How to operate a mini excavator

Being part of the construction industry means you have access to a wide variety of different heavy equipment, but nothing is as versatile, reliable and easy-to-use as the mini excavator.

Mini excavators — like their standard sized counterparts — have a backhoe attachment, ideal for projects that require a moderate amount of digging, as they are faster and easier than attempting to dig through an area by hand. What makes mini excavators so appealing for many job sites are their lightweight design and ability to fit into smaller sites or cramped spaces where a standard excavator cannot comfortably fit.

A Variety of Uses for Mini Excavators

Due to its compact design, simple dual joystick controls and versatile operations, a mini excavator can be used for several different tasks. Part of what makes using a mini excavator so appealing for many is that there’s a wide variety of different attachments you can use in place of its shovel. Mini excavators can be used for:

  • Repairing sewer lines
  • Installing pools, hot tubs or ponds
  • Plowing snow
  • Demolishing small structures, asphalt, steel and concrete
  • Digging holes and trenches
  • Landscaping and stump removal
  • Drilling and backlifting

How to Use a Mini Excavator

Of the available machinery you can use for your next project, mini excavators are one of the simplest to use. After reading the owner’s or renter’s manual, you can operate a mini excavator by following these steps:

  1. In the cab of the mini excavator, move the excavator forward using the two travel levels — pulling back the left joystick will maneuver the machine to the right, pulling the right lever back will move the mini excavator to the left.
  2. If equipped, set the stabilizers down then push the control lever for the bulldozer blade to lower it. Push this lever until the blade slightly raises the machine. If you’re just beginning as a mini excavator operator, set your engine speed at 1/2 to 2/3 throttle until more familiar with the machine’s operations.
  3. To begin excavation, push the machine’s primary boom lever forward to move the boom away from you. Once the boom is halfway through its travel range, push the dipper stick forward. Now, push the boom level forward until the bucket’s teeth contact the ground and move each joystick until the bucket is at an ideal digging angle.
  4. Pull on the dipper stick level as the bucket fills with soil and debris, then pull on the main boom level to raise the filled bucket away from the ground. Swivel the boom by turning the left and right joysticks and move the excavated soil to an appropriate dumping location.

As you continue using your mini excavator, you’ll become more comfortable with using the controls and can increase your throttle speed to achieve more efficient excavation. When filling a hole or trench, reverse these steps by retracting the main boom and dipper stick.

The Cat® Rental Store Offers User-Friendly Mini Excavator Brands

The mini excavator brand and model also impact its ability to operate the machine efficiently, productively and safely. At The Cat® Rental Store, we specialize in renting Cat products, the world’s most well-known and respected heavy equipment manufacturer.

Cat mini excavators are manufactured with the operator in mind. They feature easy-to-use controls that simplify the process, eliminating all guesswork. These advanced machines also consist of spacious, comfortable cabs that enable users to stay fresh and productive throughout a long day at the job site.

The Cat Rental Store offers a dozen mini excavator versions to meet any project requirement. Choose a machine with the reach, dig depth and power output capacity needed to get the job done. What’s more, you’ll receive excellent service throughout the rental period, including on-site repair and maintenance support when needed.

Our expert staff can also provide helpful tips regarding how to use a mini excavator and maximize its capabilities.

Learn More About Our Mini Excavator Brands

Browse our current selection of mini excavators for rent today. Call us at 1-800-RENT-CAT or reach out to us online for additional product information and a fast quote.

To make sure your new mini excavator works with maximum efficiency for as long as possible, it’s necessary that you conduct regular preventative maintenance and inspections. By routinely maintaining your excavator you will be ensuring the function, value and longevity of the machine.

Preventative Maintenance and Inspections

The benefits of maintaining your mini excavator far outweigh the possibilities that you risk by not taking preventative maintenance measures. For example, you will be less likely to experience unexpected downtime delays or be required to transport it to a service centre.

As most people who work with digging machinery (or any machinery, for that fact) know, you should be completing daily checks before usage to ensure it is safe to use and running in top form. You should inspect the hydraulic fluid and engine oil and replenish them if required. If you’re unsure which fluids your Kubota machinery needs then refer to the owner’s manual or talk your Kubota dealer . By completing these simple checks daily, you will save time and money on preventable repairs.

How to operate a mini excavatorTips for Maintaining your Mini Excavator

The following are some basic tips to maintain your Excavator

  • Check Engine oil, coolant levels, outer air filter element.
  • Check the oil cooler and radiator for coolant leaks which may need to be seen to immediately.
  • Check the fuel water trap weekly and remove any build-up of water that is present.
  • Inspect Hydraulic Oil Level & Fuel Level
  • Examine the rubber tracks and undercarriage of the excavator, as this area can become built up with dirt and mud. Cleaning this area regularly will prevent damage to undercarriage components and ensure the tracks will retain the correct tension.
  • Inspect the hydraulic hoses for any leaks that might have occurred.
  • Regular greasing of all pins & bushes
  • Examine the rubber tracks and undercarriage of the excavator, as this area can become built up with dirt and mud. Cleaning this area regularly will prevent damage to undercarriage components and ensure the tracks will retain the correct tension.
  • Inspect your bucket and any other attachments for damage and replace when required. Worn out equipment will make the machine work harder and overwork the equipment, affecting the efficiency and longevity of the machine.

If unsure of any of the above points always refer to the operator’s manual.

Doing preventative maintenance will do wonders for your mini excavator, however, this doesn’t mean you should neglect servicing. For all your service requirements contact professionals at Supergroups.

If you need your Kubota excavator serviced or are looking for Kubota excavator parts, get in touch with the Kubota experts at Supergroups . We have fully trained Technicians, 24/7 emergency breakdown service and a Kubota 5-star service rating.

We also have mini excavators for sale in Victoria and a range of genuine Kubota parts available. If you are diggin’ for a livin’ and want to purchase a new or used excavator from Supergroups, contact us on (03) 9702 3999.

Knowing how to operate a mini excavator will save you time and money on your next outdoor project. Mini excavators are known for their ability to work in tight places. In addition, renting mini excavators are much easier on the budget than renting a full size excavator.

What Is A Mini Excavator?

A mini excavator is a tracked vehicle that generally includes a standard backfill blade and features independent boom swing. Mini excavators are made in different sizes based on the digging depth of the boom and bucket.

How To Operate A Mini Excavator

  1. Enter the mini excavator machine from the side by stepping on the track and then entering the roll cage.
  2. Fasten the safety belt. This step is very important in case the mini excavator tips over. The safety belt will keep you inside of the roll cage if the mini excavator tips over.
  3. Turn the ignition key, located on the back right, to start the mini excavator.
  4. Located on the right are 2 control levers. The first lever is the throttle to adjust the engine speed. The second lever controls the front blade movement, up and down.
  5. Located directly in the front of the roll cage are 2 hand controls. The left control runs the left track and the right control runs the right track. Using the hand controls together will move the mini excavator forward and backwards.
  6. Next, there are 2 joysticks to run the boom, the bucket, and the swivel. The right side joystick controls the front boom and bucket curl. The left joystick controls the back knuckle and machine swivel.

How To Drive An Excavator With Safety In Mind

  • While the main function of the mini excavator is digging, it can also be used as extra support for stability when excavating on uneven ground. It also offers extra lift capability during lift operations. To avoid an unstable situation, be sure to raise the front blade before moving.
  • Use caution in rotating over the track with the arm fully extended.
  • The tracks should be on firm ground that won’t give way during operation and the machine should sit as horizontal to the ground as possible. This will reduce the likelihood of tip over and also provide stress-free work for the operator.
  • Mini excavator drivers should always wear protective gear including hard hat, safety glasses, ear protection, and hard toe boots.

We recommend watching this instructional video to assist you in learning how to operate a mini excavator. In addition, the video will also explain how to modify the excavator track.

Rent A Mini Excavator from Northside Tool Rental

We rent mini excavators in many sizes based on digging depths of 5’, 7’, 11’, or 12’. Contact us and we will gladly help you determine the correct size mini excavator to rent for your next outdoor project.

Egypt Heavy Equipment Market Insight

United Arab Emirates Heavy Equipment Market Insight

What Is The Importance Of Machinery Auctions?

Posted on 20 August 19

How to operate a mini excavator

As the name suggests, ‘Mini Excavator’ is a compact version of a standard excavator. It is an essential piece of machinery for any construction and demolition project. Although the word ‘mini’ is attached to its name as a prefix to a physical description, that word does no justice to the wide range of operational facilities provided by it to the business.

Being lighter in weight and smaller in size in comparison to a standard excavator, it becomes ideal and cost-reducing equipment for small to medium scale projects. Its ability to make its way in a small space or a crowded area gives it an upper hand over a regular-sized excavator. Moreover, its compact size contributes to lesser wear and tear due to the intensive workload. This facilitates a longer life for the mini excavator without any extra cost of maintenance.

A variety of reasons why mini excavators are used are:

1. Versatility

A wide range of operations performed by a mini excavator is proof of its versatile nature. Be it digging trenches, clearing snow from roads during heavy snowfall or a small-scale demolition, a mini excavator is a key to it all. It is useful in heavy snowfall as well as in extreme heat. Its ability to have variable attachments makes it easy for users to put it to work in different situations, types and volume of work depending on the nature of the task at hand. The multiplicity of uses makes this equipment accessible.

2. Compact size

Do not let the small size of a mini excavator fool you! Its small size is the reason it can conveniently fit into confined spaces where a standard excavator or other larger machines cannot. For job sites which have narrow streets or are located in the interior parts of a city, a mini excavator is go-to machinery for getting the work done. A smaller body frame and lesser weight also make it a better choice for working on soft ground.

3. Higher efficiency

When compared to a standard excavator, a mini excavator requires much lesser fuel for functioning and releases lesser emissions. This acts as a cost-reducing way to cut down the running expensive incurred for the job in hand. Apart from this feature, setting the engine’s RPM prevents wastage of extra fuel consumed by the machine without any additional output. As a result, optimum utilization of resources is possible. The hydraulic system also provides a better cycle time and increases productivity.

4. Lower the Cost

For any business, the bottom line is to get the work done at minimum cost. For small and medium-scale projects, a mini excavator is preferable due to its lower cost. They achieve the desired results without putting too much burden on the capital investment budget of the business. It also has lesser fuel intake requirement and a lower rate of wear and tear, which reduces the variable costs such as repair and replacement costs.

