Q&A: Discussing the Mini Excavator Market and Bobcat’s Extensive Lineup with Kyle Emanuel

Bobcat E50 excavator

Our March/April issue of Compact Equipment has a big focus on mini excavators. And we mean big. The issue kicks off with a giant feature that includes everything you need to know when buying or renting a mini excavator in 2024. We interviewed a bunch of experts to craft this mega story, including Bobcat‘s Kyle Emanuel. Read on to see what the company’s product information specialist had to say about the mini ex market and Bobcat’s extensive line of machines.

Compact Equipment: Summarize your compact excavator line today. How many models do you currently have and what are your series called? Give us a quick overview.

Bobcat is proud to offer a wide range of compact excavators with more than a hundred compatible attachment configurations to help customers tackle their toughest jobs. With industry-exclusive features including the Bobcat non-DPF engine, extendable arm and depth check system, Bobcat’s compact excavators are invaluable for many jobsites and applications.

We currently offer 13 compact excavators in our lineup, and those machines range in class size from 1 to 8 metric tons – with zero, reduced and conventional tail swing. Bobcat machines are designed with the operator in mind with top-of-the-line features to ensure the operator is comfortable while getting the job done. Our excavator cabs offer top-tier legroom and operator space with automatic climate control to keep the cab warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The Bobcat compact excavators make it easy for different operators to quickly adjust the machine to their preference by quickly selecting the control pattern they are comfortable with, adjusting the seat and logging in to their personal operator profile on the optional 7-in. touch display.

The latest generation of Bobcat excavators are productivity-focused, helping operators get their job done faster. These machines offer excellent cycle times to quickly dig and use the attachments to their fullest potential. The Hydraulic X-Change system keeps the operator in the seat when changing non-hydraulic attachments. When using the auxiliaries to run hydraulic attachments. A diverter valve is an optional enhancement that allows the clamp to remain connected while running hydraulic attachments, keeping the operator focused on the job at hand. Bobcat compact excavators with the 7-in. touch display have the added benefit of providing troubleshooting and explaining engine fault codes allowing the operator to maintain their machine quickly and easily.

The Bobcat compact excavator lineup includes the following models:

  • E10
  • E10e (battery-electric)
  • E19e (battery-electric)
  • E20
  • E26
  • E32
  • E35 (25 hp)
  • E38
  • E40
  • E48
  • E55
  • E60
  • E88

If you had to pick one or two big differentiators in your mini excavator product offerings, what would it be? A one-of-a-kind undercarriage? Unique standard features? The biggest selection? A cool, unique telematics package? A hybrid excavator? Pick something and briefly explain it.

One of the big differentiators of Bobcat compact excavators and compact loaders is the Bobcat engine. Our optimally designed engine maximizes efficiency without a DPF (diesel particulate filter) saving owners time and money associated with long-term DPF maintenance costs. The Bobcat engine is designed to maximize the time Bobcat compact excavator owners spend working towards their goals. With this machine a regeneration cycle is eliminated, no more wasting time waiting on your excavator when you are ready to work.

Many features make the Bobcat excavator lineup noteworthy when compared to other options on the market. Unique to Bobcat compact excavators is the extendable arm option, which can be equipped with a clamp and is easily controlled using the paddle on the left-hand joystick. This innovative design provides operators with the versatility to handle a wide range of tasks with precision and efficiency by effortlessly extending the arm and reaching objects for lifting and placement.

Bobcat E40 excavator

The compact excavator market has experienced significant growth in recent years, with excavator model preferences varying based on location, operator needs and application. Bobcat has observed that our 3- and 4-ton excavators have gained significant popularity in the industry due to their balanced combination of power and maneuverability. These excavators also offer a good mix of digging depth, reach and lifting capacity, making them suitable for a wide range of construction, landscaping and utility projects. Their compact size allows for easy transportation to and from jobsites and enables them to work effectively in confined spaces. The combination of their size and versatility makes them a practical choice for contractors and rental companies.

Our latest launch, the E40, was designed based on feedback directly from our customers and has been met with excitement and positive feedback for the power of its size. This new compact excavator distinguishes itself in the 4-ton size class with exceptional lift capacity, ranking among the best in its category. Intentional engagement with customers is a point of pride for Bobcat, and we take great responsibility in working with our customers to create purposeful solutions for the most challenging jobs.

In your opinion, what technologies are pushing the small excavator market to evolve? Electric, attachments, telematics, automation like grade control? Briefly explain if you can.

At Bobcat, we are committed to driving the evolution of the compact excavator market by offering advanced technologies that support the changing needs of our customers. We can point to legislation and policies around carbon emissions, noise restrictions and state regulations related to pollution that are driving opportunities for electric equipment. Today’s communities are demanding high-quality work with smaller carbon footprints and companies that rise to that challenge are sure to see opportunities to expand their market share.

