Mini Excavator Section

Case Construction Equipment offers five B Series compact excavators that deliver the power, productivity and fast cycle times to perform landscaping, utility, demolition, construction or industrial jobs that require power in tight working conditions. With the center-swing boom, Case B Series compact excavators can dig around stationary objects or alongside obstacles. The machines deliver best-in-class serviceability, says Case, with a swing-out access panel enabling quick service and minimizing downtime.

Case most recently expanded its compact excavator product line into a new class segment with the introduction of the Case CX55B minimum tail swing model, which provides excellent lift capacity, digging force and operator comfort. With a large boom and arm for greater reach, the Case CX55B delivers 11,240 lbs of bucket digging force. Its 39.3-hp engine, operating weight of 12,295 lbs and dig depth of 12 ft, 10 in. gives the CX55B enough size and power for tackling a variety of utility, commercial and residential construction applications. Plus, its compact size and cab height of 8 ft, 4 in. make the Case CX55B excavator as easy to trailer between jobsites as a skid steer.

Case designed the CX55B with the operator in mind. The full-size cab design is 10 percent larger and 7 in. wider than other Case B Series compact excavator cabs. Large front and rear windows improve operator visibility. A new slide-up front window improves air flow and helps the operator communicate more effectively with coworkers near the machine. Performance and productivity enhancements include standard proportional hydraulic controls in the joystick. The Case CX55B compact excavator is “thumb ready” with factory-installed hydraulics and an attachment bracket. The machine is also available with piping for secondary hydraulics to handle a wide range of attachments or provide a dedicated circuit to a thumb bucket.

In addition to a variety of available attachments — including buckets, hammers and augers — the CX55B includes a standard dozer blade for finish grading. The blade features a 38-degree approach angle, and its shape rolls the dirt as it pushes, leaving a smooth and level surface. An optional four-way dozer blade is also available for increased backfill and grading ability. Case offers both rubber and steel tracks for the CX55B to match the ground conditions.

The 19.8-gal fuel tank on the CX55B is 40-percent larger than other Case compact excavators, boosting operation time. Available buckets range from 12 to 36 in., with capacities from 3 to 9.8 ft3. Convenient service features include ground-level access to daily maintenance checkpoints. An easy-access electrical compartment is under the seat, and an hour meter can be checked from the ground outside the cab.

Advice for Buyers

“When buying a compact excavator, get a machine that meets your needs for productivity and reliability,” says Katie Pullen, brand marketing manager with Case Construction Equipment. “Productivity and reliability are the two biggest features contractors demand in compact equipment. Both of these factors contribute to controlling the cost of operation and maximizing profit. Reliability is a make-or-break factor for most contractors. When a machine is earning you hundreds of dollars an hour, downtime is your number one enemy. Add durability to reliability, and the result is unbeatable productivity.” 

Contact Info

Case Construction Equipment

621 State St.

Racine, WI 53402

(866) 542-2736


Gehl introduced its first compact excavator range in 1987. The all-new fourth generation Gehl excavator product offering provides key market focused models with customer-driven features. During its 25 years in the excavator business, Gehl has acquired a wealth of industry knowledge and market experience. Over the years, the company’s excavators have become more user-friendly, with key features like zero tail swing for operation in tight places and large comfortable cabs. Longer-lasting components, paired with high performance engines and hydraulics, make Gehl excavators a popular choice in rental, landscape and construction fleets.

Today’s Gehl compact excavator range consists of five all-new models: the Z17, Z27, Z35, Z45 and Z80. Each model is built around a powerful and reliable Yanmar Interim Tier 4 engine. The hydraulic system is designed to enhance engine performance, resulting in a more efficient system, says Gehl. These models are true zero tail swing machines, eliminating cab overhang beyond the tracks in all directions. This allows the machine to operate directly against a wall or other obstruction without causing damage to the structure or machine.

The hydraulic system incorporates two variable pumps and two gear pumps. The pump oil flows are efficiently combined, redirected to where it is needed and allows for simultaneous operation without loss of hydraulic power. The Z80 excavator adds the Eco Mode feature. This mode reduces engine rpm by 10 percent without sacrificing power when activated, saving fuel when full speed is not necessary. The mode is easily activated and deactivated with a simple toggle switch.

The Z27, Z35, Z45 and Z80 are equipped with a hydraulic quick-coupler, making attachment changes as simple as flipping a switch. Plus, the universal-style coupler works with a wide range of excavator attachments, putting tools you already own to use. An integrated boom light on all models mounted under the boom illuminates the area being excavated, extending the work day when necessary.

Rugged, high-strength booms are constructed with a single boom-pin design and thick side-plates with internally routed hydraulic lines. Heavy-duty cylinder guards protect exposed cylinders from damage. Longer, offset crawler tracks enhance stability and provide smoother travel. Tracks are short-pitched to reduce wear, fatigue and damage. The angled crawler frame reduces soil buildup on the undercarriage. The large, walk-through operator’s stations on canopy units increase operator safety and comfort and enhance productivity.

