10 of the World's Biggest Excavators

Insight - 45 Min read

July 12, 2024

In an industry that's all about the largest, heaviest, most powerful machines out there -- we have to ask: who makes the biggest excavator in the world?

#1 Caterpillar 6090 FS

2024's largest excavator in the world is the Caterpillar 6090 FS.

The Caterpillar 6090 FS is not just one of the world's biggest excavators, it is the world's biggest hydraulic excavator. This hefty piece of machinery is built in the United States and boasts an operational weight of 242,9494 pounds! The Caterpillar 6090 FS further delivers a powerful engine rating of 4,500 horsepower. This machine can handle some massive loading shovel bucket capacity.

We can't say we're surprised that a Caterpillar excavator holds the number-one spot. For context, the largest caterpillar dump truck has a gross operating weight of 1,375,000 pounds. Now that's one massive operational weight, and yet two of Caterpillar's 797 Series dump trucks hit that hefty rank. You have to wonder what kind of construction sites wield a combination of Caterpillar's excavator and dump truck power.

One of the most exceptional Cat 6090 FS features is the automatic roll-back limiter. A roll-back limiter prevents spillage while supporting maximum bucket capacity.

The world's largest excavator also provides impressive boom speed, a reinforced undercarriage, and crawler components that protect against wear and tear.

But we must give credit where credit's due: the biggest excavator in the world is modeled after the Bucyrus RH400. The Bucyrus RH400 previously held the number-one spot but is now (quite respectably) the second-largest hydraulic excavator of all time.

Caterpillar 6090 FS Specs:

Manufacturer: Caterpillar

Country of origin: United States

Operating Weight: 242,9494 pounds

Standing height: 32' 9"

#2 Bucyrus RH400

This design was part of a long line of acquisitions that determined who controlled the record-breaking excavator. The industry first called this excavator the Terex O&K RH400 before Terex was acquired by Bucyrus. It later evolved into the incredible Caterpillar 6090 FS after Caterpillar acquired Bucyrus in 2010. This model quickly became a core part of Caterpillar's line of mining equipment for its maximum digging force.

The Bucyrus RH400, once the world's biggest hydraulic excavator, has an operating weight of approximately 2,160,510 pounds with killer 4,500 horsepower.

The Bucyrus RH has a TriPower front shovel and backhoe attachment, an independent oil-cooling system, and electronic-hydraulic servo control. It can work for both shovel loading and backhoe operations as a front-shovel excavator.

Pro tip: Timeless Terex mining division equipment can still be purchased here at Boom & Bucket.

Bucyrus RH400 Specs:

(Original) Manufacturer: Bucryus

Country of origin: United States

Operating weight: 2,160,510 pounds

Standing height: 32' 9"

#3 Hitachi EX8000-7

Currently Hitachi's largest excavator, these machines are manufactured in Japan with cutting-edge engineering.

The machine is powered by two, twin diesel engines designed with safety and ease of use in mind. The Hitachi EX8000-7 also features fierce engine stop switches, an on-board inclinometer, and an auto-lubrication system that supports construction and mining excavators through large-scale contracts.

When we compare Hitachi's reputation against that of a Caterpillar dumper truck, it certainly holds its own with the largest Hitachi dump truck delivering a 1,102,311-pound operating weight.

Hitachi EX8000 7 Specs:

Manufacturer: Hitachi

Country of origin: Japan

Operating weight: 1,829,837 pounds

Standing height: 32' 6"

#4 Demag H740-OS

Number Four on the list of the world's biggest excavators is the Demag H740-OS. These mining excavators originate in Canada from KMC Mining where it was later improved upon by the manufacturer Komatsu.

Despite not being the largest excavator in the world, it has heavy duty mining applications and lifting capacity with a 4,463-horsepower engine.

The Demag H740-OS's unique design is widely recognized as the world's largest excavator commonly used for abrasive oil sand operations.

Demag H740-OS Specs:

Manufacturer: Komatsu

Country of origin: Canada

Operating weight: 1,640,239 pounds

Standing height: Not Listed

#5 Liebherr R9800

The fifth largest hydraulic excavator is the Liebherr R9800 mining excavator. This excavator is a product of Germany's Liebherr and is designed to deliver top-notch performance. These mining excavators come in at an operating weight of 1,600,000 pounds. They are propelled by two robust diesel engines, specially engineered to maximize productivity. (Although aren't all mining excavators?)

Its design includes an electro-hydraulic system that facilitates efficient power transmission, an independent cooling system, and a closed-loop swing circuit that ensures safe deceleration and reduced fuel consumption.

With the biggest backhoe attachment capacity among excavators on the list, its backhoe attachments also enhance its capabilities.

Liebherr R9800 Specs:

Manufacturer: Liebherr

Country of origin: Germany

Operating weight with shovel attachment: 1,620,000 pounds

Standing height: 33' 11"

#6 Komatsu PC8000-11

Manufactured in from Germany, former Demag by Komatsu, the Komatsu PC8000-11 is a hydraulic excavator specifically designed for surface-mining applications on a large scale.

