to achieve?
  • Are there emission targets in the project?
  • Will any supportive technology be useful?
  • What type of attachment do you wish to use?

Giving careful consideration to these questions and using our support guide above will help to ensure that the excavators working on your project deliver optimal productivity and a quality finish.

Contact us today for a no-obligation excavator hire quote or view all the diggers we have for hire here.

Excavators for your construction project are available to hire from ASHBROOK.

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