Sometimes a mini excavator can do things that a monster digger can‘t. It can fit into tight spaces and do things in a few hours that you would otherwise need a couple of guys with shovels and pickaxes for a few days. There are plenty of brands to choose from. Still, some new mini excavator prices can be too high for the average construction company to consider.
Some of the more affordable mini-excavators for sale cost between $15,000 and $300,000 for a used machine. In comparison, new models can go up to $600,000. Many factors affect mini excavator costs. Location, model, and age are just a few, but we‘ll explain more later.
However, buying a digger isn‘t for everyone. So, if you‘re interested in learning more about rental rates rather than purchasing one, you can read our guide on excavator rental prices.
As you‘d expect, responsible manufacturers ensure all products follow applicable state and federal legislation. Specifically, Tier 4 standards regulate particulate material and nitrogen oxide emissions from off-road diesel engines of less than 24 HP.
Top 6 Best Mini Excavator Brands
When buying a mini-excavator, you should look for one that suits your purpose. Probably the most important is that it should be reliable. No-one wants to own a digger that needs continual repairs.
Most manufacturers not only handle brand new sales but also offer rental and used machines. So, if you want a cheap mini excavator, you know there are many good quality machines available from well–recognized brands. And most of them sell through a network of independent agents spreading across the country.
The brands below are some of the best. But, they aren‘t in any particular order, and their position in the list doesn‘t reflect on the reliability of the company‘s products. Also, we cannot recommend any of these brands specifically, nor assess whether any of them are suitable for your project.
1. Bobcat Mini Excavators
Bobcat has been around the longest in the USA, so you‘d expect the company to have the most experience producing earthmoving equipment. They manufacture a variety of small excavating equipment for use in many different industries. Bobcat‘s various models have weights ranging from 2,593 lbs up to 18,977 lbs to suit different applications. And, for their customers‘ convenience, the company offers a way to build your requested product from a list of different options. The online calculator shows the cumulative cost of your tractor and attachments as you build. And each one is available from the local dealer near you.
All Bobcat miniature excavators have a specialized range of compatible attachments to suit your industry.
2. Caterpillar Mini Excavators
Caterpillar (or CAT) provides a full range of compact excavators ranging from 2,061 lbs with a 13 HP engine up to a 22,451 lbs machine with a 69.5 HP engine. Depending on their size, the mini backhoes have a maximum dig depth of between 68 and 205 inches.
The company has a fully trained network of independent suppliers who can sell and maintain your compact backhoe excavator. Furthermore, CAT offers full training for machine operators and maintenance workers if you prefer to use your own workshops.
3. Komatsu Mini Excavators
Komatsu was originally a Japanese company established in 1921. But, now trade worldwide and established themselves in America in 1970. They are the world‘s second–largest construction equipment supplier, so you‘d expect them to know what they are doing.
Komatsu has a range of six little excavators that provide just about everything you would want from a compact backhoe. The operating weights range from 6,505 lbs with a 24.4 HP engine up to 19,290 lbs with a 65.5 HP engine.
4. Deere Mini Excavators
John Deere has been building agricultural tractors in the United States for more than a century. In modern times the company has enlarged its product range to include machines for many different industries. Furthermore, the company has recently earned a range of different business awards ranging from innovation and product design to being one of the most ethical companies in North America.
Its range of compact excavators starts with the smallest operating weight of 3,790 lbs with a 14.5 HP engine up to the largest at 13,620 lbs with a 53 HP engine. Furthermore, dig depths range from 7ft 2ins to 12ft 4ins.
There is a complete range of various attachments to go along with these versatile machines that suit almost any job from many different industries.
5. Kubota Mini Excavators
Kubota has traded since 1890 and provides many types of earthmoving equipment globally. The company is proud of its products and advertises its high durability, superior performance, and easy maintenance. Finally, Kubota‘s products are as much at home on the construction site as in the garden or a forest.
Kubota‘s equipment range contains 19 small mini excavators suitable for many types of work. The compact backhoes range from the K008-3 with a weight of 980kg (2160 lbs), engine output of 10.2 PS (10 HP), and dig depth of 1.7m (5ft 7in) up to the KX060-5 weighing 5635kg (12,423 lbs), engine output of 47.6 PS (46.9 HP) and dig depth of 3.87m (12ft 8in).