Easy-to-remove side covers and a large rear access door allow access to all daily inspection and major maintenance points. In addition to the above features, the Z17 is equipped with a variable undercarriage which extends from 3 ft, 1 in. wide to 4 ft, 2 in. wide. This allows the machine to access narrow, hard-to-reach areas and also gives it the ability to increase stability on uneven terrain. The dozer blade easily expands to the same width for further stability and improved backfill capability.

As a complement to the Gehl line of compact excavators, a full line of EDGE attachments are available, including buckets, hammers, breakers, thumbs and more.

Advice to Buyers

“Purchase a unit that best fits the majority of applications that you work in. In most cases, excavator designs are very similar across brands and it is the performance, design and comfort that separates them,” explains Brian Rabe, manager of product development for Gehl. “Once you have selected the best unit for your type of work, attachments are a great way to customize the unit to your application. For one-off jobs that require more dig depth or higher performance, look to rent a unit to best fit the application.”

Contact Info

Gehl Co.

One Gehl Way

West Bend, WI 53090

(262) 334-9461



Hitachi has had a long history with compact excavators. In 1965, the very first hydraulic excavator Hitachi ever made with its own engineering and technology was the UH03 — roughly a 6-metric-ton machine — a compact. The EX60 was introduced in 1987. The EX27, 35U and 50 were introduced in 2000 and the EX17 in 2001. The 60 was an ultra short radius machine when launched in 2008. Hitachi compacts have progressively gotten more rugged, durable and comfortable, says the company, as well as smoother to operate and easier to maintain. Hitachi makes a wide variety of excavators ranging from super-small compacts to massive machines used in mines and quarries.

The current Hitachi compact lineup is the ZX17U-2, ZX27U-3, ZX35U-3, ZX50U-3 and the ZX60USB-3. The ZX17U-2 is the smallest unit Hitachi sells in North America. The 17U-2’s adjustable-width undercarriage (38 to 50 in.) and foldable backfill blade permit entry through openings as narrow as 38 in. It comes standard with a swinging boom, protective boom cylinder guard, a foot control for auxiliary hydraulics and a three-pillar canopy.

The ZX27U-3, ZX35U-3 and ZX50U-3 also employ a backfill blade and swinging boom, plus have a reduced-drift valve to reduce front-end attachment drift. The boom cylinder and arm cylinder are cushioned at stroke ends to absorb shocks; the boom cylinder is cushioned only at the boom end. The box-section frames combine low weight and high durability, says Hitachi. The X-beam track frame is rounded for smooth mud removal. The one-sided slope on the track side promotes mud slide-off. Machines also come with a choice of either four-pillar canopy or an enclosed air-conditioned and heated cab.

The newest (and largest) compact, the ZX60USB-3, is an ultra short swing radius machine. Its reduced tail swing design allows it to rotate freely within a small radius, while its swing boom and backfill blade add jobsite versatility. The air-conditioned and heated cab is standard. Additionally, the ZX35U-3, ZX50U-3 and ZX60USB-3 have an optional, hydraulic adjustable-angle backfill blade. It features 25 degrees of adjustment to both left and right for more efficient trench backfilling. The blade angle changes easily with buttons on top of the blade-control lever.

All Hitachi compacts include an excavator-to-backhoe control pattern change valve and lubricant-impregnated HN bushings on all front-attachment joints. The bushings ooze oil from their pores into the clearance between the pin and bushing to increase greasing intervals. A quick-coupler and hydraulic-attachment package also comes standard. A long arm with additional counterweight, steel tracks and rubber crawler pad are optional.

Hitachi compacts use steel covers, not plastic. The reinforced D-shaped frame is like that found on bigger members of the Zaxis family. A single large swing pin increases stiffness of the boom and arm, eliminating jerky movements for smoother operation. The highly durable box-section frame, enlarged counterweight and weighted undercarriage lower the center of gravity and increase stability. A large-diameter drive sprocket and track idler increase durability and reduce the likelihood of a thrown track. Rubber crawlers feature a steel-core structure to protect shoe edges and are suitable for most any surface.

Unique on these excavators are the standard wedge coupler, which allows for quick bucket or attachment changes, and the tungsten-carbide coating on the arm-to-bucket joint to reduce wear.

Advice for Buyers

“Hitachi suggests contacting the nearest dealer to discuss what kind of jobs you want to use a compact excavator for and get their input,” says Mark Wall, Hitachi product marketing manager. “Then ask to demo the agreed-upon machine on your jobsite. Get it equipped the way you want it — including arm length, bucket size, angled blade and so forth.”

Contact Info

Hitachi Construction and Mining

1515 5th Ave.

Moline IL 61265

(866) 973-0394   


IHI is a Japanese equipment manufacturer that has been in business since 1853, supplying the IHI construction line from the late 1960s onward. Compact Excavator Sales LLC has been in business since 1994 and is the sole distributor for the IHI construction products, covering the North and South American markets. From the beginning in 1994, the company has distributed four generations of mini excavators with its fifth generation set to launch in mid-2013. compact excavator Sales LLC was the first company to introduce the zero tail swing mini excavator into the North American market. Initially with four different models, the company has evolved to an impressive 11 models of zero tail swing and two conventional styles, offering most any size for most any job.