How to operate a mini excavator

Here are some steps to follow to have a basic understanding of how to use a mini excavator:

1. Choose the right kind of mini excavator

Before proceeding to the steps of how to practically use a mini excavator, it is very important to the right kind of machinery chosen for the work to be done. The correct weight of the machine required is mostly determined by the texture of the ground i.e. whether it is rough or soft. Also, the lifting capacity of the mini excavator should be determined by the approximate weight and intensity of the work.

2. Familiarize with the controls of the machine

It is essential to read the user instruction manual, which comes along with the machine during delivery. Have a clear idea of what each lever is for. The instructions given in the manual are usually detailed descriptions of how to operate the machine. This prepares the user for all the steps to be followed for the practical application of the steps. The precautions mentioned in it are to be read and remembered diligently in order to avoid any uneventful accident or emergency. The basics like the use of right and left levers for movement of the boom and arm are given in there.

3. Comply with the safety measures

Any user should know the conditions were using the machine might be hazardous. Checking for oil leaks in the fuel tank and the level of coolants should be done before use. It is necessary where the fire extinguisher is placed in case of a fire. Putting on a seatbelt before starting the machine is an essential safety requirement. These steps assure greater security to the user as well as the machine.

4. Turn the mini excavator on

This is quite similar to turning on commercial vehicles. Insert the key in the ignition and turn it right to switch the machine on for use.

5. Test the control before use

After reading the user’s instruction manual, a user should test his/her knowledge by putting the theoretical understanding to a practical test. The controls and levers should be operated to test the ease with which it is working and to get into the headspace of working with a heavy machine. This reduces the chance of accidents and gives the user an unrestricted movement while working with it.

6. Practice driving and get well trained

After mastering the use of controls, getting the hang of driving a machine as heavy as a mini excavator is essential. It should usually be done in a large, open space which is scarcely surrounded by people for safety reasons. Some other training regarding the professional use of a mini excavator for its proper usage is needed.

Though a layperson can follow these steps, it is advised to let heavy machinery like a mini-excavator be used by a trained professional for maximum output and safety. Thus, we can conclude that a mini excavator delivers high performance.

Our checklist on excavator maintenance should can help guide you to own an efficient equipment and avoid unexpected failures, downtime, and costly repairs.

How to operate a mini excavator

Excavators come in all shapes and sizes, from some mini excavators that weigh less than 3,000 lbs. gross weight up to massive large excavators with weights exceeding 200,000 lbs. Mini excavators are not suited for the same magnitude of jobs as large or industrial-sized excavators, but their small footprint, lower cost and precise operation make them a valuable tool for smaller scale landscaping, excavation or utility projects.

When we talk about a mini excavator at SANY, we’re looking at the SY16C, SY26U and SY35U, with weights ranging between 4,000 and 8,500 lbs. These nimble machines are relatively simply to operate, but it’s important that operators understand a little bit about how excavators work, along with the appropriate safety measures for operating one. Let’s take a look at what your operators should know before they get in the cab, how to manipulate the controls and what you can accomplish using a mini excavator.

Understanding Your Mini Excavator

How to operate a mini excavatorIf you’re not an engineer, you probably don’t need to understand each and every one of the thousands of parts that make up a mini excavator. What you do need is a little bit of vocabulary to help you understand what a mini excavator is capable of and how to operate a mini excavator. Let’s go over the major parts and systems that make up a mini excavator and how each one is used.


The tracks are mounted on the undercarriage of the mini excavator and used in place of wheels found on some models of excavators. Much like tank tracks, the tracks on an excavator are mounted on a set of gears that is connected to the engine by a drive shaft. By rolling the tracks on either side forward or backward, the operator can drive the vehicle ahead or move in reverse, make left and right turns, and perform a rotation-like movement in a tighter arc – useful for operating in closed spaces.


The arm of a mini excavator is perhaps the most important part – it’s what makes everything possible. The arm of your mini excavator will most likely be divided into two sections with each controlled by a hydraulic piston connected by tubes and hoses to the hydraulic pump near the machine’s engine. A third hydraulic piston mounted near the end of the arm controls the movement of the bucket, and controls the tilt of the bucket, allowing it to move forward or backward in a digging or scooping motion.


Atop the frame of the excavator lies the cab, the control center of the machine and the hub from which all controls are given and managed by the operator. In this space, the operator has access to joystick controls to manage movement and control of the arm and bucket, blade controls, movement levers and pedals to control movement of the arm and overall movement speed. The monitor is also located here, delivering information to the operator to understand how the excavator is operating, as well as safety features like the hydraulic lockout controls and the emergency stop switch.


Mounted at the front of the excavator near ground level, the blade can be lowered into the ground for additional stability while digging. By lowering the blade in the front and fully rotating the cab to dig from the opposite side, you can improve the overall stability of the excavator while working. This blade can also be used like a plow blade to push around small materials that are at ground level.

Getting Ready to Operate a Mini Excavator

How to operate a mini excavatorBefore you get into the cab and behind the controls of your mini excavator, there are a few steps you should always take. First, ensure that you have a copy of the operator’s manual on hand and that you have reviewed it fully. Every mini excavator is different, and it’s important to understand the specific requirements and guidelines for your machine before attempting to operate it. In addition, you should fully inspect the vehicle to ensure that it is in good working order and review any warning labels or stickers that are attached to the machine to familiarize yourself with specific hazards or concerns unique to the excavator.

Finally, test the excavator’s full range of motion on a clear and level surface before you start working. This allows you to make sure there are no unseen problems with movement, and can be especially important so that you can familiarize yourself with how the machine moves before working in an enclosed space or on difficult or uneven terrain. Plus, this provides an initial opportunity to get familiar with the controls which can prevent operating mistakes that can damage the jobsite or lead to an accident or machine tipover.

Advantages of a Mini Excavator

Mini excavators may have “mini” in the name, but they still pack plenty of power and performance to take on a wide variety of tasks. With the smaller design, they are often a good choice for work in confined or narrow spaces, such as between buildings or in urban construction environments. They also weigh less than other excavators, which can be beneficial if working on a job that has features like concrete walkways or buried utility services that could be damaged by the weight of a larger machine.

These machines also offer versatility to perform many different tasks on a job site without the need for multiple other pieces of equipment. For instance, a SANY mini excavator could tackle digging up broken concrete using the bucket, pushing the debris with the plow blade, and then get refit with a drilling attachment to create postholes for building.

With their nimble design, mini excavators are also quite adept at tackling landscaping jobs like tree removal or digging for a retention pond. Mini excavators are also great at trenching work to install plumbing or buried utility lines. They are even useful in colder climates for removing large snow piles or snow banks with ease.

Find the Right Mini Excavator for You

If you’re looking for the right piece of equipment to help you tackle your jobs, a SANY mini excavator might be for you. Versatile, nimble and fuel efficient, mini excavators offer power to tackle your labor-intensive or time-consuming projects, while still being easy to operate and move around compared with larger machinery. Explore the full line of SANY mini excavators online or find a dealer near you to find the machine you need today.

How to Operate a Mini Excavator

Mini excavators are used throughout the world for a variety of construction needs. Even here in North America where construction professionals and homeowners alike have a wider range of equipment options, mini excavators are perfect for many jobs. Fortunately they’re easy to learn to operate properly.

The Right Tool For The Job

Even among mini excavators there is a pretty significant size range. The smallest, most compact versions weigh fewer than 4,000 pounds—the average weight of the automobile in the US in 2004. Larger versions approach standard excavator sizes. Choose the model based on the project and the workspace: the smallest mini excavators can fit into even small yards and are more than enough for small landscaping changes or irrigation projects.

How to operate a mini excavator

Your Bottom Dollar?

Fortunately, rental costs for mini excavators are affordable. In fact, you may well need to plan your projects based on labor costs, not on the cost of renting a mini excavator. Factor in pickup arrangements and fuel costs to keep your budget sufficiently roomy. Most mini excavators can be towed with a truck and heavy duty trailer; just check the weight of the excavator and trailer against the truck’s capabilities.

Show And Tell

Before you rent your mini, check out the rental facility in person. Most businesses will give you a demonstration, and this is the perfect time to brush up and clarify questions that you might still have with a professional who is well-trained on the machine. Take advantage of a skilled person supervising your demonstration and learn as you go.

The Fine Print

Every piece of equipment has an operator’s manual; always read it. You need to know exactly how each control is described, what it does, and where it is. Although there are some fairly standard design conventions within the world of mini excavators, you should always be aware of small variations that could trip you up as you operate the machine. And anytime a piece of equipment has specific, detailed warning stickers and labels in place, read them! You will probably also be able to look at maintenance records for your mini, so do it.

Dry Run

When you have your mini excavator in the vicinity of the project, give it a dry run first. Choose a place that’s level, free of debris or clutter, and away from existing work. These machines are typically well-balanced, but turning over is still possible. Get used to the footprint of the mini excavator before trying to maneuver it into tight spots where work needs to get done.

Final Check

As with any piece of heavy machinery, give it a once over before you start. You’re looking to make sure there is no damage, no loose or damaged cables, no drips or leaks, or other possible issues. While you’re at it, check your coolant and lubrication levels and safety equipment—as you would before operating over heavy equipment.

Learning The Ropes

When you are seated on the mini excavator you will typically have a control assembly and arm rest on your left; this will usually move to allow you to access the seat. Given that it moves, make sure the control assembly is safely locked into place before you begin work. To your right you’ll see the ignition key or digital keypad, as well as various gauges.

The joysticks in a mini excavator control the hoe or bucket/boom assembly as well as the machine rotation function that allows you to move around as you go. The joysticks should start in neutral. Between your legs you’ll find the drive/steer controls which let you move ahead as you work. Before you get rolling, start by moving the controls slowly and in a controlled way so that you don’t lurch around.

Finally, there are two controls near your feet that are less frequently used but still important to understand. The high speed control is to your left, and is usually either a button or pedal to be pushed by your left foot. Only engage this control when you’re traveling fairly straight on level, smooth ground. To your right you’ll see a pedal under a metal plate cover; this swivels the how in either horizontal direction. In the cluster of instruments on your right side you’ll find the throttle and the dozer control. You can use the blade controlled by the dozer control to fill in uneven ground and grade your target area.

