An excavator rental is a good choice for a one-time project or an infrequent need to avoid the cost of buying, storing, insuring and maintaining machinery which is rarely used. Excavators are useful for many jobs, including digging foundations, holes and trenches, mining, general grading and landscaping, lifting and placing of heavy construction materials, river dredging, forestry projects, and demolition. They are frequently utilized in conjunction with other construction equipment.
The type of excavator to rent depends on the job. Make sure the digging depth of the machine (usually only up to 14 feet for the largest mini excavator and 20-40” on regular ones) and the horsepower (12-40hp on minis, 100-250hp on regulars) match the project that needs to be done. Generally, excavators include a cab on a moving platform that is situated on wheels or tracks with a boom and an attachment. The construction and type of these parts affects how the excavator will handle and perform.
Here’s a general overview:
Cab. The operator sits and drives from the cab which usually includes only a seat, controls, and a canopy over the hydraulics and engine. Cabs rotate a certain amount depending on size and construction with some compact (or mini) excavator cabs able to make the full 360 degree pivot.
Tracks. The tracks are either steel or rubber. Rubber tracks are the most common since they do less damage to paved and landscaped surfaces but steel has better traction on loose dirt. The smaller mini excavators may be on wheels instead of tracks.
Boom. The boom moves the attachment around, which does the work. Compact excavators may have a boom offset that will enable the total arm to go either right or left, enabling it to dig parallel to the machine. This makes working next to walls and structures in tight areas possible and increases efficiency with the decreased need to the excavator over and over again.
Attachments. There are many different attachments available, usually costing an additional fee to rent. Besides the standard bucket for digging, there are hydraulic hammers, thumbs (gripping or pinching attachments), augurs (corkscrew drills), and backfill blades (also called bulldozer blades) that push material into a hole and perform other leveling tasks. If you’re going to use several attachments, look for an excavator with quick attach couplers that makes mounting the attachment faster and easier. Multiple attachments, while costing more to rent, can increase the functions the excavator can do, which is cheaper than having to rent another piece of heavy machinery.
Size. There are a wide range of sizes for both mini excavators and the larger ones. Mini excavators typically have an operating weight of 1600-18,000 lbs, the ones with greater power being larger. Regular excavators range from 17,000-100,000 lbs with some weighting in at twice that much or more. Make sure that the size and weight of the excavator is right for the work area and the job. Also make sure that there are no overhead obstructions that will impede the dumping mechanism. If there will be things above, choose an excavator will a lower dump height – a compact excavator may only need 6 ft, but some require 15 ft or more.
Once you have an idea of what kind of excavator you want to rent, call around to local rental agencies to check for availability and price. Excavator rental rates vary by location, date, period of the rental, and other considerations. For a mini excavator, expect to pay around $150-$500 daily, $750-$1500 weekly and $2000-$3000 monthly. Larger excavators come with larger costs, typically $350-$1000 daily, $1250-$5000 weekly, and $4000-$15,000 monthly. There will be other fees such as deposits and insurance. Delivery fees usually cost around $50 with an additional mileage fee, which can run around $3 a mile. Ask about manuals and available safety instructions. Make sure anyone who will operate the excavator is licensed and trained.
Four Different Kinds of Excavators