When Should You Rent an Excavator? Project Types

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For many people, it makes more sense to rent heavy machinery than to buy it. After all, why would you purchase expensive equipment and pay for its upkeep if you only use it periodically?

That’s why more and more people are choosing to rent excavators instead of buying them.

Have you been considering renting an excavator for your own upcoming project? In this article, our heavy machinery experts will explain which projects are best suited to excavator rental. We’ll also cover how to choose the right excavator and breakdown exactly how pricing works.

Which jobs require an excavator?

Excavators can be used for a wide range of projects. Their versatility can greatly cut down the amount of time and energy needed for your construction work.

1 – Excavation work

As their name might suggest, excavators are designed primarily for…excavation! That is, to dig up soil.

Renting an excavator is a great idea for various kinds of excavation work, including:

No matter the project, renting heavy machinery will greatly cut down on the amount of time needed to complete your excavation work.

Excavators also make controlling the excavated soil much easier. You can use the digger’s extendable arm to load the soil into a trailer or dump truck before taking it to an authorized dump site.

2 – Demolition work

Make your life a lot easier by renting an excavator for your next demolition job.

This machine is not only good for digging, it’s also perfect for demolition jobs, including:

An excavator’s arm is powerful enough to break up many different kinds of construction materials. That said, for extra strong materials, you may need to rent an excavator with a hydraulic hammer or another appropriate attachment. If you are doing a lot of sorting and loading, it may also be worthwhile to replace the excavator’s bucket with a grapple.

3 – Earthworks

Earthworks refer to all of the actions necessary to prepare a site for construction or landscaping.

It goes without saying that you’ll need heavy machinery to move the large quantities of dirt and backfill material.

Examples of earthworks jobs that would require renting an excavator include:

  • Land levelling
  • Constructing retainer walls
  • Planting
  • Building water gardens
  • Removing and disposing soil

What to consider when renting an excavator

Before renting heavy machinery, you should take the time to reflect on your project needs.

Your choice of excavator model and potential accessories will depend on your operating skills and what exactly you want to do with the rented equipment.

Compatible attachments and equipment

Excavators are very versatile machines. When the project demands it, you can remove and replace their bucket with other suitable attachments, like:

  • Shears
  • Ripper tooth
  • Hydraulic thumb
  • Hydraulic hammer
  • Auger
  • Grapple
  • And more

Don’t hesitate to describe your project to your rental company so they can help you find the exact right equipment. They may even recommend that you rent a different kind of machine, e.g. a skid-steer loader.

Excavator size and power

The size of your excavator will depend on your specific project. In general, the more soil you need to dig up, the bigger and more powerful your rented excavator should be.

If you’re doing excavation work for a multiplex, e.g., you should rent a 25-ton excavator rather than a 16-ton excavator.

On the other hand, if you’re undertaking construction that requires a lot of precision or work in tight spaces, e.g. aqueduct or sewer repair, you should rent a mini, 1.7 ton excavator.

To make an informed choice, make sure to check out the excavator’s specs, including maximum lifting capacity, loading height and digging depth.

Cost of renting an excavator

By now you may be wondering how much it actually costs to rent an excavator.

Rental fees depend on the following factors:

Rental period

Excavator rental fees are usually calculated per day, week or month. In general, you can get a better deal on weekly and monthly rentals.

For example, you can expect to pay about $200/day, $800/week or $2,400/month to rent a 1.7-ton excavator.

Note that most rental companies will limit the number of hours you can use the excavator each day. If you exceed this limit, you will have to pay for each additional hour.


Adding extra equipment to your excavator, e.g. a hydraulic hammer, will also cost extra.


Most heavy machines use diesel. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of fuel when calculating your rental budget.

Delivery fees

Excavators are not made for public roads. The rental company will need to deliver it directly to you.

Delivery fees can depend on how far the equipment needs to travel and the size of the excavator.

Equipment operator

Knowing how to operate an excavator safely and effectively is not something you can learn overnight. It requires a lot of skill to operate without damaging property or injuring workers.

That’s why many heavy machinery companies also allow you to “rent” the services of a heavy equipment operator. They will get the job done quicker, but you will have to pay extra.

Dig into your next excavation project with Location Chanthier

There are countless benefits to renting an excavator. The important thing is to choose the right model, rental period and extra equipment for your excavation job.

For a stress-free excavator rental process, choose Excavation Chanthier! Our experts can help you find the machine that fits your budget and needs. Contact us today!

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