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The Comprehensive Guide to Buying a Mini Excavator

Aug 31st 2023

The Comprehensive Guide to Buying a Mini Excavator

The construction industry is full of unknowns. Knowing the best heavy equipment for a job is key to success. A mini excavator is a perfect choice for tasks requiring digging, moving, and transporting materials with as little impact on the terrain as possible.

Having a lot of options is always beneficial, but the wealth of choices makes it more challenging to decide which solution is best for you. With this comprehensive guide to buying a mini excavator, you’ll have everything you need to make a purchase and tackle your next project.

Type of Job

The first step when buying a mini excavator is determining which jobs you’ll use it for. While people often employ these tools for simple cleanup work, they’re also great for landscaping and construction. You can purchase skid steered, wheeled, or tracked options to gain just the right amount of control.

You can equip skid steers with various attachments to add functionality. Trenchers, augers, rakes, and brooms can replace the bucket to help you complete a range of tasks. You can even use a blade or mulcher for projects that require cutting and grinding.

Lifting Capacity

You should also consider a mini excavator’s lifting capacity before you make a purchase. The overall power a frame can exert depends primarily on its size and weight, but you must also account for the hydraulics and type of engine the equipment has.

Depending on their designs, mini excavators can range between a 1,000 and 20,000 pound lifting capacity. However, it’s crucial to ensure operators maintain a solid center of gravity so that the machine doesn’t tip and cause an accident. Workers should never attempt to lift loads that are heavier than their machinery can handle.

Reach of Bucket

Some jobs may require the mini excavator to reach long distances and dig up materials or dump them in an ideal location. Depending on your situation and the jobs you expect to take in the future, you may want equipment with a longer arm. While larger excavators can reach up to 60 feet or more, mini excavators’ arms are generally in the 12-20 foot range.

The bucket’s reach will determine both the height and depth your machinery can reach. Similarly, the arm’s range and lifting capacity determine reach and dump height. Some attachments may also improve the bucket’s reach and allow workers to complete demanding tasks.

Cab Type

It is also worthwhile to consider the cab type when looking at mini excavators. The cab’s placement on the mounting platform directly influences balance, structural integrity, and safety. As the operational heart of the equipment, the cab must be comfortable and ergonomic to ensure workers are less at risk of accidents.

The cab must be able to protect the operator from excess noise, dust, and debris. This area must also be free of distractions and able to provide an optimal climate. Displays, gauges, and other control mechanisms should be easy to understand and align with the industry’s best standards.

Overall Cost

A mini excavator’s overall cost will likely play a significant role in whether you decide to buy it. However, this number should include more than just the listed price. Expected fuel costs, maintenance fees, and insurance premiums should also factor into your choice.

Mini excavators can cost anywhere between $25,000 and $100,000, so it’s good to know what you want before making your purchase. You can buy used equipment to get a nice discount or even rent the equipment out to make your money back as soon as possible.

Engine Efficiency

As far as heavy machinery goes, mini excavators are relatively efficient. However, it’s always nice to squeeze a little more savings out of your everyday operations. While many consider it to be cursory, engine efficiency is incredibly important when it comes to heavy equipment costs.

Engines that consume less fuel can save you money and reduce your environmental footprint. While you won’t completely eliminate your emissions, purchasing a modern hybrid engine can help you get more out of your equipment for less fuel. These machines use the arm swing and other motions to recapture energy and feed it back into the system.

Availability of Parts

In time, your mini excavator will likely need to have some work done, with certain parts requiring complete replacement after extensive use. If you want to save time and money on repairs, you’ll have to consider the availability of replacement parts. Older machines or those from less well-known manufacturers may be more expensive to repair.

Some parts may be available from third-party sellers or through refurbishment services. However, you should ensure you have access to quality parts that will last. Finding the correct excavator undercarriage parts is a crucial part of making your equipment run correctly.

Dealer Support

The amount of dealer support you’ll receive after your purchase could also be a factor in your decision to buy a mini excavator. Warranty options, ongoing maintenance services, and good communication with previous owners can indicate whether the dealer is worth partnering with.

Heavy equipment dealers have intimate knowledge of the machines they sell, so they can be a great source of information if you have questions. Unfortunately, some don’t offer good support, making them less than ideal sources for your ongoing needs.

Additional Technology

You may also want to consider whether the mini excavator features the latest technologies. Load sensors, variable angle booms, and full-rotation designs make it easier to complete work, but they can also be more expensive. The traction, power train, and control mechanisms for modern heavy equipment are undergoing a dramatic transformation.

While load sensors can give operators precise control over the equipment, remote monitors allow them to keep an eye on performance. Although these additional features cost more, they can be an excellent investment for crews looking to finish jobs quickly and effectively.

Find a Mini Excavator That Suits Your Needs

Most construction jobs will require at least some type of heavy equipment. The great thing about mini excavators is that they’re versatile enough to handle most situations. However, you need to get the right machinery to ensure it doesn’t break down during operations.

With so many things to consider, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. However, with this comprehensive guide to buying a mini excavator, you’ll be able to find the best equipment for the job.

The Comprehensive Guide to Buying a Mini Excavator