Get Going

Remember, once you’re in motion be careful not to jostle any of the controls. Move forward and maneuver with both the hoe and front blade raised. Whenever you are in motion, continuously scan the area to mind the location of the hoe and blade. Practice digging using the joysticks in track hoe or back hoe mode.

You can lower the blade by using the right front control handle. You can first raise and lower the main boom section by pulling the right joystick back towards you to raise it, and by pushing it away from you to lower it. The right joystick also scoops by going left and dumps by moving right. One of your most common motions will be to lower the bucket into the earth and then scoop toward you by pulling back on the left boom, and then dumping the soil into the bucket with your right stick moving toward the center.

The Bottom Line

Remember, there’s no way to “train” yourself in advance; you just have to get into the mini excavator and practice. You’ll find that you end up moving each control without planning ahead as motions become second nature to you.

How Does A Mini Excavator Works?

Even though mini excavators were underestimated by heavy equipment operators until a few decades ago; they have now managed to earn their respect of site work professionals and construction utility contractors. This is because of the many fine qualities that they possess like the ease of operation, small carbon footprint, precise operation and minimal cost. Mini Excavators are available for many jobs including smaller ones like renting them for weekend landscaping or a utility project. They can even be used for landscaping, repairing sewer lines, ploughing snow, installing pools and hot tubs, demolishing small structures and digging small ditches for irrigation. These compact machines can be very useful because they can make work very easy and safe. If you are a homeowner who is looking to use a mini excavator, or a newbie to the construction business then here is a handy guide on how to operate mini excavators.

What Is A Mini Excavator?

A mini excavator is a tracked vehicle that uses a standard backfill blade and even an independent boom swing. They come in different sizes varying in the digging depth of the boom bucket.

What Is The Difference Between A Mini-Excavator And A Standard Excavator?

There are significant differences between the tow excavation machines which need to be understood in order to decide which one to use for your job. This is because the mini excavators offer certain benefits that give them a better advantage over regular excavators when it comes to suitability for certain jobs. This is not to say that regular excavators are not useful, the choice depends on the nature of the job. The advantages of using mini excavators are that they are smaller and lighter compared to regular excavators. Which means that that they provide with reduced track marks and top ground damage. Their compact nature ensures that they are much easier to work with on crowded sites, for example, a parking lot, compared to larger excavators. The mini excavator is also easily portable between different sites if loaded in the back of a utility truck or a trailer. Since the nature of the mini excavator’s work is much less intense compared to that of a regular excavator, they tend to have longer lifespans. Mini excavators can also be attached with different skid steer attachments to improve their versatility.

How To Operate A Mini Excavator?

1. Choose a Machine For Your Job And The Method Of Rental:

Even though you have chosen the mini excavator over the regular excavator the decision-making job is not yet over. You still need to choose the size of your mini excavator as they come in varying sizes from a super-compact that weigh less than 4000 pounds to heavier machines that can almost be categorised in the standard excavator group. If you have limited space or this is a DIY utility project, then it is advisable that you use the smallest size available. For larger landscaping jobs you might find the larger machines more efficient. Another important decision that you have to take is deciding if you want to rent the mini excavator or buy it. Now it is obvious if you are just planning on doing a weekend landscaping job renting is the best option. When you are renting, it is vital that you ask the rental company for demonstrations and if they allow the customers to become much more familiar with the machines.

2. Choose A Trained Operator:

Even for a small landscaping project, an untrained operator may prove to be dangerous or even fatal. While it is tempting that you get the job done yourself, it is vital that you hire a trainer operator. For bigger job sites, this, of course, goes without saying. Workers should have intensive knowledge and understanding of how to use the mini excavator before operating them.

3. Go Through The Evacuator’s Operation Manual Thoroughly:

You should always ensure that you get the instruction manual when you are renting a mini-excavator and anyone planning on operating the mini excavator should read the guide thoroughly. This is because the manual has detailed steps on how to use the controls and their functions. You must also check for the warning labels on the machine as they tell you the danger signs that you need to be on the lookout for. It is also important that you familiarise yourself with the location of the fire extinguisher. Before using the excavator, ensure that you check the coolant levels and the engine lubricant. It is also vital that you check for loose or damaged parts like oil leaks or dripping of other fluids. All of the preventive steps ensure that there are decreases chances of an accident occurring.

4. Test-Run The Machine:

Before you use the machine for your job, it is important that you have a pilot run first. Mini excavators are generally equipped with a regular ignition with a key or a digital keypad. Ensure that your seatbelt is secured, because even though the mini excavators don’t run at high speed, if they do overturn, the seatbelt will protect you from fatal injuries. The ideal test location should a large open area that has a level surface. In the test run, you should go through all of the different controls to assess the machine. You should also familiarise yourself with the rotating cabin to ensure that the controls respond to your inputs. It is also important for you to assess how the boom responds to the controls. Even though the mini excavators are stable machines, the chances of overturning are decreased on a flat level surface.

5. Make Sure You Are Habituated To Driving On Tracks:

As you can recall, mini excavators use rubber tracks. These tracks generally only move in two directions-forwards and backwards. Now, this is a limited range of wheel motion that you need to get used to before you operate it for the job. If you want to move in all directions, you need to move the track separately. You can do this because the controls let you move the two tracks separately. If you want to move the mini excavator forward or backwards, you need to use the hand controls. To accelerate the machine, you need to step on the small pedal that is placed on the left of the floorboard. The right-sided pedal is used to pivot the hoe of the mini excavator. This is the control for high speed and boosts the drive pump. This is another reason why proper training is essential. It is difficult to get accustomed to moving and turning these machines.

This concludes the handy and comprehensive guide on how to use mini excavators. Mini excavators are extremely efficient and effective machines for smaller projects and projects in compact places. The best part is that they are available on a rental basis that suits your needs and does not heavily affect your pockets. So if you are thinking of using it for your project be sure to check our rental services of mini excavators out.

Before going into the basics of operating a mini excavator, it is important to know about the mini excavator and its uses. Simply put, mini excavator is a wheeled vehicle that generally includes a standard backfill blade and independent boom swing. Apart from digging, mini excavators can do grading, lifting heavy items and compacting a subgrade. Based on the digging depth of the boom and bucket, mini excavators come in various sizes.

While you can have a dedicated person to operate the mini excavator, you can even operate it on your own to save time and money. Well, you may be wondering as to how to operate a mini excavator without prior experience. Fret not! We share some tips to help you operate a mini excavator on your own.

  • The first step is to read the operators’ manual to get familiar with the controls’ location and description. You also need to read the warning labels and stickers as well as maintenance information, specification charts and other important information posted around the machine.
  • Now, get ready for the action and enter the mini excavator form the side by stepping on the track and then entering the roll cage.
  • Sit firm in the operator’s seat. Study and get familiar with the controls.
  • Fasten the seat belt in order to ensure your safety as mini excavation might tip over.
  • Hold the joysticks and move them around to know how they work. This is important because they control the bucket/boom assembly and the swivel. While the right side joystick controls the front boom and bucket curl, the left joystick controls the back knuckle and machine swivel. By default, these joysticks return to the neutral position when they are released. Learn to operate these joysticks.
  • Look down between your legs to locate two long steel rods with handles attached on the top. These are the drive/steer controls, which control the rotation of the track on the side it is located.
  • You will also find two hand controls located directly in the front of the roll cage. The left control is used to run the left track and the right control to run the right track. The mini excavator can be moved forward and backwards by using these hand controls together.
  • On the right side, in front of the instrument cluster, there will be two more levers. The first lever is the throttle which is used to adjust the engine speed and the second is used for controlling the front blade movement i.e., up and down.
  • After learning and understanding the controls, locate the ignition key on the back right and turn it on to start the machine.
  • Now start manoeuvring the machine. However, always make sure that both the hoe boom and front blade are raised.
  • Move the machine, turn it and take it back to get used to the handling mechanism and speed. In order to try out the various functions of the machine like digging etc., find a suitable place.

Keep on practicing with all the controls till you feel confident as all said and done, mastering the art of operating the mini excavator will take some time. So, get going!

Many of you watching this probably aren’t experienced operators but thats okay. It’s never to late to start learning a skill that’ll pay off. Operating a machine takes some practice and at first look it may seem confusing with all the switches and levers.

Its important to realize the basics behind any machine or heavy equipment pretty much revolve around controlling hydraulic cylinders that move one component or another. At one time these components were mechanically driven and some parts of a machine still can be but for the most part your looking at a diesel engine and hydraulic pressure so its a good idea to get familiar with both.

While you don’t necessarily need to be a diesel mechanical to operate rate or know how to work on the equipment it helps to have an idea of how it all works together.

Learning the Controls

The way controls function depend on the Brand of Excavator and different machines may allow for you to change the settings of the controls. In this video the Guys over at Dirt Ninja show you how to operate a Bobcat E50 Excavator.

If you just purchase a Bobcat Excavator and want to make operating it really simple check out an Excavator Thumb Attachment from It’ll make things a lot easier.

First thing is to make sure the Safety lever to the left near the door of the cab must be down to operate any controls.

Center Levers or Foot Controls – Operate the Tracks of the machine , pushing forward will move you toward the blade of the machine.

Fare Right Lever – Moves the Blade Up and Down

Most machines offer control pattern options. To switch between control patters look under the seat ( this depends on the machine but most have a switch or valve to set pattern)

ISO Control Patterns

Left Control – Rotates Machine Left and Right (Move Stick Left for Left Right for Right)

Left Control – Moves arm Up and Down ( Forward for Down,Pull Back for Up)

Right Control – Operates Stick of Machine ( Forward extends the Stick out, Pulling back brings the stick in toward the machine)

Right Control – Moves the Bucket ( Push left to curl bucket in, push right to extend bucket out)

Standard Control Pattern

Left Control – Rotates Machine Left and Right (Move Stick Left for Left Right for Right)

Left Control – Moves stick of machine ( Forward extends the stick out, backward pulls stick in)

Right Control – Moves Arm Up and Down ( Push forward arm goes down, pull backward arm goes up)

Right Control – Moves the Bucket ( Push left to curl bucket in, push right to extend bucket out)

To move the entire BOOM( The entire arm of the machine) Left or right there may be a toggle switch on the floor or one of the control sticks.

