Knuckle Boom vs Standard Arm Excavator | Earthmoving Equipment Australia

Knuckle Boom vs Standard Arm CX145C Excavator

Excavators are extremely versatile pieces of equipment. They can be used for digging, moving materials, demolition and even forestry work. And while excavators come in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs, one notable difference is the type of arm you use.

The first type is a standard arm, which has one joint that bends, allowing the excavator to reach down, dig, and then start again. The second is the knuckle boom, which is also sometimes known as an articulating boom. This features extra joints, so you can move the boom as needed to get into hard-to-reach places. It can also move left to right, due to the multiple pivot points in the arm.

Both have their pros and cons, and ultimately the one you choose will depend on the type of work you’re doing, and the specific location.

The benefits of a knuckle boom

Let’s jump straight in and look at the benefits of using a knuckle boom.

The biggest advantage to a knuckle boom is the multiple pivot points. While they may be slightly more difficult to operate, you have so much more flexibility regarding the places you can reach. For example, you can reach over obstacles and still dig clearly behind them.

Being able to move the boom left and right, almost in a swinging motion, also gives the operator much more ability to work with precision.

So, if you’re working on a site with lots of obstacles or uneven ground that makes your work difficult, a knuckle boom excavator is probably going to be your best friend.

The disadvantages of a knuckle boom

In all honesty, there aren’t too many disadvantages to a knuckle boom. Especially when being compared to a standard arm excavator, because the knuckle boom can do basically everything a standard arm does.

However, one must certainly consider the cost, with knuckle boom excavators being more expensive than a standard arm. They’re also slightly more difficult to operate. So, in a lot of ways, you can save yourself time, money and complications by just choosing a standard arm.

The benefits of a standard arm

You would think that with all of the flexibility, strength and functionality you gain from a knuckle boom excavator, there would be no reason to consider a standard arm. However, there are actually some terrific reasons to go standard over articulated.

Firstly, there is the cost. Articulated knuckle boom excavators cost more to buy and hire, simply because they are a more advanced piece of equipment. If you don’t need the knuckle boom functionality, then you’re simply wasting money by hiring one when a standard arm would suit your needs perfectly.

Secondly, standard arms are easier to operate. While knuckle booms are great, the extra joints mean they are more complex. This means things can take a bit longer with a knuckle boom, compared to just setting up quickly and getting to work with a standard arm.

In addition, standard arms often have a longer horizontal reach, which makes them great for open areas where there are few obstacles in your way.

The disadvantages of a standard arm

When comparing these two types of excavator arms, there are some obvious drawbacks to the standard arm. Most importantly it only has one joint, and can only move with that joint in an up-and-down motion. Naturally, they are still very effective pieces of earthmoving equipment, however, they lack the flexibility of a knuckle boom.

If you’re working in a space that’s difficult to reach, or where there are a lot of obstacles, the lack of multi-directional movement can make a job much harder, so in those instances, you’d be better off with a knuckle boom.

Which one is best?

Ultimately, it’s fair to say that a knuckle boom excavator is the ‘better’ option. However, we only say that because of the extra movement and functionality. If you don’t need that extra movement because you’re working on reasonably flat, clear sites, there is really no need for a knuckle boom.

The real ‘best’ option in this case, is the one that suits your type of work best. You can save money by opting for a standard arm, or you can gain extra flexibility with a knuckle boom. The choice is yours.

Looking for knuckle boom excavators?

No matter what type of excavator you’re looking for, Earthmoving Equipment Australia has got you covered. From mini excavators to specialist long-reach knuckle boom excavators, we’ve got all of the right equipment to get the job done more easily and to a higher standard. If you’re not exactly sure what you need for an upcoming project, contact our expert team and we’ll be happy to help. We have all types of heavy machinery and equipment, as well as all the attachments you could ever want. Give us a call today, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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