Cheap Mini Excavators | Compare Options and Costs in 2023
Although the term “mini” might make someone think that mini excavators are going to be cheap, the truth is that a new unit at the top of the class can easily run into the six figures. If you’re working on a smaller scale though and are more interested in an entry-level mini-excavator, there are some options, especially in the used market, that are available for $19,700 or less. Some trusted brands with quality used equipment at cheaper prices include:
- Bobcat excavators
- Komatsu Excavators
- Caterpillar Excavators
Additional features also cause the price of these units to increase. Usually, this comes in the form of extra buckets or specialty attachments that may be sold with the unit to increase its versatility. The most expensive of these are buckets with a much wider range of control than the standard options, which are useful in precision situations. Upgrading to this type of bucket can certainly add $4120 or more to the cost of any mini excavator. Getting other attachments, such as a post-hole-auger, can further increase the cost, but can also increase the versatility of the excavator.
How Much Does a CAT Excavator Cost to Rent?
Renting a CAT excavator is generally the most cost-effective approach, and most vendors will provide a rental or leasing option for those who are interested.
Here we can see myriad different CAT excavator models listed for rent, many of which can be rented on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Daily rental prices for most CAT excavators tend to sit around the $1,000 mark, while monthly rentals rarely drop below $6,100. High-end models, and excavators in exceptional condition, can run upwards of $10,306 per month.
Mini excavators run cheaper all around, both to rent and to purchase. This can make them an excellent choice for smaller-scale projects, or for projects that are only expected to take a few days.
However, due to their smaller size, they naturally have a lower capacity and efficiency than a larger model. This needs to be taken into account when determining the kind of excavator that you need to rent.
How Much Does a CAT Excavator Cost to Buy?
Purchasing an excavator outright is considerably more expensive than renting the same model would be.
Most CAT excavators will cost you at least $58,000 per unit, although that is the absolute minimum range, and assumes nothing additional is purchased. Units can also run as high as $320,000 per purchase.
Lots of factors determine the cost of purchasing an excavator.
The smallest units, the mini excavators, can run you as low as $30,200, depending on the condition and model of the unit. However, these have the lowest capacity of any unit, so you may need to buy more at a time, which will somewhat counteract the low list price.
The standard small excavators, which are one size above the mini-units, typically run somewhere between $70,200 and $250,400 per unit. These are generally the smallest units you will see in regular use, especially in construction.
A large excavator, meanwhile, will typically run you at least $400,000 per unit, although again, that price can vary tremendously based on the quality and condition of the unit, and any additional features that you may require.
The largest units, demolition excavators, are the most expensive. These units can easily push the $800,000 mark, although they are also the largest and most durable excavators on the market.
Naturally, buying used can reduce costs significantly. The variation can fluctuate based on exactly how used the unit is, but on average you can expect a used unit to cost you around 25% the normal list price. Smaller units, and especially those that are older, can run as cheap as half price on the used market.
What Variables Can Affect Excavator Price?
The prices mentioned above, while a good baseline, is just that—a baseline.
Those prices are before tax and don’t take into account any optional purchases that would inflate the price of your excavator.
Purchasing directly from the manufacturer, as well as from most dealers, requires you to pay a transaction fee. This fee typically amounts to 10% of the list price. This means for a new model the minimum will be about $10,230.
Taxes must also be factored into the purchase. This has considerably more variation, as some states will tax purchases more strongly than others. It is worth learning the sales tax rates in your state, as that can add an extra several thousand dollars to the price very easily.
And of course, there are often extra purchases that can be made alongside the actual excavator itself. Specialty attachments or modified buckets can be purchased for some units to improve their efficiency in certain areas.
Purchases like these typically don’t run too high, relative to the actual unit. They still often run several thousand dollars, however.
What Is the Most Popular Model of Excavator?
That’s a complicated question, and it depends a lot on exactly what you’re looking for in your product.
Generally speaking, the most popular model recently has been the CAT 336EL model of the excavator. According to the manufacturer, this is the most popular model of excavator across all size categories.
The 336EL has a lot of solid and useful features. State-of-the-art electronics, such as an improved Electronic Control Module, make the device more efficient in its operation.
The driver compartment is roomy, with simple controls and an MP3 radio for communication. There is plenty of storage space within the unit as well.
The 336EL also comes with higher fuel efficiency, which means lower recurring costs down the line, and is able to take B20 biofuel, making it a more eco-friendly excavator model.
What Is the Most Popular Small Excavator?
For smaller and medium-sized contractors, the CAT D6T XL is a very popular choice, in both the new and used markets.
This model gets just shy of 200 HP out of its six-cylinder engine and has an operating weight of nearly 45,000 pounds.
For a mid-tier model, the D6T is a powerful unit, which makes it a popular and reliable choice for smaller sized projects. It also means you get more bang for your buck, as the device generally comes with a lower price tag than larger units.
What Are the Most Popular Large Excavators?
Large excavators are the most widely used, and because of that, there are countless options to choose from. Two of the most popular models are listed below:
- The 936 Wheel Loader series is a particularly popular dozer for large-scale projects. A breakout force of 28,000 pounds makes it a powerful machine, and a maximum bucket capacity of 2.75 cubic meters provides ample space.
