Mini excavators are gaining popularity in construction for their versatility and size. These machines can be used for a variety of earthmoving projects from landscaping and gardening to trenching and grading. If you’re in the market for picking a new mini excavator then you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. The key to choosing the best mini excavator is to understand which size and features are matching your projects. But with numerous models available weighing anywhere from under 1,000 pounds to over 8,000 it becomes difficult to know exactly which one is best. To help you choose the best and most appropriate one, we are comparing the top mini excavators in the market and discussing their key advantages.
Yanmar ViO35-6A (Overall best):
This compact excavator with Tier 4 engine is one of the most popular models on the market. It has zero tail swing and good fuel efficiency. The excavator offers 20% less consumption of fuel than previous models and it has ECO and auto-deceleration modes as well. Its quick coupler system and easy-access engine compartment, make it a good choice for those looking for increased efficiency. Yanmar has a maximum digging depth of 11.25 feet and 24.4 horsepower with an operating weight of 8214 pounds, it’s small enough to navigate through compact worksites while still being able to take on a variety of landscaping, construction, and utility tasks.
Bobcat E26 (Best budget option):
Although the bobcat E26 isn’t the cheapest mini excavator available in the market it can help you to get the most out of your money. This mid-range machine costs much less than larger models (around $40,000) but still offers most of the same features and attachment options. It accommodates everything from breakers, and augers to grapples and grading blades. Due to this, it becomes a versatile option that can save you from paying for that extra equipment you don’t need. Bobcat has also optimized the controls, weight, and body of this model according to the rental market so it’s also a dependable option for those who are looking to save money through renting. Buying a used one will also bring down the cost even further.
Kubota K000-8-3 is a popular choice for people who want a dependable household excavator which will be easy to store and transport.
It has a maximum width of fewer than 3 feet and the track frame and blade are adjustable to allow it to fit through doorways easily. It has a compact size and an operating weight of 2200 pounds which makes it a handy tool for landscaping and indoor tasks which require a smaller machine.
Volvo ECR25 (best electric Mini excavator):
Electric construction equipment is quickly gaining traction as an eco-friendly alternative to diesel-fueled machines. To keep up with growing demand, many equipment manufacturers are developing electric mini excavators to add to their fleets of EVs. This Volvo ECR25 is the first in a new line of mini excavators powered by a 24-horsepower electric motor and 48-volt battery. It has an operating weight of 6,129 pounds and can run for more than four hours on a single charge.
ECR35D is a perfect example of a mini excavator when it comes to construction equipment. It has plenty of power for digging and other tasks but its narrow width makes it ideal for tight spaces. With a width of just 2.49 feet, the machine can fit through gates and between utility poles, enabling operators to work in more locations with greater efficiency. The respective Volvo model features a vertical swing boom which allows it to operate around obstacles with ease. Boom design also enables the machine to perform a backfill and clean-up process with minimal spillage to reduce the need for extra clean-up time and costs. The full-scale operation allows it to excel at all types of jobs, particularly in plumbing, electrical, and landscape work where maneuverability is key. The machine has a 24 horsepower Volvo Tier 4 Final engine which offers exceptional fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance or productivity. The engine provides up to 40% better fuel economy than competing models which reduces operating costs by providing extra hours of work on one tank.
Komatsu PCO1-1 (best for small projects):
Komatsu PCO1-1 is at the top spot for the world’s smallest mini excavator at the moment. It has a weight of about 840 pounds and offers 3.5 horsepower and a maximum digging depth of 3.5 feet along with all these features it’s just two feet wide. If you’re a US citizen then you need to purchase a used one from a third-party retailer. Luckily Yanmar, Volvo, and Bobcat also offer lightweight models which serve a similar purpose.
John Deere 35G (best customizable option):
The G-series of John Deere mini excavators offers a wide range of customization options to ensure that you get the perfect machine for all your tasks. The G-series can accommodate multiple attachments and they range in size from 1,720-pound while 17G to 60G weighs about 6145 pounds. The 35G is the best option both for customization and ease of use. It can easily switch between excavator and backhoe style controls and automatically slows down when taking on heavier loads. The cab is also designed with more oversized windows for better visibility which makes it easier to navigate and switch between tasks.
JCB 50Z-1 is designed with a 100% steel body and zero tail swing. It provides power and control in confined spaces. This JCB model is equipped with a 43.3 horsepower engine which provides a programmable auto-idle, auto-engine stop, and four different engine modes to reduce overall fuel consumption. This 10,583-pound machine has a digging depth of 12 feet 7 inches and a dumps height of 14 feet which is a notable increase as compared to its predecessor, the 48Z. The maximum reach of 50Z-1 is 19 feet 8 inches. 50Z-1 also has a new 7-inch color display screen with an automotive-style rotary dial for screen navigation which also includes an on-screen health check with the first turn of the key. The machine provides access to key machine information and operation with a twin-locking hydraulic quick hitch and tool select, to make attachment changeover easier. The cab on the 50Z-1 was engineered for operator comfort, floor space, reduced noise, and vibration. Regarding maintenance, JCB added convenient access to daily checkpoints, made the H-frame undercarriage easier to clean, and boosted greasing intervals to 500 hours to help increase productivity and reduce downtime.