While operating a Mini Excavator isn’t rocket since it can be difficult at first and like anything practice makes all the difference. One thing I can’t stress enough is take your time and be safe. Always keep in mind that there are people and things around that you can damage.

Hope this video helps get you on your way to becoming an experience operator and feel free to drop an questions or comments below.

What is a Mini Excavator?

How to operate a mini excavator

Miniature excavators are general pieces of construction equipment that can be found on many worksites thanks to their high level of productivity and ability to replace human labor. Their smaller sizes make them particularly handy around homes or on the ground that can be too soft for heavier equipment. Mini excavators can be used for plowing, landscaping, digging, demolition work, and more!

Mini excavators run on diesel fuel, and they have a wide assortment of attachments available depending on the needs of the job. Thanks to their smaller size, they are far more maneuverable while being able to move like a skid steer. It’s also a lot easier to transport a mini excavator from site to site.

What Are the Types of Mini Excavators?

Tail Swing Mini Excavators

These are the typical mini excavators that are found on job sites. It’s called a tail swing because it keeps a counterweight on the rear end of the excavator to balance against the heavier bucket and arm, especially when it’s loaded with excavated material.

Thanks to this counterweight, there are greater lifting capabilities possible, which equals greater arm and bucket breakout force. Tail swing mini excavators also have more room in their cabs, allowing the operator a bit more breathing space and comfort while operating the machine.

However, there is a downside. Tail Swing mini excavators utilizing a tail swing can make for more awkward movers in especially tight areas since the counterweight stands out so much.

Zero Tail Swing Mini Excavators

These miniature excavators can get into even tighter spaces than their tail swing counterparts. Therefore, zero tail swing mini excavators have the most practical applications in urban areas. Though they still use a counterweight placed over the rear of the excavator, there is no “tail” that stands out. The counterweight on a zero tail mini excavator rotates inside of the track widths, making it simpler to operate alongside walls.

If you are looking to buy a mini excavator, contact Wetland Equipment to see our line of excavators today!

The formal qualification requirement to operate an excavator in Australia has been removed as of today. Employers prefer registration or a licence, which normally takes the form of ‘proof of competency’. This can be achieved in a few different ways.

In the earlier years, excavator usage had to comply with antiquated safety rules. All firms in Australia, however, must follow the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011, which states that the business owner or site manager is responsible for excavation machine licensing.

Who’s In Charge?

The individual who is in charge of the site is called a PCBU, or a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking.’ Essentially, it means that your supervisor is responsible for making sure that any large earthmoving equipment on the site, including excavators, are operated safely and responsibly.

How to operate a mini excavatorIt is the responsibility of the PCBU to make sure that you are competent with the equipment and aware of OH&S regulations, appropriate operating procedures, how to safely handle and load materials, how to install attachments correctly, and how to perform basic maintenance.

As per WorkSafe QLD, the management or company in charge of the plant or the supplier for your DIY small project, for instance, must verify the following:

  • Operators are given sufficient knowledge, training, instruction, and supervision
  • Operators are skilled
  • Equipment is used in the most appropriate manner possible to prevent any safety hazards

How Do I Get Qualified to Operate an Excavator?

To work as an excavator operator on most construction projects in Sydney, Melbourne, and other states, you don’t need a licence, but you do need to demonstrate that you are qualified and responsible enough to operate an excavator.

In fact, you do not need to hold an earthmoving or specific crane (EPC) certificate to operate the following types of equipment under new Australian Work Health and Safety Regulations rules:

  • Excavator (class LE)
  • Front end loader / backhoe (class LB)
  • Front end loader (class LL)
  • Skid steer loader (class LS)
  • Dozer (LZ)
  • Grader (LG)
  • Scraper (LP)

However, certain operations that include demolition and asbestos removal, as well as the operation of specific types of cranes and hoists, boom EWPs, forklifts, boilers, steam turbines, and reach stackers will need a high-risk work licence.

How Do I Get My Excavator Ticket?

It’s often not necessary to do a full training course if you only need your excavator ticket. You simply need to prove that you are a competent operator.

Although there is no official license that you must obtain, you will need proof of your skills to drive and control an excavator as well as engage in excavator rental services. Formal and informal training can both provide this information.

How to operate a mini excavatorYou can actually do any of these:

  • Prove that you’ve used this equipment previously by providing log books or records of prior job operations
  • Take a hands-on inspection by the site manager or supervisor
  • Obtain a certificate of completion for the nationally accepted training module RIIMPO320 – Conduct civil construction excavator operations
  • From a recognized training provider, get a state-based certification in this module

Whatever method you use, you’ll still need to pass a test to prove your knowledge. This is referred to as a VOC (Verification of Competence) in the industry.

Do I Need a License to Hire a Mini Digger?

If you hire a mini digger, a dingo, or excavator for use in a non-commercial DIY project on your own property, no certification or license is necessary. A machine supplier, on the other hand, should explain to you about safety and general operational usage.

Do I Need Training to Hire a Mini Digger?

If you are planning to hire mini diggers or mini excavators for yourself in Brisbane, you don’t need any training. The mini digger hire company should be able to explain safety and operational usage instructions.

Training will be required if you are hiring a mini digger as part of your construction project.

No matter how big or small your project is, Allwell Hire will have you covered for all of your mini excavator hire needs in Brisbane. Contact us today!

Need more information on excavator licences? Take a look at our previous post on whether you need an excavator licence for standard excavation work.

How to operate a mini excavator

In this list of frequently asked questions we will address the basic points of mini excavator hire.

Mini excavators are extraordinarily useful and versatile pieces of equipment, but are they the best choice for your current project? Their smaller size can be a significant advantage and make them an economical choice compared to larger plant machinery. In this article we will address several of their merits to make the choice easier.

Can I hire a mini excavator? –

Simply put, yes of course, there are a wide variety of mini (or compact) excavators for hire from a wealth of companies. Plant hire is far more cost effective than purchase and mini excavators can be adapted to multiple roles on site. To be cost effective, purchased equipment must be used at least 70% of the time on site. In addition, maintenance, inspection and insurance cost fall to the owner and equipment depreciates in value over time. With hired equipment from a reputable company, rental and fuel costs are all you need to consider.

Do I need a licence to use a mini digger? –

If you are planning to drive an excavator of any size on public roads, a valid driving licence will be needed. However, on private worksites and access roads, no licence is necessary. Under the 2011 Work Health & Safety Act, certification is no longer needed for excavator operators. Operators must be competent and trained in the use of excavators and all manuals and information supplied must be read and understood. Legally, the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is ultimately responsible for operator competence. They should be aware of authorised users and their knowledge of correct use, control measures, safety and maintenance.

Do I need to perform LOLER inspections on the excavator? –

On many worksites excavators see as much use as lifting equipment as they do for excavation. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) inspections should be performed on all lifting equipment at regular intervals. These should be conducted by a ‘competent person’ trained in lifting equipment inspections, who must compile a written report of their findings. Under Section 6 of the Health And Safety At Work Act, hire companies are considered suppliers and responsible for providing safe products. This includes pre-hire testing of equipment, thorough examinations and inspection at the required intervals. For especially long hire periods, a written agreement can be arranged to pass this on to the hiring party. Usually, the user will only be responsible for day-to-day and pre-use safety checks.

How deep can you dig with a mini excavator? –

Obviously this depends on the size of the model being used. The Takeuchi TB210R has a modest digging depth of 1.755 metres, whereas the TB260 6 tonne can reach 3.895 metres. The specific job will dictate the reach required, although it is worth considering a digging depth slightly deeper than needed. This anticipates any work complications requiring additional depth without the need for further equipment. Ground type should also be considered when selecting an excavator. For example, if building on soft ground, deeper footings will be necessary. Hard soil with a large clay content will need a higher bucket digging force in addition to reach. If digging in existing buildings, underground pipes and utility services (broadband cables, electrical supply etc.) demand precision work to avoid damage. In these cases the relatively shallow digging depth and narrower bucket width of mini excavators are ideal.

How much weight can a mini excavator lift? –

Despite being referred to as ‘diggers’, excavators often see as much use lifting and removing obstructions. Even when digging, the refuse needs to be removed or transported by lifting. In the case of rubble, hardcore or concrete the volume of waste in the bucket will be significantly heavier than soil or similar materials. As with digging depth, the lifting capacity will increase with the size of excavator and should be assessed before hiring. Two factors dictate lifting capacity for an excavator: hydraulic capacity and tipping capacity. Hydraulic capacity is the maximum weight the equipment can lift before the hydraulics stall. Tipping capacity is the point where the load weight will cause the excavator to lift and potentially tip over. Lift charts based on manufacture testing will be included in the Operation and Maintenance manual and clearly displayed on the machine. This will usually be in the cab or canopy within easy sight of the operator. It should be noted that lift capacities are calculated for work on level, even surfaces and working on slopes or uneven ground will alter them. Lifting capacity should be included in excavator specifications on the hire company website. If in any doubt, speak to the company themselves to ensure you have the correct equipment for your specific lifting needs. Safety is critical when lifting and the outcome of any accident could be catastrophic for the operator and other workers nearby.

How heavy is a mini digger? –

Mini excavators are usually defined as models below 7 tonnes in weight although micro diggers can weigh as little as a tonne. This lightweight construction is one of their greatest strengths, allowing them to work on soft or fragile surfaces without causing damage. In addition, most models are equipped with expanding rubber tracks that distribute the weight of the equipment even further. This makes them ideal for interior work or on finished surfaces. The higher weight and metal tracks of larger models can easily dent or tear floor surfaces or pavement edging. Finally, the low weight of mini excavators make them easy to transport by trailer or truck.

SERV Plant Hire are plant and machinery specialists offering a huge variety of construction equipment for hire to the North West of England. We have a wide range of mini and micro excavators for hire, with attachments to suit any need. Contact us to discuss your requirements, we will be happy to answer any questions and ensure you have the best equipment for the job.

How to operate a mini excavator

Mini-excavators are now more popular than ever. They are quieter, more economical, easier to use, and simpler to transport than full-size excavators. They also tackle important jobs in tight spaces.

Which is the best excavator brand for you? It very much depends upon your current and anticipated requirements. Ask yourself, “What size excavator do I need?”

