Buy vs. Rent a Mini Excavator: Which is the Best Choice?

Mini excavators, particularly Chinese mini excavators, have demonstrated their might and are increasingly becoming common in the building field. They […]


Mini excavators, particularly Chinese mini excavators, have demonstrated their might and are increasingly becoming common in the building field. They can be a valuable partner for your project whether it involves digging foundations or flattening surfaces.

Now, whether to buy or rent a mini excavator is very straightforward. It directly impacts your projects and can be viewed as a matter of practicality. Each choice may have its own benefits. However, they are based on the comparison and calculation of different factors involved. Read this article to learn more about the topic!

Mini Excavator Prices

Before purchasing a mini excavator, comparing the prices between different mini excavator brands and models is necessary.

General price for new and used mini excavators

New Mini ExcavatorUsed Mini Excavator
$15,000-100,000$5,000 and more

A typical starting cost for fresh mini excavators might be around $15,000. But the price can climb higher than $100,000 depending on the size or capacity. Smaller units will require less money compared to larger models. The price also reflects the reputation of the brand in delivering good products that perform well under work conditions. For example, the Bobcat E32 model costs from $40,000 to $45,000.

However, the cost of used mini excavators could be more variable. A used mini excavator can start with a price of as low as $5,000 for older models or units that have higher operating hours. Even for those with few hours and good maintenance, they might still bring in prices near the lower end of the new machine range.

What will affect the price?

Types of Mini Excavators

Regarding size, mini excavators are typically organized according to their weight and type. If it is smaller, then the cost may be less but with a larger machine, you will get more digging depth and lifting capacity.

Capabilities and Features

Features such as cab rotation, variable hydraulics, or advanced control systems may affect cost too. Also, different mini excavator attachments like hammers, grapples, and augers could impact pricing.


Stuff made by famous brands, especially those that keep their value in the market for a long time, usually have an additional charge. The brand’s warranty and its service after sales can also affect this price.

Boleo mini excavator

Market Conditions

Market forces like supply and demand can also impact prices. For instance, if it is a high construction period or economic growth is happening, this might make fresh mini excavators costlier.

Alternatively, when there is a decrease in these sectors, it might result in sellers reducing their costs by giving discounts or incentives to purchase from them.


During peak construction seasons, rental companies may charge more because of increased demand, and vice versa.

Operating Hours

About used excavators, the two main things to consider when estimating how much more they can be utilized are the age of the machine and its operating hours. Machines with lower hour counts may cost more because they probably have a longer service life even if they are older.


The maintenance of a mini excavator

In certain rental agreements, the rental price may already incorporate the expenses for maintenance and repair. In other cases, these costs could be additional charges added to your rent amount.

Rental Duration

For longer rental times, there could be a reduction in the cost. Shorter-term rents may have an increased price per week or day.


You could also be charged extra for delivery and pick-up if the rental company provides these services.

Insurance and Damage Waivers

Rental contracts might demand more insurance, or they could provide damage waivers with an added expense.

Fuel Consumption

The rental agreement may have fuel charges written in it, or renter might need to pay for fuel on their own.

Rental Agreement Terms

For used mini excavators, the rental agreement’s particular conditions, such as when payments are due, the amount of security deposit required and fines for returning items late can also affect total cost.

In addition to the factors above, differences in supply, demand, and economic situations within regions can cause price differences as well.

How Much to Rent a Mini Excavator

$200-500$1,000-2,500$3,000 and more

For short-term projects, you may find it more cost-efficient to rent a mini excavator. The usual rent per day for a mini excavator is about $200-500. Choosing per day is good for small and fast jobs or those who need it only for one or two days.

For projects that are longer in duration, renting on a weekly or monthly basis might be more cost-effective. Normally, the price for one week is between $1,000 and $2,500.

And in every month, the price range is from $3,000 to over $7,000. Every week or monthly rental allows one to have a mix of renting items while saving money by using them for a longer period.

However, renting a mini excavator isn’t enough with the rental cost. Many rental companies require a security deposit ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Also, the cost of fuel is not included in the rental price. During the rental, you will be responsible for providing fuel.

There may also be several situations. If you exceed the agreed-upon rental hours, you should prepare overtime fees. And you may offer the cleaning and maintenance fees to keep the machine in a good state.

Bigger excavators

Whether to Rent or Buy a Mini Excavator?

Financial Considerations

Buying vs. Renting

For buying, you require a larger initial payment which covers the cost of purchasing along with all taxes and fees.

