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How Much Does an Excavator Cost?

Imagine winning a construction contract, and you don’t have excavators? How would you go about excavation, breaking rocks, or moving waste?

Every construction work needs one—excavators are critical pieces of equipment to execute large-scale digging and carry out construction works. With this equipment, your work is not only quicker but also more straightforward.

So, is an excavator a must-have piece of equipment? Usually, all construction projects involve a lot of digging, and you will need excavators at some point in the project’s lifetime. Besides making the work much doable, it will help you save a lot of money and time. But, how much does an excavator cost?

Keep reading to know more about excavators, the cost of a new and used excavator, as well as when it is appropriate to rent one.

Excavators Overview

Excavators, also referred to as backhoes, are standard earthmoving vehicles featuring movable tracks, a rotating cab, an arm, and a bucket.

These elements offer excellent digging power and mobility, making it easy for you to carry out various functions, including excavating, lifting away waste, breaking holes, and digging trenches.

Excavators come in different types and sizes. Some large excavators feature a variety of tools for heavy-duty projects and smaller machines for handling drilling and digging functions.

Common excavators include long-reach excavators, skid steer, suction excavators, dragline excavators, and crawlers. It is advisable to be careful of your choices when renting or buying an excavator with all these varieties.

Common Uses

Excavators are commonly used for various industrial and contractor needs.

In small housing projects, excavators are used for cut and fill tasks. They are also widely used in marine structural works, especially in the placement of large rocks and armors.

In the case of large construction sites, these machines are used for excavation, moving construction materials, removing construction waste, among other tasks.

Often, how and where you use a given excavator will depend on various factors, including the excavator’s purpose, brand, and type.

Full-Size vs. Mini-Excavators

Excavators are available in different configurations, all to meet diverse project needs.

Some excavators are designed for heavy-duty tasks, while others are designed for small jobs, such as efficient trenching and digging or precise soil excavation. Whether you need a full-size excavator or a mini one will depend on the task at hand.

Let’s dive into each one of these categories to understand them much better.

Mini-Excavators

Mini-excavators are differentiated by their weight. Any excavator that weighs less than seven metric tons is considered a mini-excavator.

These types of excavators, also known as compact excavators, are ideal for smaller job sites. This is because they can maneuver small spaces, especially during landscaping jobs like digging trenches for piping.

Another significant feature of a mini-excavator is the zero or near-zero tail swing. This factor makes operating the excavator between structures and around buildings easy and comfortable without worrying about destruction.

If your project is at a site with numerous underground gas lines and pipes, you will be more safe and successful using a mini-excavator than large digging backhoes.

Full-Size Excavators

This category includes excavators weighing between seven to 45 metric tons. When you have a commercial construction project, these are the types of excavators to consider.

These excavators come with excellent hauling capacity and optimal power to deal with any demanding construction tasks. The majority of full-size excavators consist of various work tools that can be used in different projects.

Just like the mini-excavators, full-size excavators are easy to work with, guaranteeing improved productivity. However, they are not the best choices when working in a tight site—their tail swing, reach, and size can interfere with and damage nearby structures.

Brands

When choosing the most suitable excavator for your project, it is essential to consider the quality and reputation of the brand you are getting, regardless of the size.

When trenching, dredging, excavation work, earthmoving, or demolition tasks are involved, it calls for an excavator brand designed for peak performance and efficient work.

So, what brands of excavators are in the market? Here are some of the top brands of excavators you can consider in your next project.

Caterpillar Excavators

The odds are you have seen or even used a Caterpillar excavator once. This brand is very popular. It is considered one of the most notable excavator brands.

One of the reasons is its new additions in tech, like air conditioning and smartphone connectivity. What’s more, this brand boasts the latest safety features, durability, and ease of operation.

Being among the pioneers in the industry, the Caterpillar excavator brand has crafted a name for itself as one of the best choices for heavy lifting.

Komatsu Excavators

The Komatsu brand of excavators stands out for several reasons, including fuel efficiency, reliability, and high productivity. This brand is known for excavator types that require low upkeep and little maintenance, such as the PC200.

The Komatsu brand of excavators has had some notable construction innovations in recent years. For instance, Komatsu excavators embrace various technologies, including the Komatrax and Intelligent Machine Control and innovative construction technology. All these innovations are aimed at boosting the productivity and efficiency of the machines.

Case Excavators

If you are looking for control, durability, comfort, and power, the Case brand of excavators is the brand for you. The manufacturer has an extensive product line ideal for numerous types of work, including all earthmoving needs. One of the brand’s notable mid-range excavators is the versatile CX210C.

Volvo Excavators

Unmistakable durability and control, superior comfort, power, and fuel efficiency best define the Volvo brand of excavators. Volvo is one of the leading brands of excavators that believe in people empowerment, innovation, and sustainability.

JCB Excavators

JCB brand offers a wide range of impressive excavators. This brand is known for its excavators that have incredible power. This brand’s top-level efficiency and high-performance abilities will guarantee you ultimate productivity, whether handling a small or large-scale construction project.

How Much Does a New Excavator Cost?

Most new full-size excavators cost between $100,000 to $500,000 and higher. The prices of new excavators vary depending on several aspects, such as the brand and performance. Other factors, such as the size, features, and attachments included, will influence the price of a new excavator.

  • If you are going for small excavators (weight between ten and 15 tons), you will pay between $75,000 and $150,000, although this will also depend on the accessories you want.
  • A mid-sized excavator, one that weighs between 15 and 20 metric tons, will cost you between $100,000 and $200,000, and sometimes more.
  • For a full-size excavator, one that weighs between 30 and 40 tons, be ready to spend from $150,000 to $500,000.

