View Full Version : Under 20k Excavator Whats the Strongest

AWJ Services
09-01-2006, 12:22 AM
As the title says weight wise.
What is the strongest machine out there.

09-01-2006, 02:46 AM
How do quantify strongest? The Komatsu PC95 is just under your weight limit so if weight follows function it would be in the running. The TK175 specs well as does the IHI NX80. Personally I look at bucket breakout and arm crowding force as strong indicators. Lift capacity also will give you an idea on stability. Some machines just feel stronger than others and it is difficult to say why sometimes. I also thought that the Deere mini excavators always felt weak to me. Very smooth but weak. That is probably personal opinion as they spec middle of the pack but to me they never "felt" that strong compared to others.

AWJ Services
09-01-2006, 08:26 AM
I have been reading all the specs and the list breakout and lifting specs.
Are the breakout specs accurate or they skewed like skid steer specs.

I am personally looking for a very strong machine that will be big enough enough too dig basements ,septic lines, dig stumps, load rolloffs etc.
The 6k to 7 k stuff is smaller than I want.
The 10 to 12 k stuff I have rented is stronger but they seem to be borderline for the jobs I do.

I guess a better description would be what excavator would serve the same tasks a 30 k excavator but smaller in areas that a 30 k cannot go.
And it is a plus for me being able too move a 15k machine were as if I purchased a 30 k machine it would have too be hired out too move.

09-01-2006, 09:32 AM
Well they're all the same size, there is very little difference in performance between brands. About the only differecnes are the bucket breakout and crowd forces, that's about it. Digging a decent sized basement with a 7-8 ton machine would make me cringe, at least it would out here. Most of the basements we dig are on slopes so you need all the reach and lift height that a 12 ton excavator provides.

09-01-2006, 11:36 AM
Yea I don't know that you can get all that from the same machine. Maybe a CX135 zero swing machine, but you'll have to have it hauled. I would look at the PC95. It is right in the middle a real big mini but you may be able to dig basements with it. If you don't sink your foundations in deep you would problably get by. 9' walls are the deal out here so everything goes in 7-8 feet usually. Thats a lot of material and requires a lot of reach. The 80 sized machines are nice and I have contimplated one. The CASE CX80, IHI 80NX and my favorite is the Kobelco CS80. You will have to make sacrafices. The spread between your two choices is too great and your trying to bridge the mini, full size gap. Hard to do with one machine.

AWJ Services
09-01-2006, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the info guys.
As far as digging basements that would not be it's primary job.

I have been shopping minis ,but I can buy a used 10 to 15 ton excavator for the same price as a new mini ex.

Just trying too get the most versatle machine.

You can rent Minis here fro less than 200 a day so if I ever had a really small job it is easy too rent.

AWJ Services
09-01-2006, 07:09 PM
Most basements here are dug with loaders.
Mostly 953 Cats.

If you had an Excavator that could pull a .44 yard bucket The time difference between the 2 would not be that great on paper anyways.:)

I understand that unless you can dump the material far enough away it will have too be moved which would take additional time.

09-02-2006, 12:47 PM
I have a 160 size machine and do mostly new homes and additions. it just about the right size machine but is also small for some jobs. I also have a 45 size machine that is great for additions and small pipe work but is a pain to load trucks unless your sitting on a pile and the truck is next to you. In the future I am looking to add a 75 size machine (zero swing) and a 225 (zero swing) or 240 size machine. There is no one size machine that can do it all it would be good for some jobs and nor good for others. I think thats why they make so many sizes.

09-03-2006, 09:07 PM
Most guys that have 2 excavators around here have a 120 and a 200, seems to cover most of the bases pretty well. Take a 200 to hog out a basement, a buddy of mine pulled 1,500 yards of material out for a huge house on the lake just slinging away with his 200. But you gotta have a 120 on call for the smaller stuff as well.

Gravel Rat
09-04-2006, 01:53 AM
A 160 size machine can do all what a 200 can and its easier to move around they are very common here as a 160 can be carried on a tag trailer a 200 requires a lowbed. To have a lowbed truck thats extra insurance extra costs in general to hire a lowbed company to move you around adds to your expenses. Also your relying on the lowbed company to come and move you usually those guys are busy moving big equipment like 30-50 ton machines.

You really do need two sizes of excavators a mini and a fullsize you will never find a good inbetween machine. We do call 18,000lb machines mini's like a Komatsu PC-60 or a PC-75. If your really busy then you have 3 size machines a 6000-8000lb mini a 16,000-18,000 and a 36,000lb machine.

09-04-2006, 10:48 AM
All the decent size companies in my area (6-10 employees) run a 4-5k, 120, 150, 200-240, and a 300.


09-06-2006, 02:05 AM
All the decent size companies in my area (6-10 employees) run a 4-5k, 120, 150, 200-240, and a 300.

That is a lot of iron. No one around here runs that heavy with so few employees. The largest excavtion companies don't own anything less than a 210. The smaller residential guys run either a 120, 160 or 210. None have a mini. One guy has three 225's and a 308 he does a mix of residential and heavy commerical. Interesting to see how companies organize themselves around the country.

09-06-2006, 02:47 AM
A company out here (100+ employees) doesn't have an excavator any smaller than a 120 and they only run Hitachi and Deere. I think they have like 8 or 9 120's, (5) 200's, (3) 270's, (1) 370, and a couple 450's.

Gravel Rat
09-06-2006, 02:54 AM
Most jobs don't require large machines a 200 sized machine can do 90% of the jobs residential or commercial. Even in forestry machines larger than a 350 are not used because of rules and regulations.

One of the contractors looked into renting a 300 sized machine it was 17,000 dollars a month. I know contractors that have monthly equipment payments up to 100,000 a month.

