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26th Jan 2021

How much dirt can an excavator move?

Excavator lifting dirt

Whether you need an excavator for a landscaping project or a trenching job, mini excavators have become a popular choice for residential sites and small commercial gigs. They have received the approval of construction and landscaping professionals for their maneuverability and practicality. When you need to work around space and accessibility constraints, mini excavators, such as the Kubota U17-3a, offer a unique solution. 

Yet, a small site doesn’t mean the job will be less demanding. As such, contractors who face significant landscaping, digging, or trenching tasks are the first to ask whether a mini excavator can provide the performance they need. As moving dirt is a core function for this piece of machinery, you may want to find out more about the excavator lifting capacity. In this article, we use our most popular mini digging equipment for hire, the Kubota U17-3a, as an example. Can you get the job done with one of those? Here’s how much dirt an excavator can dirt per hour: 

Mini excavator lifting and moving capacity

How deep can you dig and how much dirt can you move in the bucket depends on a variety of factors, including the performance of the machinery.

For residential and small commercial sites, depth is likely to be restricted both by the project specs and the underground obstacles.

The Kubota U17-3a, with its zero tail swing for quick and simple manoeuvers, is fully optimised to collect dirt close to the machine as quickly and efficiently as possible. The mini excavator can access small sites without difficulty, with a width of 1240mm and length of 3545mm. It’s a stable and sturdy digging machinery that uses a long arm for extended reach without compromising on the excavator lifting capacity. The lift capacity ranges from 1.2kN (0.13 ton) to 7.0kN (0.71 ton) depending on the lift, with a lift radius of 1.5m to 3m and a lifting height of +2m to -1.5m.The mini excavator packs a lot of power under a compact structure, ideal for residential digging and trenching projects. 

You will need to read the technical specifications of the excavator you are using, to determine the exact lifting capacity for your needs. As it depends on your surroundings , bucket specifications and range lifting needs.

How much dirt can an excavator move in an hour

 That task cannot be computed without a full analysis of the soil conditions:

  • Soil type
  • Soil density
  • Soil moisture content
  • Compute the weight per cubic metre
  • Compute the load-bearing weight of the excavation tools
  • Location of the excavation ( in open area/plot excavation works could be completed efficiently in comparison to a built or restricted area)

Additionally, If the soil is hard clay, and has to be loosened with a pick ax, for instance, it could take days to finish the job. If there are roots or rocks in the excavation, the job will go slower. Whether the hole is square and needs to be dug precisely for earth forming makes a difference, since you would need to allow for layout and measurements in your time estimate.

For average digging conditions in ordinary soil, Trained users can move over 40 cubic yards in an hour with the Kubota 0.0m3 bucket capacity. In other words, you can complete simple landscaping and trenching works in a few hours. 

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