- Consider transportation and access: It may be tempting to buy a highhorsepower, large-capacity excavator – but what kind of trailer(s) does your company currently have? Do your drivers have the proper certifications to haul heavier machines? Are your jobsites regularly on weight-limited roads, or require you to cross weight-limited bridges? Right-size the excavator to your application and geography – because there are ancillary transportation and owning/operating costs that go with the purchase of the excavator.
- ... but don’t go too small: the excavator may be the right size for today’s work – but where do you plan to go tomorrow? Don’t sell yourself short and buy an excavator that’s too small – you may find yourself needing to rent or buy additional equipment in the future. Consider where you want your business to go in the next 5-10 years and how you may get there.
- Digging depth: It’s the primary purpose of every excavator: Digging. Go into the buying process with a complete understanding of your common jobsites and the depths you’ll need to reach. Keep in mind that you may have a choice of a longer arm or even a long reach excavator so if the breakout forces and lift capacities meet your needs, you don’t always need to go up in size to get the depth.
- Long reach: Many excavators are available in a long reach boom configuration. This is particularly helpful in demolition and material handling applications where conventional excavators may not provide the reach.
- Lifting capacity: An excavator doubles as a material handler on many jobsites today and often performs the work of numerous machines. It’s an invaluable tool for lifting and placing materials. Don’t undercut yourself on lifting capacity.
- Bucket capacity: It’s important to know the optimal bucket size for your application – but it’s also important to consider having a variety of bucket sizes at your disposal for application versatility.
- Couplers: Take a close look at a machine’s coupler options, as that will go a long way to determining the scope of attachments you can outfit on a machine.
- Think hydraulically: Know your attachment needs and the hydraulic flows required to operate all attachments. This isn’t as much about the physical size of the machine as it is about the power the machine is capable of producing to run attachments. Excavators are the ultimate multi-use tool when outfitted with the right attachments: Sheers, grapples, magnets, breakers, compactors – equipping the machine with the right hydraulics will give you that flexibility.
- Understand counterweights: Different manufacturers offer different combinations of counterweights – some as options, some already spec’d into the machine. Counterweights may add physical size and weight to your machine, but that added heft can also boost lifting and operating capacities.
- Advanced technology: Adding machine control to an excavator can make it more efficient and productive (in the right applications). This may actually allow the prospective owner to be more efficient with a smaller machine, versus just buying the larger machine for its sheer volume of earhtmoving.
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