What Is An Excavator Machine And Why It Is Used For?

What Is An Excavator Machine And Why It Is Used For?

Construction sites are often filled with various types of machines and equipment that seem very heavy and gigantic. However, every one of those gigantic machines that we commonly see have quite different purposes each, but normal people tend to mix their purposes sometimes.

Today, we are going to get into detail and know what is an Excavator machine and how it is used. Besides knowing the purpose of this machine, which is commonly confused with a digger machine, we will also know the different types of Excavator that we can commonly see on working sites.

However, before going on further, it is one that we should always keep in mind to keep our distance from such heavy machinery. If you are not a professional operator and are just curious to know about the Excavator machine, then you can get all the useful information online while watching the machine work from a safe distance.

What is an Excavator? 

An Excavator is a machine that works as an essential piece of heavy equipment for most construction projects. This machine is often referred to as diggers and are used for all kinds of heavy jobs like material handling, landscaping, demolition, mining projects, river dredging and construction.

An excavator can be commonly seen on a job site where there is a need to lift heavy amounts of soil. These machines are popular vehicles that feature heavy movable tracks to move about. All the components combined on the machine help to provide superior digging power and mobility which allows this heavy equipment to perform a variety of functions.

Parts of and Excavator 

An excavator is generally built with 8 basic parts which are common in most of the machine types. The parts that are common in an excavator machine are:

  • Bucket
  • Arm
  • Hydraulic Cylinder
  • Boom
  • Cab
  • Engine
  • Counterweight
  • Track Frame

Apart from these 8 basic parts, some of the excavators come with changeable parts that help them do multiple types of tasks. The changing parts are mostly at the front of the excavator, which is usually used as a bucket fixture. However, the bucket at the front of the machine can be changed into several types of fixtures that all have different purposes. The changeable parts are:

  • Bucket
  • Auger
  • Breaker
  • Clamp
  • Coupler

Types of Excavators 

There are different types of excavator machine which are briefly described below:

Crawler Excavator 

Crawler excavator is the most common type of excavator that is used for mining, trench digging and landscape grading. This type of machine is what most people picture when they hear the word “excavator”. The chain wheel system in the excavator allows them to slide down and scale hills with less risk, making them the best option for grading and landscaping uneven terrain. While this type of excavator is slower than other types, crawler excavators provide greater balance, flexibility and stability.

  • Slower than some other types of excavators
  • Provide great balance and stability on uneven surfaces
  • Used in trench digging, landscape grading and mining
  • Chain track system with tank chassis

Wheeled Excavator 

The wheeled excavator is similar to a regular excavator except for the fact that it is fitted with wheels instead of tracks. These machines are mostly used in city and urban projects. Wheeled excavators provide better stability on asphalt and concrete and are much faster than the crawler. However, the machines can also be attached with outriggers which increases the stability and balance of the wheeled excavator on uneven surfaces.

  • Fast and easy to control on flat surfaces
  • Not suitable for uneven terrain
  • Mostly used for roadwork and urban projects
  • Attachable outriggers for more stability

Dragline Excavator 

Dragline excavator is a larger kind of excavator that uses a hoist rope and dragline system to lift weight. It is most commonly used for clearing earth for underwater projects, pile driving or road excavations. Due to the weight and size of the dragline excavator, it is often assembled on-site. The unique working system of this type of excavator is commonly used in large-scale projects like canal dreading.

  • Works with a hoist rope and dragline system
  • The weight and size of this excavator is not suitable for smaller projects
  • Dragline system is ideal for underwater excavating and canal dreading

Suction Excavator 

Suction excavator uses water jets and a high-pressure vacuum to clear dirt, soil, and debris from different parts of the land. This type of machine is operated as a part of a wheeled vehicle. Suction excavator is mostly used for underground applications, debris and water cleanup. This machine is ideal for delicate underground applications as it reduces the chance of damage.

  • Narrow suction pipes are built for small-scale applications
  • Works on wheels and uses water jets and high-pressure vacuum
  • Mostly used for debris cleanup

Skid Steer Excavator 

Skid Steer excavator machine is often used for digging pools, site cleaning, small residential work and debris removal. It is ideal for spaces with limits and boundaries.

  • Used mostly for small residential projects
  • Easy to maneuver

Long Reach Excavator 

Long reach excavator works with arms and attachments that extend up to 100 feet. This machine is good for heavy-duty digging and industrial projects. The machine uses longer booms which are helpful to reach difficult places and also used in the demolition process.

  • The arms of the machine are extendable for up to 40 to 100 feet
  • Commonly used in demolition and heavy-duty digging projects
  • The machine is huge in size and can only be used on large open surfaces

Mini Excavator  

Mini excavator is a smaller version of the crawler and is also referred to as mini diggers. These machines are useful in narrow job sites and places with delicate terrain like landscaping. Mini excavators are also popular for home and DIY landscaping projects.

  • Commonly used in narrow job sites
  • Easily fits in small indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Is ideal for handling smaller loads


What is an Excavator? Excavators are large earthmoving machines that are used for performing heavy lifting and digging purposes. These machines come in different types which are all reliable having different purposes and functions.


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