Today, IHI Compact Excavator Sales LLC offers 13 models (11 models are spec’ed below): the 9VX-3, 9VX3-E, 17VX-3, 25VX-3, 30VX-3, 35N-3, 35VX-3, 35VX-EXT, 40VX-3, 55N-3, 55VX-3, 65VX-3 and 80VX-3. The horsepowers range from 10 to 59 hp with operating weights of 2,000 to 18,000 lbs. Currently, the company is able to offer one of the broadest lines in the industry. The 9VX, 9VX-Electric, 17VX-3 and the 35VX-3 all have expandable undercarriages that are designed to get into tighter spaces and expand for more stability.

All IHI mini excavators come standard with four-post canopy, rubber tracks, two-speed travel, auxiliary hydraulic piping to the end of the stick, pattern change switch (excludes the 9VX-3) and self-priming Yanmar diesel engines. The IHI compact excavator is designed to provide optimal operator comfort, safety and productivity. The newly designed N-3 and VX-3 models are equipped with the latest diesel engines that comply will all EPA regulations through 2013. The N-3 and VX-3 operator’s compartment has been redesigned to provide more operator comfort. The two-speed travel pedal and the auxiliary hydraulic pedal have been moved from the floor to switches on the joystick for auxiliary hydraulics, and a button on the backfill blade lever for the two-speed travel. This design change has allowed more foot room for the operator and has made these functions more easily accessible.

One of the most unique models offered is the 9VX-3 Electric. The 9VX3-E is one of the only electric mini excavators offered in today’s North American market. The 9VX3-E has an operating weight of 2,000 lbs, 5-ft, 2-in. of digging depth, 100 ft of cord and has an expandable and retractable undercarriage (27.5 to 39.5 in.). A Baldor motor powers the 9VX3-E and is offered in a single phase 208/230 volt, a three phase 480 volt or a three phase 600 volt. The 9VX3-E is popular for demolition applications with an auxiliary flow of 5.85 gpm, allowing for a 100 ft-lb hydraulic hammer. IHI Compact Excavator Sales LLC offers mini excavators that are durable, reliable and dependable for every contractor’s daily needs, promotes the company.   

Advice for Buyers

“When choosing a compact excavator, make sure to take all the aspects of any and every job you may do into consideration,” says Kendall Aldridge, vice president of sales and operations for IHI. “A contractor needs to make sure that the weight, digging depth and size of the unit will more than fit their everyday needs. Also, always buy a quality compact excavator that has parts, support and accessories readily available. Downtime is money.”

Contact Info

IHI Compact Excavator Sales LLC

400 Production Ct.

Elizabethtown, KY 42701

(800) 538-1447


Ten Mini Earth Movers from the English Equipment Giant  JCB has been producing both full-size and mini excavators for many years. All of JCB’s weight classes of mini excavators are popular in construction applications, but as their weights increase, the machines become more popular for excavation, sewer and pipeline work. Machines in the 2- to 4-ton weight class are most popular in landscaping applications, and about 25 percent of the machines under 3 tons are sold to rental firms.

JCB currently offers 10 different mini excavators ranging from the smallest model, the 8008, to the largest, the 8085. The range spans from 1 to 9 tons. According to the company, JCB’s advantages include: excellent visibility due to large front, side and top glass areas and a narrow boom and dipper for maximum forward visibility and enhanced productivity. The machine’s hydraulic system design includes double-acting pipe work standard on all package builds on machines larger than the 8008. The excavators feature a heavy-duty, fully-welded X-frame for a solid, rigid structure. This design also minimizes dirt buildup to maximize component life. Track components are sealed for life. The machines offer auto-kick down tracking, which automatically changes driveline gear to suit the working conditions. Gull-wing doors on machine sides make access to engine and hydraulics simple and easy, thereby decreasing machine downtime when servicing is necessary.

The newest additions to JCB’s mini excavator family are the 8065 and 8085. These new 6.5- and 8.5-ton machines are targeted at construction applications, including excavating, pipe work and sewer work. The 8055 and larger machines are now available with optional Bridgestone Geogrip rubber tracks that reduce lifetime replacement costs by allowing the replacement of a single pad rather than an entire track.

Features unique to JCB include the tilting cab on the 8018 model — an exclusive feature in its weight class, according to JCB. JCB’s patented dozer design allows the machine to roll material away instead of creating buildup. The operator’s environment on a JCB mini excavator is second to none, says the company, with class-leading space and comfort inside the cab. All of JCB’s mini excavators can be outfitted with a wide range of attachments, making them very useful for many different applications and able to generate a positive return on investment for their owners.

