Mini Excavator Sizes: What Size Do I Need for My Project? 

Posted on Monday, April 1, 2024

Mini excavators are versatile machines that are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to tackle a wide range of project tasks in confined spaces. From digging trenches, demolishing structures, and loading materials, these compact powerhouses offer impressive performance despite their smaller stature.

But did you know that mini excavators come in a range of specs and sizes? If you work in construction and are familiar with reserving equipment rentals, you’re likely familiar with the concept. But if you consider yourself more of a novice, you might be surprised when your mini excavator rental inquiry is met with another question from the rental company: “What size mini excavator are you looking for?”

Whether you’re a seasoned contractor or a DIY enthusiast, selecting the most appropriately sized mini excavator is imperative to the overall efficiency and ultimate success of your project. But with so many mini excavator sizes available, choosing the right one can be a challenge. This guide breaks down the nuances of the different mini excavator sizes, outlines their specs, highlights some projects each size is good for, and wraps up by answering some common questions.

Why Does the Size of My Mini Excavator Rental Matter?

Although a mini excavator might seem specific enough, you might be surprised to see how wide the sizes are specs are. That’s why it’s so important to select the right size. For instance, imagine that you’re working on an inground pool installation. One mini excavator might offer a maximum digging depth of five feet, while another might dig as deep as ten feet. If you wanted the pool to start at about four feet deep and slope to nine feet deep, the first mini excavator wouldn’t be able to complete the job—but the second one would.

If you rented the first mini excavator without comparing it to your project requirements, you wouldn’t be able to fully excavate the space for the inground pool. Instead, you would have to source additional equipment or expend significant manual labor to finish the job. As you can see, renting the right mini excavator size can make or break the success of your project.

Mini Excavator Size Categories

Mini Excavators 17 & 18

Specification Range
Horsepower 13.5 – 16.5
Operating weight 3,000 – 4,050 lbs.
Maximum digging depth 7 ft. – 8 ft. 7 in.
Maximum dump height 8 ft – 8 ft 7.5 in

Mini excavators in the 17 & 18 size range are a great choice for jobs like:

  • Yardwork and small landscaping projects like planting trees
  • Indoor projects with limited space
  • Projects where you don’t want to damage the floor or ground
  • Shallow trench digging
  • Ground leveling
  • Asphalt removal
  • Snow plowing and removal

Mini Excavators 30, 33, 35, 40 & 45

Specification Range
Horsepower 23 – 41
Operating weight 6,250 lbs. – 11,000 lbs.
Maximum digging depth 9 ft. – 12 ft.
Maximum dump height 10 ft. – 13 ft. 4 in.

Mini excavators in the 30, 33, 35, 40 & 45 size range are great for jobs like:

  • Backfilling
  • Digging foundations for non-commercial structures
  • Digging deep trenches
  • Demolishing small structures and buildings
  • Clearing land and removing stumps
  • Carving out ponds
  • Compressing soil
  • Transporting awkward materials

Mini Excavators 55 & 57

Specification Range
Horsepower 37 – 48
Operating weight 11,000 lbs. – 12,500 lbs.
Maximum digging depth 11 ft. – 13 ft. 8 in.
Maximum dump height 12 ft. 9 in. – 14 ft. 4 in.

Mini excavators in the 55 & 57 size range are a great choice for jobs like:

  • Digging deep trenches
  • Backfilling excavated holes
  • Digging foundations for homes and small commercial structures
  • Demolishing small buildings
  • Clearing worksites
  • Removing stumps, large rocks, and rubble
  • Installing pools, hot tubs, and fountains
  • Digging fenceposts and installing fences

Mini Excavators 80 & 85

Specification Range
Horsepower 55 – 70
Operating weight 18,000 lbs. – 20,000 lbs.
Digging depth 14 ft. – 15 ft. 1 in.
Dump height 15 ft. 2 in. – 18 ft. 7 in.

Mini excavators in the 80 & 85 size range are a great choice for jobs like:

  • Demolishing larger structures
  • Digging roadside ditches
  • Installing driveways
  • Dredging waterways
  • Installing septic tanks
  • Creating and maintaining large trails
  • Transporting significantly large, heavy, or awkward materials

Get the Job Done with a Mini Excavator

It’s no secret that mini excavators can be used to accomplish an extensive array of tasks and jobs. But the key to success lies in understanding their different sizes. Choosing the right mini excavator size will help streamline your project, boost productivity, minimize costs, and yield project success.

If you need help determining which mini excavator size is best for your project or have any other questions, our experienced team is here to help you get the project done.

Mini Excavator FAQs

How much can you dig in a day with a mini excavator?

It’s important to recognize that there’s no cut-and-dry answer to this question. Rather, the size and specifications of your mini excavator rental will determine how much you can dig in one eight-hour workday. However, there is a formula you can use to help you estimate how much you can accomplish in a day:

Cycle time (bucket capacity x working hours)

Are mini excavators any good?

Yes, mini excavators are a popular piece of heavy machinery due to their small but powerful capabilities. Mini excavators are especially advantageous for small but intensive tasks, especially those in tight spaces and work areas where you don’t want to tear up the ground.

Are mini excavators hard to use?

Mini excavators are designed to be very user-friendly, which contributes to their popularity among experienced construction workers and beginners. In addition, The Equipment Source always provides brief but thorough training before you begin operating your mini excavator rental.

What is an alternative to a mini excavator?

Skid steers and backhoe loaders are popular alternatives to mini excavators, as they can accomplish several of the same tasks while also offering different capabilities and machine specs.

Are There Any Mini Excavator Rentals Near Me?

With seven different locations, our team at The Equipment Source is ready to help you access the tools and equipment you need to finish your projects. If you have questions or are ready to reserve an earth-moving equipment rental, contact our equipment rental experts today!