John Deere has been manufacturing excavators for more than 40 years. Responding to customer demand for excavating equipment that can fit in small spaces, without sacrificing the power of larger-scale models, Deere introduced its first line of compact excavators in 1986. Over the years, the company has worked to improve the muscle, control and productivity in each new model.
With more than two dozen models that have evolved over the years, John Deere’s current compact excavator lineup includes the 17D, 27D, 35G, 50G and 60G, allowing you to choose the size and horsepower you need to get the job done. Their compact sizes and reduced tail swing designs enable these small but mighty machines to specialize in close-quarters work. The highly fuel-efficient, EPA Interim Tier 4/EU Stage IIIB (EPA Final Tier 4/EU Stage IV on the 17D, 35G, 50G and 60G) direct-injected diesel engines are noticeably quiet so you can put them to work almost anywhere, anytime. Standard-equipped with backfill blades, mechanical quick-couplers and auxiliary hydraulics, many optional Worksite Pro attachments including rakes, breakers and augers, which can make a sizeable impact on versatility.
The 17D, the smallest of the D Series, has a retractable undercarriage that enables it to squeeze through narrow openings for mechanized muscle in places where shovels used to be the only option. On all models, ergonomic, low effort pilot controls allow you to easily maneuver the arm exactly where you need it. Need to reach further? An optional long arm allows you to do just that. A zero tail swing design allows Deere’s compact excavators to rotate fully without banging a tail into something. Combined with independent swing boom and 360-degree rotation, they can slip into close quarters comfortably and work with ease around obstacles.
Deere’s largest compact excavator, the 60G, is just right for landscaping, underground, utility or site development work. Like other compacts, it excels in close quarters and is easy to trailer. But with its dig forces, digging depth and comfortable cab, it produces and feels more like a small mid-size excavator.
Advice to Buyers
“Look for larger cabs with more legroom, adjustable seats and a wider range of visibility that can help make long days on the job less cumbersome,” explains Mark Wall, John Deere product marketing manager for excavators. “Technology upgrades like LCD monitors, navigation systems and monitoring tools provide an interactive user interface. With the right upgrades, operating an excavator isn’t much different, amenities- and comfort-wise, than driving your car.”