Advice to Buyers

“Make sure you’ve studied your jobsite and spec requirements thoroughly when choosing the right mini excavator for the job,” says Ryan Connolly, JCB’s marketing manager for heavyline products. “Over-specing the machine or using a larger machine than needed will cost you more money and fuel while under-specing the machine will result in longer work times or even the need to bring in another unit to get the job done. It’s important to spend the time upfront and determine the best machine for the job. It will maximize your bottom line.”

Contact Info

JCB North America

2000 Bamford Blvd.

Pooler, GA 31322

(912) 447-2000


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 peerless 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, 35D, 50D and 60D, 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) 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, plus any of the many optional Worksite Pro attachments including rakes, breakers and augers, they can make a sizeable impact on your 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 nimble 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 60D, is just right for landscaping, underground or utility projects or site development work. Like other compacts, it excels in close quarters and is easy to trailer. But with its powerful dig forces, impressive digging depth and spacious, 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.”

Contact Info

John Deere

Worldwide Construction

& Forestry Div.

P.O. Box 8806

Moline, IL 61266


Kubota Tractor Corp. began marketing in the United States in 1972, with an initial introduction of a 12-hp compact tractor. In 1974, Kubota brought its trademark orange compact tractors to the forefront of the U.S. market by adding a four-wheel drive compact tractor. Over the past couple of years, Kubota‘s compact equipment line has continued to expand. Today, Kubota compact excavators serve a wide variety of applications, primarily across the construction market. The company distributes compact excavators ranging from 10 to 47.6 gross hp.

Relying on combined maneuverability, power and reliability, the Kubota compact excavator lineup is versatile, with machines in the 6-ton range, models in the 1 and under ton weight class and virtually everything in between (including models with zero, tight or conventional tail swing). The full line of Kubota compact excavators includes the Kubota U-Series zero tail swing models and KX-Series conventional tail swing models: U17, U25, U35, U45, U55, K008-3, KX41-3V, KX71-3, KX91-3, KX121-3 with six-in-one blade, KX057-4 and KX080-3.

Kubota’s KX-Series compact excavators are equipped with features to maximize both power and versatility. The KX-Series touts low sound level, which increases operator comfort and allows work in residential areas. The light lever action of the hydraulic pilot controls provides enhanced front work group control. An optional hydraulic angle blade with float for increased productivity is available on the KX91-3, KX121-3, KX057-4 and KX080-3 models.

Kubota’s U-Series zero tail swing excavators are the ideal choice for superior productivity. Available in five models, the U-Series excavators come equipped with a Kubota E-TVCS diesel engine. Features include large-capacity variable displacement pumps, strong bucket breakout forces, two pattern selection systems for switching between ISO and SAE patterns, double-flanged lower track rollers, V-shaped lugs and variable width track frame hydraulics. Depending on model, available implements and accessories include hydraulic angle blade, ROPS/FOPS cab or canopy, canopy lights, pin-on and quick-attach buckets, quick coupler, spark arrest muffler, steel tracks, travel alarm, hydraulic auger and a hammer and thumb.

To help ensure optimum operator safety on jobsites when operating a Kubota compact excavator, all canopy and cab models feature a ROPS/FOPS certification. On the U55, KX057-4 and KX080-3 models, even the operator’s investment is protected with Kubota’s own anti-theft system included as standard equipment. This anti-theft system is designed to keep equipment from getting stolen and to help eliminate the expense of theft recovery. Kubota’s compact excavators feature optimal operator comfort, with features like large operator cab space, wide doors for entry and exit and optimal legroom. Kubota’s newest compact excavators feature digital display panels, conveniently located for clear view and easy access, to provide vital information at a glance, even notifying the operator when maintenance is due.

Advice for Buyers

“First, you should determine the size of machine you need,” said Keith Rohrbacker, Kubota product manager. “This includes digging depth, dump height, lifting capacity, overall weight and whether zero tail swing or conventional tail swing fits your application needs. Also consider functionality, comfort, responsiveness, visibility and ease in performing routine maintenance. Consider the reliability and durability of the brand of machine you are purchasing. The dealer should be an authorized compact excavator dealer and be able to fulfill all of your service and parts needs in a timely manner.”

Contact Info

Kubota Tractor Corp.

3401 Del Amo Blvd.

Torrance, CA 90503

(888) 458-2682


Mustang excavators were first introduced in 1999. Thirteen years of industry knowledge and market experience has produced the third generation of Mustang excavators — the all-new Mustang zero tail swing excavators. The evolution of the Mustang excavator line over the years has led to more user-friendly features and exclusive zero tail swing designs for operation in tight places. Longer-lasting components, paired with performance based designs, make Mustang excavators a popular choice in rental, landscape and construction fleets.

The all-new Mustang zero tail swing excavators consist of five models: the 170Z, 270Z, 350Z, 450Z and 800Z. The machines are designed around a powerful and reliable Yanmar Interim Tier 4 engine to enhance engine performance and increase efficiency. The all-new Mustang excavators are true zero tail swing machines, with no cab overhang beyond the tracks in any direction. This allows the machine to operate directly against a wall or other obstruction without causing damage to the structure or machine. The Mustang 270Z, 350Z, 450Z and 800Z excavators are equipped with a hydraulic quick-coupler. This feature makes attachment changes as simple as flipping a switch. Plus, the pin grabber-style hydraulic coupler works with the majority of excavator attachments, putting tools you already own to use.