TB20e is the first battery-powered machine designed by Takeuchi. It’s a 100% battery-powered machine with zero exhaust emissions, vibrations and noise are also reduced. The excavator weighs 4,255 pounds, has a bucket capacity of 1.34 cubic feet, and has a primary auxiliary flow of 9 gallons per minute. It has a maximum reach of 13.4 feet and the maximum digging depth is 7.10 feet. The cab features a completely new high-definition, multi-informational color display. Battery life will vary according to the application and environment. When fully charged the machine will run anywhere from four to eight hours.
It is the largest model in the compact excavator range which features an overall length of just 10.25 feet. The machine has a maximum digging depth of 14.4 feet and a maximum dumping height of 18.8 feet. The fuel-efficient engine of this mini excavator produces 58 horsepower which is 14 percent more than the previous model. TB260 also has a bucket digging force of 23,812 pounds and an arm digging force of 19,247 pounds.
The machine is equipped with two-speed travel and auto-idle functions. AN ISO/SAE pattern changeover system allows the operator to change the control pattern from ISO to SAE configuration with minimal effort. It also offers various optional attachments for jobsite applications such as power angle blades, quick couplers, breakers, and manual thumb.
Caterpillar 301.7D CR:
Caterpillar 301.7D CR mini excavator is the first in Caterpillar’s new line of a 30,000-pound class of mini excavators. This model has a full range of options and features which help you to do more tasks with one machine such as a backfill blade for grading accurate trenches. And auxiliary hydraulics for operating attachments and a hydraulic pin grabber quick coupler for switching between buckets and other work tools in seconds. The 301.7D CR has a Cat C1.5 diesel engine which complies with U.S. EPA Tier 4- interim requirements without using diesel particulate filters or selective catalytic reduction technologies. So there are no additional fluids to buy or maintain and no additional filters to replace. It also meets U.S EPA Tier 3/EU stage IIIIB emission standards in all other countries where it is sold without compromising performance or productivity.
Bobcat E42 mini excavator:
This bobcat mini excavator model comes with a high back seat which adds support and comfort to it. The operator can conveniently control the machine with dual hand levers, a joystick, and optional pilot controls. Specification wise E42 excavator has a bucket breakout force of 5142 lbs and a dump height of 10.10 feet. It has a maximum digging depth of 8.7 feet which is suitable for most excavation projects. E42 has an operating capacity of 2650 pounds which achieves that versatility for different projects with different tools attached to it. The machine weighs 9141 pounds so it is easy to trailer it with a truck or SUV.
New Holland E26 mini excavator:
The New Holland E26 mini excavator is the next step up in size from the popular New Holland E18. The E26 offers a step-up in the horsepower from the E18, as well as an increase in maximum operating weight. E26 is a conventional-style mini excavator. Its conventional design features a tail swing extending beyond the machine’s track width. This allows the operator to dig closer to buildings and other obstructions; it can also be more dangerous when working around traffic or pedestrians. This new Holland model has a maximum digging depth of 10.7 feet and a maximum reach of 16.9 feet. A standard arm, which comes with all models provides for a digging force of 6384 pounds at bucket pivot pins. The long arm option adds 3 feet to the length of the machine and increases the digging force to 7895 pounds. As we mentioned earlier that it’s available with either a conventional tail swing or zero tail swing, depending on the type of model. Zero tail swing design limits the amount of overhang behind the tracks, minimizing damage in tight areas and reducing risk to property or bystanders.
The Hitachi ZX35U-5 mini excavator is a versatile and reliable machine. It’s designed to work as hard as you do by delivering more power, durability, and fuel efficiency. This Hitachi model is equipped with a Yanmar 3TNV88C engine which has set the standard for compact construction equipment. This engine features direct injection for increased fuel efficiency and improved starting performance in cold conditions. ZX35U has an operating weight of 7700 pounds and can dig down to 10 feet with a trenching depth of 8 feet and a 23.4 horsepower engine. A smooth hydraulic pump and a travel speed of up to 3 mph further add to the portfolio of this excavator. The standard thumb bracket of this mini excavator allows you to add a hydraulic or manual thumb kit if you want.
Kubota KX033-4 mini excavator:
Kubota KX033-4 is the first of Kubota’s new generation of 4 series excavators and follows the release of the U55-4 and KX080-4. This 4.6-ton machine has a short tail swing radius, a variable undercarriage width of 900 mm to 1400mm, and two track frame options of 800mm or 600mm. It comes with a number of new features including the new Auto Idling Stop system which automatically switches off the engine when not in use after three minutes which reduces fuel consumption and noise level. The machine also has a water separator on its fuel tank while its engine oil and hydraulic tank are separate. Among other features in this mini excavator include an optional rearview camera, LED work lights, and an additional front window for improved visibility. The mini excavators have underestimated tools for digging small holes and trenches up to 6.0 cubic yards which are good for gardens and lawns also. With these tools, you can install new electric lines, water pipes, or even a new fence.