When you rent, you need to make regular payments for using the item. Renting can seem cheaper because it spreads out your payment into smaller parts over time. However, renting something for an extended period could result in paying more than what it would have cost initially.

Tax Implications

When you rent a business location, it is an expense that can be deducted from tax. This helps in reducing the amount of money you must pay in taxes because it is viewed as an official cost for operating your business.

Sometimes, purchasing a mini excavator can bring tax benefits such as depreciation. This way helps businesses to recover the expense of equipment slowly. Additionally, some incentives for new equipment investment might influence the choice to buy.

Financing Options for Purchasing Equipment

For individuals who enjoy purchasing but lack sufficient funds, there are numerous methods of financing at their disposal.

1. Traditional loans from banks or credit unions may offer competitive interest rates.

2. Specialized financing through dealers or financial institutions that focus on construction equipment.

3. In lease-to-own agreements, you get the opportunity to rent the equipment with the possibility to purchase it at the end of your lease term. Often, a certain portion of your rental payments will be regarded as credit towards buying that item in the future.

Buyer’s Financial Situation

Credit score and financial situation

Positive financial conditions, such as lowered interest rates, might help to make the cost of buying more affordable.

Alternatively, having a low credit score can make it harder for you to get loans or increase the interest rates on these loans. For those who don’t have an excellent credit history, renting might be more feasible in the beginning.

Utilization and Project Needs

Simply put, anyone can rent a mini excavator and also buy one. It becomes easier to make a selection when you know the purpose and project type for using the mini excavator.

Annual Usage

If you need a mini excavator frequently during all seasons of the year, it might be cheaper to buy your own machine.

Yet, if the utilization of an asset is not frequent or merely for transitory ventures, then renting could be more economically astute. As a rule of thumb, purchasing becomes beneficial when a business uses it for no less than 60% of the year.

For usage rates falling between 40% and 60%, it remains ambiguous which option is superior and necessitates an in-depth investigation into project necessities along with monetary status. Below 40%, renting is often the recommended approach.

Project Duration

In small and short projects, buying a mini excavator may not be economically sensible, so renting is better.

On the other hand, for longer projects that last many months or more, you could think about purchasing a mini excavator. This could be a good option, especially if the equipment is likely to be used in similar future projects on multiple occasions.

Project Size

The area of the project may influence the type of mini excavator needed and this could affect decisions on purchasing or renting.

For instance, a small landscaping project may only require the use of a mini excavator for a few days, making it more sensible to rent. In contrast to this, if there is a large construction work with many stages and needing various tools or machines then owning the equipment might be necessary so that they are always accessible.


Renting often seems cheaper. You only pay for the time you use the equipment, not its maintenance or storage. But sometimes, the overall cost of renting over a long period can be equal to or even more than owning costs.

Specific Excavation Needs and Job Type

If the job requires a mini excavator with special tasks that demand unique abilities or attachments, renting might be more beneficial. This is because it permits you to use precise equipment for every task without having to possess it permanently.

In addition, the kind of job they are working on also influences their selection. It links with how frequently and alike the upcoming works are.

Maintenance and Operational Costs

If someone has a mini excavator, they have to take care of all maintenance. This means regular servicing, fixing broken parts, and swapping out worn parts. The expenses could be quite high as the machine ages over time.

For mini excavators, the rental company often takes maintenance. So, the person renting is not required to organize and manage these expenditures.

A person is operating a mini excavator

Long-term Operating Costs

In the case of a mini excavator, the expenses that will keep happening are not only maintenance but also depreciation. Depreciation is when an item’s worth decreases with years passing by and it can be particularly substantial for big machines in construction jobs.

Storage Space

A shelter for the machine to protect from weather situations is necessary. For businesses with limited space or placed in city areas, this could be hard. The need for storage goes away when you go with renting because, after use, equipment is returned to the rental firm.

Frequency of Use

Businesses with work that occurs in seasons might find it more advantageous to rent a mini excavator. This way, they can evade the expenses and obligations of owning one when there is no requirement or use during off-peak times.

Certain companies operate all year round or have a consistent need for excavation services. They could find it more economical to possess the equipment. This is because it spreads out costs across a longer period and ensures constant availability.

Final Considerations

Every decision, like buying or renting a mini excavator, has its own upside and downside. When you make the choice, it is important to confirm that your project goals and plans are in line with them. Also, understand the dangers associated with each option and how they can be reduced. By doing these, you can make a reasonable decision and propel your operations forward.

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