Like the jobs they're designed to undertake, industrial diggers come in many sizes and configurations including excavators, backhoe loaders, mini diggers, micro diggers and skid-steer loaders.
For the biggest projects, excavators have a cab that sits on top of a tracked or wheeled undercarriage. The cab can swivel a full 360 degrees and, consequently, these excavators are also referred to as 360-degree excavators or, quite simply, 360s. Their excavating arm has the longest reach of all industrial diggers making them ideal for major earthmoving and landscaping, demolition, forestry, mining and recycling projects.
Backhoe loaders are basically a wheeled tractor unit with hydraulic buckets at the front and rear. They're still classified as heavy equipment but being lighter and more versatile than excavators they are ideal for house building, road repair and small demolition projects.
Also called compact or mini excavators, mini diggers are ideal for small to medium-sized projects. Some have wheels but many have rubber or metal tracks which are capable of dealing with rough terrain. Mini diggers come with a wide range of attachments including augers, compaction wheels, rippers and buckets in several sizes. They're ideal for digging holes and trenches, demolishing small structures, repairing sewer lines, flattening landscapes and more.
Smaller than mini excavators, micro diggers dramatically reduce the time and manpower for labour intensive digging jobs in the smallest and most confined spaces. In fact, micro diggers are so small they can pass through a normal doorway or gateway. Micro diggers are popular with landscapers, redevelopers, grounds care operatives and even domestic DIY enthusiasts.
Skid-steers are small diggers with four fixed wheels. Rather than having a separate steering mechanism, the left and right sets of wheels can be operated independently, the digger then steering by skidding. One great advantage of this is that skid-steers are capable of zero-radius turning making them extremely manoeuvrable.