Mini Excavator Size Guide for Your Projects

If you need a mini excavator for construction and excavation, you must choose the one with a suitable size. With […]


If you need a mini excavator for construction and excavation, you must choose the one with a suitable size. With an appropriate mini excavator, you can achieve the best efficiency on the job site. That’s why knowing mini excavator sizes is important for contractors and homeowners.

Mini Excavator vs. Standard Excavator

Even though they have more power and can dig deeper, standard excavators are appropriate for open spaces and big jobs. Weigh over 13 tons, some standard machines even exceeding 40 tons. The smallest standard excavators can dig 19 feet deep and dump material up to 23 feet high.

In contrast, mini excavators are more flexible for small or tight areas, precise tasks and use where limiting surface harm is important. Weigh between 1 to 10 tons, small excavators can range from 5-10 feet in dig depth and 6-11 feet in dump height, with horsepower between 10-40 hp. Larger mini excavators can achieve dig depths over 17 feet and dump heights up to 19 feet, with horsepower between 69-74 hp.

Less than 1 Ton Mini Excavators

Less than 1 ton (800-1,999 lbs) mini excavators are the smallest class among different sizes of mini excavators.

Despite their small size, these mini excavators usually have powerful engines. The power output can range from 10 to 20 kW.

Compared to larger excavators, mini excavators under 1 ton cannot achieve such respectable digging depths and breakout forces. Some models may offer digging depths from 6 to 9 feet.

For these micro excavators, they are especially useful for digging trenches for utilities or other similar tasks. But for ripping through rocks and compact surfaces, their light sizes cannot hold these tasks. If your projects require working in a small space but need additional power, you may need to consider the next size option.

A less than 1 ton mini excavator

1-2 Ton Mini Excavators

1-2 ton mini excavators (2,000-4,000 lbs) are designed to be both efficient and nimble, making them ideal for many different uses in tight areas.

These machines are good for small construction, landscaping, and utility work. Their smaller size makes them able to go into tight job sites like backyards or city areas where big excavators are too bulky.

Boleo's 1-2 ton mini excavator - ZEWEIT X

The 1-2 ton mini excavators are ideal for many kinds of tasks.

Small-Scale Landscaping: To dig in gardens, make planting beds, plant trees, and place irrigation systems.

Utility Trenching: These mini excavators are ideal for digging small, confined trenches to place utility lines. You can use them when setting up cables or pipelines in areas with less space available.

Demolition: Dismantling of small structures, like pavement or concrete for fixing or changing.

Clearing and Leveling Ground: It can clear small areas and level the ground for construction or landscaping.


ModelDigging depth (ft)Engine power (hp)Operating weight (lbs)
ZEWEIT X5’3’’15.22,645.5

In the 1-2 ton category, some models hold special attention for their performance. As a Chinese mini excavator, Boleo’s ZEWEIT X has a strong engine that saves fuel and follows EPA emission standards.

The ZEWEIT X provides a substantial digging depth, an important feature for operations needing underground entry or the capability to manage materials at deeper levels.

Additionally, this mini excavator’s hydraulic system has a 72% share of vital components from Japan, Germany, the USA, Italy and Switzerland. This gives assurance of top-notch functioning and trustworthiness.

3 -5 Ton Mini Excavators

A 3-5 ton mini excavator

Mini excavators, sized from 3-5 tons (6,000-10,000 lbs), are a little bigger and more capable than the smaller ones. They provide greater strength and depth for digging but still keep their size small.

These machines can manage heavier tasks that need more strength, but they are not as big as a complete excavator.

The following are some typical tasks for these mini excavators:

With their increased power, they can dig foundations that are deeper for houses and small business buildings.

They can clear land, shift rubble, and prepare job sites for construction, including digging trenches for burial applications.

Ideal for digging trenches for sewer lines and other burial applications.

3-5 ton mini excavators can do light to medium demolition jobs like taking apart small buildings or smashing up pavement.

Certain models can be used for clearing snow away, giving more worth during the winter season.

6-10 Ton Mini Excavators

A 6-10 ton mini excavator

6-10 ton (12,000-20,000 lbs) mini excavators placed at the upper end of the compact excavator range. They offer more power and digging depth than smaller ones. Meanwhile, they still maintain versatility and mobility.

