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Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a smaller Excavator


A mini excavator typically weighs between one and seven tonne. It should come with many of the features of a larger machine, but also the added bonus of being able to work in tight and constricted spaces.

Hiring a mini excavator makes sense in a range of situations, whether you’re a contractor digging a backyard swimming pool or a site boss needing a small, powerful workhorse to access areas where larger machinery can’t get to.

If you’re looking at using a mini excavator, here’s a brief snapshot of their features and applications, plus those things you should look for when hiring one for a job.

Features of a mini excavator

The word ‘mini’ is the key to this incredible machine’s versatility. Its compact size allows it to perform tasks a standard excavator just couldn’t handle, and its range of features includes;

  • Wheels and tracks: A choice of wheels or tracks, depending on the surface it is working on. Wheels are ideal for smooth surfaces such as roadways or concrete, while steel tracks are suited for particularly rough surfaces and rubber tracks for areas susceptible to damage.
  • Clean rotation with zero tail swing: Zero tail swing is also a feature on many models these days, in which the housing rotates entirely within the width of the tracks, preventing the operator from striking nearby structures when working in confined spaces.
  • Enhanced operator view: An arm that is offset from the cabin and provides the operator with a much better view of their work.
  • Accommodates attachments: A wide range of attachments such as shovels, buckets, rippers, hammers and augers and configuration options such as longer or extendable arms for greater reach and dump height.
  • Easy to transport: The size of a mini excavator means it is easy to transport on a trailer or tilt tray, and does not call for special transport requirements such as curfews.

Uses for a mini excavator

A mini excavator is useful for a range of different jobs including;

  • Working on sites alongside existing structures, where its zero tail swing feature prevents accidental damage.
  • Working at heights or depths, where elevator access is required, which would be denied to a standard excavator.
  • Working on residential properties with limited access, where the excavator size allows it to pass through narrow spaces.
  • Digging up areas around water pipes and underground electrical wiring, where its small footprint and good operator visibility is a real advantage.
  • Multi-tasking such as breaking up concrete with a hammer and then loading it into a dump truck or dumper with a bucket attachment.
  • Paired with larger machinery, where the mini excavator digs the hole and a larger excavator moves the dirt.
  • Demolishing sheds or other small outdoor structures using the hammer attachment and then removing the debris with the bucket attachment.

In short, mini excavators are the ideal tool for just about any digging or demolition job that’s too small for a bulky excavator and too large to do with a shovel or hand tools.

Hiring a mini excavator

Before hiring a mini excavator, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. These should include:

  • Your job site: How much space you have to work in – is it large enough that a standard excavator would be more cost-effective?; What type of ground is it – is it level or sloping, firm or unstable?; And what kind of access you have to the site – can you get a mini excavator in there, even with retractable tracks?
  • Your operating skills: Even though a mini excavator is smaller than other classes of machinery, it is still a heavy and potentially dangerous machine. Is someone on your team confident in their experience to operate it?
  • Volume and dump height: Its dig depth and dump height – mini excavators usually dig at depths of 6 to 8 feet, so you need to know whether this is sufficient for your job and whether the maximum height of the boom is enough to reach your dumper bin.
  • Its compliance: Building regulations require that construction machinery is compliant before it can be allowed onsite, so does the mini excavator you are planning to hire come with all the necessary paperwork?

Choosing the right hire company

Just as you want the best mini excavator for your project, you also want the best hire company to ensure your choice of machine is fully compliant, competitively priced, delivered on time and with all the necessary attachments.

And if your project is in Sydney or Newcastle, Solution Plant Hire has 1.7T, 3.5T and 5.5T mini excavators that tick all the boxes, including zero tail swing, a full range of dig depths and attachment options and superior horsepower and hydraulic pressure and flow. To find out more, contact Solution Plant Hire on 1300 77 44 73.

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