The hydraulic system on the all-new Mustang zero tail swing excavators incorporates two variable pumps and two gear pumps. The pump oil flows are combined and redirected where needed, allowing for simultaneous operation without loss of hydraulic power. An operator can save fuel when full performance is not necessary by reducing engine rpm by 10 percent using the Eco Mode on the 800Z. The mode is easily activated and deactivated with a simple toggle switch.

Mustang zero tail swing excavators are equipped with rugged, high-strength booms constructed with a single boom-pin design and thick side-plates with internally routed lines. Heavy-duty cylinder guards protect exposed cylinders from damage. Longer, offset crawler tracks enhance stability and provide smoother travel. Tracks are short-pitched to reduce wear, fatigue and damage. The angled crawler frame reduces soil buildup on the undercarriage.

The large, walk-through operator’s stations on canopy equipped models increase operator safety and comfort and enhance productivity. An integrated boom light on all models illuminates the area being excavated, extending the work day when necessary. Easy-to-remove side covers and a large rear access door allow access to all daily inspection and major maintenance points.

In addition to the above features, the 170Z is equipped with a unique variable undercarriage which extends from 3 ft, 1 in. wide to 4 ft, 2 in. wide. This allows the machine to access narrow, hard-to-reach areas and also gives it the ability to increase stability on uneven terrain. The extension blade easily expands to the same width for further stability. As a complement to the Mustang line of excavators, a full line of EDGE attachments are available, including buckets, hammers, breakers, thumbs and more.

Advice to Buyers

“The versatility of an excavator model needs to be considered during a purchase. Ensuring that you are selecting a model that will perform in all of the jobsite applications is key,” explains Nathan Ryan, Mustang excavator product manager. “Select a unit that has the dig depth, lifting capacity over the front and over the side and breakout force performance for your key applications.”

Contact Info


P.O. Box 179

West Bend, WI 53090

(262) 334-9461



In 1999, New Holland Construction launched its construction equipment brand for the North American market, which included compact excavators. The company was one of the only manufacturers to offer an entire line of zero tail swing compact excavators for operation in the tightest of areas. In 2011, New Holland Construction added the 5.5-metric-ton E55Bx compact excavator. This was the first MTS (minimal tail swing) model offered and has won instant popularity in the market. It features an all-new cab and cutting-edge boom design that gives the operator the reach of a long arm machine, along with the digging strength of a short arm design.

The New Holland compact excavator product line includes the E18B, E27B, E35B, E50B and E55Bx. New Holland compact excavators are designed to be versatile and deliver the range of power you expect for your application. If your business involves residential construction, underground pipe/electric work, landscaping, demolition or commercial construction work, New Holland offers a model that’s tailor-made to meet your requirements. These machines offer reliable, fine-tuned engine and hydraulic performance that results in exceptional power and an increase in fuel economy, says New Holland.

The E18B has foldable wings to match the variable-width of the tracks, which are expandable from 39 to 52 in. In the fully expanded track position, the E18B provides zero tail swing, making it well suited to project bids. A four-way blade option available on the E35B and E50B provides 23 to 25 degrees of left and right angle movement for clearing, grading and backfilling. Designed for use with attachments, New Holland compact excavators include auxiliary hydraulics as standard equipment, making them factory-ready for grapples, breakers and other attachments.

The newest model in the New Holland compact excavator lineup is the E55Bx. The E55Bx delivers enough size and power for tackling various residential construction, underground pipe/electric, landscaping, demolition or commercial construction applications. With a cab height of 8 ft, 4 in., the compact excavator is easy to transport between jobsites. The E55Bx is also small enough for confined spaces, but has all the muscle, performance and productivity you’d expect from a mid-sized excavator. The boom, arm and swing bracket on the new compact excavator feature large cross-section segments for greater attachment strength. The lower structure extends to the sprockets, which reinforces the tracks and undercarriage at the optimal points. To match ground conditions, both rubber and steel tracks are available for the E55Bx excavator.

The E55Bx also includes a standard dozer blade — featuring an increased 38-degree approach angle for finish grading. For increased backfill and grading ability, an optional four-way dozer blade is also available. A variety of attachments are available as well, including buckets, hammers and augers.

Designed with the operator in mind, the E55Bx features individualized comfort settings, improved visibility to the front, sides and rear and ergonomically placed controls and gauges. The large ROPS/FOPS cab features a larger front window and wider rear window for superior visibility, says New Holland. Standard air conditioning provides all-day comfort for the operator.

Contact Info

New Holland Construction

621 State St.

Racine, WI 53402


Takeuchi manufacturing began in 1963 and has been a pioneer in the compact equipment industry ever since. Takeuchi developed one of the world’s first compact excavators in 1970 and the company’s innovation continued again in the mid-‘80s with the introduction of one of the first compact track loaders. These two products have helped transform the North American construction equipment markets and have positioned Takeuchi as a leading provider of compact equipment.

