10 top excavators for your fleet
By Jenny LescohierOctober 18, 2021
Excavators are a mainstay on every construction job site. In fact, it’s probably safe to say if there were a symbol to represent the earthmoving sector, it would be the trusty excavator.
There are many sizes and configurations to choose from, but if you’re looking for a digest of the tried-and-true medium-size workhorses, we’ve got you. Below is a list of models from leading manufacturers that focus their efforts on productivity, fuel efficiency and ease of use with their latest designs.
- Operating weight: 82,483 lbs
- Engine: 268-hp Isuzu
- Max. digging depth: 24 ft. 1 in. (10-ft. 8-in. arm)
The Case CX350D features three selectable power modes and the Case Intelligent Hydraulics System (CIHS), which actively monitors and
manages power output throughout the entire work cycle to improve efficiency and give operators precise control.
Case said the D Series offers swift cycle times and increased power due to an electronically controlled pump and larger control valves. Other standard functions include Free Swing for better control when craning or placing, as well as 10 programmable attachment presets to save time when switching tasks.
To meet emission regulations, the CX350D has a reengineered Tier 4 Final solution with SCR technology and a diesel oxidation catalyst. This system requires no DPF, which means no DPF replacement costs and no regeneration downtime or associated temperature spikes. Case said the result is as much as 8% greater efficiency than the C Series.
The cab space on the CX350D is built for optimum visibility and has fully adjustable controls and a large color monitor with a standard rearview and side-view cameras. It offers plenty of entry room and foot space and has a standard heated air-ride seat.
The armrest design adjusts independently from the controls, and common functions such as horn and radio mute are located on the joysticks. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth radio and an auto-temperature control system.
Oil sample ports come standard to allow for quick contaminant checks, routine service points are grouped together to help save time, and many key components are accessible from the ground. The coolers also feature debris screens that can be removed for quick cleanout.
Finally, the Case CX350D is now available with optional OEM-Fit 2D and 3D machine control excavation solutions. This takes the guesswork out of matching machine and solution, and it guarantees that each system is installed and tested by certified Case precision specialists.
- Operating weight: 83,820 lbs
- Engine: 204-hp Cat C7.1
- Max. digging depth: 22.93 ft.
Powered by the Cat C7.1 engine designed to meet EU Stage IV emission standards, the Cat 335F L burns up to 16% less fuel than the 328D
LCR, according to the manufacturer.
The hydraulic system supports lifting up to 24,000 lbs over the side at ground level without limitation – approximately 5% more than the model it replaces.
Standard high-ambient cooling enables the machine to work with maximum power in hot conditions up to 126 degrees F, and a long, heavy-duty undercarriage is designed to provide greater stability when lifting heavy objects, which leads to greater overall productivity.
Most routine maintenance items like grease points and fluid taps are reachable at ground level ], and compartments are designed for safe, convenient access to filters, hoses and other components.
When it comes to the operator experience, the 335F L features an ISO-certified full-size ROPS cab that’s sound suppressed and has large windows to provide all-around visibility.
Features include adjustable joystick consoles and armrests, in addition to a fully adjustable air suspension seat to maximize comfort levels during long periods of operation.
The LCD monitor is simple to navigate and programmable in 44 languages. Standard rearview camera and right-hand side cameras enhance visibility.
- Operating weight: 80,654 lbs
- Engine: 312.5-hp Scania
- Max. digging depth: 24 ft. 8 in.
The Doosan DX350LC-5 features a hydraulic system with consistent flow designed for maximum performance while an electronic power optimizing system (EPOS) provides control, efficiency and precision.
Work modes further extend the ability to match the machine to conditions. Choose between digging, lifting, breaker and shear modes.
Inside the cab, controls are placed intuitively, and the control pattern can change from ISO to BHL to match operator preference. Two-way auxiliary hydraulics can now be controlled via joystick switches or the new optional foot pedal control.
Select the correct auxiliary flow rate using a switch on the control pattern. A straight travel option is ideal for forward and backward travel in trenching applications.
The cab offers enhanced visibility and high-performance air conditioning. The reclining, height- and weight-adjustable standard air suspension seat has a headrest and adjustable armrest. A rearview camera and optional side camera give operators more visibility.
A durable X-shaped chassis frame provides more ground clearance and improves maneuverability while bushings and ultra-hard wear discs are designed for longer service intervals.
Centralized grease points and easy access to other maintenance items including the battery, oil filter, air cleaner, fuel filter, radiators and other components simplify maintenance.
Owners can monitor their DX350LC-5 and manage maintenance with Doosan Connect Telematics.
