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Posted: 09/18/2015

Excavator Q&A: How to Choose the Right Bucket

Questions and Answers

With compact excavators enjoying a recent spike in popularity, the lineup of available models is more diverse and expansive than ever. Today, manufacturers produce enough variety in their equipment to allow you to tailor your machine selection to your individual needs.

So with all of these choices, how do you find the machine that’s right for you? Start by asking yourself a few questions.

Q: Is it the right size for my work?
A: Think about the work you do and where you do it. Will the machine you are considering be able to get to — and get around in — those work areas? Mini excavators come in a variety of sizes, down to 28 inches wide.

Q: What type of tail swing is right for me?
Choose from three tail swing types to best fit your space needs: zero tail swing, minimal tail swing and conventional tail swing.

Each tail-swing type has its own characteristics:
•    Zero tail swing: Designed for working next to buildings or structures. The rear of the house stays within the width of the tracks through the full rotation. Offers greatest flexibility to slew and deposit soil.
•    Minimal tail swing: Ideal for jobs without a lot of room to turn or rotate the house. The rear of the house protrudes beyond the width of the tracks by no more than 6 inches.
•    Conventional tail swing: Typically offers the greatest lift capacity, relative to machine weight. The rear of the house protrudes 6 to 20 inches during rotation.

Q: How will it perform?
A: Consider your typical lift capacity, digging depth, dump height, reach and auxiliary flow needs. Select an excavator that is both capable of meeting your current demands and offers some room to grow into bigger jobs should the need arise.

Q: Is it attachment-friendly?
A: Investigate the attachment offerings for an excavator and determine what type of mounting system the machine uses and if it’s designed for use with a hydraulic clamp.

Q: Do I need a compact excavator?
A: If you frequently rent compact excavators or hire out the work normally done by compact excavators, buying a compact excavator probably makes sense for you. If you are not 100 percent sure about buying, try renting first. Then talk to a dealer about applying the rental charges toward purchasing the excavator. It is a great way to get a real feel for how the excavator will perform your work.

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