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New or Used Excavator: Which Option is Right for You?

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

When assembling your construction fleet, you may consider whether to buy used or new excavators. There will be several factors to consider when making this decision such as budget, functionality, and the scope of the project so it can be difficult to know which option is right for you.

Here are some pros and cons of buying a new or used excavator


Perhaps one of the biggest driving factors when purchasing construction equipment is the budget. If the budget is strict for your project and you are limited in what you can spend, then cutting costs will be essential.

When buying a used excavator, you are likely to save some money. Used excavators are typically cheaper than new ones and you may find a good deal on a well-maintained machine. 

Resale value

With both new excavators and used excavators, it’s reasonable to consider how well the machine will retain its value over time. With a newer excavator, you are likely to see a bigger return on your investment later down the line as the newer technology will retain a higher value.

That said, if you are considering purchasing a used excavator and using it for only a short period of time, you may be able to recoup a decent amount of your investment back when you come to re-sell. 

What is your project scope?

Considering the wider scope of the project is also important when deciding to buy new vs. old. For example, you may want to consider a used excavator if the machine is only intended to be used for a short period of time. Further, you may only need the excavator for lighter workloads such as foundations or ponds.

Whilst the project scope should come into consideration when making this decision, also consider whether the machine is likely to be used for any future projects and what those needs may be.


When buying a new excavator, one of the biggest advantages is that you can benefit from the latest technology and safety features. This also means that the machine is likely to be more fuel efficient and produce less noise. Of course, with a used excavator, it is more likely to be older and therefore less efficient or more challenging to operate than a new machine. You may also be sacrificing the benefit of a warranty, making you responsible for any necessary repairs and maintenance that the excavator requires. 

If you do decide to purchase a used excavator, it is important to be aware of tell-tale signs that the equipment may not be worth the investment. Some things to look out for:

Dents or fractures

If there is a mark that’s purely cosmetic then you may not need to worry, but be cautious of any fractures or dents that can be found on the load-bearing parts of the excavator (e.g. the boom, arm or bucket). This could mean that the structural integrity is compromised. 


Be sure to check the tracks and tyres for any signs that they may need replacing. For example, are there any cracks in the tyres? Do the tracks lose tension regularly? Are the sprockets sharp? Are there any flats on the track chain bushes? This may indicate that replacements are needed.

Hydraulic leaks

Whilst a leak is not necessarily a sign of a bigger problem, you should still conduct your usual inspections of the machine to identify any leaks in the cylinders, hoses or lines. If there are any leaks, you may want to consider whether the repair is minimal and within budget before continuing with the purchase. 

Which option is right for you?

There are several factors to consider when deciding between a new and used excavator and ultimately these factors will range in priority depending on the type of project and its requirements.

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure that you are informed of any possible repairs needed and any included warranties in the purchase. 

At Hitachi Construction Machinery UK, we offer used excavators, available in a range of sizes, ages and hours and our Premium used machinery comes with a full maintenance history as well as the option for ongoing dealer service to provide you with complete peace of mind. If you have any questions about our range of excavators, get in touch with our team and we’d be happy to help.