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How Much Does an Excavator Cost?

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Excavators are essential pieces of equipment in the construction industry. Because almost every project requires some amount of digging, excavators are one of the most widely used machines in the industry.

If you're in the market for a new excavator it's easy to be overwhelmed by all of the choices. Excavators come in a variety of sizes and with varying features. All of those factors translate to a wide variety of prices. Here, we'll give you an idea of what you can expect to spend for varies sizes, types and accessories.

Table of Contents

About New Excavators

Excavators are heavy pieces of construction equipment that consist of four main parts: a boom, a bucket, a stick and a cab that sits atop a rotating platform. They are powered by hydraulic fluid.

How Much Does an Excavator Cost?

There are a variety of uses for excavators, including:

  • Digging foundations, holes and trenches
  • Earthmoving
  • Demolition
  • Forestry work and brush clearing
  • Landscaping and grading
  • Mining
  • Heavy lifting

New Excavator Average Costs

Excavators are no small investment. A new excavator usually runs anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000. But before you faint from sticker shock, consider how crucial excavators are to your everyday operations. Excavators also have a very long useful life, so it's not an investment you'll have to make often.

  • Small excavators weighing 10 to 15 tons usually cost anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000.
  • Mid-sized excavators weighing 15 to 20 tons generally range in price from $100,000 to $200,000. This is by far the most common excavator size.
  • Large models weighing 30 to 40 tons are often priced $200,000 to $400,000.

Some of the most popular brands, such as Caterpillar, offer an online calculator that allows you to build your ideal excavator and estimate the total cost.

New Excavator Accessories

Some accessories come standard with a new excavator. You'll usually get one bucket, but if you require multiple buckets or additional sizes, plan on spending an additional $1,000 to $5,000 for each one.

Powered attachments are usually sold separately. These include things like thumbs, rakes, blades and hydraulic hammers. Expect to spend an additional $5,000 to $10,000 for each attachment you purchase.

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New Excavator Financing and Payment Plans

If you don't have several hundred thousand dollars lying around to buy a new excavator, don't worry. Most dealers have financing options that allow you to pay for this crucial piece of equipment over time.

Many financing plans are available with little or no money down. However, you will be subject to a credit check. Companies with difficult credit histories may not be approved or may have to pay high interest rates. In some cases, you can negotiate the amount you're comfortable paying monthly and work around that number.

Consider a Used Excavator

Excavators are essential pieces of equipment in the construction industry. But they're also expensive. If you're in the market for an excavator but have a limited budget, consider opting for a used or refurbished model.

Most excavators have a useful life of at least 8,000 to 10,000 hours. And there are plenty of used excavator models on the market with just a few thousand useful hours logged, leaving room for years of productivity.

Used Excavator Average Costs

You'll save a substantial amount of money by opting for a used or refurbished excavator. But, don't expect the machine to be cheap.

Generally, a used excavator in good condition can be purchased at a discount of 25% to 50% of the initial purchase price. Most new excavators cost anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000. That leaves a wide range of prices for used models. Most fall in the range of $50,000 to $250,000.

  • A mid-sized, five-year-old excavator with 2,500 hours might run anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the condition.
  • A mid-sized, two-year-old excavator with the same amount of hours would probably fall in the $75,000 to $125,000 range.

The price of a used excavator is influenced by many factors, including the age of the machine, its size and the condition. Excavators that have been refurbished to manufacturer's standards will be more expensive than those that haven't. But perhaps the most influential factors is the number of hours that have been logged. Think about how high mileage decreases the price of a used car.

  • A 10-year-old Caterpillar 345B - one of the largest excavators available - might sell for $200,000 with only 4,000 hours of use.
  • The same machine with 10,000 hours would probably only be worth $75,000 to $125,000.

Video: 5 Things You Need To Know Before Buying a Used Excavator

Watch this video for some tips on what to look for when you are buying a used excavator.

Choosing a Used or Refurbished Excavator

Buying a used excavator is similar to buying a used car: There's significant research to be done before you sign on the dotted line. Read consumer reviews and talk to people in your industry about which models they purchased and why.

Make sure you do a physical inspection of any used excavator you're thinking of purchasing. Look at the track and undercarriage to check for broken parts. You should expect to see some wear and tear, but not any missing pieces.

After the physical inspection, take the excavator for a test drive. Does is make any strange noises? Does it run smoothly? Trust your instincts on this one and ask about anything that seems odd. If possible, take the excavator to a mechanic you trust for a complete inspection.

Lastly, always buy from a reputable dealer. Online auctions may seem like an attractive option because of the deep discounts. But, you never know what you're going to get. The excavator may look great in the picture due to a fresh coat of paint. But, that doesn't mean much if it doesn't run well.

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