6. Yanmar Mini Excavators
Yanmar began trading in Japan in 1912 and started up Yanmar Tractor (USA) Inc in 1979. They were already supplying John Deere with large tractors and had already introduced one of the first mini excavators in 1968. Yanmar also introduced the first swing boom excavator and the first excavator with zero tail swing. However, the company wanted to open the small–scale equipment market as well.
All their backhoes are rugged and versatile, making them effective at working in tight spaces where larger machines can‘t go. Combine this with the 4yr/4000hour warranty available on all their mini excavator purchases, and you have a good product suitable for just about any domestic and light industrial use. The SV08-1D is the smallest, weighing 2,348 lbs, with a 10.3 HP engine and a dig depth of 5ft 4ins. The largest is the ViO25-6A weighing 6,217 lbs, with a 20.4HP engine and a dig depth of 10ft 4ins.
How Much Does A New Mini Excavator Cost?
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) categorizes crawler excavators into three general size ranges:
- Mini or Compact crawlers range from 0 to 6,000kg (0-13,227 lbs).
- Midi crawlers range from 6,000 to 10,000kg (13,227-22,046 lbs).
- Standard crawlers range from 10,000 to 90,000kg (22,046-198,416 lbs).
As we‘re concerned with mini or compact excavators, our range extends up to approximately 13,000lbs.
The following table draws on information from the Bobcat range of industrial mini excavators, without any accessories. Remember that these prices are those suggested by the company for their products. These amounts might differ depending whereabouts you live and other factors. As such, you might find various compact trackhoes from this or other manufacturers advertised for different prices. Therefore, these machines might not be the best excavator for your money. Instead, use this table as a starting point for your research.
|Bobcat Compact Excavator Name||Excavator Size||Power Output (HP)||Estimated Cost|
|E10 T4||2,593 lbs||10.2 HP||$24,073|
|E20 T4 ZTS||4,306 lbs||13.9 HP||$32,281|
|E26 R-Series||6,489 lbs||24.8 HP||$38,873|
|E32 R-Series||7,340 lbs||24,8 HP||$46,170|
|E35 25HP R-Series||7,699 lbs||24.8 HP||$48,051|
|E35 33HP R-Series||7,909 lbs||33.5 HP||$54,666|
|E42 R2-Series||9,830 lbs||42.6 HP||$56,373|
|E50 R2-Series||11,357 lbs||49.7 HP||$70,265|
|E60 R2-Series||12,315 lbs||55.0 HP||$73,562|
Mini Excavator Cost Factors
As stated earlier, the price of a used or new mini excavator might vary from one unit to the other depending on many different factors.
Here are some of the factors that might affect the mini excavator pricing.
New or Used
Invariably, used mini excavators are cheaper than new ones. But, you might find the same model for sale at different prices from various suppliers. Don’t worry; the price difference can be for a variety of reasons. Bearing that in mind, although the discount for used machines might be variable, be wary of one that is less than half price.
Mini Excavator Sizes & Power Ratings
The price of a mini excavator mainly depends on its size and power rating. These give the prospective purchaser an idea of how deep it can dig and its maximum bucket size. Therefore, larger values, although more expensive, move the job along more quickly. You can buy used machines for less than $20,000, but they will usually be a machine to use in a domestic setting, with a dig depth of around 6ft.
Small Excavator Features
Prices vary depending on the accessories for sale with the machine. You might be offered extra buckets of different widths or specialty attachments such as augers or concrete breakers. These additions make your machine more useful. But, ultimately, you must look at the price and decide whether you can justify the extra money for mini excavator attachments that you might hardly use. You might be better off buying a ‘bare bones‘ used excavator followed by the accessories you know you want, even if they are brand new.
But why would you need accessories? All compact excavators use interchangeable accessories to make the machine more versatile and able to carry out a range of duties.
- Trenchers (or buckets) come in various shapes and widths and enable an excavator to dig different width trenches without ‘double digging.’ Trenchers might be from 2 to 3 feet deep and up to 12 inches wide. The typical price for these accessories ranges from $4,500 to $10,000.
