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06 FEBRUARY 2019

Do you need to dig a trench? You could get out a shovel and risk breaking your back digging through tough ground all day, or you could hire a trench digger and make light work of it. Trenchers are versatile machines that can be used to prepare foundations, dig drainage ditches and tracks for pipes and cables or even for landscaping.

Trench digger vs. manual digging

If you need to dig a ditch, you might be weighing up the pros and cons of using a shovel or hiring a trench digger.

While manual digging could be cheaper, you should consider if you have to buy tools in the first place, which may include a pickaxe too if there's hard, rocky ground beneath the top soil. There can also be labour costs if you need hire more workers, the time cost and the physical cost it can take on your body.

A trencher can be run single-handed and usually only takes a couple of hours to complete a job rather than a whole day, so there'll be more time to lay cables and do everything else you need to. Using a trencher is also less physically demanding and can make it easier to get a straight and uniform trench at the depth you want.

How to use a trencher

When you hire any equipment, you should first take time to familiarise yourself with its controls. You should also check that the land you're working on is suitable for trencher use, as the blades may get damaged by rocks, and you need to make sure you don't cut through any utility lines.

Make sure the hydraulic pump's switched off when you don't need it and that the wheels are locked when you're stationary. When you reach the site you want to dig, switch on the auger and gradually lower it to the depth you want. This can take a few minutes.

If you're using a walk-behind trencher rather than a ride-on trencher, you should walk backwards from your starting point to trench in reverse. That's because dirt and debris gets thrown out in front of the machine.

What can a trench digger do?

Trenchers are widely used in construction, infrastructure and residential settings. This versatile equipment can be handy if you need to:

  1. dig a drainage trench for flood prevention, sewage runoff, irrigation pipes or a sprinkler
  2. prepare a trench for underground electric or telecommunication wires or utility pipes
  3. dig up your garden to lay down plant roots or install a fence
  4. remove tree roots from soil during landscaping and maintenance
  5. cut a trench through rock or concrete with a heavy-duty wheel trencher


If you need to hire trench diggers anywhere in Australia, get in touch with your local Coates Hire branch. We've got a wide selection of trenchers for rent as well as bobcats, mini excavators, loaders and other equipment to save you time and energy on your residential or construction projects. Find your nearest Coates Hire branch.


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