Bobcat offers electric versions of its 1- and 2-ton compact excavator models. The battery powered E10e and E19e deliver all the benefits of electric power and zero emissions without sacrificing performance. They are designed with a retractable undercarriage that is beneficial for navigating tight entryways and fence gates.


Telematics are playing a significant role in market evolution and Bobcat offers the Machine IQ telematics system for remote monitoring of machine performance, maintenance needs and location, providing operators and fleet managers with valuable insights to optimize machine utilization and minimize downtime. This technology supports proactive maintenance and data-driven decision-making, leading to improved overall efficiency. The Machine IQ telematics system comes factory installed on new E26, E32, E35, E38, E40, E48, E55, E60 and E88 models.

Bobcat’s commitment to integrating advanced technologies such as reducing carbon emissions with electric machine offerings and Machine IQ telematics reflects our dedication to supporting the evolution of the compact excavator market. These technologies improve operational efficiency and enable contractors to tackle the toughest jobs.

What growth markets do you see for compact excavators in North America? What declining markets do you see?

One thing driving the compact excavator market is the growth of construction and infrastructure development projects, particularly for land clearing applications. Land clearing is often needed for various types of construction projects, such as building new residential or commercial developments, creating roadways and highways, undertaking landscaping projects, establishing industrial facilities, and developing recreational areas like parks and golf courses. Additionally, land clearing is often required for agricultural and forestry purposes, as well as for environmental restoration and conservation projects.

Compact excavators are in high demand due to their versatility and maneuverability. With a wide range of attachment capabilities and the ability to access difficult areas more effectively than many other types of construction equipment, they excel in navigating obstacles and reaching challenging areas. Their 360-degree rotation capability and the range of motion provided by the boom and arm make them valuable for a variety of construction and excavation projects.

While 3- and 4-ton compact excavator models are among the most popular size classes today, we have seen growth in the 8-ton size class. Compared to smaller excavators, an 8-ton compact excavator typically offers greater digging depth, reach, and lifting capacity, allowing for efficient handling of larger projects and heavier loads. Additionally, an 8-ton excavator is not as large as heavier excavators, enabling it to maneuverable and operate in confined spaces and urban construction sites, providing flexibility in various job environments.

Bobcat’s E88 is the largest of our compact-sized excavators and it delivers big performance with powerful hydraulics, fast cycle times, and smooth controllability in a compact machine. It features a spacious and comfortable cab, advanced hydraulic system and a range of attachments for versatility. The E88 excavator is well-suited for various construction and excavation tasks.

A technology for grade control that Bobcat offers is the depth check system, which provides operators with real-time depth and grade measurements, allowing for precise digging and grading without the need for manual measurements. This not only improves accuracy but also reduces the reliance on skilled operators, addressing the labor shortage challenge faced by the industry.

Bobcat has recently introduced drum mulcher attachments for its 4- to 8-ton mini excavators. Drum mulchers are great for use in land clearing applications, allowing operators to clear trees, brush, and other vegetation. An optional diverter valve can be installed on 3- to 8-ton Bobcat compact excavators, which allows an operator to run other attachments without disconnecting the clamp, leading to increased efficiency and reduced hassle.

What advice would you give to a contractor looking to rent or buy a compact excavator? How should a potential operator evaluate size, application, attachments, brand and price?

With leading cycle times, Bobcat excavators can dig quickly, smoothly and provide all the power needed to tackle the toughest jobs with precision and exceptional performance. There are several factors to consider when choosing a compact excavator, such as the specific job requirements, the size and capabilities of the machine, the application and attachments needed, the brand and its reputation, as well as the overall value and price. Other considerations may include the availability of support and maintenance services, as well as the machine’s compatibility with existing fleet and technology, among others.

Furthermore, having an adaptable and versatile machine can significantly enhance productivity and reduce the need for multiple specialized machines. Bobcat mini excavators are designed for attachment versatility, enabling operators to seamlessly switch between a wide array of attachments, including buckets, augers, and hydraulic breakers. With over 100 attachments currently manufactured for our mini excavators, Bobcat offers a comprehensive range of options to cater to diverse job requirements.

Choosing a Bobcat compact excavator offers several advantages. Bobcat compact excavators are known for their reliability, performance and versatility, making them well-suited for various applications. Additionally, Bobcat offers a wide range of attachments and a strong dealer support network, contributing to enhanced productivity and efficiency. The brand’s reputation for quality and innovation, combined with its Machine IQ telematics system for remote monitoring and proactive maintenance, further strengthens the case for choosing a Bobcat compact excavator.

Mini excavators are making big waves on jobsites all over North America. Click here for the latest news on these machines and the companies that make them.


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