Best Mini Excavators | Side by Side Reviews

Top 10 Compact Mini Excavators

When it comes to finding a mini excavator, comparing quotes is crucial to getting a top-quality product for the lowest price.

We have gathered information on the top 10 compact excavators including user reviews and buying tips and made it easy to find the best price from companies in your area.

Top Mini Excavator Review



Cat excavators might not look as though they’ve changed much over the years, but that is not true. EVARN COVICH found this out when he took a compact radius Cat 305E2 for a test run – it's packed with innovation. It doesn't matter what type of work you need to be done or where; Caterpillar has got your back (and then some).

For all you excavator owners and operators out there, Cat has come up with some great new tools to make your life easier. With their latest offerings on the E2 range of machines, they've addressed many long-standing issues that have plagued us in this industry time after time again.

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If you’re in the market for a mini excavator, there are lots of options. The Australian market is astonishingly diverse when it comes to this category with RON HORNER checking out one model that looks like an excellent choice-the Yuchai YC18SR from China.

Ridden by 20hp diesel power and weighing less than two tons at only 1130kgs (24lbs), these little machines can easily be transported on your vehicle thanks to their small size: they're also zero swing so don't require strong arms or legs just steady hands as well some driving experience under your belt because they know it will move quickly around here whether its rocks being moved aside while making way through soft earth.

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bobcat e50 mini excavator

One of the most exciting things about working in construction is getting to try out all different types of equipment. We love it when companies let me borrow their heavy-duty machines so that for an afternoon, my job becomes easier and more efficient.

The Bobcat E50 was no exception—I couldn't wait until we got our hands on this thing because as you know from previous experiences with other brands – they take their work seriously.

The Bobcat E50 excavator is a dependable and versatile machine that has been gaining momentum in recent years. For example, its cutting-edge innovations like the all-electric power train have made it one of if not the best choice for many contractors who need an efficient digger but don't want to compromise on quality or performance.

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Top Mini Excavator Brands 

John Deere

John Deere Logo

John Deere is a company that manufactures various kinds of equipment for farmers and ranchers. They have been in operation since 1920, when their founder went into business with his agriculture partner W C Holland on creating something better than any other machine out there at the time.

The John Deere experience is like no other. They rely on more than 180 years of expertise and terabytes of precision data to know them better than anyone else, which means our easy-to-use technology helps deliver results for farmers in their field as well as company executives balancing the books back at HQ (just one example). As an important part of industrial equipment maintenance services with sustainability always being put first by providing world-class support throughout its lifecycle from taking ownership all way through trade-ins or upgrades–trust us when we say this isn't your average farming machinery store.

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Bob Cat Logo

Bobcat Company is a company that specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of construction equipment. Their extensive lineup includes compact machines with unmatched performance, tough durability standards for any environment or task you throw at them – all designed to help make your workday easier.

In addition, they have industry-leading attachments that can be used on most makes/models ensuring compatibility across multiple platforms giving users greater flexibility when tackling their projects no matter what size they may be looking into getting started down this road today.

Bobcat is a company that's tough, agile, and versatile. They not only manufacture equipment but also have employees around the world with their manufacturing facilities in places like Canada as well as other locations worldwide such as China, the Philippines, Thailand, Russia, South Africa, etc…The machines Bobcata equip people for all aspects of construction; agriculture use or landscaping projects make them invaluable on any job site–their value can't be measured by how much money you save because there would never need to be another project without this type of product.

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The global construction industry is vast and Caterpillar has been a leader in this market for years. They design, develop, manufacture engines to power machinery which enables them to provide solutions that cater to the needs of customers worldwide.

A Fortune 100 corporation with manufacturing facilities around the world including North America as well as Europe Pacific India Latin America Africa Middle East Mediterranean Central Asia China; they also offer financial products like loans or leases on equipment through their dealership network – making it easy to access any product you need whether big (machines) small(engines).

Caterpillar is a company that has been around since 1925. They provide products and services to help customers build their world through innovation, backed by expertise in machinery technology dating back decades. As an organization, they have grown from one of six countries with employees across four continents at its founding into what it currently stands as today-a multinational corporation employing over 35000 people worldwide.

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Mini Excavator Buyers Guide

Mini excavators are indispensable pieces of equipment, perfect for lighter work and onsite construction jobs in smaller spaces. Their compact structure lets them maneuver in confined areas, and they leave minimal damage to the landscape making them ideal for indoor use as well. When comparing used mini excavators, there are a few main points to take into consideration – lifespan/operational hours, the specifications of the machine, and EPA compliance.