Its versatility is reflected in its adjustable loading, shovel capacity and bucket capacity, which can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of various projects. Additionally, the machine's cab is equipped with an in-built LED screen that offers operators a comprehensive 360-degree view of their surroundings, ensuring maximum safety.

The PC8000-11 also incorporates an exhaust after-treatment system that minimizes hazardous emissions, making it an environmentally conscious choice.

Komatsu PC8000-11 Specs:

Manufacturer: Komatsu

Country of origin: Germany, former Demag.

Operating weight: 1,536,000 pounds

Standing height: 32' 1"

#7 Liebherr R 996 B

The Liebherr R996 B mining excavator is a product of the German-Swiss company Liebherr, renowned for its superior quality and durability. Despite being slightly lightweight compared to its counterparts, this excavator possesses impressive ground pressure and breakout force, making it a force to be reckoned with.

Designed to handle heavy-duty excavation tasks, the R996 B biggest excavator is built to withstand extreme weather conditions, including both tropical and cold temperatures, making it an ideal choice for a range of mining projects. Its primary application is in coal mining activities, where it is utilized extensively for its exceptional capabilities.

Liebherr R 996 B Specs:

Manufacturer: Liebherr

Country of origin: Germany

Operating weight: 1,490,000 pounds

Standing height: 29' 9"

Yellow John Deer Excavator with Conventional Tail Swing#8 XCMG XE7000

Manufactured by XCMG in China, the XCMG XE700 mining excavator has garnered popularity for its versatile use in construction activities, primarily in coal mines.

The machine comes packed with advanced features such as an external valve flow regenerative system that is capable of collecting and repurposing energy generated by the machine's lifting and loading operations.

Moreover, the excavator is equipped with an intelligent monitoring system that continuously tracks its activities in real-time, ensuring that it functions optimally.

XCMG XE7000 Specs:

Manufacturer: XCMG

Country of origin: China

Operating weight: 1,484,000 pounds

Standing height: not listed

#9 Hyundai R1200-9

The Hyundai R1200-9 crawler excavator, a remarkable piece of heavy machinery, is designed and built by the South Korean company Hyundai, known for its excellence in engineering.

This excavator is a top performer with its three-pump hydraulic system, which delivers optimum power and precision, making it ideal for use in challenging excavation sites like quarries and mines. The excavator's key features include intelligent power control, which automatically adjusts the hydraulic pumps based on project requirements, as well as Advanced Around View Monitoring which offers operators a complete 360-degree view of their surroundings.

Additionally, the ECO Gauge enables immediate monitoring of fuel efficiency, ensuring maximum operational efficiency.

Hyundai R1200-9 Specs:

Manufacturer: Hyundai

Country of origin: South Korea

Operating weight: 160,200 pounds

Standing height: 13' 11"

#10 Volvo EC950F

Emphasizing the origin section, here's a reworded paragraph: The Volvo EC950F, which is Volvo's largest excavator, was initially built in Sweden. This mining excavator boasts a wide track gauge, counterweight system, and retractable undercarriage that provide stability while operating, making it perfect for use in rough terrain. Its attachment management system allows for quick and easy switching between tasks by storing settings for up to 20 different attachments. It also comes with an electro-hydraulic operating system for faster cycle times, as well as wear-resistant teeth that enable the buckets to dig deeper and last longer.

Volvo EC950F Specs:

Manufacturer: Volvo

Country of Origin: Sweden

Operating weight: 209,000 pounds

Standing height: 14'

What do you mean by "Operating Weight?"

An excavator's operating weight (or operational weight) is the total weight of the machine while it's in use. That includes fuel, the human operator, the engine, bucket capacity, and attachments.

Another important metric to know in addition to a mining excavator's operational weight is its breakout force.

What do you mean by "Breakout Force"?

Breakout force means the level of force the heavy machinery can exert against its cutting edge.

One can maximize breakout shovel forces by increasing hydraulic power and using a narrow, sturdy shovel.

The last excavator consideration you will want to wrap your head around is its shovel and backhoe capacity.

What do you mean by "Backhoe and Shovel Bucket Capacity?"

A shovel bucket pushes material away from the excavator, while a backhoe bucket pulls material inward.

A shovel bucket is typically used on the biggest excavators (like the world's largest excavators found on the list below), while a backhoe is more commonly seen on small-to-mid frame excavators. All excavators are compatible with shovel and backhoe attachments. Bucket capacity ranges across manufacturers and models. It is wise to consult a bucket capacity size chart to determine the ideal bucket capacity for your specific excavator operating weight and the task at hand.

In Need of A Used Excavator for Your Next Project?

If you're looking for a used excavator, you've come to the right place. While the world's biggest excavators are some mammoth machines, they're probably bigger than the excavator size you need --- most standard excavators in the world have operating weights in the range of 10 to 45 tons. No matter what your project is, Boom & Bucket can help you find the right equipment for the job.

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