- The 349e L model excavator stands as one of the most popular excavators for large-scale contractors. With a digging depth of nearly 30 feet, loading height of 25 feet, and ground reach of 42 feet, this model has plenty of reach across the ground, making it a versatile tool for ground excavating. Meanwhile, its relatively roomy compartment and simple, lever-based controls make it a breeze during operation.
What Is the Most Popular Used Excavator?
Looking at older, used models is a viable cost-cutting technique. Many of these devices are still in good shape but are simply no longer needed by their owner.
As long as you are careful in buying a well-maintained unit, used excavators can be well worth the investment.
On the used market, the CAT 330DL is a consistently popular choice. The model made its debut in 2007 and still has a good reputation despite its age.
Because of its age, the model can be found relatively cheap on the used market, especially relative to its size. Its durability means these units are often in good condition.
With a ground reach of nearly 40 feet, a loading height of 24 feet, and a digging depth of nearly 26 feet, the 330DL has comparable specs to the newer 349e L model mentioned above.
But because of its age, this unit can often be found for much cheaper. Condition varies, of course, but if you can find a 330DL in good repair, it is a reliable model worth the investment.
Choosing the Right Excavator Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
With all of these options and variables, choosing the right excavator can seem like a daunting task.
Between different sized models, used versus new, add-ons, and taxes that affect CAT excavator cost, it can seem like finding something that works within your budget is nearly impossible.
Figuring this out alone can be really difficult. That’s why we have a team of people on staff dedicated to helping get you the best possible deals on the equipment you need.
We have a price estimator that will calculate a price for a mini excavator for you directly. And if you need more information, get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to help.
With these tools and information at your disposal, finding the right excavator for your needs should be quick and stress-free.
What is a Mini Excavator?
A mini excavator can weigh as much as 6 tons, so the term can be a little misleading. These machines are used to dig and remove material from the ground or a worksite so that other construction tasks can take place. For instance, a mini excavator might be used to remove dirt before pouring a foundation for a building or to move debris out of the way before starting road construction. They differ from their larger counterparts in size, which means they are capable of moving much smaller loads than full-size excavators. However, what these machines lose in power, they gain in mobility. These low-cost excavators are able to fit into smaller areas, such as between houses, than a full-size excavator, and are also more maneuverable and precise thanks to their smaller stature.
Usually, these low-priced machines are mounted on tracks and feature an articulating arm with a bucket to perform the excavating. They are rated in terms of how much material they can move, how deep they can dig, and how high they can reach. They also feature a cab where the operator of the unit sits when driving the machine. The entire machine can usually pivot on top of the track base so that the operator can get a clear view and approach to any area around the machine.
What to Look for in Low-Cost Mini Excavators?
When purchasing any type of heavy equipment, knowing the exact conditions under which you plan to use the machine is of the utmost importance. In the case of mini excavators, this means knowing what dig depth you need – how deeply you need to be able to excavate with the machine. This will immediately narrow down your options when shopping for an excavator.
Decide how you are going to transport your excavator to your work-site. With a small enough machine, you can potentially tow it behind a standard pickup, greatly reducing the cost of moving the equipment from site to site. In this case, make sure you find an excavator that is small enough to not surpass the towing capacity of your primary towing vehicle.
Finally, it is important to choose a machine that is easy to control and which is comfortable to operate. Operators often have to spend long hours in these machines, and an uncomfortable or difficult to control machine can make for a very frustrating day, no matter how inexpensive the unit might be. Always ask to try the machine before you buy to see how it operates in the real world – something that you can never learn from a sales pitch.
Best Prices on Mini Excavator Rentals
Cheap mini excavator rental is also an option if you only need the machine for a small job. This can be a very economical way to enjoy the benefits of the excavator without the purchase cost. However, if you go this route, make sure that you are adequately insured and that your operator is trained to operate the machine safely and effectively. This is the key to a successful mini excavator rental.
Bargain Mini Excavator Companies with Discounted Prices?
If you’re shopping for mini excavators, these companies have proven track records and a wide enough range of options that you should be able to find a bargain unit in your price range.
Bobcat: When it comes to smaller, more mobile equipment, Bobcat has been the name to trust for decades. This company specializes in agile, small machines, including mini excavators. Because the company is so dominant in this space, they have widespread service departments and sales agents throughout the country, not to mention a large lineup with more than a dozen options for attachments compatible with their excavator line. The smallest unit in their new lineup, the 418 Compact Excavator, weighs in at a feather-light of 2,593 lbs.
Kubota: Kubota is another extremely well-known name in the mini excavator market, with a reputation every bit as solid as Bobcats. Kubota has a wide line of compact excavators, as well as their “ultra-compact” model which can still dig down to a depth of over 5 feet.
There are enough well-known brand names in the heavy-duty construction field that there is no need to get creative and start looking for lesser-known brands in order to secure a bargain. Instead, consider looking at used units or negotiating a deal in order to get a bargain on a trusted brand name when purchasing your next mini excavator.