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A brand new mini excavator is not cheap, they can range from $19,200 to $90,500, depending on the size and specifications of the model, so you’ll want to be sure your investment is worthwhile. Here’s what to look for when comparing and considering a mini excavator:


Consider the machine's digging depth, operating weight, and dump height. These three considerations affect the type and size of the machine you will need. Before committing to any particular model, pair your specific needs with the machine's capabilities to see how they match up. Remember the operating weight is the maximum operating weight including operator and equipment, for mini excavators this will be somewhere between 2,000 and 18,500 lbs. Maximum digging depth dictates the depth of the trench. Expect to find max digging depths that range between 5.6 and 12 feet deep. Maximum dump height is especially important for handling on construction sites. The maximum dump heights extend from 6 to 13 feet.

Ask your dealer or manufacturer about the bore, net power, and swing system of the model you are looking at as well. For service and maintenance purposes also keep in mind that excavators are built with an 8,000 to 10,000 hours expected operating lifespan.


Mini excavators come in two types, tail swing and zero tail swing. Your workspace and output requirements will ultimately be the deciding factor in which model will work best for you.

Tail Swing
Sometimes referred to as “conventional house”, these feature a rear counterweight that helps offset added weight in the bucket and stabilize the excavator during operation. This model has slightly larger cabs for added comfort and maneuverability for the operator. Tail swing models provide the greatest lift capabilities, including a greater lifting capacity and greater bucket and arm breakout force. However, this additional counterweight extends 6 inches or more beyond the width of the tracks of the excavator as it rotates during operation. For this reason, the design of tail swing excavators can be difficult in tight or busy work areas. Tail swing models are the go-to choice for most construction applications.

Zero-Tail Swing
This model of mini excavator has the ability to rotate their cabs completely within the width of their tracks, preventing the operator from bumping into anything with the tail (back section of the cab). Zero-tail swing excavators provide comparable levels of performance when it comes to dig depth, reach, cutting height, and dump height tail swing excavators. In addition, they are easier to navigate in tight work areas, and also have a counterweight that makes it even easier to operate down aisles and alongside walls. The ease of access makes service and maintenance simple with all major parts and components easily within reach. For indoor jobs and working in tight spaces a zero-tail swing model is a way to go.

There are also two types of track choices for min excavators – rubber and steel. Steel tracks are more durable and provide good traction on loose dirt. However, on pavement or landscaped areas, rubber tracks do a much better job at reducing ground pressure and surface damage.

Multiple attachments allow you to get much more use out of your mini excavator, for example, there are different sizes and styles of buckets for different types of digging. Other common attachments include:

  • Augers – used for boring clean holes through a variety of materials, with great accuracy
  • PowerTilt Swing – angles an excavator’s bucket left or right – giving a greater range of accessibility for the operator
  • Breaker – cut through concrete and other paved surfaces cleanly and quickly
  • Hydraulic Thumb – sometimes called a clamp, this improves standard bucket allowing the operator to safely haul loose object while preventing movement and spills
  • Grading Blade – smooth’s the surface of a variety of terrains
  • Grapple – comparable to the hydraulic thumb, but more suited for hauling piping and trees, commonly used for land clearing and demolition
  • Trencher – for plowing easily through rocky soil or sand, and from 2 to 5 feet deep and 4 to 12 inches wide
  • Ripper – rapidly get through packed, frozen, or hard ground
  • Flail Mower – usually used for farming and landscaping, this mower mulches and cuts grass and brush
  • Packer Wheel – quickly and firmly packs the ground after trenching

More advanced add-on options to your mini excavator may include – monitoring systems, power-boost mode, climate-control cab, backfill blade, pilot hydraulic controls, and anti-vandalism features.

Remember, if you're using an attachment that requires hydraulic power make sure your excavator is supplying the proper amount of hydraulic flow and pressure. Too little pressure and the performance will suffer, too much and you risk damage to the attachment.

Before finishing the purchase get all the necessary information on:

  • Training and safety
  • EPA regulations
  • Financing options
  • Maintenance and on-site service
  • Insurance

A mini excavator should be easy-to-use, versatile, durable, and most importantly reliable. The key guideline when shopping for a mini excavator is to keep in mind the job/project the machine will be used for. The size, type, and attachments should all work together to benefit and make your work more efficient. These tips, and understanding the specifications should help you narrow down your choices and make a confident and informed decision when buying a mini excavator.

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Mini Excavator Review

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