Mini Excavator

Mini excavators you'll really dig

A mini excavator, sometimes called a compact excavator, is a piece of construction equipment that features a bucket and an independent boom swing. Most mini excavators operate through the activation of hydraulic fluid and hydraulic cylinders, which collectively power the unit's hydraulic motor. Mini hydraulic excavators feature three unique sections: a house or cab, an undercarriage and a workgroup consisting of the boom, dipper/arm and attachment. (Attachments include mini excavator buckets, augers and breakers for a variety of projects.) Mini excavators are an excellent alternative to much larger excavators for smaller projects that may include tighter or condensed spaces. They're also much cheaper to purchase.

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Mini Excavator Brands

There are several different brands of mini excavators, including Bobcat, Tekeuchi, Hitachi and Kubota. Most of these brands feature similar motor sizes and work capabilities.

The real difference between the various mini excavators can be seen after a few years of service. When purchasing a used mini excavator, be sure to check all of its important components. Does it have any evidence of body or mechanical damage? Does it start properly? Is there a smoky discharge during the process? Is there any loose fluid or soot in and around the engine? Does the mini excavator bucket show signs of wear or damage? Inspect the unit carefully and consider having an expert check the engine and internal components to be sure they are in top working order.

When using a mini excavator, pay attention to your environment. Clear away debris from in and around the machine that might impede its movement (after all, this isn't a full-sized excavator). If you're renting the unit, be sure that you fully understand the agreement, including insurance and issues related to possible damages.

The Right Tool for the Job

So, why use a mini excavator? The simplest answer is that often the job doesn't require anything bigger or more expensive. Many jobs, including most landscaping projects, demand a week's or weekend's worth of work. For the non-contractor, leasing something like a full excavator simply doesn't make any sense. Mini excavators are also much easier to drive and handle than larger pieces of heavy machinery, meaning it's more likely that one or two members of a work crew can switch out service behind the controls.

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