- Operating weight: 82,515 lbs
- Engine: 271-hp Isuzu
- Max. digging depth: 26 ft. 10 in.
Hitachi said the ZX380LC-6 is designed for performance and ease of use. To that end, its multi-language LCD monitor and rotary dial provide intuitive
access to machine info and functions.
Turn and tap to select work modes, monitor maintenance intervals, check diagnostic codes and set cab temperature. Control oil flow and toggle between dig and thumb modes with a programmable thumb attachment mode.
Ergonomically correct short-throw pilot levers are meant to provide smooth, precise control with less effort. Pushbuttons in the right lever allow control of auxiliary hydraulic flow for attachments, and an optional sliding switch provides proportional speed control, giving operators full command from their fingertips.
For comfort, operators get maximum support from a sculpted mechanical-suspension high-back seat with 12.5 in. of travel, sliding together or independent of the joystick console. An air-suspension heated seat is optional.
An automatic, high-velocity, bi-level climate-control system with automotive-style adjustable louvers is designed to keep the glass clear, the cab comfortable and the operator productive.
Meanwhile, a new hood design offers improved all-around visibility with a wide expanse of front, side and overhead glass and mirrors.
Maintenance is made simple with centralized lube banks that place zerks within easy reach, which makes greasing less messy and time consuming. Engine oil, fuel and hydraulic pilot oil filters are all located on the same side at ground level.
The ZX380LC-6 comes standard equipped with five years of ZXLink Ultimate, giving owners 24/7 online access to machine location, health, utilization, fuel consumption and other valuable information.
- Operating weight: 81,992 lbs
- Engine: 281-hp MTU
- Max. digging depth: 26 ft. 6 in.
The JS370 is at the top of JCB’s range of heavy tracked excavators. Powered by an MTU 281-hp unit, compliant with Tier 4 Final, the JS370 is built on a closed box section revolving frame designed to increase strength and reduce stress on the machine.
JCB claimed the 59,754-lb bucket tearout makes the JS370 tracked excavator up to 12% more productive than its closest competitors, and the special JS range quickhitch system makes attachment changing fast and easy.
Simultaneous tracking and excavating is made smooth and fast with an intuitive multi-function operation, and four operating work modes allow operators to tailor performance to any application. Light, general, heavy and heavy plus modes provide very different optimized settings.
The manufacturer said the JS 370 is designed for comfort and safety. Cushioned boom and dipper ends prevent shock loadings, protect the machine and increase operator comfort, while six viscous rubber mounts minimize noise and vibration.
A 70/30 front screen split for a clear view of the front right track, and a large laminated glass roof window provides all-round visibility.
For ease of maintenance, hoods open and close easily with gas-assisted cylinders, and the service bays are large and wide for good access, according to the manufacturer. Thanks to 1,000-hour boom and dipper greasing intervals and a 5,000-hour oil life, this machine has extended uptime. Grease points are centralized on JS370 tracked excavators, too, for safe and easy access to high level pivots.
Because they’re mounted side by side, the JS370 tracked excavator’s engine radiator, hydraulic cooler and intercooler can be serviced individually and easily cleaned.
- Operating weight: 84,234 lbs
- Engine: 271-hp John Deere
- Max. digging depth: 26 ft. 10 in.
The 380G LC focuses on ease of use and features ergonomically correct short-throw pilot levers to provide smooth, predictable fingertip control with less movement
Pushbuttons in the right lever allow predictable control of auxiliary hydraulic flow for operating attachments, and an optional sliding switch provides proportional speed control.
Press the power-boost button on the right-hand control for extra digging power. Power boost also kicks in automatically in boom-up/lifting functions.
A new hood design, expanded front and side glass, narrow front cab posts, overhead glass and numerous mirrors are designed to provide optimal visibility.
Meanwhile, three productivity modes allow operators to choose the digging style that fits the job: High-productivity for more power and faster hydraulic response to move more material; Power for a balance of power, speed and fuel economy for normal operation; and Economy that limits top speed and helps save fuel.
John Deere now offers SmartGrade on the 350G LC. The factory-installed and -calibrated 3D SmartGrade system is designed to deliver increased productivity and accuracy on the job while providing ease of use to contractors at all levels.
- Operating weight: 83,300 lbs
- Engine: 270-hp HINO
- Max. digging depth: 24 ft. 10 in.
The SK350LC-10 is powered by a HINO engine that delivers NEXT-3E technology to dial in the perfect balance of performance and fuel economy. It uses a high-pressure common rail fuel injection system and variable-geometry (VG) turbocharger to reduce particulate matter (PM) while the large EGR cooler minimizes the formation of nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases.