There is quite a range. Some compact excavators weigh around a ton, while others weigh more than nine tons. Identify the best mini-excavator for your needs, and you’ll be more productive before you know it.

What is a Mini Excavator Used For?

It is difficult to overstate the versatility of a compact excavator. The boom swing allows convenient offset digging along foundations and walls, as well as around obstacles. The backfill blade is used for grading, leveling, trenching and many other tasks. In addition to traditional trenching, excavating and utility work, these machines complete endless tasks when equipped with the right attachments.

Mini Excavator Design and Operation

How to operate a mini excavator

As you compare compact excavators, carefully compare the features that are important to you. Mini-excavators typically come with both a boom and a backfill blade, and they rely on high-torque diesel engines for power and performance.

Tail Swing

A zero tail swing (ZTS) design is easiest to use in tight places. 360-degree operation reduces the need to precisely position dump trucks. Select either a fixed, swing or articulating boom. A swing boom helps you see where you are working, while an articulating boom allows for operations parallel to the machine.


Compare fixed and retractable undercarriages to determine which one best meets your needs. The latter use hydraulics to expand or contract as desired. A retracted undercarriage makes the machine more maneuverable in tight spaces, while an expanded undercarriage improves stability.


Determine whether rubber or steel tracks are best for your applications. The former minimizes surface damage while the latter provides needed traction on loose surfaces. Choose from open or enclosed cabs. The latter gives operators protection from the elements and flying debris.


Finally, you’ll find many attachments that increase the ROI of the right mini excavator. You may want to consider different buckets along with hydraulic hammers, tilt rotators, augers, grapples, breakers and/or thumbs.

What is the Best Mini Excavator?

How to operate a mini excavator

Mini excavator comparisons often include top excavator manufacturers like Kubota, Bobcat, Caterpillar, John Deere, and Takeuchi. These are some of the best mini-excavator brands on the market today.


In a Takeuchi vs. Kubota mini-excavator comparison, you’ll find that Takeuchi introduced the first 360-degree slew compact excavator. Today, Takeuchi sells 11 different models.

John Deere

John Deere manufactures a variety of compact excavators, from the 17G to the 60G.


Bobcat, a Doosan company, sells 11 models ranging in weight from 2,593 to 18,977 pounds.


Some of Caterpillar’s 24 models are powered by Yanmar engines, while others are powered by Caterpillar engines.

Look for important features as you compare different makes and match the right engine to your needs.

  • Although you don’t want to waste money on excess power, you don’t want to lose productivity using an underpowered machine either.
  • Hydraulic override keeps you from potentially overloading and damaging the machine.
  • Automatic idling reduces engine speed when the hydraulics are not used for a short period.

Kubota Mini Excavator Advantages

How to operate a mini excavator

Kubota offers highly-rated, ultra-compact models like the K008-3. This nimble, two-speed machine is just 9-ft long, 7.4-ft tall, and it weighs just 2,200-lb. The Tier IV-compliant engine generates 10.1 horsepower.

An agricultural website rated the Kubota KX161-3 as a “Best Buy” for modest-sized farms. The 360-degree swing allows the operator to pile rocks, dirt, and trees on one side of the machine.

Despite its designation as a mini-excavator, the 5.75-ton machine can pick up 4,000-lb rocks and dig holes 12-ft deep. The versatile machine is also great for smoothing driveways and completing landscaping jobs.

Difference Between Kubota U and K Series

The main difference in the Kubota KX vs. UX Series is the tail swing. The Kubota U Series offers generally smaller dimensions with zero tail swing in the lower HP models and nearly zero tail swing in the higher HP models.

To learn more about the advantages of Kubota’s line of compact excavators, check out some of Kubota’s mini-excavator comparison videos, including this one for the KX040-4.

Contact Us

Bobby Ford Tractor and Equipment is an authorized Kubota dealer serving the greater Houston area. We sell and service U Series and K Series Kubota mini excavators.

If you want to learn more about how to operate a mini excavator before making a purchase, contact us today or visit our Kubota showroom in Angleton, TX.

By Allclass Construction,

How to operate a mini excavator

It’s fair to say that the introduction of mini excavators in the construction industry is a revolution. Mini excavators have become very popular in the extremely cost-conscious building trade and in other sectors. They’re well known for their high performance, reliability, and excellent business values. They’re also very practical options in many ways, reducing operating costs and delivering measurable values.

The 7 Benefits

These benefits are the reasons why mini excavators have taken over from larger excavators around the world:

  1. Agility: Mini excavators are highly manoeuvrable on any work site. They can access all areas and reduce positioning time compared with large excavators.
  1. Ease of training: Mini excavators are very trainee-friendly. It’s easy to learn how to operate a mini excavator, which also reduces training costs and time.
  1. Better access onsite: Mini excavators can move into tight areas and operate with ease. The traditional access issues with large excavators make the bigger machines quite unsuitable for some sites. There’s much less need to demolish to obtain access, too.
  1. Less damage to the worksite: These lighter vehicles don’t dig up the soil or turn worksites into quagmires when it rains. The mini excavators leave a very small footprint on operating surfaces, reducing risks to driveways, gardens, etc.
  1. Transport: The much smaller mini excavators are easy to transport by trailer, eliminating the expensive logistics of moving large excavators while delivering the extra benefits of their size and agility.
  1. Multi-functionality and high productivity: One area where mini excavators truly excel is in their versatility and ability to deliver multiple onsite services using attachments. A mini excavator can actually do more than a large excavator in this regard.
  1. Lower operating costs: Mini excavators save money in all areas of operation compared to big excavators. They can do the same work at a lower cost while delivering the same performance as large excavators in many different roles.

Business Benefits

The 7 benefits above all add up to a further, ongoing major benefit in the form of much better cost values for businesses. If you’re considering your options for buying a mini excavator, there are some added points for consideration

A mini excavator will deliver:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Lower training costs
  • Improved functionality and versatility
  • No major access issues
  • Better transportability and logistics
  • Improved profitability through lower costs
  • Very high values in onsite performance across all types of work
  • Much better operational efficiency onsite

These net values, applied to a construction company over any period of time, equal major dollar values for businesses. A mini excavator is as much an investment as a piece of equipment. You can reduce overheads, improve performance, and add a range of capabilities to your business.

Brisbane’s Home of Mini Excavators

Allclass Construction Equipment has an impressive range of new and used mini excavators. If you’d like to find out more, call us or contact us online and discuss your needs with our mini excavator experts. We’re happy to assist and provide any guidance you require.

How to Operate a Mini Excavator Safely: 8 Best Practices

How to operate a mini excavator

Mini excavators are one of the easiest pieces of heavy equipment to learn how to use and operate. On top of that, they have a small footprint, are low-cost to operate, and every homeowner has the ability to rent one for a landscaping project or utility renovation.

Mini excavators aren’t a one-size-fits-all. There are heavyweight excavators to dig into large landscaping projects and then more compact models for smaller digs. Ensure you have the correct size for what you need to do. You may want to consult with your local rental business regarding what they would recommend.

Here are the eight ways on how to operate a mini excavator:

1. Look Over the Operator’s Manual

In order to operate a mini excavator, it’s always a good idea to read the manual first. Every mini excavator comes with an instruction manual indicating the location of the controls. Even if you have used a mini excavator in the past, there are slight differences in where certain controls are placed. For beginners, the operator’s manual will also have a description of each control. If you have excavator attachments implemented, you will also need to read over the manual for each component as well.

2. Examine for Any Damage or Hazardous Risks

Even experienced mini excavator operators should bring the mini excavator to a level ground and try it out. A mini excavator is built to be very stable, however, they can be overturned operating in the wrong conditions. Ensure you are comfortable with the controls and a mini excavator’s operation before moving forward with your project.

Look around the mini excavator. If you note any loose or damaged parts, oil or fluid leaking, damaged tracks, or anything else that could indicate danger, don’t go forward with using it. Discuss these hazards with your supplier. While completing this safety check, also check the lubricant and coolant levels.

3. Mount the Machine and Sit Down

There is an arm rest on the left that should flip up on the left side of the mini excavator to allow access to the seat. Are you are seated, pull the left armrest back down and then lock it in place with the release lever.

Familiarize yourself with what’s in front of you. The ignition key will be on the console on the right side or overhead. Note where the engine temperature, oil pressure, and fuel level indicators are as well. Put on your seatbelt.

4. Grab the Joystick

Grip the joystick. This moves the hoe and machine rotating function. When released, they will return to a neutral position. Next, look at the two steel rods with handles to each side of your legs. These are steer controls. Each controls the rotation of the track of the side it is on. When a rod forwards, the machine turns in the opposite direction. Pull the same rod backwards and the machine turns in the direction the stick is pulled. The farther you push or pull, the faster the machine’s going to move.

5. Two Floorboard Controls

On the left, you will see a small pedal which is the high-speed control. This is meant to be used across smooth, level terrain. On the right, there is also a two-way pedal which can pivot the hoe left or right so that you don’t have to swing the machine to reach the location you need. Floorboard controls aren’t meant to be used often and should only be activated on safe, level ground.

6. Start Your Engine

Once you have your engine on, be careful not to accidentally bump any of the controls mentioned. Start by maneuvering your front blade and hoe. Raise both and push the steering forward. Move the machine around a bit to get the hang of its speed and handling.

7. Activate the Digging Function

The joystick on the armrests control the boom, pivot, and bucket motion. A switch behind or immediately beside the left side of the seat on the floorboard will put it either in ‘backhoe’ or ‘trackhoe’ mode. Lower the dozer blade pushing forward the control handle on your right until the blade is firmly on the ground. Move the joystick left and you pull the bucket in to scoop. Afterward, move the joystick right and dump the contents of the bucket.

8. The Left Joystick

When you have the hang of how the right joystick works, go to the left joystick. Moving it in the outer boom will swing back and away toward you. When you move the left joystick to the left, the complete cab of the machine will rotate on top of the tracks to the left. Ensure you’re moving slowly. Without a feel for the power of the joystick, it’s easy to rotate the machine too suddenly.

After some practising, you should have a decent feel for how the machine moves. For any beginner, remembering the controls and watching the bucket do its job is the best way to avoid damage or hazards.