Today, Takeuchi is a world leader in the manufacture and service of compact construction equipment, including track loaders, wheel loaders, conventional excavators and zero tail swing excavators. According to Takeuchi, its compact excavators are designed and engineered with superior power, strength and maneuverability and provide a high level of quality and performance. Takeuchi products are the result of extensive research, testing and refinement.

Each of the company’s compact excavators come with a two-year, 2,000-hour full machine warranty as standard equipment. An optional P3 Power Protection Plan offers selectable coverage levels for powertrain, powertrain and hydraulics or no-deductible full machine plans. Takeuchi compact excavators feature cast iron, wrap-around counterweights that protect the engine compartment from damage when working in confined areas, and a tilt-up operator’s platform combined with fully opening engine compartment offers quick service access on most models. An automatic fuel bleed system eliminates the downtime and service calls required to bleed conventional fuel systems, and variable displacement piston pumps efficiently utilize engine horsepower while continuously adjusting power and speed for fast cycle times.

Takeuchi’s control pattern selector valve allows for quick change of operating controls between SAE and ISO patterns to accommodate operator preferences, and a progressive proportional slide switch is standard on all models except the TB108 and TB016. Because Takeuchi customers are looking for solutions, Takeuchi’s focus is to build machines that incorporate solutions into every component and feature. Takeuchi’s design philosophy is built around four pillars: performance, durability, serviceability and operator comfort. According to Takeuchi, these pillars are really the expectations that every customer has for the machine, no matter what the application.

Advice for Buyers

“When choosing a compact excavator, we always recommend that buyers look at performance, durability, operator comfort and serviceability,” says Michael Kibler, Northeast regional business manager for Takeuchi US. “Excellent arm and bucket power can provide the perfect combination of power, speed and versatility at an operator’s fingertips. Dual pin position buckets allow even more flexibility to adapt to the job conditions. Look for excavators that feature durable EPA-compliant engines with an auto idle feature that provides great power, fuel economy, low noise levels and long service life. Also look for automotive-style cab interiors offering superior comfort and featuring intuitive switches and controls along with multiple storage compartments.”

Contact Info

Takeuchi US

519 Bonnie Valentine Way

Pendergrass, GA 30567

(706) 693-3600


The Terex compact excavator line was developed and made by Hanix and distributed by Schaeff in Germany. The first model was called the HR02. Terex purchased Schaeff in January 2002. Terex compact excavators are still engineered and manufactured in Rothenburg, Germany. Through evolution of the equipment, the Terex compact excavator line has been around about five generations. Terex engineers have focused on bringing a machine to market that has a high power-to-weight ratio, which equals an increase in capabilities in a smaller-sized machine.

According to Terex, the basic design of all Terex compact excavators ensures they can handle tough jobsite applications with the best performing machines in their size category. Terex has nine compact excavator models — TC16, TC20, TC29, TC35, TC37, TC48, TC50, TC60 and TC75 — ranging from 18 to 73 hp with operating weights from 3,900 to 16,535 lbs and a variety of attachments to match jobsite needs. All Terex models have two travel speeds standard — except on the TC16, where it’s an optional feature.

Design features, such as top-mounted boom cylinders, offer excellent cylinder damage protection. Also, these cylinders are inverse mounted so the seal is facing down, which prevents dirt buildup and protects it from the elements. The use of spherical bearings ensures the energy from torsional movement of the boom is not transferred to the cylinder, resulting in a strain free cylinder run. Replaceable tin-bronze bushings with precisely designed hole patterns in the boom bearing points store lubricating grease, which provides constant and complete coverage. This design reduces the washout of the lubricant and provides emergency lubrication properties.

In addition, Terex’s cushioned cylinders are end-position dampened to extend service life while minimizing inertia forces and reducing cylinder shock. The company’s articulating boom cylinders offer protection and permit operation while being located flush against objects. The linkage of many competing machines extends out further than the tracks, making them more susceptible to damage and negating zero tail swing technology. The linkage on the Terex machines is more flush with the tracks, better protecting these vital parts, leading to more uptime and an increase in productivity that results in reduced operating costs and an improved bottom line.

Additionally, the company’s axial piston, variable displacement hydraulic pumps and motors provide load-sensing and load independent flow division (LUDV) hydraulics for smooth simultaneous operation. With the LUDV design, oil flow is distributed to cylinders independent of the load. The main advantage of this system is that the compact excavator can be performing multiple actions at one time, without sacrificing flow. This makes for very smooth, efficient operation, says Terex.

Advice to Buyers

“Always buy quality. A compact excavator needs to be durable and reliable because downtime is expensive,” says Jamie Wright, product manager with Terex Construction. “When considering one brand over another, consider the reliability of the machine and how well you know and understand its parts. Are you comfortable with the technology that’s under the hood? If you can handle the small maintenance issues yourself, you can help reduce overall cost and downtime. Also, how responsive and expansive is a brand’s dealer network? You should look for a distributor who is conveniently located to your jobsites and who can deliver the parts and services you need quickly.” 

