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A Guide To Hiring The Right Size Digger

When choosing the right digger for your project, you will be faced with what appears to be a sea of endless different options to choose from. Whether you’re involved in construction, grounds work or an avid DIYer, it is crucial to justify the cost of your investment. Picking the right digger/excavator will no doubt save you time, money and also increase your productivity overall. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean bigger is better, but by choosing the best size digger for the job, it will maximise your productivity, become more efficient and, for some, increase profits too.

Before you get started with hiring a digger/excavator, you need to understand what type of work you are undertaking? This may seem like a straightforward question, but overall it could save you a lot of money in the long term. Normally, digger/excavator work falls into one or a few of these categories.

Digging
If you are thinking of digging large foundations well below ground level, you are going to need a digger/excavator with a long enough boom to reach the depths required. We would recommend a 5 ton + excavator as their large bucket capacity allows for very efficient digging ability and movement of debris. However, if you are looking to dig something smaller such as a water main, gas or even electric ducting, a mini digger could be far more cost effective. In fact, Mini diggers produce far less mess over time than larger excavators, which will save you time and money on clean-up costs upon completion.

Construction
If you are considering using a digger for construction, the key factor you are going to want to be mindful of is how much weight do you require the digger/excavator to move at one time? This could be bricks, mortar, sand or just having the ability to unload lorries of onsite materials. The more weight that you require holding at one time, the larger the excavator you will need. You also want to be aware of the mobility of your digger/excavator, especially if you are working up close or near to remaining buildings. Some excavator’s booms will only operate through 200 degrees, therefore, if you require a fuller range of movement, you may need to opt for a larger machine.

Clearance
If you are considering demolition or site clearance, you will need to choose an adequate excavator that can cater to the potential obstacles that you may encounter. These requirements could be such as having the adequate reach of your boom to lift over walls that need removing, or a large enough bucket capacity to load and remove rubble efficiently. When it comes to clearance or demolition, you will want to opt for a closed cab to keep operators safe and mitigate potential HSE hazards. Even though close cabs are available for smaller diggers, it may well be worth opting for a larger 8 ton + excavator to complete the work faster.

Confined space
Is it even possible to get a digger through a house? Well, don’t be surprised to hear that this happens most days of the week. If you are working in confined spaces or require your digger to pass through a limited amount of space, then size DOES matter. Micro diggers are specially designed to be able to pass through a standard size interior door frame. With machine widths as small as 750mm, accompanied by no tail swing, Micro diggers can manoeuvre in the tightest of spaces. If you are working in confined spaces, it is always worth evaluating the entrance/exits dimensions to see if you can opt for a slightly larger machine to get the job done quicker.

A Good All-Rounder
Your digger or excavator hire may be required to do more than just one type of job, which is normal. If this is the case, then finding the right balance is important. It is worth evaluating your budget to see what best value you can afford to make the entire process easier. The last option you want to consider is if you require a dozer blade to push and dig through materials. These are only available on diggers and excavators up to 8 ton.

Choosing a digger by its weight
Plant machinery can be extremely heavy, and with all this added pressure, you need to consider the damage that it will cause when being operated. Choosing the right size digger or excavator will allow you to get the most cost-effective results. A larger machine may cause far too much damage, however a smaller one may not perform correctly. If you are planning on hiring a digger or excavator for your latest project, it is always worth working with a team of professionals to help you find the right balance. To get you started, below, we have summarized what diggers/excavators are available to hire on the market, along with some pros and cons to help.

Digger Sizes

Micro/Mini digger

The Pros
-Ideal for fragile grounds.
-Small, confined space work (Micro).
-Allows you to work indoors safely.
-Zero tail swing and can work in their own footprints.
-Produce less noise.
-Simple to Use
-Ideal choice for DIY or landscaping projects.
-Easily transported on a trailer.

The Cons
-Limited boom reach.
-Limited weight to be moved at once.
-Lack of power for larger projects.

5-8 Ton Excavator

The Pros
-Higher fuel efficiency
-Increased reach of over 4500mm.
-A popular choice for Construction sites
-Dozer blade available
-Higher power and loading capabilities
-Additional operator comforts

The Cons
-Not suitable for small back gardens.
-May require a skilled operator to use.

14 Ton Plus

The Pros
-Largest reach available
-Suitable for extreme heavy work
-Additional weight gives them more stability for uneven ground
-Stabilised with counterweights for increased loading sizes
-The Largest cab sizes, built for all-day operation
-Digging depths exceed 6000mm
-Popular choice for large-scale demolitions and groundwork.

The Cons
-Weight can cause damage to the ground you are operating on
-Requires a skilled operator to use.
-No dozer blade available.


Here at WHC Hire, we have been supplying the nation with the highest quality plant machinery on the market since 1997. We offer a range of excavators from Mirco up to 20 ton, available to hire for short and long-term projects. With consistent investment into the quality of our fleet, we can assure that customers, contractors and businesses (no matter their size) receive their required equipment on time and in perfect working condition.

Click here to see the latest plant and machinery we have on offer, or call 01684377977 to discuss your project with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team. Together, we can help you get the job done right.