How to operate a mini excavator

In the past, a mini excavator was under looked to be a toy compared to the other excavators and bulldozers. Their work and importance have since been recognized and appreciated by the major improvements made with improved technology. Despite their small in size nature, they are dangerous to operate and care should be taken to avoid injuries or damage to the equipment or the property. Below are some few tips to help you learn how to use and operate a mini excavator:

1. Choose an appropriate mini excavator. There are different types of mini excavator machine in the market and choosing one will depend on your project. They also vary in size and weight and if it is for your own projects, then a small one will be the most appropriate. The size of your project will also affect the type of mini excavator to buy. Compared to the rental prices per weekend, investing in one is a more long-term investment that will be to your benefit and advantage.

2. Read through the manual. No matter your experience with other machines, a mini excavator can be a totally new experience that needs a lot of care. It is for this reason that it is advisable to go through the manual before undertaking any operations. The manual acts as a guide to the different types of levers and how to operate them. You should also go through the warning and the danger notices on the delicate components of the mini excavator. Safety should be a major priority and concern.

3. Check out the parts of the mini excavator. Before you start on the engine, you need to go step by step checking out at the different components and test if they are functional or faulty. Start with the engine, ensure that all the parts are perfectly installed and if faulty you should do replacement or repair. If you are not comfortable with a conveyor belt, you can use tracks for mini excavator that will be comfortable for you.

4. Do a quick test . Before you start on the actual work, you need to test yourself to see if you have the skills to operate a mini excavator. This can be achieved by mounting on the excavator and taking it for a ride on a flat surface. Ensure you are familiar with the controls and the joystick. With a little test, you will be able to get the feel of the levers and the joystick. It will be easy when you know the directions and the feel of the mini excavator and that of the bucket. This should be done slowly to avoid damage to the property or the machine.

5. Do a lot of practice. Practice makes perfect, in order to acquire the skills of operating the mini excavator, you should do a lot of practice. You should start with easy projects. Take your time to learn how to operate and if need be, you can consult a professional to help you learn more.

Operating a mini excavator should never be underestimated. It is risky and dangerous equipment that should be operated with care.

How to operate a mini excavator

Operating a mini excavator is hassle-free. So, if you’re planning to hire a machine sometime soon but have never experienced how to operate a mini excavator, then you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ve round up a series of easy-to-follow instructions on how to use the equipment’s control and immediately become skillful in maneuvering the machine.

Unlocking the “Complexity” of Mini Excavator Handling

Steering a Diggermate mini excavator is as simple as a walk in the park. Here you will see that mastering the controls is easy and quick. Yup! We’re not kidding!

How to operate a mini excavator

Know more about the mini excavator parts

Before we begin, it is important to note that people take interest in operating a mini excavator because of two factors. First, one might want to learn because of DIY projects such as landscaping, pool digs, or fencing. Second, one might want to advance the skills to open a business. In this regard, Diggermate franchise and you can fill the form here).

So, to start the learning process, it is extremely important for you to learn about the various controls of the machine. Moreover, you have to know where they are located and what their individual functions are.

With that, you have to keep these in mind:
Switches and Levers
  1. Starter switch – located at the right side of the seat, right beside the seat belt latch.
  2. Lock lever for attachment control – referred to in the video as “Safety”; the red-coloured controller located at the left side of the seat.
  3. Throttle Lever – referred to in the video as “Accelerator”; the black controller on the right side located right after the starter.
  4. Drive levers – the levers positioned in between the foot pedals found directly in front of your seat.
Control Levers
  1. Control lever for front attachments (right) – aka the right Joystick; positioned directly on the right side of the seat; move left and right to scoop and dump function and then move forward and backward for the up-and-down-on-the-boom function.
  2. Control lever for front attachments (left) – aka the Left Joystick; positioned directly on the left side of the seat; move forward and back for boom in and out and move left and right to turn the machine around.
  3. Control lever for dozer or track width – referred to as the dozer blade controller in the video; found on the right side, beside the joystick.
  1. Boom swing pedal – the right foot pedal used to swing the boom left or right.
  2. Service port pedal – the left foot pedal also known as the independent attachment boom; useful to turn an auger, for example, left and right. Also works for all the other attachments.

REMEMBER: Always keep the the lock lever (safety) in the correct position. To start the machine, keep the lever in an upright position. To operate the mini excavator, keep it downward. Now that this information has been cleared, let’s roll!

Here’s Diggermate expert Mick Watkins showing you how to operate this little machine in 3 easy steps

Step 1: Starting the machine

How to operate a mini excavator

Before anything else, you must turn on the machine by switching the starter located at the right side of the seat, near the seatbelt latch. Remember to keep the lock lever in upright position for this to work.

Step 2: Operating the Machine

Next, keep the lock lever down to start operating and using the various controllers.

How to operate a mini excavator

In this case, turn on the machine by switching the starter located at the right side of the seat, near the seatbelt latch. Remember to keep the lock lever in upright position for this to work.

Use the dozer blade control lever to make it go up or down accordingly. The green button is the rabbit button or the second speed to go a little bit faster so the machine will go fast in a straight line but it doesn’t turn very well. It also helps the machine stabilise on an uneven ground.

Step 3: The Footwork

How to operate a mini excavator

Finally for the footwork, use the right foot pedal to swing the boom left or right. In addition, don’t forget that you can use the scoop and dump function and forward-backward motion using the joysticks.

At this point, the dozer blade goes back, the joystick comes up just a little bit just to raise the bucket off the trailer, and then all the way back.

Now hop on a Diggermate machine and experience for yourself how to operate a mini excavator.

Because you already know the parts, functions, and controls of a mini excavator, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to practice. Finally you can hop on a machine and get the feel of everything.

Usually, the first hour may be a struggle. However, once you’ve familiarised yourself with the controls, you’ll be good to go. We also recommend you replaying this tutorial video as much as you can to really master the operations.

Where to book a mini excavator for hire

Here at Diggermate, booking is easy. First, you can check and book our Diggermate locations online. However, if you prefer to call the operators, you can see the contacts at the bottom of this page. Remember, when you hire an excavator, it comes with a bucket ready to go so you get a 300-, a 450-, and 1100 bucket. You get the ripper as well. The machines will come fueled and ready to go. Thus, we expect them to come back fueled and clean as much as you can.

Course Features: Auto-save progress, 24/7 access, mobile friendly, instant permit transmission to rental facility

This course is for those seeking a MA Temporary Permit to operate a Mini Excavator ONLY through an approved ARAM Rental Facility. The MA Temporary Permit is a non-renewable permit issued to operate Compact Hoisting Machinery, which is Hoisting Machinery with a manufacturer’s listed gross vehicle weight not exceeding 8,000 lbs. Hoisting Machinery that requires a Class 1, Class 3 ,or Class 4 Hoisting Machinery License, as listed in 520 CMR 6.10, are excluded. Permits have a duration of 14 days, and may ONLY be issued for rented equipment from approved ARAM Rental Facilities. Click here to find an approved ARAM Rental Facility. Not all ARAM locations are approved. Before purchasing this course, please contact your selected rental facility to obtain your rental store code. Your certificate will not be issued without this code.

Course Details & Benefits:

Upon completion of the course, your certificate is immediately available at the rental store of your choosing. At the end of your course, simply select the store code provided to you from your approved ARAM vendors, and your certificate will be sent to their facility as soon as your course is complete.

Please note: Certificates are no longer emailed to the customer.

Our website was built on one foundation: ease of use! We didn’t integrate a random course player from a 3rd-party. Instead, our software is custom built to offer you the best user experience possible. To catch a glimpse of our course player, and learn about its benefits, click here.

Don’t have time to finish your course(s) in one sitting? Don’t worry about it. Our “bookmark” feature will automatically save your progress down to the exact location – so all you have to do is click “resume” when you’re ready to continue on.

Access your account and complete your course(s) from any Internet-enabled device, any time, any place.

You don’t need to be a computer expert to use our platform. Our entire site was built with the comprehension that “ease of use” is rule number one. Still, you may decide you want some help, and we are a quick phone call away. We receive a LOT of positive feedback for our customer support, so rest assured, you’re in good hands.


  • The temporary permit is valid for 14 consecutive days only
  • No person shall be issued more than one (1) temporary permit in a 45-day period
  • Temporary permits may include all three equipment types, as long as they fall within the 14 day period
  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle
  • Before you begin the course, you must obtain a rental store code from an approved ARAM Rental Facility. If you do not have one, contact your rental facility, or click here to find an approved ARAM Rental Facility.
  • The online course can be taken at any time, and may be completed at your leisure.
  • Upon completion of the course, you will be prompted to submit your rental store code. This will immediately send your certificate to the rental facility.
  • Many of the fields on your certificate will be left blank. This is intentional, as the rental facility will complete the certificate on site the day of your rental.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety – Hours of Operation: (Mon-Fri / 8:45am-5:00pm):

  • Call (508) 820-1444 to report all hoisting-related accidents.
  • All other Mass DPS calls: (617) 727-3200.


How to operate a mini excavatorClick Here To Watch Full Video

The Bobcat E35 Mini Excavator is a popular choice for projects where space is confined. The Zero Tail Swing gives the operator unrestricted rotation and greater flexibility for reduced potential damage to the machine and surrounding obstacles.

Here is a quick rundown on how to operate the E35 Mini Excavator.

When entering the E35 Mini Excavator, you need to have three points of contact with the machine at all times. Inside the machine, you will find A/C, heat, radio, and light features to stay comfortable during operation. Once you are seated, lower the safety lock located on the left hand side and fasten your seat belt. To start the E35 Mini Excavator, turn the key and enter your code. The right joystick will control your bucket, letting you operate in a left and right motion. The dipper stick will adjust the bucket in an up and down motion. The joystick on your left will control the twist of the machine, allowing you to move the bucket left or right or up and down. To drive the machine forward, grab both long handles and push them away from you. To go backward, grab both long handles and pull them towards you. To turn the machine left, pull the left long handle towards you and the right long handle away from you. To turn right, pull the right long handle towards you and the left long handle away from you. The dozer blade is controlled by the top of the right joystick. Move the joystick up and down to maneuver the dozer blade. When dismounting, always have three points of contact to ensure a safe exit.

Contact our Rental Department for any operation questions or to check availability.

Excavators are essential heavy equipment, but their compact versions are often overlooked. This is a shame, because there are plenty of compelling reasons to have a mini excavator on hand for a wide variety of projects and applications. This is particularly true when you consider the many possibilities beyond digging that exist with different attachments.

