Here at Ditch Witch West, we are here to help you with all of your digging and excavation project needs. One of the first steps to scoping out a project is to determine the most effective equipment needed for the job at hand. For many projects, operators may wonder: do I need a trencher or a vacuum excavator, or maybe even both? Let’s take a look at some of the usages of each, and how to determine which machinery is best.
Trenchers are often the cornerstone of any excavation project, and are more commonly used than vacuum excavators. They’re built to dig large trenches for pipeline distribution and power, sewer, gas, water, and underdrain installations. Similar to an excavator, a trencher rips up soil and any roots to create a trench. Depending on the type of trencher and the attachments you’re using, trenchers can be used for a variety of excavation projects, including:
- cutting pavement or concrete
- creating drainage for water or sewage runoff
- creating trenches for irrigation
- clearing roots
A good rule of thumb is that for cuts up to 250 feet long, 26-48 inches deep, and up to 8 inches wide, trenchers are your best options (and specifically, walk-behind trenchers).
Trenchers are highly powerful and efficient, and are often the common choice for excavation projects given their power and versatility. Simply put, they do more in less time. However, vacuum excavators have major advantages, too. Let’s take a look.
Vacuum excavators use suction to remove materials from a trench, or remove heavy debris on land. They can also be used for digging, and provide a softer excavation method that can expose utilities without causing damage to pipes or existing lines. Ultimately, the key advantage of using a vacuum excavator is damage mitigation. Vacuum excavators provide a more flexible and less invasive option for irrigation and utility installation.
Trenchers may be too bulky, while vacuum excavators can fit in smaller spaces, so are ideal for excavation projects that take place in areas with existing landscaping and gardens that you don’t want to destroy. However, vacuum excavators don’t have the horsepower for extremely intense jobs, such as cutting pavement, or digging extremely deep, large scale trenches, and while less invasive, may be less efficient.
One great advantage of a vacuum excavator is that you can expose utilities before trenching. You may want to use a vacuum excavator at the beginning of your job to mitigate damage and get to hard-to-reach or tight spaces, and then complete the job with an excavator. If you don’t have access to both, you can always rent equipment from us here at Ditch Witch West.
Here to Help
Here at Ditch Witch West, we are available to help you with all of your equipment needs. Reach out to us and one of our product specialists will help pair you with the machinery that best suits the scope of your projects. Enjoy a beautiful and fruitful spring ahead, and let us know how we can help you maximize your productivity.