Contact Info

Terex Corp.

8800 Rostin Rd.

Southaven, MS 38671

(662) 393-1800


Compact excavators emerged in the late 1970s. A company in France called Pel-Job was one of the first excavator companies to begin manufacturing these small-scale machines. This company was also one of the first to distribute compact excavators throughout Europe. Volvo purchased Pel-Job in 1998. Since then, Volvo has grown its excavator line to meet Volvo’s standards of quality, safety and environmental care. Over the years, these machines have been Volvo-ized with well-matched components and Volvo engines, as well as adopting a similar feel to larger Volvo excavator models with an emphasis on operator comfort, versatility and productivity.

Volvo currently has seven models of compact excavators. Nomenclature denotes approximate operating weight in metric tons (EC20C = 2 tons). Volvo compact excavators range from 2 to 9.3 tons. Volvo offers three models of conventional radius machines — the EC20C, EC35C and EC55C. Volvo offers four models of zero tail swing machines — the ECR28, ECR38, ECR58 and ECR88.

The most popular Volvo compact excavator is the EC35C — with high growth in the rental industry, easy transportability and good performance in a compact package. Volvo’s X-frame undercarriage on compact excavators is similar to that of its general purpose and production equipment (GPPE). With one of the thickest tracks in the industry, this ensures long life and provides protection from harsh conditions.

Safety and maintenance innovations in Volvo compact excavators abound, including: cab and canopy units that have ROPS/FOPS/TOPS safety-certified structures; the machine’s hydraulic and drive functions, which are disabled by raising the left control console when entering or leaving the cab to prevent accidental movement; filters, fills and service points are all easily accessed from ground level; and retractable safety belts and reverse alarms are standard on all models, which continually reinforces one of Volvo’s core values — safety.

Other zero tail swing compact excavator manufacturers position the engines in the back behind the cab, which compromises cab space and operator comfort. Volvo’s zero tail swing machines have side-mounted engines so cab space is not reduced and operator comfort is not compromised.

Advice to Buyers

“Hydraulic attachments — a lot of people don’t know just how many attachments you can put on a compact excavator,” explains Chris Price, product marketing and communications specialist with Volvo CE North America. “It is always smart to have the machine attachment-ready in order to increase the versatility of the excavator and your business. And think about how you are going to transport the excavator. Depending on the size of the machine, a customer could haul it with their work truck. Because the larger the machine, the more special permits come into play.”

Contact Info

Volvo Construction Equipment

One Volvo Dr.

Asheville, NC 28803

(828) 650-2000


Wacker Neuson only began offering excavators to the U.S. market in 2008, but it was one of the first companies to introduce mini excavators for the European markets more than 30 years ago. The original product range back in the ‘80s was centered around 2- and 3-ton machines, but was quickly expanded. Wacker Neuson was the first to launch a 8-ton “mini” followed by a 12-ton with all the typical mini excavator features (like rubber tracks, dozer blades and swing booms). Wacker Neuson is currently on its fourth machine generation. Mini excavators have always been a core product for the company, and it plans to continue to expand the line further in the United States.

There are currently eight excavators in the Wacker Neuson lineup in the 8-metric-ton and smaller range. The smallest model currently available is the 1.4-ton 1401 excavator. This mini excavator will deliver big machine performance in tight spaces. It offers a comfortable work platform and canopy compliant with FOPS, TOPS and ROPS regulations. Powered by a 17.7-hp Yanmar diesel engine and designed with a telescopic undercarriage, this unit provides superior lifting power and stability offering high performance for any application.

Wacker Neuson offers three zero tail swing models. The 28Z3, 38Z3 and 50Z3 all are available with the company’s newest development, the unique Vertical Digging System (VDS). The VDS compensates for height difference on uneven terrain and quickly sets the operator in an upright position, greatly increasing productivity. This innovative system enables operators to tilt the cab and boom of the excavator by up to 15 percent with a push of the button.

The 2.8-ton 28Z3 is powered by a Yanmar three-cylinder, 20.4-hp engine and maximum digging depth of 9 ft. This compact model is popular with landscape and residential contractors. It is light and compact enough to be hauled with a standard size pickup trailer. The 3.8-ton 38Z3 is also highly maneuverable and compact, but offers more power with a 28.2-hp Yanmar diesel engine and digging depth up to 11 ft. It also fits on a standard 10,000-lb trailer.

Taking on larger jobs is the versatile 5-ton 50Z3 with a 37.7-hp, Yanmar, four-cylinder diesel engine and a digging depth up to 12 ft, 4 in. The 50Z3 features the largest cab in its class and provides all the comforts needed for long, productive operation.

The model 3503 is the 3.5-ton unit and is an excellent mid-range machine powered by a 31.8-hp, Yanmar, four-cylinder diesel engine with a maximum digging depth of 11 ft, 7 in.