- Grading blades smooth, grade, and contour ground for many uses. A typical grading blade might cost anywhere between $3,500 and $14,000, depending on size and make.
- An auger allows the machine to dig round holes from 6 to 48 inches in diameter, which are very useful for fence posts or piling foundations. Augers can usually bore a hole in just about any type of soil, given the correct amount of torque applied to the tool. Typical prices range from $1,500 to $3,000 each.
Cheapest Mini Excavator Choices
Mini excavator affordability is always the bottom line. If you want a cheap mini excavator, you should aim for used machines with a reputation for reliability and affordable spare parts. All machines depreciate their value with continued use, and compact excavators are no exception. You might have seen a very affordable excavator with a good reputation. But, how many hours of work has it done, and what is its condition at the time of purchase? A reasonable ‘used‘ price can be between 25% and 50% of the price as new, and you‘ll probably get as many hours of work out of it as you would if you buy a new one.
Used Mini Excavator Affordability
Always try to buy the best you can afford. And if you can‘t afford much, look into rentals for the short term or leasing for the long term. In fact, most leasing companies offer the machine for sale at a reduced rate at the end of the lease. So, it might be worthwhile choosing that route from the beginning. You‘ll usually end up with the best mini excavator you can afford. And, it‘ll be one that you‘ve already grown used to.
Otherwise, buying the cheapest mini excavator will be the way forward. Purchasing brings us to the question of whom should you buy from? Usually, private sales of used equipment are cheaper than from recognized dealers. This situation might appear attractive at first sight. But, a private vendor disappears once you‘ve made the sale. Plus, you might even be buying stolen goods.
On the other hand, recognized dealers have a reputation to consider. So, it‘s worthwhile only buying from those with long–standing trading history. They ensure the equipment is in good condition before the sale. And have the experience to sell the machine at the correct price for its age and condition. Furthermore, many dealers offer a warranty for your peace of mind.
You‘ll also find that most local reputable dealers also sell online to increase their sales.
For example, a typical dealer might offer a 2020 Bobcat E32i for $45,900. The used machine comes with many extras and only 18 hours of running time on the clock.
In comparison, the same dealer might also advertise a 2015 CASE CX36B with 1627 hours on the clock at $29,850. Usually, there is also finance available if the buyer can‘t afford the full up-front price. And finance is something you won’t find with a private vendor.
Mini Excavator FAQs
How many hours does a mini excavator last?
As long as the machine is well maintained and not expected to lift more than it‘s designed for, you can expect it to last for many years of continuous use. However, skid-steers often wear out faster than wheeled models.
Furthermore, many owners trade in their mini excavators at 2000 to 2500 hours because the price they can get for it goes a long way to buying an updated one.
How often do you grease a mini excavator?
You should check engine and hydraulic oils, water, and fuel daily. However, always carry out general grease lubrication on pivot points using good quality grease as often as the manufacturer recommends. Lubrication intervals and instructions are in the operating manual. They typically include the boom, dipper, and bucket, as well as all the pins.
How long do mini excavator tracks last?
Their lifespan depends on how well you have maintained the tracks and what terrain the excavator typically encounters. However, well–maintained tracks on normal soil surface typically last from 800 to 1,000 hours.
Buying The Cheapest Mini Excavators On The Market
The best mini excavator you can buy won‘t necessarily be the most affordable. There are many factors to take into account when looking around for a cost-effective machine. You must consider the brand and its reputation and the machine’s age and condition before you know whether you have a bargain.
In contrast, if you buy the cheapest mini excavator you can find, you might probably finish up with a heap of scrap metal after a few months of use. The best machine lies somewhere in between, and your decision should be based on how much you can afford, what you need the excavator for, and how much you intend to use it.
If you want assistance with choosing the best mini excavator for your project, contact us, and we‘ll help you with your choice. Our equipment might not be the cheapest, but it certainly won‘t be the most expensive. Furthermore, we can guarantee that none of our machines are scrap metal.
Jason is a B2B sales veteran spanning 3 decades and Founder of ApprovedCosts. Jason has scaled sales and marketing teams at a variety of enterprises and is a recognized expert in the field. Jason holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.