Mini Excavators 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Small Equipment Rental

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Whether you’re an experienced construction worker or have a passion for DIY projects, you’ve likely used a mini excavator to accomplish your project. A powerful machine renowned for its versatility and broad range of uses, it’s no surprise that mini excavators have become one of the most popular small equipment rentals.

But even if you regularly use a mini excavator rental and consider yourself a mini excavator maven, how much do you actually know about this powerful but petit machine?

Things You Didn’t Know About the Size of Mini Excavators

  • Did you know that even though their name implies a small size, mini excavators are considered heavy machinery?
  • Do you know one of the reasons why mini excavators are so popular for indoor projects? It’s because smaller-sized mini excavators can fit through most standard doorways.
  • Did you know that mini excavators are often referred to as compact excavators? The interchangeability of these terms might seem logical enough, but did you also know that some companies differentiate between the two? It’s true; some manufacturers have different product lines for both mini excavators and compact excavators.

Things You Didn’t Know About the Origin of Mini Excavators

  • Do you know which came first, the mini excavator or the standard-sized excavator? As you might be able to guess, excavators preceded their smaller counterparts.
  • Do you know what brought about the first mini excavator? It started with the invention of the steam shovel by William Otis back in the late 1790s, which was used to help build the Panama Canal as well as dig foundations for skyscrapers. He went on to patent his design in 1839.
  • Did you know that steam-powered and cable-operated excavators emerged in the early 1880s, led by Sir W.G. Armstrong & Co?
  • Did you know that 15 years later, Kilgore Machine Company developed the first hydraulic excavator? It was still powered by steam, but no cables were required.
  • Do you know when the first mini excavator was invented? It was invented in the late 1950s by a man named Richard Smalley.
  • Did you know that the first mini excavator went by a different name? It was called “the smalley,” named after its inventor, Richard Smalley.
  • Do you know when and where the first self-propelled mini excavator was introduced? It was first designed in 1968 in Japan and then introduced to Japanese markets in 1969 by the diesel engine manufacturer Yanmar.
  • Can you name the first engine-powered mini excavator? It was Yanmar’s YNB300.
  • Do you know which company followed Yanmar’s lead in manufacturing compact excavators? It was Takeuchi, beginning production in 1971.
  • Did you know that Yanmar played a key role in what mini excavators are today? By the mid-1970s, Yanmar’s mini excavators could rotate 360 degrees, had water-cooled diesel engines, and were equipped with a blade.
  • Do you know when rubber tracks and zero-tail-swing features entered the scene? It was in the 1980s and the 1990s, respectively.
  • Do you know when mini excavators entered the North American market? It wasn’t until the 1980s.
  • Do you know which company was the first to build mini excavators in North America? It was Bobcat, back in the late 1980s.

Things You Didn’t Know About the Demand for Mini Excavators

  • Can you guess how many mini excavators were sold across the globe in 2021? More than 325,000!
  • Can you name some of the factors that have contributed to the increasing popularity of mini excavators? Some key reasons include the public’s desire for more eco-friendly construction solutions, their affordability compared to other heavy machinery like backhoe loaders, their 360-degree rotation capabilities, and the growing range of attachment options.
  • And did you know that the pandemic is another factor driving mini excavator demand?

Things You Didn’t Know About the Future of Mini Excavators

  • Can you identify one of the mini excavator trends that is likely to persist in the coming years? It’s using electricity as a power source, lessening the eco-footprint of this piece of heavy equipment.
  • Did you know that there’s been research done on the possibility of remote-controlled mini excavators?
  • Wheeled mini excavators are making a comeback, but this time they’re designed differently. Instead of redesigning a tracked excavator to use wheels, manufacturers are designing these machines with the specific intention of it being a wheeled mini excavator.
  • Do you know how the mini excavator market is expected to do over the next few years? According to KBV’s Global Mini Excavator Market Report, the market is projected to reach as much as $9.4 billion by the year 2030.

Are There Any Equipment Rentals Near Me In Naples, Florida?

With eight different locations, The Equipment Source is ready to help you access the tools and equipment you need to finish your projects. Whether you need help answering the general question, Are there any small equipment rentals near me? or need help finding equipment rentals near me in Englewood, Florida, The Equipment Source has you covered.

Ready to get your project done? Contact our equipment


Who invented the first mini excavator?

The very first mini excavator is attributed to Richard Smalley, although that machine was much different from the mini excavators we know today. It had no engine, which required the operator to move it by using the digging arm to pull itself forward.

What is a mini excavator called?

You may have heard mini excavators referred to as compact excavators, or small excavators. While all of these terms typically refer to the same type of equipment, it’s important to note that some manufacturers delineate these terms into different product lines.

How much can a mini excavator dig in a day?

On average, you can expect to dig somewhere between 8 and 12 cubic yards of soil per hour, or 64 to 96 cubic yards in an eight-hour work day. But remember, every mini excavator is different. As such, different models will be able to excavate different amounts in a given day—so be sure to review the machine specs and make sure they align with your project needs.