types of excavator

What is Excavator?

An excavator is a heavy construction machine used for digging and moving large amounts of earth, soil, rocks, or other materials. It is commonly seen on construction sites, roadworks, mining operations, and in various other industries that require excavation or earthmoving tasks.

Excavators are designed with a rotating platform, known as the house, which is mounted on tracks or wheels for mobility. The house contains the engine, hydraulic system, operator’s cabin, and controls.

The main component of an excavator is the boom, which is a long arm connected to the house. The boom can be raised, lowered, and extended using hydraulic cylinders. At the end of the boom, there is an attachment called the dipper or arm, which can also be extended and retracted. The dipper is connected to a bucket that is used for digging and scooping up materials.

Types of Excavator

There are several types of excavators, each designed for specific applications and operating conditions. Here are some common types of excavators:

Crawler Excavator

This is the most common type of excavator. It is equipped with tracks, similar to a tank, which provide excellent stability and mobility on rough terrain. Crawler excavators are versatile and widely used in various construction projects, including digging foundations, trenching, demolition, material handling, and general earthmoving tasks.

Wheeled Excavator

Wheeled excavators have rubber tires instead of tracks, offering greater speed and mobility on hard surfaces. They are commonly used in urban areas, road construction, and projects where frequent movement between job sites is required. They are also used in demolition work, digging, materials handling, etc. 

Wheeled excavators are generally faster but have less traction and stability compared to crawler excavators. A wheeled excavator is not suitable for use in muddy and hilly areas.

Long Reach Excavator

This type of excavator has an extended boom and arm, providing a greater reach. The length of the arm ranges from 40-100 feet. Long-reach excavators are used for applications that require excavating in deep or hard-to-reach areas, such as dredging, river or canal maintenance, and demolition works that require precision and are useful in hard-to-reach areas.

Dragline Excavator

Dragline excavators are large machines primarily used in mining and civil engineering projects. It is also used in canal dredging, deep pile driving, underwater operations, etc. It features a long boom and a bucket suspended from a cable. The bucket is dragged along the ground, and the material is lifted and dumped into trucks or stockpiles. Dragline excavators are known for their massive size and high production capabilities.

Suction Excavator

Suction excavators, also called vacuum excavators or hydro excavators, use high-pressure water jets to loosen soil or material, which is then suctioned into a tank through a vacuum system. They are commonly used for precise digging around utilities, underground pipe repairs, and locations where avoiding damage to existing infrastructure is crucial.

Bucket-wheel Excavator

A bucket-wheel excavator is a large and specialized type of excavating machine commonly used in mining and open-pit operations. It consists of a massive rotating wheel or drum with a series of buckets attached to its circumference. The wheel is mounted on a structure that allows it to traverse along a track system.

The rotating wheel of the excavator is equipped with multiple buckets evenly spaced around its circumference. As the wheel rotates, each bucket collects material from the working face, and as it reaches the top, the material is discharged onto the conveyor system for further processing.

Truck –Mounted Excavator

A truck-mounted excavator, also known as a truck-mounted crane or mobile excavator, is a type of excavator that is mounted on a truck chassis. It combines the capabilities of an excavator with the mobility and road ability of a truck. This configuration allows for efficient transportation of the excavator to different job sites without the need for additional equipment for transport.

Truck-mounted excavators are equipped with hydraulic systems and attachments that enable lifting and digging operations. They typically have a boom, arm, and bucket similar to standard excavators, allowing them to perform tasks such as digging trenches, excavating soil, and lifting heavy loads.

Self-Propelled Excavator

A self-propelled excavator, also known as a self-propelled crawler excavator, is an excavator that is designed to move independently without the need for external transportation. Unlike truck-mounted excavators, self-propelled excavators have their own undercarriage system, typically consisting of tracks or wheels, which allows them to move from one location to another on their own power.

Self-propelled excavators are equipped with the standard components of an excavator, including a boom, arm, and bucket. They can perform a variety of tasks such as digging trenches, excavating soil, loading trucks, and lifting heavy objects with the use of hydraulic systems and attachments.

Self-propelled excavators are used in a wide range of applications. They are commonly employed in construction projects, roadwork, mining operations, utility maintenance, and other tasks that require mobility and excavating capabilities.


A clamshell is a type of excavator attachment that consists of two hinged buckets or blades that resemble the shape of a clamshell when closed. It is commonly used for material handling, particularly for picking up and moving loose or bulk materials such as sand, gravel, soil, and debris. The clamshell attachment is operated by hydraulic cylinders that control the opening and closing motion of the buckets.


A dredger, also known as a dredging vessel or dredging machine, is a specialized watercraft or equipment designed for excavation and removal of sediment, soil, or debris from underwater environments. Dredgers play a crucial role in maintaining waterways, ports, and coastal areas by improving navigation, managing sedimentation, and creating or maintaining land.

Backhoe Excavator

A backhoe excavator, often referred to simply as a backhoe, is a versatile construction machine that combines the capabilities of a loader and an excavator. It is designed for digging, lifting, and loading tasks, making it widely used in construction, utilities, landscaping, and other industries.

Hydraulic Shovel

A hydraulic shovel, also known as a hydraulic excavator or simply a shovel, is a heavy-duty construction machine primarily used for digging, excavating, and loading materials. It is equipped with a hydraulic system that powers the various movements and functions of the machine, including the digging arm, bucket, and other attachments.

Skid Steers

Skid steers, also known as skid steer loaders or skid loaders, are compact, versatile, and maneuverable construction machines. They are designed with a small frame and rigid chassis, allowing them to turn within their own footprint. Skid steers are commonly used in construction, landscaping, agriculture, and various other industries for a wide range of tasks.

Also, skid steers are commonly used for load and carry operations. With the appropriate bucket or fork attachment, they can efficiently load, transport, and unload materials such as soil, gravel, sand, pallets, and construction debris

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