What Is a Mini Excavator?
A mini excavator is a compact machine driven by a qualified, trained individual for use in demolition or digging. As the name suggests, they are smaller than standard excavators and are most commonly used for small and medium-size projects. Mini excavators have a cab where the driver sits and operates the controls, with many cabs able to rotate a full 360 degrees. Most have either tracks for rough terrain (made from either steel or rubber) or wheels meant to be used on even or indoor surfaces.
Though small in size, mini excavators still bring a lot of power to the table, especially when it comes to workspaces that are crowded or small. These machines can handle the toughest tasks in some of the smallest spaces. Mini excavators are typically used with an attachment, either for demolition or digging. The attachment you need depends on the type of job you’re running, with multiple attachments available to suit a variety of needs. Common attachments include augers, buckets, compactor plates, and rippers.
Benefits of a Mini Excavator
A mini excavator is a valuable tool utilized across many industries. Some of the benefits of mini excavators include:
- Maneuverability: Mini excavators easily maneuver through spaces that larger equipment simply can’t. They also weigh less, exerting less ground pressure than most other similar equipment. Their swing booms have a compact swing, allowing for little to no tail swing, making them ideal for confined areas.
- Power: Don’t let the name fool you; mini excavators are quite powerful and their performance may surprise you. A machine as small (in heavy equipment terms, at least) as 4,000 to 6,000 pounds can easily dig a hole 10 feet deep. Mini excavators often perform at a level most people would expect from full-sized equipment. And with their compact size, all this power comes in a package that can easily navigate most spaces.
- Versatility: With their compact size, high power, and range of possible attachments, mini excavators are some of the most versatile pieces of equipment out there. In addition to attachments, there are multiple configurations and customizations available that allow you to find the perfect machine to assist you for years to come. Cab-mounted controls allow for easy connection to attachments and simple operation, making the entire process a breeze.
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How Much Does a New Mini Excavator Cost?
It is difficult to provide an exact cost for new mini excavators, as the size of the excavator, power, brand you choose, and dealer you purchase through all play a role in determining the final cost. That being said, here is a general pricing guide to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your new mini excavator:
- A new mini excavator with a 5′ to 7′ dig depth and 10 to 20 horsepower (hp) has an average cost around $25,000.
- A new mini excavator with a 10′ dig depth and 20 to 30 hp has an average cost between $30,000 and $40,000.
- A new mini excavator with a 12′ or deeper dig depth and 40-plus hp has an average cost around $60,000.
- Attachments have an additional cost, with add-ons such as buckets costing as much as $4,000. Powered attachments, such as augers, may cost anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
What to Look for in a New Mini Excavator
Beyond price, there are some factors you need to consider when purchasing a mini excavator. First and foremost, it is important to know what you plan on using the equipment for and if you might be able to use it for other applications. Consider your required dig depth and what type of attachments you would want.
It is also important that you choose a model with simple controls that you can operate comfortably. It is common for operators to spend many hours in a mini excavator, so you want to make sure that the controls are easy and the driver is comfortable. And think about how you plan to transport the mini excavator to the work site. Many are small enough to be towed behind a pickup truck, but some may need a larger vehicle.
The most important thing you can do when looking at mini excavators, however, is simply to take it for a test drive. Actually get in it and see how it feels. Take a look at the controls and figure out if it is something that you and any other potential (trained) operators would be able to use.