If you need to dig trenches for such projects as laying pipes and electrical cables, and installing drainage, you will need a trencher. There are two types, a walk-behind, and a ride-on. For a smaller job, a walk-behind is sufficient but if you have a bigger project, you would be best off choosing a ride-on. You can also purchase trencher attachments for other construction machines such as a skid-steer loader.
To answer this question, you need to consider your requirements. Will you be using a trencher regularly or only intermittently? If you have a one-off job, you would be better off renting one, but if you are a company that uses a trencher regularly, it would be more cost-effective to buy one. However, if you need different sizes of trenchers for multiple projects, renting one could be more profitable unless you are a company of the size that can afford to invest in more than one trencher.
The first thing you have to decide is whether to buy a walk-behind trencher or a ride-on trencher. Consider whether or not you have multiple trenches to dig or if will be doing long runs. If you think you will be using it for more than 250 feet at a time, a ride-on trencher would be better. As well as being easier on the legs, it will be more productive because you will save time. Another thing to consider is the trench dimensions. A walk-behind trencher works best at a depth of up to 48” and a width of 8”. Anything bigger than this will require a ride-on trencher. Think about how much horsepower you will need. Walk-behind trenchers have engines of between 12 and 31 horsepower, while ride-ons have engines of between 49 and 131 horsepower. Walk-behind trenchers work best on soft terrain while ride-ons deal well with rocky soil and pavements.
If you want your trencher to be versatile and have other attachments, you will have to choose a ride-on trencher. You could then swap the trencher for a vibratory plow, a backhoe attachment, or a reel carrier. This will enable you to perform more tasks with just one machine. There are also weight kits available. They help to plow or trench in difficult ground conditions.
If you are purchasing a second-hand trencher, you will need to make extra checks. Make sure that there are no loose connections. Pins and bearings should be tight as any looseness can affect the accuracy of the machine. In addition, check for cracks in the connection points. Make sure that there is no damage to the undercarriage as this could be a sign of internal damage. Finally, inspect the hoses, cylinders, and lines for leaks.