Mini-excavators, also known as compact excavators, are small hydraulic excavators valued primarily for their ability to maneuver and function within tight or narrow areas where larger excavators can’t. 

If you are looking to hire a mini excavator, be sure to contact our friendly team here at Feltham Grab Hire. We provide qualified and highly experienced operators to aid you in your project at a great price. Our mini excavators can be used for a variety of reasons, from digging ditches to levelling and grading.

What Is A Mini Excavator?

Mini excavators are tracked machines about the same size as a typical skid-steer but they serve a very different purpose.  They include a heavy-duty arm that interfaces with a wide range of attachments (although most frequently shown with a bucket) and a mounted blade.   To be considered a mini excavator, the machine usually weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or 5 tons, although this rule is not strictly followed.

Defining Characteristics

One of the characteristics that makes mini-excavators special is their ability to fit where full-size excavators cannot.  This is due to their small footprint and the zero-tail swing that many mini excavators have. The zero-tail swing allows excavators to work very close to existing objects without the danger of hitting them because the housing never extends over the tracks.

In addition, the combination of their weight with continuous tracks results in very low ground pressure.  Very low ground pressure means that they can work on rather delicate ground. At the same time, tracks free them from the limitation of working only on smooth, stable surfaces.  This makes compact excavators extremely versatile when it comes to working conditions. Stable, unstable, smooth, or rough, they can handle the terrain.

Finally, don’t let their small size fool you, these machines fit a great deal of power in a small and compact vehicle.

Where Can They Be Used?

Mini Excavators can be used in a wide variety of situations, with many applications and a range of industries. Some include:


Mini excavators can be used with processor heads for thinning or grapples for picking up logs. Mini-excavators have also been used to topple over smaller trees.  Sometimes mini- or midi-excavators are used with a trailer as a sort of “mini” skidder in forestry.


There are many specialized attachments that make mini-excavators very useful in farming applications.  Bale spears allow bales of hay and straw to be moved quickly and easily. Augers are ideal for digging fence posts or drilling holes.   There are also brushcutters for keeping grass and weeds under control and rake boxes for preparing land or smoothing it out.


Mini excavators are a popular piece of equipment in landscaping because of their ability to flatten landscape, dig irrigation ditches, remove stumps, and dig ponds.  As with agriculture, brushcutters can help get overgrown lawns and weeds quickly get under control.


Mini-excavators are good for excavation (especially digging trenches) as well as demolition.  They can do just about anything their big brothers can but on a smaller scale, and can work in places their big brothers simply cannot go.

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