The largest of the track excavators are the 6003 and 8003 which feature a small turn design. These “bigger” machines provide more productivity, can handle bigger objects like concrete pipes or rocks and can load bigger trucks. The 6-ton 6003 and 8-ton 8003 track excavator are powered by an economical 58.6-hp, Yanmar, four-cylinder diesel engine and provides a maximum digging depth of 13 ft, 7 in. and 15 ft respectively. These units are among the strongest machines in their weight class and actually perform more like a machine in the next size weight class, says Wacker Neuson. 

Advice for Buyers

“First, compact excavators are more productive diggers than backhoe loaders by concept,” explains Marcus Auerbach, director of compact equipment at Wacker Neuson. “They can work with less space and are the more specialized and therefore are very effective diggers. Second, the operating cost is very low. Actual fuel consumption is often a big and very positive surprise to contractors who have not realized that experience before. Third, they often get underestimated. When we visit jobsites and talk to contractors, we often see that contractors use too big of a machine for a job. Maybe they’ll get the job done faster and save half an hour, but really have spent much more money on digging the hole than necessary.”

Contact Info

Wacker Neuson

N92 W15000 Anthony Ave.

Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

(262) 255-0500


Since its inception in 1912, Yanmar’s core business has been the production of engines. Following the hugely successful introduction of the walk-behind dozer in 1967, Yanmar understood the need for even more versatile compact construction machinery and introduced one of the first mini excavators in 1968. These mini excavators proved popular, and since then, Yanmar has introduced a number of firsts to the mini excavator market including: the first swing-boom excavator; the first rubber-tracked excavator; and the first zero tail swing excavator.

In 1993, Yanmar launched the ViO Series, which was the world’s first zero tail swing excavator and is currently marketing its 5th generation model. The ViO development objective of turning within the machine width has been successfully achieved, while still maintaining the stability and work performance of a conventional-style unit. No part of the housing extends beyond the track which allows efficient operation in tight spaces, access to more jobs, less damage to the machine and less damage to the site.

Yanmar produces seven models in the ViO, ranging from 3,836 through 18,268 lbs. For starters, the ViO17 is equipped with a 13.5-hp Yanmar diesel engine, 3,836-lb operating weight, 7-ft, 7-in. digging depth and variable width of 3 ft, 1 in. to 4 ft, 1 in. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the ViO80, which is engineered with a 54.6-hp Yanmar diesel engine, 18,136-lb operating weight, 15-ft, 4-in. digging depth and a width of 7 ft, 5 in.

The ViO Series excavators utilize multiple variable displacement piston pumps and gear pumps. The load sensing pumps in combination with Yanmar’s innovative hydraulic circuitry design, allow fast, smooth and powerful performance even when combining functions of the boom, arm bucket and swing. The standard equipment hydraulic coupler expands the versatility of the ViO Series by allowing a variety of bucket sizes or attachments to be used, saving the contractor the expense of bringing other machines to the jobsite.

VICTAS is the ViO Crawler Technology for Advanced Stability, allowing Yanmar excavators to utilize offset track technology with outstanding results. Due to this technology, the ViO Series offers increased stability without increasing the undercarriage width and the short-pitch rubber crawler reduces vibration when traveling.

And let’s not forget about the SV Series of ultra-tight turning minis, which have minimal turning radii in both the front and rear. This smooth, tight turning radius adds versatility on a tight worksite.

Yanmar has two models in its SV Series. The smallest model is the SV08-1A, with a 10.3-hp diesel engine, 2,348-lb operating weight, 5-ft, 2-in. digging depth and variable width of 2 ft, 3 in. to 2 ft, 9 in. The largest model is the SV100-1, with a 73.3-hp Yanmar diesel engine, 21,554-lb operating weight, 15-ft, 9-in. digging depth and a width of 7 ft, 7 in.

Advice to Buyers

“Contractors need to keep digging and downtime slows the pace for the next job they will move onto,” says Jake Jeffords, product marketing manager for Yanmar America Corp. “While searching for the right mini excavator, a buyer must put the time into research of downtime and warranty issues. If a buyer will look diligently over key features that create better return on investment, then they will find a machine that will work for them in the long run. An efficient hydraulics system is the key to working effectively. If the mini excavator has solid hydraulics, the engine does not have to perform as hard and will be more fuel efficient.”

Contact Info

Yanmar America

101 International Pkwy.

Adairsville, GA 30103

(770) 877-9894


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  • John (Joao) Alves
    March 11, 2021 17:57:07

    At the University of Toronto (UTM) I operate a ZD series Mower for grass mowing a 3030 Tractor with a snow plow for pushing snow with ease. Onsite we also have a fleet of RTVs that are very handy and really are versatile machines.
    These machines are incredibly reliable and perform beautiful results.
    As an avid angler who’s always wishing I was fishing while operating a Kubota at work lol, I just want to say Congratulations on adding the BEST Angler of all time Kevin Van Dam aka KVD !

    John Alves