New Excavator Pros and Cons

New excavators have numerous benefits. First, they come with maximum power, top efficiency, and better fuel consumption. However, these machines are pretty expensive to purchase.

How Much Does a Used Excavator Cost?

There is no denying that excavators are costly, and that’s why it is advisable to consider the used option.

Most used excavators are available on a discount basis, from 25 to 50% of the original cost. The majority of new excavators range from $100,000 to $500,000; so used ones will cost between $50,000 and $250,000.

The number of hours worked also influences the cost of used excavators.

  • With 2,500 hours and five years of use, a medium-sized excavator would cost around $50,000 and $100,000.
  • If you opt for a two-year-old mid-sized excavator, you will pay from $75,000 to $125,000 depending on its condition.

Another aspect that will dictate the price of used excavators is the number of hours logged. For instance, the cost of a ten-year-old Cat 345B logged for 4,000 hours might cost around $200,000. If the same machine has over 10,000 hours of use, the price will reduce significantly to $75,000 and $125,000.

Used Excavator Pros and Cons

The advantage of buying a used excavator is that it is easy to find one that is within your strained budget. However, getting a used excavator is also disadvantageous in a way. For instance, the performance and efficiency of a used excavator cannot match that of a new one. Secondly, used excavators will attract a high maintenance cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an Excavator?

Renting an excavator is another great way to get your project done without having to worry about the cost of buying a new one, and maybe you needed it for one use.

In most cases, you will incur from as low as $900 to $1,750 each day for a rented excavator. However, the rental price can go for as high as $3,500 per day, depending on the brand, age, and size of the excavator you are renting.

Additional Accessories for Excavators and Cost

Excavators, regardless of the size or type, come with additional accessories. The most common ones include the augers, thumbs, buckets, compactors, couplers, grapples, hammers, and rippers. Each of these attachments has an additional cost.

Augers

Augers are used when dealing with tree plantings, shrubs, footings, and for digging post-holes. You are likely to spend between $1,000 and $3,000 for an auger, although the brand and type of excavator may influence this.

Buckets

These are the digging attachments that come with several teeth. Usually, the buckets are fixed on the excavator’s arm. You will need various bucket types, depending on the task at hand.

The buckets vary in terms of width and model. You will pay around $1,400 for 24”, $1,600 for 30”, and $1,800 for 36” for buckets in width.

Compactors

Compactors are designed to perform all forms of compaction operations. According to the task you have, you may need compaction wheels, vibratory drum compactors, or vibratory plate compactors.

Depending on the size, you should be ready to spend from around $3,000 to $6,000.

Couplers – Excavators

Excavator quick coupler system is necessary to help you change work tools easily and faster. You can choose between the hydraulic and the spring-loaded couplers. If you opt for the spring-loaded quick couplers, you should be ready to spend from $225 to $2,500. For the hydraulic one, the price range is between $5,700 and $6,700.

Grapples

If your current project involves handling materials, you will need grapples for your excavator. Grapples are used for picking, moving, and sorting materials. The types of grapples you need will depend on your project. For example, land clearing, forestry, scrap, rock handling, and demolition will require you to use grapples meant for specific tasks. Grapples cost anywhere from $6,000 and above.

Rakes

When you have a project that involves site preparation, brush piling, and land clearing, you will need rakes to complete the tasks. With the right excavator rake, you will clear a vast land fast. You will spend around $780 to $800 for a piece of excavator rake.

Multi-Processors

Multiprocessors are critical multi-function tools that increase the versatility of the excavator through interchangeable jaws. The cost of excavator multi-purpose processors starts from $1,000.

Hammers

Excavator hammers are accessories you attach to your excavator when breaking down complex materials, rock, and concrete. The machine you are using should inform your choice of the size of the hammer you need. Excavator hammers range from $4,000 to $8,500.

Rippers

Rippers are essential accessories you will need alongside your excavator during any construction project. They are great for excavation and stripping open-pits. These attachments come in different sizes, from 19 inches to as large as 51 inches. Depending on the size of the excavator ripper you need, you can spend anywhere from $2,000 and above.

Thumbs

Excavator’s thumbs come in different sizes. In most cases, the thumb size you need will depend on the machine size and type you already have.  For instance, an Mt618 mini-excavator thumb is designed to fit in a 490 to 4,000 lb machine. The cost also differs depending on the model and size of the thumb. Nevertheless, it would help if you were prepared to spend as low as $700 for a thumb for a mini-excavator.

FAQs

Should I buy a new or used excavator?

Whether to buy a used or a new excavator is a personal decision. However, in most cases, this decision is influenced by your budget. A new excavator is expensive. A used excavator is most preferred when you are strained budget-wise.

When should I rent an excavator?

Renting an excavator is a recommendable way to get access and use an excavator fast for your project. You should rent an excavator if you have a short-term project or when you need it for single use.

What should I consider before buying a mini-excavator?

A mini-excavator isn’t something you can wake up one day and buy. It would help if you were careful when making your purchase decisions.

Before buying a mini-excavator, the most important aspects to consider are the attachments, versatility, transportation and security, and reliability.

When you consider all these, you can be assured of an excavator that can handle all your project needs satisfactorily.

Final Thoughts

Let’s face the truth: every construction project requires the use of an excavator. This implies that you should be aware of the cost of an excavator—used and new, the rental costs, and the cost of the various accessories and attachments.

Before purchasing or renting an excavator, it is crucial to consider the task at hand, the reliability, performance, and efficiency of the machine you have in mind. This way, you can rest assured that you are getting the best equipment for the job!

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