Kobelco said its highly efficient hydraulic system minimizes fuel consumption while maximizing power. To that end, the SK350LC offers dynamic digging force even as it minimizes fuel consumption, which helps the machine achieve class-leading work volume, according to the company. H-mode is used for maximum productivity and delivers 5% greater digging volume.
Selecting Independent Travel dedicates one hydraulic pump to travel and one to the attachment on a continuous basis, which allows for a smooth and constant movement speed even while swinging or using the boom or attachment. With Independent Travel, it’s safe to carry a large pipe across a job site with ease.
Kobelco’s exclusive Swing Power system is said to automatically and instantly deliver full swing power during combined operations, so there’s no need to mode-switch for jobs like side-digging and back-filling.
When more power is needed instantly, engaging Power Boost is designed to provide 10% more power with no time limit.
- Operating weight: 87,867 - 90,441 lbs
- Engine: 257-hp Komatsu
- Max. digging depth: 23 ft. 10 in. (10 ft. 5 in. arm)
Komatsu said its PC390LCi-11 hydraulic excavator is the first 3D semi-automatic excavator available with the nimbleness and speed of the
popular 36-ton weight class machines along with the stability of much larger machines.
Intelligent Machine Control features a unique sensor package, including stroke-sensing hydraulic cylinders, an IMU sensor and GNSS antennas. The machine utilizes 3D design data loaded into the machine’s monitor to accurately display machine position relative to target grade. When the bucket reaches the target surface, automation kicks in to limit over excavation.
The PC390LCi-11 features Intelligent Machine Control Joysticks allowing semi-auto/manual mode switching and design surface offset function to be operated with switches on the control levers.
With Auto Grade Assist, as the operator moves the arm, the boom adjusts the bucket height automatically, tracing the target surface and minimizing digging too deep.
When using Auto Stop Control during boom and bucket operation, the work equipment automatically stops when the bucket edge reaches the design surface, which minimizes design surface damage.
Minimum Distance Control controls the bucket by automatically selecting the point on the bucket closest to the target surface. If the machine is not facing a sloped surface at a right angle, it will still follow the target surface and minimize digging below it.
The Intelligent Machine Control monitor uses a large 12.1 screen for visibility and ease of use. The simple screen layout is designed to display necessary information in an easily understood fashion. A touch screen icon interface, instead of a multi-step menu, simplifies operation.
KOMTRAX level 5 technology feeds the operator machine data, such as fuel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) levels, Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), regeneration status, location, cautions and maintenance alert information.
- Operating weight: 82,232 - 89,066 lbs
- Engine: 299-hp Liebherr
- Max. digging depth: 23 ft. 5 in. to 28 ft.
The new R 938 (Stage V) crawler excavator replaces the previous R 946 (Stage IV). Its completely updated design is characteristic of the new range of Liebherr’s “Generation 8” machines.
Designed with safety in mind, the R 938 offers panoramic visibility with no obstructions, and there are cameras on the rear and right sides for improved view of the work area. A tiltable console enables easy and safe access to the cab, and there’s also an emergency exit via the rear cab window.
A choice of three different robust X-shaped undercarriages with integrated eyes enable secure transport.
For ease of service, Liebherr offers maintenance-free track chains and track rollers with lifetime lubrication.
Operator comfort is enhanced with a spacious, air-conditioned work space complete with airsprung seat with vertical and longitudinal suspension.
The R 938 comes with an easy-to-use high-resolution 7-in. color touchscreen.
- Operating weight: 78,940 - 92,760 lbs
- Engine: 303-hp Volvo
- Max. digging depth: 24 ft. 11 in.
Powered by a Volvo D13 Tier 4 Final engine, the EC350E uses a new electro-hydraulic control system powered by intelligent technology to
control on-demand flow and reduce internal losses in the hydraulic circuit. This is designed to increase controllability, shorten cycle times and improve fuel efficiency.
Fuel savings are further enhanced by Volvo’s ECO mode, which the manufacturer claimed allows the machine to deliver up to 9% greater fuel efficiency.
The EC350E has a reinforced undercarriage for heavy-duty production on tough job sites.
Volvo’s integrated work mode system now includes the G4 mode for optimum fuel efficiency and machine performance. Operators can choose the best work mode for the task at hand – select from I (Idle), F (Fine), G (General) and H (Heavy).
The new, color, 8-in. LCD monitor displays machine status information including fuel consumption data and service interval alerts – enabling increased uptime and high productivity.