Mini excavator use is on the rise — after all, they’re great for navigating tight spots and speeding up home projects. Their versatility makes them handy for tasks from trenching and grading to landscaping, and the rental market for these small earthmoving machines is set to increase.
Sorting through all of the mini excavator brands can be overwhelming. Each manufacturer may offer multiple sizes and features. But the usefulness of these machines makes them worth a closer look.
Some of the key benefits of a smaller excavator include:
- Longer useful life
- Easier to transport
- Less ground damage
- Fewer track marks
Even with these benefits, they still accomplish many of the tasks of larger excavators, such as leveling, trenching, grading, demolition, and digging. Mini excavators might be rented for the following projects and more:
- Digging pools or hot tubs
- Installing sewer lines
- Installing driveways
Due to their convenience and practicality, mini excavator rental businesses have a strong outlook. One of the latest construction industry trends has been an uptick in mini excavator sales and rentals.
The Top 10 Mini Excavator Brands for Rental Businesses
With demand for small excavators on the rise, most major construction companies have entered the market, offering smaller machines that weigh anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 pounds. The versatility of these machines makes them a must-have for construction companies and construction equipment rental businesses.
Here are the top ten mini excavator brands worth considering.
Kubota offers various compact and well-rated models in the mini excavator category, including the K008-3 and KX161-3 models. These models weigh just around 2,200 pounds.
Japanese equipment maker Takeuchi has been in business since the 1960s. Takeuchi offers several small excavators, including its TB135, which has rubber tracks and weighs just under 8,000 pounds.
Doosan-owned Bobcat is a major name when it comes to small construction machines, especially skid steers. But it also offers 11 mini excavators that range in weight from 2,600 to 19,000 pounds. Its popular Bobcat 331 weighs just over 7,700 pounds.
John Deere, known for its farming equipment, also makes small excavators. Its smaller machines include the G-series of excavators: the 17G, 26G, 30G, and 60G. The 17G weighs 3,800 pounds, while the 60G is just under 14,000 pounds.
Caterpillar is the premier name in construction equipment. This American manufacturer offers 24 mini excavators, with the 300.9D being the most compact at just over 2,000 pounds. Some Caterpillar mini excavators have Caterpillar engines, while others have Yanmar engines.
Japanese equipment maker Yanmar made one of the first mini excavators in the 1960s. This company offers small excavators equipped with Smart Assist, which helps detect machine issues. Yanmar’s Vi line of mini excavators offers zero tail-swing.
Komatsu, the Japanese construction equipment maker, offers various compact excavators weighing up to 18,000 pounds. The smallest Komatsu excavators include the PC30MR-5 and the PC35MR-5, which weigh just under 7,000 and 9,000 pounds, respectively.
Founded in the U.K. in the 1940s, JCB has long specialized in construction equipment, including small excavators. Its mini excavators include the 19C-1E zero-emission electric excavator, weighing just two metric tons. It also offers various other models that weigh anywhere from 4,000 to 20,000 pounds, including the 18Z-1 zero tail-swing model.
CASE Construction Equipment, which is owned by CNH Industrial, is known for its skid steers, but it also makes small excavators. It offers six mini excavator models that range from 4,000 to 13,000 pounds.
While better known as a car manufacturer, Hyundai also makes heavy equipment. It offers compact excavators in eight models, with the smallest being just under 4,000 pounds.
When you compare mini excavators, you’ll also want to consider which projects your customers tend to work on. Do you need the smallest excavator available to get into tight spaces and dig around foundations and walls? Or do you need a bit more power for larger grading projects?
The size, weight, carrying load, and potential rental market will all play a role in your decision. Fortunately, you’ll likely find a mini excavator that fits your budget and needs.
What's the Best Mini Excavator for the Money?
Key considerations when buying a mini excavator include the size, available attachments, and boom type. However, the driving force is generally excavator cost. The mini excavator comparison below is a great place to start. These are five of the best mini excavators for the money.
CAT 301.6C from Caterpillar
The CAT 301.6C, made by Caterpillar, is one of the smallest excavators the company makes. Costs start at around $33,000, and the model weighs just over 4,000 pounds.
The Bobcat 418 starts at around $20,000 and weighs 2,600 pounds. It’s relatively easy to transport and is known to be dependable.
Kubota Mini Excavators
Kubota offers a variety of small excavators, with many starting below $20,000. The Kubota K0008-3 is one such excavator and weighs just 2,200 pounds.
Yanmar Mini Excavators
Yanmar offers several affordable small excavators. These include the ViO35-6A, which weighs just over 8,000 pounds. Some ViO series Yanmar compact excavators go for around $30,000.
Komatsu Mini Excavators
Most Komatsu mini excavators start at $25,000. These include its popular newer model, the PC30MR-5. Komatsu also makes the world’s smallest excavator, the PC01-1, which weighs just under 700 pounds.
The best mini excavator will have a good combination of price and reliability. But digging deeper, which excavator you choose will also depend on the attachments offered and size — for example, do you need more maneuverability or power?
Ready to Add the Best Mini Excavator to Your Fleet?
Mini excavators are growing in demand and could be a great addition to your equipment rental business. It’s tough to beat their advantages over large machines, including the ease of transport and operation.
The Quipli team specializes in automating your equipment rental business so you can spend time on what matters most. Quipli’s platform will streamline your inventory management process — reach out today to get a free demo.
Looking to purchase an Excavator? Learn more about the process with our where to buy excavator and our what to look for when buying an excavator guides.