Increased size often comes with increased performance. Typically, 6-10 ton mini excavators have a digging depth between 5 and 15 feet or more. This makes them capable of deeper and more extensive excavation tasks.

Similar to some common applications of other compact excavators. What makes these machines different is the project size. They can dig deeper and wider trenches, prepare foundations for medium-sized structures, and handle larger landscaping projects.

Choosing the Right Mini Excavator

When choosing a mini excavator, one must consider size, features, and other crucial factors that could affect its performance.

Digging Depth: The depth you must dig will directly affect your selection of a mini excavator. Mini excavators have different depths that they can dig, ranging from 6 feet for smaller models to more than 15 feet for bigger ones.

Horsepower: How much horsepower the mini excavator has tells you if it can handle tasks with efficiency. Greater horsepower means it is able to lift heavier loads and work more forcefully, which might be needed for particular jobs.

Reach: The reach of the digger is how far it can stretch its arm. This becomes significant if you have tasks where digging or lifting needs to happen at some distance away from the machine.

Attachments: Think about the mini excavator attachments you will require for your work. Various attachments can change how heavy, balanced and efficient the excavator is.

Mobility: The capacity of the machine to move around the job site, which is particularly useful in tight or restrained areas.

Fuel Efficiency: Smaller models usually offer better fuel efficiency. This might be an important point for lengthier projects.

Ground Conditions: The kind of soil or ground you are dealing with may also affect your selection for a mini excavator. Certain models are more suitable for rocky or hard ground.

Project Scope: This refers to the total size and limits of the project. The scale of your project will assist you in determining what mini excavator size is needed to finish it within the period you desire.

Final Advice

If you are using a mini excavator, there are certain things that you should keep in mind.

Begin by evaluating the project requirements, which includes considering the size of the work area, depth and reach that are necessary as well as what type of soil or material is being excavated.

Go over the specifications given by the manufacturer for different models of mini excavators. These specifications will have information about digging depth, horsepower, and other important features.

If you have a plan to use attachments, make sure that the mini excavator can handle the attachments. It shouldn’t go over maximum weight or performance limits.

A bigger excavator might need more fuel and maintenance, so make sure to check the whole cost of operating when choosing a mini excavator.

Always put safety and machine stability first. Select a mini excavator that can work safely in job site conditions without any danger of tip-over or other accidents.

Keep communicating with rental professionals or salespersons of equipment.

If it’s possible, try to test and operate the mini excavator. This will help in making sure that you are happy with how it works – if its control, power, and efficiency meet your expectations or not.


Q1: How much can a 5-ton mini excavator lift?

As for a mini excavator that weighs 5 tons, its lifting capacity can vary from a few hundred up to a little more than one ton in good conditions. A Kubota 5t excavator, for instance, has the ability to lift anywhere between 480kg and 1.5t (about 1,058.2 lbs and 3,306.9 lbs) based on where you place its boom as well as arm.

Q2: How many sizes do mini excavators have?

Sizes of mini excavators typically fall between less than 1 ton to around 10 tons. The common classifications are less than 1 ton (under 2000 pounds), 1-2 tons, 3-5 tons, and finally the range of 6-10 tons.

Q3: What size mini excavator do I need for land-clearing tasks?

Less than 1-ton mini excavator: Small-scale projects in tight spaces;

1-2 ton mini excavator: Moderate land clearing tasks that require a bit more power;

3-5 ton mini excavator: Heavy land clearing tasks involving dense vegetation or larger areas;

6-10 ton mini excavator: For bigger areas of land, especially those involving rugged terrain or heavy vegetation.

Q4: What is the most popular mini excavator size?

Generally, the mini excavators that are most in demand fall within the 1-5 ton range. They have a size that is compact enough to make their way through tight spots and ample strength for handling complex tasks. The smaller size of these machines is what makes them stand out, and makes them affordable for both contractors and homeowners.

Q5: What are the alternatives for a 1-ton mini excavator?

Mini skid steers are also compact and versatile. They can be fitted with attachments to tackle digging tasks like mini excavators.

Usually, larger than 1-ton mini excavators, compact backhoes can be a good alternative for digging and trenching. They are often mounted on a larger platform like a tractor or a small loader and are suitable for heavier-duty work.

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