09-06-2006, 05:10 AM
These guys are doing 20-30 acre developments and they have at least 3-4 developments going on at any given time, not including all of their residential/light commercial work, so they need a big excavator just for loading trucks/scrapers. If they're working on any slope at all, they cut all the roads with a 450 and clean it up with couple scrapers, a D8 and then a D6 pulls a sheepsfoot to compact along the way.

09-06-2006, 08:41 AM
any body have kabota excavator, been looking at them , like some input

09-06-2006, 08:44 AM
doing mostly water and sewer lines , like the compactness of a 5000 lb but like the reach of a 10000 lb

09-06-2006, 04:27 PM
we run the biggest possible on each job....three 45 ton machines, one 30 tonner, two 25 toners, and the 5 ton bobcat.....can't ever have enough reach and capacity

09-06-2006, 05:10 PM
uncle owned a 650 and a 550 but just sold them.last remember he has about 20 excavators mostly 200's a couple 225's a 330 and a few 450's all hitachi and a couple deere,has a few old cat 235's with breakers.

the 330 and up mostly are used on municipal water and sewer jobs and mass excavating the 200's are the most usefull to him.

fav machine is a 305,its big enough to do what i want but small enough to get into an area were most can't nice machine,just wish i myself can afford one and the truck and trailer to haul it with.

Gravel Rat
09-06-2006, 05:31 PM
Even some of the larger subdivisions put in this area that have 100 lots with each lot ranging from 1 to 2 acres each are done with 200 sized machines.

Big equipment costs more money there isn't enough work to keep bigger excavators working. The cost of fuel to operate the bigger excavators is a big expense. In reality two 200 sized machines working on a site in two different areas has more production than one 45 ton machine.

A 45 ton machine rate is well over 300 dollars per hour where as a 200 sized machine is about 200 per hour you have two of them working on the site that extra 100 dollars per hour is made up in faster production.

At auctions machines in the 16-25 ton range are in demand machines in the 30-40 ton range nobody wants them you can't use them for forestry and for residential construction they are way too big. What ends up happening is they sell cheap for scrap or a gravel pit will buy it for digging out material.

I have been at auctions where a friggin mini excavator goes for more money than a big machine.

There will always be residential construction big projects are few far and between.

Like I meantioned a few times one of the contractors I know had 35-40 ton excavators got rid of them all bought a 8000lb mini he is happier than he can ever be. Says he makes a good living no big headaches to worry about and he is busier than he can ever be. Not worth owning big equipment you never know where your next job is going to be. Your constantly looking for work for a big machine.

Another guy I know had the same big excavators with employees got rid of it all bought a 160 sized machine no more headaches and makes good money the machine is paid for.

When you have 100,000 dollar a month equipment payments you need to keep that stuff working. Who in the h*ll wants to deal with that kind of stress. Right now with the dry weather forestry contractors are on fire season which has been longer than normal these contractors have machines sitting idle because they can't work because of the risk of fire. So now you have excavators that have payments of 10 grand a month each sitting not making money is getting expensive. The payments never stop if the machine isn't working the contractor still has to pay for the machine. There is no work for a 30 ton excavator in residential construction so it just sits in the bush waiting for the rain to come.

RockSet N' Grade
09-06-2006, 10:52 PM
Flexibility and knowing your market seem to be the name of the game.
I just talked with a chap in California....he runs a mini and mini skid steer and has always been busy......he gets in spots where others can't......he has gotten bigger by going smaller.....

RockSet N' Grade
09-06-2006, 11:10 PM
You origionally asked "what is the strongest?". I have started looking around and comparing......some of the new zero's have less break out force than some of the older tail draggers.......some of the bigger boys in our neighborhood are getting rid of their "new" machines and trading around trying to find a "new" machine that is a good producer.......I have heard great reviews on Komatsu PC50......it seems to be the flavor of the week right now........

Gravel Rat
09-07-2006, 12:41 AM
I don't like ZTS machines either ran a Komatsu 158 its a horrible machine its ZTS it bounces around it doesn't feel stable would I buy one no way.

Unless your working in really tight conditions a ZTS machine might be worth it otherwise stick with a conventional machine. I got a stiff neck running a ZTS machine because it wobbled around. It didn't matter how smooth you tried to be it still wobbled it is a brandnew machine I was on.

RockSet N' Grade
09-07-2006, 03:18 AM
Gravel Rat........same complaints in general around here..."wobble-wobble" puts it pretty nice. Another pisser that guys are complaining about is that parts aren't fitting, rear hoods over the motor don't latch well for very long and in due time the hoods come off from guys just getting pissed at the latch system....cable's to the engine and air cleaner unit have plastic handles that are breaking inside the cab.......although "the wobble-wobble" is the big deal......
tell ya what, my 'ole tail dragger with a big old counter weight doesn't do that.....

Gravel Rat
09-07-2006, 03:40 AM
The same company has two full size excavtors a 15 ton and a 20 ton no wobbling. The Komatsu has cheap sheet metal and the rounded cab makes the operators area cramped I had to run the machine with the door open or I got claustaphobia.

09-07-2006, 04:38 AM
We run a 160 for when we need to move a lot of material, or digging mainline for developments, that kind of stuff. And a 140 and old beater 120 for backfilling trenches, houses, leaving it for trucks to load while we work somewhere else, etc. Also have a 4 ton mini for running on pavement, small utility work, stuff where a fullsize machine wont work.

160 really is a nice all around size machine its small enough to do a house site, but big enough to do development work. Sometimes it would be nice to have a bigger machine when doing deep sewer lines and dragging around the trench box, but it gets the job done.