Air vs Hydro (Comparison)

Air vs Hydro (Comparison)

Vacuum excavators come in two flavors, wet (hydro vacuum excavation) and dry (air vacuum excavation).

No vacuum excavation method is better at moving dirt than a hydraulic excavator like a backhoe, but space limitations or the safety hazard of buried utilities can dictate that a different approach is needed and that’s where vacuum excavation comes in.

Vacuum excavation is the process of digging using high-pressure water or air to loosen soil and then utilizing a vacuum to remove the soil and debris. Vacuum Excavation is often the safer choice over hand digging near the Tolerance Zone around underground utilities. Vacuum Excavation increases safety for workers on the surface and helps reduce accidental line damage and trench cave-ins.

Vacuum excavators come in two flavors, wet (hydro vacuum excavation) and dry (air vacuum excavation). The Utilivac unit was designed with the power and high cubic feet per minute (CFM) needed for use as a dry, air vacuum system, but performs just as well as a high-pressure hydro truck. Since both methods get the job done, the choice depends on the size and location of the excavation area, the availability of water and dry fill, and the availability of a disposal site for wet spoils.

If you’re not sure if the best tool for your project is an air digger or water vacuum, give us a call.  We have expertise with both systems and can help you make the right choice!

Try it out

We offer a try before you buy lease program to customers in the U.S. So try a brand new Utilivac for 30 days and we’ll give you 100% of the rental cost toward its purchase. Just need vacuum excavator for a short term project? No problem, we also offer short term leases of machines from our rental fleet. Please contact the factory or your dealer to learn more about our trial lease and rental programs.

To purchase your Utilivac, accessories, or parts, or for more information on our lease programs contact us at 1-800-824-7709 or e-mail us at

CALL US TODAY!(877) 936-8338