What’s the Difference Between Mini Excavators and Standard Excavators?

Posted on Sunday, February 4, 2024

An excavator can help you get all sorts of projects done, and when choosing your excavator, you need to make sure you get the right size for your job. Understanding the differences between mini and standard-sized excavators will help you choose the equipment rental that best suits your project—and this guide has all the answers you need.

Mini Excavators

Also called compact excavators, mini excavators are a popular piece of heavy equipment due to their small size and maneuverability. But compact excavators are right for every job. Here are some things you should consider when thinking about these smaller pieces of equipment:

  • More fuel-efficient
  • Smaller fuel tank
  • Higher maneuverability
  • Easier to transport (They can be moved with Class 1 and 2 trucks, which don’t require a CDL in several states)
  • Shallower digging, usually up to about 15 feet
  • Lower lift/dump height, usually up to about 16 feet
  • Lower engine power
  • Less stable on uneven surfaces
  • Less tail-swing
  • Shorter reach
  • Usually has rubber tracks

Jobs for Mini Excavators

Mini excavators are best suited for smaller jobs, especially those in tight spaces and work areas where you don’t want to tear up the ground.

Here are some examples of jobs that are right for small excavators:

  • Yardwork, landscaping, and planting trees
  • Indoor projects
  • Small building construction and demolition
  • Clearing and removing stumps, asphalt, rocks, and rubble
  • Leveling the ground
  • Backfilling
  • Digging house foundations
  • Digging utility trenches

Standard Excavators

Also called crawlers and full-size excavators, standard excavators are a popular choice for bigger projects due to their ability to break up hard and highly compact surfaces. Here are some important facts about standard excavators:

  • Less fuel efficient
  • Larger fuel tank
  • Lower maneuverability
  • Harder to transport (They typically require a trailer)
  • Deeper digging, usually up to about 22 feet
  • Higher lift/dump height, usually about 23 feet
  • More engine power
  • More stable on uneven surfaces
  • Larger tail-swing
  • Longer reach
  • Can have rubber or steel tracks

Jobs for Standard Excavators

In general, standard excavators are a better choice for larger, heavy-duty, and industrial projects.

Here are the types of projects well suited for standard excavators:

  • Commercial Construction
  • Tearing down larger structures
  • Mining and quarry work
  • Moving heavy or awkward materials
  • Drilling shafts for rock blasting
  • Dredging rivers
  • Digging deep trenches

Mini vs Standard Excavators at a Glance

Are There Any Excavator Rentals Near Me?

With eight different locations, we are ready to help you access the tools and equipment you need to finish your projects. If you need answers or advice or are looking for an excavator for rent, be sure to contact our equipment rental experts today!