Cable Excavator vs. Hydraulic Excavator: Choose Which to do What?


The excavator is probably one of the most important machines we use today, not just in construction, with mining and other heavy industries requiring the use of excavator machines. Cable excavators use a series of cables and steel wires to move the relevant parts, and they were the first generation of digging machines that replaced the antiquated steam shovels in the early 20th century. Steam powered excavators were clumsy and had to be mounted on rails, which limited their mobility.

Hydraulic Excavators

In the 1920s, hydraulic excavators made their debut, and they immediately became very popular. There were many reasons why hydraulic excavators were the preferred choice, especially for smaller machines, and while both types continued to be developed, by the 1980s, cable excavators were almost extinct, being used only on large scale mining operations. If you are in Western Australia, and are looking for construction machinery, RME offer mini excavator hire in Perth, along with other earth moving services.

A Range of Machines

Hydraulic excavators come in many sizes, starting with the Bobcat, which is ideal for small projects like excavating for a swimming pool or clearing some land, and for general construction use, they can be up to 13.5 tonnes, and along with a tipper truck, can clear an awful lot of land in a short time. Modern excavators are complex pieces of equipment and need an experienced operator, which is why most people “wet hire”, which means they hire the operator as well as the excavator. Dry hire (just the machine) is fine for large building companies who have many employees, and may just require an extra machine while one of their own is being repaired. These machines are very expensive, and no hire company would dry hire to someone who does not have access to a qualified driver, so if you are planning to hire a Bobcat for your landscaping project, wet hire is the only way to go.

Cable Excavators

These are only used in the mining industry today, and are large and quite immobile, which is fine for the work they have to do. Typically, an area would be set with explosive charges and this would effectively break up a large section, then the cable excavators would get to work and either load the earth onto a conveyor belt or onto the back of a huge truck, which would take it away for processing. Outside of mining, there is very little use for this outdated method, and hydraulic operated excavators offer so much more. They are easier to use, more mobile, more efficient, and easier to maintain, and this makes them the preferred choice for both commercial and residential work.


Modern excavation is both quick and safe, and with the right operator, the machines can be very versatile and accurate, which saves time and money. Whatever your excavation needs, an online search will put you in touch with the right supplier, who can advise on the best machine for the job.

RME offer mini excavator hire in Perth

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