Benefits of a Mini Excavator’s Compact Size

Obviously, there are advantages to a mini excavator’s smaller size, especially if you frequently complete projects where a full-size excavator is excessive.

  • Compact excavators create less storage and transportation burden than their larger counterparts
  • They generate considerably less noise than full-size excavators
  • They consume less fuel and other fluids, reducing operational costs
  • Mini excavators are much more maneuverable and manageable in tighter work environments, and can access confined spaces that bigger machines can’t
  • A lighter footprint lets them be used with less risk of damage to finished grades and ground surfaces
  • They increase efficiency and productivity when used for properly sized jobs
  • Compact excavators are simple to operate, so workers can be trained quickly without much time or cost

Other Applications of Compact Excavators Besides Digging

One of the other good reasons to have a mini excavator in your fleet is its functional versatility. These machines aren’t limited to a bucket, and leading models can couple with other attachments like augurs, thumbs, hammers, compactors, and more.

This means you can enjoy all the benefits of the equipment’s smaller size while putting it to use for breaking and other demolition tasks, clearing, compacting, lifting, and various site prep applications.

CASE Construction Equipment Mini Excavators

The Tier 4 Final CASE C-Series Mini Excavators are excellent machines to consider when you’re ready to take advantage of all the reasons to have a mini excavator in your fleet. The series features seven models, ranging from 1.7 to 6 metric tons and hitting dig depths of up to 13.1 feet. These exceptionally responsive, operator-friendly pieces of equipment offer best-in-class horsepower, unmatched safety, and all reliability and standard features you expect from CASE.

How to operate a mini excavator

Mini excavators are one of the most popular hire machines for construction sites today so it’s important that you take full advantage of them. Known as a compact or mini excavator, the excavator can come tracked or wheeled with a weight range from 0.7 to 8.5 tonnes and specialises in tight access and residential work. Using a mini excavator is ideal for many construction jobs or in your backyard, from digging, trenching and demolishing.

If you’re looking for the same high performance and features of a standard excavator but in a smaller size, then find out below why a mini excavator could be the right machine for you and discover its use and benefits.

Why use a Mini Excavator?

On smaller sites large excavators aren’t always practical or necessary, meaning a mini excavator being a great alternative. Whether it’s a small to a medium-sized project or when more precision is needed in assisting full-sized excavators on larger sites a mini excavator is what you need. Hiring a mini excavator makes construction and excavation tasks more effective and safer as their small size allows for prompt and quick movement into space restricted areas.

Mini excavators can be used for a range of jobs including:

1. Demolishing small structures, concrete, sheds, steel and asphalt
2. Digging holes, ponds, irrigation ditches and foundations
3. Creating utility trenches and drainage trenches
4. Repairing sewer lines
5. Flattening landscapes and removing tree stumps
6. Drilling and backfilling
7. Snow ploughing

Mini excavators can handle a variety of jobs that either require demolition or digging, that a shovel or basic hand tool couldn’t handle. With the additional range of attachments available making it possible for mini excavators to complete all kinds of projects and tasks.

How to operate a mini excavator

Benefits of using a Mini Excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

The following are some of the unique benefits of hiring a mini excavator for your next project or task:

1. Agility
On any site mini diggers are highly manoeuvrable with access to tight spaces, interiors or softer ground.

2. Transport
Mini excavators are easy to transport by trailer or pickup bed, making transport cheaper and less of a hassle in comparison of moving large excavators.

3. More efficient
Mini excavators use less power meaning the machine is cheaper to run and creates a smaller carbon footprint.

4. Multifunctional and high productivity
Small excavators can assist on a range of tasks during one project due to its versatility and ability to provide several services using attachments.

5. Less noise pollution
Mini excavators are quieter than most heavy-duty equipment which makes them an asset in residential jobs where neighbours are nearby.

6. Minor damage to the worksite
Small excavators are a lighter machine that leaves a very small footprint on operating surfaces reducing risk to damage exteriors and structures.

7. Simplicity of training
Mini diggers are extremely trainee-friendly as mini excavators are easy to learn and operate.

Mini excavator attachments

When using a mini excavator there are two main attachment types, digging and demolition. Other popular excavator attachments are augers, buckets, compactor plates, compactions wheels and rippers. These are an important part of the compact excavator hire as each mini excavator model is designed to take on diverse projects and different kinds of attachments can perform more than one task. Before hiring a mini excavator consider the type of ground and workspace of the project.

Operating Mini Excavators

Compact excavators are relatively small machines that are very powerful and dangerous if used incorrectly. Therefore, it is important that when operating you have training from a professional before using the vehicle. When hiring a mini excavator in Australia you may need a license to operate, therefore our equipment hire companies will let you know prior what is required for your specific job. Before commencing work, in a safe location away from hazards, you should test the machine and controls prior to commencing work to have an understanding and feel of the mini digger.

Hire a Mini Excavator through iSeekplant

Here at iSeekplant, we have a nationwide network of mini excavator hire suppliers ranging from Brisbane , Sydney and Melbourne to Canberra , Adelaide , Darwin and Perth . If you’re thinking that a mini excavator is the right machine for your project or you’re unsure which excavator size to choose, have a quick chat with a plant hire company or the iSeekplant team on 1300 691 912.

How to operate a mini excavator

Subscribe to iSeekplant’s Flapping Mouth blog below to keep up to date with all the latest construction news and projects!

How to operate a mini excavator

  • Share

Small and compact, the demand for mini excavator hire has skyrocketed in the past decade. They might look tiny compared to their heavy duty big brother, but mini excavators can still pack a mean punch.

This piece of machinery has a compact body, and allows multiple attachments and bucket sizes. So with a versatile range of functions, mini excavators are favoured around up-and-coming areas where lighter equipment is needed for smaller earthwork jobs.

So what are their major selling points when looking to hire a mini excavator?

1. They’re easy to use

You can learn to operate mini excavators in a matter of minutes. Almost anyone can use this piece of equipment and start immediately.

2. Nooks and crannies are not a problem

Compared to full-sized excavators, mini excavators can easily maneuver into tight spaces. Accessibility is a major selling point to contractors and operators alike. Just check out this mini excavator maneuver through a china shop – case in point.

3. They are quieter

Small machines produce less noise, especially when crossing hard surfaces and cement. Minimising the stress of noise complaints, mini excavators are a hot commodity throughout residential job sites.

4. They can be less damaging

With lighter equipment, you can avoid grinding or scraping the surface they operate on. The rubber tracks fitted to smaller machines also help load the machine for transport, reducing the risk of slips. Since mini excavators are easier to move around tight spaces, there’s little need to tear down anything to accommodate the excavator.

5. They are easily transported

Transporting machinery from one place to another is one of the biggest concerns when hiring equipment. Bigger machines are harder to transport, not to mention it would cost extra to move them around. Mini excavators, or smaller machines in general are easier to transport since they will fit into a pickup truck’s trailer or extended pickup beds.

How to operate a mini excavator

6. Functionality is not limited

Mini excavators work similarly to full-sized excavators. Its size does not limit its functionality. Mini excavators still have the ability to swing 360 degrees, which means that you don’t have to re-position dump trucks to adjust to the location of the excavator – the mini excavator will simply just swing to place a load onto the dump truck wherever it is positioned.

7. They can save you money

Mini excavators are relatively cheaper to hire compared to the full-sized excavator. Hauling larger machinery on the highway requires special permits, which costs extra money. Since mini excavators are small and compact, they’re easily transported on a pickup truck trailer and you don’t have to have a special hauling permit to transport them. Operators on a mini excavator don’t need a commercial driver’s license, unlike full-sized excavators. Saving money on special permits and licenses is a major bonus for any contractor.

How to operate a mini excavator

It is a common perception that smaller machinery carry less power compared to their full-sized counterparts, but that is not necessarily true. Even though mini excavators are smaller and compact, their functions and capabilities are comparable to that of a full-sized excavator. Mini excavators are convenient to use in small or tight spaces, but can often keep up with bigger machinery on large-scale construction sites.

Whether it’s for a simple digging project in your backyard or a long term project, mini excavators can do the job. If you are considering hiring a mini excavator for your next project, make sure you are aware of some of the factors that can affect pricing.

To help you out, we’ve created a free Ebook (below) which outlines 7 factors that can affect your plant hire rates.

Cost: £1,890 no VAT charged
Duration: 6 days
Locations: Bircham (Norfolk)
Dates: Call 0344 994 4433
Funding: See Grants and funding below
Mandatory entry requirements: See below

This 6 day course is for people with limited or no experience of using mini excavators. It’s also suitable for people who have some experience, but need a formal qualification.

You will learn to operate and maintain a mini excavator, including quick hitches.

On passing the technical tests, we will apply for the CPCS trained operator card (red card) on your behalf.

Please make sure that you have read and understood the entry requirements (see below) and booking terms and conditions for this course.

Course content

  • Operate the mini excavator safely and productively
  • Fit and operate ancillary equipment
  • Carry out minor adjustments and routine servicing procedures
  • Understand the capabilities, purposes and limitations of each machine
  • Follow all necessary safety precautions
  • Interpret the information provided by level pegs and profiles
  • Carry out necessary routine adjustments and service procedures
  • Work to levels with the aid of laser equipment.

Teaching and assessment

  • 5 days training – classroom lessons and practical exercises
  • 1 day assessment – CPCS technical tests.

Qualifications you get

  • CPCS trained operator card (red card) on passing the CPCS technical tests
  • CITB National Construction College certificate.

Mandatory entry requirements

  • CITB Health, safety and environment test needs to have been passed within the previous 23 months before the course start date
  • Good understanding of spoken and written English. Please contact us if you have any concerns in this area.

By booking a course, you are agreeing to abide by our Terms and Conditions.

Grants and funding

Grants are available for eligible employers. For further information please visit our grant pages.

Need more information?

Call 0344 994 4433 for more information about this course.

Further training

After gaining experience on site, you must complete a NVQ/SVQ level 2 within 2 years to get the CPCS competent operator card (blue card).

