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Tim Forestell
November 17, 2021

Knowing the right excavator to rent can be a daunting task as there are many different sizes available. When choosing what excavator to rent, you must consider what your project needs in terms of size, power and functionality.  

While the “best” excavator rental varies depending on the project itself, there are still a few types of popular or commonly rented excavators. Mini excavators, standard and heavy-duty excavators, and specialty excavators each have their own popular machines. 

Popular Mini Excavator Sizes

Mini excavators are classes between 1 - 10 tons. Some break this category down even further, classifying mini excavators as under 6 tons and 7 - 10 being “midi” machines. That being said, all machines under 10 tons are mini compared to standard excavator machines.

mini excavator rental doing road work

The mini excavator has become a hot commodity in the rental industry because of an increase in urban projects and the need for machines for specialty projects. It’s a well-accepted fact that using a smaller machine to do more precise work can improve project efficiency and even save money in the long run. 

Why Choose a Mini Excavator?

Mini excavators are beneficial when a project requires a machine that is lightweight, better on fuel economy and gentler on terrain. This small machine offers precise digging, easy operator controls and powerful hydraulics. There are also a wide variety of attachments available that can really make this machine useful. 

Simply put, you need a mini ex when you’ve got some digging to do and a standard excavator is too big for the job. 

1.5 Ton Mini Excavator

A 1.5-ton mini excavator is one of the smallest machines you can rent. It is common for projects in tight spaces or when maneuvering in a narrow space.  This machine has a dig depth of 6.2 feet, a max reach of 10.3 feet and is really small in build with an overall width of 3 feet. 

This compact size is a popular choice among renters because it can help with landscaping, road work, general construction and small demo projects. It can be used for landscape design, digging compact trenches, or when working on compact urban projects. This machine is popular for planting trees, property maintenance and repair as well as installing irrigation systems, digging foundations for small projects, sidewalk repair, and laying wire. 

An example of this machine could include the Bobcat E10 or Kubota U17

mini excavator rental doing road work

5 Ton Mini Excavator

A 5-ton mini excavator is a mid-ranged mini excavator but is still ideal for tight-fitting jobs. This machine provides a dig depth of 12 feet, has a max reach of 20 feet and is about 7 feet wide.  

A 5-ton mini ex is a popular rental for those mid-range projects that are still too small for a general excavator. Digging larger foundations for pools, decks, sheds or garages can use a mid-sized mini ex. Larger trench digging, planting trees, and pairing with a skid steer for mid-ranged general construction projects are also popular uses for this machine. The 5-ton mini ex has a dig depth of 12 feet - almost double that of the 1.5 ton. Jobs that need a compact machine with a bit more power can benefit from the 5 ton.  

An example of a 5-ton mini excavator can include the Bobcat E50 or Sany SY50U.

Most Popular Standard Excavator

Standard excavators are classified as machines that are larger than 10 tons but aren’t retrofitted for any type of specialty work. While there are wide ranges in sizes for these machines, the 15 ton is the most popular standard rental.

15 Ton Excavator

A 15-ton excavator is considered a ‘small’ excavator within the construction industry. Even though it is on the ‘smaller’ end of standard excavator sizes it can complete many of the construction jobs that bigger excavators can do. The smaller size makes it more fuel-efficient and is a little less clunky on construction sites. It’s powerful enough to handle most projects without being too big. 

This machine offers a dig depth of 19.5 feet and a max reach of 28.5 feet. It can reach up to 130 HP making it a powerful digger with a strong lifting capacity. Moving heavy materials, digging up roads, moving materials, or laying foundations are all popular jobs for this excavator. It can be fitted with different attachments as well to move logs, dig holes or clear debris. It is a popular rental for both commercial and residential projects. 

An example of a 15-ton excavator would be the John Deere 135G.

rented excavators in a row with dirt pile

Large Excavators

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have the industrial workhorse of the excavator family. Monster machines, the 80 ton excavator is not very mobile but makes up for it in power. 

80 Ton Excavator

The 80-ton excavator is meant for heavy-duty work. They have a dig depth of 28.1 feet, a maximum reach of 43.2 feet, and are just over 11 feet wide. One of the significant features of this excavator is the 484 HP engine.  It has exceptionally high speeds, power and fuel efficiency. 

Large demolition projects and mines can benefit from this giant excavator. This machine is best when quantity over quality is needed. While skilled excavators can dig precisely with any machine, this machine definitely specializes in moving buckets over precision. 

This quantity can help move projects along quickly.  The CAT 374, for example, can load 33 trucks in an hour from pure power alone. This feature helps increase productivity on site as more trucks can be loaded and the waste can be cleared quicker before building begins.

Aside from large demo projects and mines, you could also see this machine on pipeline projects or large commercial projects like highrises, malls, or office buildings.  and create a foundation for commercial projects like the construction of a shopping center. 

Popular Specialty Excavator Rental Size

While excavators are diggers at the heart, there are specialty machines created to help diversify the use of these machines. The most common type of specialty excavator is the long reach or high reach ex. They usually have extra long booms, giving them an advantage over standard excavators on specific projects. 

Long Reach or High Reach Excavators

When a project requires a longer reach, then a long reach is a simple solution. These machines can have a dig depth of 42.8 feet and a remarkable maximum reach of 60 feet. 

long reach excavator rental digging in water pool

Common projects that may require a long reach excavator rental include well digging, river and canal cleaning and underground subway construction. The long booms are powered with hydraulics, giving them superior digging force. These machines also have a long crawler undercarriage to enhance stability and prevent accidents. This is perfect for cleaning rivers and canals where the terrain is not dry and stable rather it is slippery, increasing the chance of an accident. 

These machines can also be used for reaching higher areas such as the top of buildings that are being torn down for demolition. Their extended reach allows the operator to tear down higher parts of the building with ease before moving towards the bottom. 

An example of a long reach excavator would be a CAT 340 Long Reach

Renting an Excavator

Renting an excavator is easy. You can search for available excavators near you on the DOZR Marketplace to help plan your next project. Whether the job requirements require a mini excavator for tight spaces or a standard excavator for demolition jobs, DOZR has you covered, offering 9 sizes of mini excavators as well as 13 sizes of standard or large excavators as well.

The Most Popular Excavators Out There

These excavators are some of the most popular sizes and types out there. Look at your job requirements before renting as the needs of your project should drive your equipment choices. It’s safe to say that whatever you need for your project, you can find it in an excavator. 

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Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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