Sand Martin House, Bittern Way, Peterborough, PE2 8TY

Registered in England and Wales Charity No 264289 and in Scotland Charity No SC044875

in support of careers in the construction sector

  • Accessibility
  • Contact CITB
  • FOI requests
  • News, events and blogs
  • Site map
  • Modern slavery act
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Cookies policy
  • Cookie settings
  • Jobs at CITB
  • CITB Shop

© The Construction Industry Training Board 2021, known as CITB.

Category: Equipment and Solutions

It’s easy to think that operating a mini excavator is simply twiddling a joystick. In reality, there are many things to know to make sure that you use these machines correctly. Not understanding how to run a mini excavator can result in poor job execution and dangerous accidents. They may be smaller than other machines, but that doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down when working with one.

Here are some mini excavator operating tips to ensure you can complete your projects safely and efficiently:

  • Know how the mini excavator works: Make sure that you are familiar with the excavator you are using for the job. Not understanding how it functions could result in not realizing when there is something wrong. Additionally, waiting until you’re on the job to learn about the machine could result in time and fuel wastage.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: It can be easy to lose yourself in your work. While it is important to focus on doing a good job, not paying attention to what’s around you can cause injury to property or individuals. Two common areas of potential risk are obstacles above the excavator or under the ground. Use the excavator’s mirrors and cameras to help protect yourself and others from harm.
  • Use the three-point method: The three-point method is key when entering or exiting a mini excavator. This means that you should have three points of contact with the machine with your hands and feet to ensure you don’t fall during the process. In addition, be sure to face the vehicle whenever you are getting in or out of it to minimize the danger of slipping.
  • Protect those around you: Safety should always be the top priority at any job site, especially when working with machinery such as mini excavators. One way to preserve the well-being of fellow workers is to inform them when and where you will be working. That way, they can make sure to avoid those areas when the machine is in operation. Also, avoid actions such as moving the bucket over peoples’ heads to prevent injuries.
  • Stay up to date on maintenance: It is vital to keep up with regular maintenance on all machines, and mini excavators are no exception. Taking proper care of your machinery can prevent premature breakdowns and expensive repairs.

NMC The Cat ® Rental Store Can Help

After more than 80 years of working with this type of machinery, the team at NMC The Cat ® Rental Store is highly familiar with mini excavators and how to use them safely and effectively. We offer rentals and training for those interested in using one of these capable compact machines. Contact us for more information on operating a mini excavator and our rental availability.

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator

An increased counterweight improves the excavator’s performance due to optimal balance, maximizing machine efficiency. The large boom swing and width-protected swing frame enables offset digging without the need to reposition the machine.

For utility work, landscaping, construction or site prep, -7 Series mini excavators deliver impressive lifting capacity for moving pipes, boulders and other materials. Powerful digging forces help you get more work done in less time, and efficient torque-limiting piston pumps respond to load demands, delivering arm and mini excavator bucket forces that meet the challenge of your most difficult jobs.

The standard rubber track undercarriage provides superior flotation and traction on sensitive or soft surfaces and minimizes damage as you travel across established surfaces, such as yards, driveways or patios, reducing the need to return to the jobsite for repairs.

Pilot-operated control valves provide smooth, predictable work group control for precision work in close quarters. You won’t have to sacrifice speed to get smoother operation. A smooth control valve system provides ample, consistent oil flow for the job for fast cycle times and a smooth, agile response to your commands.

All -7 Series mini excavators are hydraulic quick-coupler-ready with quick-coupler hydraulic piping installed to the end of the arm. All models also have a thumb-ready arm that includes durable thumb mounts integrated into the arm.

Auxiliary hydraulics are configured with easy connections to quickly connect hoses when using hydraulic attachments. An optional second set of hydraulics runs multi-function attachments that require multi-function hydraulic flow.

Take on different jobs and expand your business by doing more with one machine using attachments. Available attachments include buckets, thumb and quick coupler.

How to operate a mini excavator

A mini excavator is a piece of compact utility equipment that has many uses in the construction industry. Mini excavators can weigh up to 20,000 lbs. which would border on what’s considered compact. These are popular vehicles because they are incredibly versatile. This leads us to the question, when should you use a mini excavator?

Is A Mini Excavator What You Need?

Mini excavators bring something to the table that regular excavators cannot offer, which makes them more suitable for some jobs. This doesn’t mean standard excavators are not useful machines – it all depends on the kind of job!.

Mini excavators offer reduced track marks and they’re better for tasks that have to be done in crowded sites. They can go around parking lots with ease, too. Also, a smaller excavator can be easily transported from site to site.

Mini excavators typically have bucket sizes between 12 and 24 inches, but you can also install attachments, which adds to the versatility.

Where Do You Use Mini Excavators?

Here are some of the main uses of mini excavators in construction:

For Sewer Line Repairs

If there’s a need for a basic repair in sewer lines, a mini excavator makes better sense than a trencher or other full-size machines. They can perform the job just as efficiently and at a lower price. You’ll need to determine the digging depth that is required for the sewer line to ensure that the mini excavator can reach it. Once you are certain that it can, there’s no need to rent something else.

For Installing Hot Tubs or Pools

Hot tubs and pools typically require building permits, so they’re often handled by contractors. Because mini excavators are more compact, they’re a better choice for going around a backyard that may have limited space.

For Small Structure Demolition

There are lots of jobs for demolitions of small structures, like sheds. A mini excavator is perfect for this. They can navigate small areas with ease.

For Digging Holes

Most construction jobs require digging holes. Construction teams might consider shoveling or using hand-powered tools to do the job. However, a mini excavator may be a better choice as it can dig holes faster and even reach hard-to-reach spots.

Rent or Buy a Mini Excavator

As you can see, a mini excavator can be really useful for a variety of construction jobs. Depending on the task, it might be the only ideal option for you! If you need rent to own equipment like a mini excavator, just be sure that you’re getting it from a reliable source.

Groff Tractor is one of the most trusted heavy equipment dealers in Pennsylvania. Contact our team today to learn more about our construction equipment solutions!

Kobelco mini excavators have a reputation for being highly fuel efficient, reliable and quiet to operate.

Many businesses count on our mini excavators to deliver top-class performance along with strong support from our dealer network to provide great after-sales support and service so they can focus on what matters – keeping their clients happy.

Check out our range of mini excavators today and ask us for a quote.

How to operate a mini excavator

How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator


How to operate a mini excavator



Kobelco doesn’t just build the highest quality excavators in the industry – they are also backed up by an expert network of independently owned and operated dealers.

Reasons to enquire about a Kobelco Mini-Excavator today

Best Warranty in the market
Standard 4 Year / 4,000 Hour Full Machine Warranty across our Kobelco Mini Excavator Range.

Over 80 years of history and technical expertise
Kobelco has over 80 years of experience developing pioneering technology with the support of the Kobe Steel Group. Our mini excavators are fuel efficient, powerful, safe and comfortable and are highly appreciated by customers.

Fast and flexible Kobelco Finance available
Kobelco Finance is easy and available to apply for through our experienced dealer network. Click here for your nearest authorised Kobelco dealer for more information.

Nationwide dealer support network
Experienced dealer network of mini excavator and excavator specialists have a commitment to providing customers with excellent service and support.

Kobelco’s Revolutionary Integrated Noise & Dust Reduction Cooling System (iNDr)
Our iNDr cooling system has enabled us to build excavators that are much quieter than regulatory requirements – delivering “Ultimate Low-Noise.”

Key features of our Mini Excavators

Wide working range
A larger boom and arm are provided as standard equipment to ensure a wider working range.

Short tail swing
Operators don’t have to worry about the rear of the machine when swinging and can focus on the job in front due to 0mm tail overhang. This makes it easy to dig next to walls in tight spaces.

Powerful and efficient dozer performance
Kobelco’ s unique dozer blade shape forms earth into an arc that always falls forward and prevents earth from falling behind the blade so only “one pass” is needed. The dozer lever also features a hydraulic pilot control for precise handling.

Integrated flow pump system for added power
This ensures fast and smooth arm and boom operation even under heavy loads.

What you need to do

The law says you must organise your site so as to segregate pedestrians and excavators. Those excavators used must be carefully selected, maintained and operated by trained drivers. Key issues are:

What you need to know

A safe workplace for all vehicle operations must be established by separating pedestrians and vehicles and providing hazard-free traffic routes. See Traffic management

Excavator hazards

Most fatal and serious injuries involving excavators occur when the excavator is:

  • Moving – and strikes a pedestrian, particularly while reversing;
  • Slewing – trapping a person between the excavator and a fixed structure or vehicle; or
  • Working – when the moving bucket or other attachment strikes a pedestrian or when the bucket inadvertently falls from the excavator.

Controlling the risk

It is important to select the right excavator for the job. There are five main precautions needed to control excavator hazards. These are:

  • Exclusion: People should be kept away from areas of excavator operation by the provision of suitable barriers. Most excavator related deaths involve a person working in the vicinity of the excavator rather than the driver. Bunting or fencing can be used to create and maintain a pedestrian exclusion area.
  • Clearance: When slewing in a confined area the selection of plant with minimal tail swing is preferred. Clearance of over 0.5m needs to be maintained between any part of the machine, particularly the ballast weight, and the nearest obstruction.
  • Visibility: Excavators with the best view around them directly from the driver position should be selected. Excavators should be equipped with adequate visibility aids to ensure drivers can see areas where people may be at risk from the operation of the machine.
  • Plant and vehicle marshaller: A Plant and vehicle marshaller should be provided in a safe position to direct excavator operation and any pedestrian movements.
  • Bucket attachment: Quick hitches can be used to secure buckets to the excavator arm. Check that you are able to implement and manage any quick hitch used. A number of deaths have occurred in recent years when the bucket has fallen from the machine.

Training and competence

There are three categories of worker who must be trained and competent regarding the excavator hazards and precautions:

  • Drivers: should be trained, competent and authorised to operate the specific excavator. Training certificates from recognised schemes help demonstrate competence and certificates should be checked for validity;
  • Plant and vehicle marshallers: should be trained, competent and authorised to direct excavator movements and, where possible, provided with a protected position from which they can work in safety; and
  • Pedestrians: should be instructed in safe pedestrian routes on site and the procedure for making drivers aware of their presence.

Inspection and maintenance

A programme of daily visual checks, regular inspections and servicing schedules should be established in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the risks associated with each vehicle.

Drivers should be encouraged to report defects or problems. Reported problems should be put right quickly and the excavator taken out of service if the item is safety critical.